Opium (1977, Yves Saint Laurent, Eau de Toilette)  » Perfume  »
1 votes
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  • But curiously, in my experience it doesn't fare too well in the depths of winter, either
  • And I don't like to be “worn” by perfumes
  • To be fair, I think Opium – or rather, its creator, Jean-Louis Sieuzac – deserves a very special mention for creativity and boldness

    • by Pretty Polly

      all reviews
      There is no doubt about it: Opium – the sensation of 1977 (and not only because of its scent, but because of its controversial ad campaign) and then of the early 1980s– is one of those “love it or hate it” scents… although I have noticed that opinions can “mellow” down over the years. There is no doubt, however, that it is one of the most distinctive scents of the 20th century.

      And, in truth, even “on paper”, its composition does look somewhat unusual.

      The top notes chosen are remarkably merry and refreshing: mandarin orange, bergamot, and lily of the valley. But those “happy” and airy notes are never fully deployed – at least not on my skin and to my nose. Instead, the middle notes - jasmine, carnation (necessarily synthetic, as it

      cannot be extracted naturally), and myrrh - appear almost immediately. I must say, I don’t smell jasmine at all, nor do I detect the synthetic carnation that is supposed to be there – the myrrh, however, which is quite unusual (in modern perfumery), pervades the entire composition, from the opening to the drydown. On my skin, Opium could be described as an “ode to myrrh” (and the heady scents of the mythical old Arabia). And no wonder: the base in which the myrrh is “anchored” is made of vanilla, patchouli, opoponax, and amber – sweet-smelling spices, with “earthy” undertones.

      So, in a nutshell: on my skin, Opium smells like “incense” (actually, myrrh), mixed with some sweet but heady flower scent and vanilla, with patchouli dictating the main tone of the composition. All ...

      • other notes are practically indistinguishable to my nose.

        I cannot imagine wearing this perfume in warm weather – let alone in summer. But curiously, in my experience it doesn’t fare too well in the depths of winter, either.

        I suppose the season or weather that goes best with it – again, on my skin and to my nose – is late autumn, with the fresh but earthy scent of rotting leaves in the air, when it’s rainy and grey, but not yet cold – just pleasantly coolish and moist.

        Alas, in any other season, weather, or even social opportunity, Opium simply does not work for me or with me. I find it intoxicating in an unpleasant way, and almost “unisex” in its earthy harshness.

        To put it very simply: I am not the

        person, the woman, that Opium seems to be portraying. And I don’t like to be “worn” by perfumes; they are supposed to complement (and compliment!) me and my mood of the moment.

        But Opium is simply too “headstrong” to bow to anyone, I suppose.

        Which is why it – unlike many other perfumes - stays in my perfume closet, where it has dwelt for many years now.

        To be fair, I think Opium – or rather, its creator, Jean-Louis Sieuzac – deserves a very special mention for creativity and boldness. There’s no question about that: Opium’s place in the history of perfume is secure, and has been for along time. So, on that count alone, I would give it at least a 9.

        As for my personal experience with it, 5 would be more than enough.

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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in May, 2010. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 5626051109020831/k2311a0526/5.26.10
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