You may have noticed that I reviewed YSL Opium recently. Now I do not claim to have a preference between the old and the new and cannot until I have tried the old one. I thought it would be only fair to give the other side of the coin after my fan letter to new Opium. My review inspired two impassioned replies from die hard pre refurb Opium lovers.
Friend of the blog Sally wrote such a heartfelt and erudite reply about her love for “Old” Opium that I thought it would make a blog post in its own right. Fellow friend of the blog and guest writer Lisa Wordbird agrees “I’m in absolute agreement with Sally’s fantastic comments. I am a fellow ‘Old Opium’ lover. It was almost a signature scent for me through the nineties and early noughties and I have a stash of the good stuff that I amassed when I heard they were going to reformulate. At least they were honest. At least they changed the bottles and the packaging and relaunched with a new fragrance that is a tribute to the dear old duchess and that you can see the resemblance to. But she’s not my girl.”
Here’s Sally’s post in full- she really knows her stuff:
“Oh dear – here I was, quietly drinking my morning cuppa in the relative cool of the day before the thermometers reach breaking point again, and enjoying “blog time.” I see the word “Opium” in the heading of your post in my email box and pounce to open it. Yes! At last, a post about The Holy Grail from your good self. Then I slump in despair as I see the pic of the reformulated version and my head falls to my desk. For I am admittedly one of those Purists who most definitely will shriek that today’s version of Opium ain’t the same – in fact I go so far as to say I think it’s a positive travesty compared to The Beloved One.
I have tried – several times – to readjust my thinking about the modern. I’ve tried to stop thinking the name “Opium” when I’ve smelled it, attempting to lull myself into a false sense of security that it really is all right, don’t compare the two, smell it as a standalone perfume and take it for what it’s worth. Can’t do it. In fact, I almost envy you for not having smelled the original, as you can truly be objective and provide, as usual, a great review – a review, I might add, that if I didn’t have the ghost of Opium Past stuck firmly in my olfactory memories – would have me heading to try the perfume in question.
I think the main problem with the modern is that it *can* be described as “light and pretty” and not the “woah there!” fragrance that is was and still should be. That “woah there!” is the very reason why legions of women simply opened office windows to accommodate 16 feet of sillage. BIG was the word back then and the thought of the (increasing) number of fragrance free public spaces of today, would have set us guffawing in disbelief.
I alone, kept YSL afloat in the late 70s and 80s with Opium everything. Now L’Oreal gets not one penny from my purse. I would love to send you a decant of the vintage original – I still have a large supply from the early 80s as I bought huge bottles in duty free every year for several years. I’d be interested to know your opinion!”
Thanks Sally- you have made me long to try the old one and luckily Lisa can help me out on this with a sample. I’ll keep you posted!
PS The photo of the aged looking bottle is borrowed from fragrantica.com.