Opium – Yves Saint Laurent


Where do I start with this extinct beauty. I know, I should start by saying firmly: do not consider the current bottles of this perfume being sold a true or even a fair representation.

Usually, a reformulation is swallowable, after a few bites. But with Opium, they didn’t even try. It won’t go down. And that’s because due to many reasons. Bans, bad decisions etc. So if it ain’t vintage, it ain’t worth it.

Let’s go back now.

I remember my mother telling me when she smelled Opium in the yesteryears, she wanted to sleep, dosing off after a heavy dose of a sleep inducing ‘drug’. This is exactly what Opium was; a drug in perfume form.

Presence. Longevity. Attention.

The drug reference fits like a glove. It’s like a pseudo-drug because you want drug-free organs. A beautiful, deep, mysterious trip.

You walk into a dense garden, blue and grey skies above. The floor fumes of beautiful deep moss cruched with spices. The trees exhale incense. The flowers emanate their smell without asking to be approached. It’s raining. But it is dry. It’s dusting everything down. Things are getting hazy. Dark, sweet and steamy. You are lost in it…  

Opium lasted and lasted. I put two drops of vintage eau de toilette on a coat. Five days later, it lingered magnificently.

This is a visualisation of Opiums sillage

Nothing is fresh about Opium, in the best way possible. It is dry all the way through. It reminds me of Dioressence from 1979. That one is heavy on the oakmoss and green but creates a similar dizzy-me-up affect.

The thing about Opium, the thing, is that it was made for heavy duty. A tiny bit would get you turned on and excited. A bit more and you’re an addict seeking rehabilitation.; you and everyone around you. Just like opium itself. A perfume designed to shock. To create controversy. Sans sex and bodies. To take the wearer on a fantasy, a respite from normality.

Vintage Opium, circa 1990s and earlier periods is available easily online. From eau de toilette to the reculsive eau de parfum, the options are wide. So, go on spend your money on this one. Recreational ‘opium’ is certainly not a crime…


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