Tag Archives: YSL Opium

YSL Black Opium Floral Shock

floral shock

As you may know, I’m not really a fan of Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium.  I am a fan of Old Opium or OO as dear Lisa Jones calls it,  but sadly,  Black Opium was a turkey for me.

Ironically, I have in the past complemented two strangers on smelling fabulous, only to find out it was YSL Black Opium.  I guess, like stilettoes, it’s good on other people but not for me.

black opium

Recently I came across the latest Black Opium flanker,  Floral Shock. Anything with Shock in the title is always worth a punt and I tried two squirts on skin, one on sleeve and one on a blotter.  Reader, if I told you that the blotter is still going strong after a week, would you believe me? It is true. This stuff has nuclear longevity, which makes it a curse or a blessing depending on your preference.

Personally, I could define very few differences between Floral Shock and Black Opium.  The opening of Floral Shock is lighter than the opening of Black Opium and has more florals, as the name would suggest.  Both open with pear and vanilla and sweet syrupy fruit,  at least to my nose.  Both have strong coffee notes and thick vanilla.  In fact, the main difference between Black Opium and Black Opium Floral Shock is that the top notes of Floral Shock are slightly more floral.  The flowers do a little shimmy number, and then Floral Shock turns back into Black Opium again.

The Fragrance Shop UK
The Fragrance Shop UK

Apparently, Floral Shock has no patchouli in it, but I discerned plenty, or maybe I was getting confused because Black Opium has it and this is very similar.  What I know for sure is that if you already own a bottle of Black Opium then you probably don’t need this one too. There’s not much to play for.  In a fight it would be a draw.

This review  is, of course,  just my opinion and not gospel.  You may be one of the strangers I stopped and said “Sorry to bother you, but you smell amazing.  What is it please?” If you do wear this, you probably smell great, but trust me, on my skin this was red syrupy fruit, pears, coffee, vanilla and a little touch of migraine.

Fans of YSL Mon Paris and Dior Poison Girl may well enjoy this too.

Stockists: I found this in House of Fraser. You can also buy it from The Fragrance Shop UK among other places.

How About You?

Have you tried Black Opium or Black Opium Floral Shock? or are you a fan of the original? Or even the original original?  Do let me know.  I always love to hear from you.

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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.

opiumOpium_by_YSL

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.

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Yves Saint Laurent Opium Old-vs-New:  The Verdict

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESopium

  For a few days now I have been mulling over the comments of readers and my own response to old and new YSL Opium.  We’ve heard passionate arguments in favour of the older formulation, and several positive comments about the new one ( including from yours truly). Now that friend of the blog Lisa has kindly let me borrow her gorgeous bottle of old Opium ( see photo) and I have tried both the old and the new, I feel qualified to give my opinion.

emily blunt opium

New Opium is still a wonderful daytime scent that I would happily have on my dressing table. It’s widely available and there’s nothing wrong with it at all: it’s even suitable for daywear in August.

Old Opium, which I am wearing now, is indeed the “woah there” scent that friends of the blog Sally and Lisa argued so passionately in favour of and can only be had on eBay it would seem.  It’s a whopper with sillage that could kill a canary.  It’s shamelessly blousy and glamorous: like a drunk at a party- loud and unmissable but witty and fun.  It’s powdery and classic (some would say old fashioned, I say classic) and has done a trolley dash through the Oriental Perfume Ingredients Store and bought everything.  It’s fabulous and it was in its day, a groundbreaker.

opium old

Here’s my verdict:  New Opium is indeed a shadow of the Old Opium, to the point where it is in fact a lite version and should have been labelled as such.  New Opium is excellent in its own right but the very fact that I would recommend it for daywear even in August goes to show how weak it is compared to its night-time-only- it’ll-blow-your-socks-off original. What YSL should have done is kept old Opium intact and called new Opium by the name of a flanker such as Eau D’Opium or Opium Summer (In fact confusingly there is an Opium Summer-Eau d’été- a name which would have suited the current formulation)

I therefore declare YSL guilty of murdering a perfectly good scent and replacing it with an imposter.  A good imposter, but an imposter nonetheless.  They may be cousins  but  they don’t even look alike. *gavel*

digitaltrends.com
digitaltrends.com

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Opium For The Masses. Opium For Me

opium

When Yves Saint Laurent Opium was created, it seemed to make Orientals more mainstream and is still a byword for the genre.  Its reputation precedes it:  “Nothing heavy please, nothing like Opium or stuff like that” and sometimes I fear it has  become platitudinous i.e it is so ubiquitous people don’t even see it any more.

I have avoided reviewing it thus far as I find it hard to train myself to just test one at a time whilst walking through my local House of Fraser, but today I just tried Opium (EDT) and nothing else. (It was tempting though, I had to walk fast past all the other bottles winking at me.)

Despite it being a mild summer’s day, not too hot, not too cold, somehow Opium surprisingly, felt just right.  I say surprisingly as I would have thought that Opium was too heavy for summer, but in fact the lightness of the citruses came out like an expensive eau de cologne, with added spice and extra staying power.  I find that I’m wearing a rather thirst quenching scent today that doesn’t feel at all heavy.

Purists may have other ideas about today’s version of Opium, as it has been very much reformulated since its iconic brown packaging at its launch.  I cannot comment on the difference as I am not familiar with the original, but I trust those who tell me, the new kid ain’t the same.

Opium has all the spicy/rich ingredients thing going on, but I think the reason I found it light and pretty is because it has no gourmand stuff in it. There’s no sticky cakey vanilla or sugar or caramel:  all ingredients which are hard to escape in today’s perfume stores.   After smelling so many scents that smell like cake crumbs, Opium is a refreshing change, and yes there is vanilla in it, but its barely discernible and seems to just round off the sharp edges a bit.

You can definitely notice the heavyweight Christmassy duo of Frankincense and Myrrh with their rich, deep resonance,  and the patchouli packs a punch, but somehow, this wasn’t a “woah there!” fragrance.  It felt just right for a sunny day with breezy spells.

Opium has managed to hang on to it’s green, spicy, citrus roots and was a breath of fresh air today: something I never thought I’d say about Opium in August. It’s gone onto the Wish List and I’m only amazed it took me so long to get there.  Oh and did I mention longevity? around fourteen hours for two squirts.  Amazing stuff.