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 eatable, 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, soaked in spices. The trees exhale incense instead of oxygen. The flowers emanate scent far, no need to be approached. It rains. The dust settles. By now, you’re intoxicated. Dark, sweet and 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 affect.

The thing about Opium is that it was heavy duty. A tiny bit would turn you on and all giddy happy. A bit more and you’re an addict seeking rehabilitation.; you and everyone around you. A perfume designed to shock. A 20th century media storm. Sans literal sex and bodies. To take the wearer on a fantasy, a respite from normality.

Vintage Opium, circa 1990s and earlier periods is available 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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