You may recall my earlier reviews of old and new Opium. You may recall how passionate the love is for old Opium, and the cries of dismay when that powdery, heady treasure was sanitised for a modern market.
Well the people that loved old Opium will be most upset when they read that the name of Opium has been used in vain. YSL Black Opium is frankly, a disappointment.
The name alone would hint at a possible return to the old richness of Opium, with a moniker that suggests the nocturnal and wicked. “Black Opium” you would think, “sounds all mysterious and grown up” you would think. But no.
In fact, having plastered myself in it today and wishing I hadn’t done so, the first thing this made me think of was Chanel Coco Mademoiselle on steroids.
There’s the Coco Mademoiselle Orange Blossom and Patchouli in spades, and Pear and Pink Pepper giving it a fruity tang, but there’s kind of an unwelcome butch note at the bottom of it all that reminds me of Thierry Mugler Angel when it goes all Brut For Men on me.
The basenotes of Black Opium are actually very similar to the basenotes of Angel, with an overly sweet vanilla richness juxtaposed over a load of immovable patchouli.
It’s a sad state of affairs that perfumes today are generally launched at the 17-27 year old market, which would explain a lot. However, us “over 27s” are getting short changed and Black Opium is like seeing your best cashmere coat getting covered in crayon.
YSL Black Opium was not made for me and of course, I have to accept it. That doesn’t mean I have to like it though. In fact, it should have been given a completely different name altogether, because Black Opium and old Opium are not just unrelated, they are not even passing acquaintances.