YSL Black Opium: Look Away Opium Fans!

black opium


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.  Oh yes, and don’t forget a ton of coffee and extra syrup in the middle.

black opium ad

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.


13 thoughts on “YSL Black Opium: Look Away Opium Fans!”

  1. I was quite content with my description: Black Opium has disappeared but exposed before the dusty muted orientalism currently denoted as sexy. I find it shy in an unsettling manner, as if it’s wearing a nicab out of shame for it’s supposed uncleanliness.

    1. That’s beautifully put Berengaria! Welcome to the blog! Tell me, do you prefer this to the older original formulations?

      best wishes

  2. Hideous. Absolutely hideous. Suffice to say, as a self confessed and proud of it Opium Addict, I will not be giving this latest abomination a try. Coco Mlle! Angel!! Both in and of themselves “perfumes” that should be consigned to the 8th circle of hell for fraud. (Sorry, but I’m only on my first cup of coffee).

    I can only have the greatest admiration for you that you didn’t go screaming into the shower, but stuck it out all day. Again I blame L’Oreal for having the gall to market anything with the word “Opium” in it. I totally agree that this is aimed at the younger group – as with most commodities these days, I don’t seem to fall into any target demographics. Short shrift indeed.

    1. Hi sally, I did think of you when I was reviewing this and thinking “Well Sally won’t like this one at all”.

      It is totally aimed at the younger users and as the saying goes “Youth is wasted on the young”

      This is a real insult to Opium fans. Know that you are not alone dear Sally!

    1. You and Sally are of one mind on this.

      The new normal Opium one is nice enough (though puny compared to its predecessor), but having tried your old bottle of real, proper Opium Lisa, I totally see why old is better than new.

      And as for this imposter Black Opium? be gone! Shoo! away with you!

  3. Hello – I’ve heard that there was a company that Opium was going to sue b/c they felt they stole their perfume back in the day. Anyone know what company that was? Maybe buying their perfume would be close.

    1. Hello Helen, I haven’t read about this but I do know that Opium had to change its formula due to IFRA regulations. As for suing copycats- so much copying and “homage” goes on now that I don’t think even all the lawyers in the USA could chase them all. If you ever find the source I would be interested in that article.

      Best wishes and thank you so much for taking the time to comment.


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