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.