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Opium was launched by Yves Saint Laurent in 1977 and is described as being a "refined, subtle, oriental fragrance."
Opium is packaged in a classic box which is a bright amber colour and is decorated with gold leaves.
The bottle itself is see through and is an oval shape and made from glass. The lid is plastic and is an amber / brown colour with gold trimming around the edges. The bottle has leaves embossed onto it. On the front of the bottle the words Opium and Eau de Toilette are written in amber / brown.
This perfume is available in several sizes and prices do really vary from shop to shop so it's definitely worth shopping around.
On the website www.escentual.co.uk a 30 ml bottle costs £41, a 50ml bottle costs £55 and a 100ml bottle costs £69.50 so it is fairly expensive.
The perfume itself is an amber colour which compliments the colouring of the bottle.
I would describe this perfume as being oriental and woody and it is one of the most distinctive smelling perfumes on the market. This scent is quite strong and would not be suitable for people who prefer the "lighter" smelling perfumes.
The ingredients of this perfume include mandarin, vanilla and jasmine and these ingredients really compliment each other.
Does The Smell Last
This perfume has incredible lasting power. I only use a couple of squirts in the morning and the scent hardly seems to fade throughout the day. In fact, I can still smell this perfume on one of my coats which I wore about 3 days ago! So compared to many of the other perfumes on the market, this perfume has excellent lasting power and I would definitely give it a ten out of ten for this.
Who Would This Scent Suit?
I think this scent would suit most women who prefer sensual and musky perfumes. This perfume is quite woody and spicy so in my opinion, I don't think this would be suitable for women who prefer the light and floral scents.
Yves Saint Lauren, as well as producing this perfume produce many another such as Vice Versa, Nu, Paris and In Love Again just to name a few. They also sell other fragranced items in each of their perfume ranges such as talc, moisturiser and shower gel.
This was one of the first ever perfumes I smelt when I was probably about 10 and I still love it now. As I already said, this smell is very distinctive and people seem to recognise it straight away.
This perfume is one of the best for its lasting power, you only need a few squirts and the scent will last all day so a bottle really lasts a long time.
Although this perfume is fairly expensive, I think it still has good value for money purely because a bottle lasts a long time, much longer than your average bottle of perfume.
In the year of 1977 a perfumer named Jean Amic created an oriental spicy scent for the fashion brand Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) and named it Opium. The name caused a stir as it was claimed that YSL were condoning drug use, however the controversies only helped to increase the publicizing of Opium and help it to achieve its status as a best selling fragrance.
This perfume oozes elegance, class and sophistication. With top notes of fruit and spices with a hint of mandarin, plum, clove, coriander and pepper, as well as a touch of bay leaf. A slight floral mid tones consists of mostly jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, carnation, cinnamon, peach and orris root. A sweet woody base note juxtaposes the sweetness of the flowers with sandalwood, cedarwood, myrrh, opopanax, labdanum, benzoin and castoreum. In addition to amber, incense ad musk. But in plain old English, this fragrance is quite heavy so it lasts for a long time making sure you get your moneys worth! In my opinion I would save this for best and wear it when going out as I think it might be too heavy to wear on a day to day basis and it's a shame to waste it when just getting the shopping!
Encased in a red box with gold leaves peeking from the edges and the name proudly presented in the middle, it really does stand out from the rest on the shelf. Opening it up reveals the bottle and immediately you are hit by the beautiful musky smell inviting you to take a longer look. The bottle itself (depending on which size you purchase) is a raised, almost crackled glass which is transparent allowing you to see when your next trip to the perfume shop will be! The lid is a sultry red just like the box; once you remove it one spray really does go along way.
Opium has a sense of personality that other perfumes don't, it gives you a sense of confidence and also with one inhalation of the strong musky vibes a wave of memories hits you as much as the scent which is truly lovely!
When I smell this scent one word comes to mind - elegance. No wonder my Mum is never without it!
A small gift I had for christmas. From my research the bottle I have 30ml retails for around £40, you must really love the product to buy it, I would defiantly pick up a tester if your going to spend that much on any perfume.
The box is a rich red with gold swirls of floral on it, it certainly looks luxurious and expensive. The liquid in the bottle is also a gold colour, the lid has the same rich red and the spray lid is gold plated. The design does this perfume justice in expressing the up-market feel to it. The bottle is tall but very sleek and skinny, it feels very delicate so I would take extra care carrying it around. A problem I have with the bottle is the the spray sprays out a huge amount each time leaving you with the liquid everywhere.
The first thing I noticed was how strong it was, This perfume will certainly be smelt by everyone! It's very exotic and reminds me of India and Eygpt. I can smell a lot of Jasmine among other things. The first 10 minutes before it settles can smell like a air freshener but when it settles you can smell the fruity notes, I can smell and orange, peachy citrus which is refreshing along with a spicy feel. It also lasted right til I had a shower in the night - So long lasting.
The problem with this perfume is I don't know when I should wear it, it feels a bit too much for going out in and smells a lot more mature and I believe it will suit an older person. I do believe however you do get what you pay for!
Opium was one of the first fragrances I fell in love with along with a couple of others, these being Panache and Samsara and I found quite early on that I favoured oriental, spicy fragrances over the floral variety.
Up until being given a bottle of Opium as a present a number of years back now, I had been quite happy with a bottle of Panache, which I really loved during my teenage years and as it was quite cheap I never thought much about trying out any others, particularly the more expensive fragrances.
It was however, the gift of a bottle of Opium, which introduced me to the world of the more expensive scents and encouraged me to broaden my horizons a little when it came to choosing perfume.
Opium was and still is quite an expensive fragrance. I always liked the amber-coloured box it came in and thought everything about it was luxurious. I have had a number of bottles of Opium since that first one and although I have since discovered one or two other perfumes which I actually like more than this one, it has still remained a favourite of mine and indeed is one which I have always had in my collection since that first bottle. The shape of the bottle has changed recently and the new design gives it a more eastern, oriental appeal than ever before.
The actual fragrance I would describe as quite unique and I certainly don't recall ever seeing anything similar to this fragrance.
When a perfume is said to be oriental, woody or spicy, another word that is often used to describe this type of fragrance is sensual. Indeed I would describe Opium as a sensual fragrance and this Yves Saint Laurent perfume masterpiece is definitely not an everyday perfume. Described as having opulent, decadent character, this is immediately apparent from the first notes of of mandarin and bergamot, which are then deepened by myrrh, jasmine and carnation, before the final notes of amber become apparent which is where its sensual qualities come from in my opinion.
As I much prefer musky, amber, spicy or oriental fragrances to the floral or fruity ones, it is no surprise I love Opium, but it has never been and never will be a perfume I would wear during the day. Opium has always been a 'going out' or evening fragrance for me. Some have described it as a heavy fragrance, but I tend to disagree. Certainly if you sprayed a generous amount on your skin, then maybe it could be somewhat overpowering, but I use mine sparingly and find it has a subtle spicy fragrance which I am aware of whilst wearing it thanks to its amazing staying power, but isn't something I find overpowering. Indeed I cannot recall anyone ever saying to me that they thought my perfume was too heavy whilst I have been wearing Opium and have instead commented that it was nice. I have also found that a number of people have recognised the scent as Opium when I have been wearing it.
On first spraying Opium on to my skin, I find its scent starts off stronger than many perfumes I have worn, with a strong but sweet spicy and fruity scent. This then fades and the subtle jasmine notes develop before it seems to deepen again as the myrrh and amber notes appear. The scent becomes stronger and muskier, but still retains a subtle scent of jasmine.
When I am wearing Opium it always makes me feel like I am wearing something special and luxurious and this is another reason why I would not describe Opium as an everyday perfume. Its unique scent is certainly not one I would be spraying on my pulse points before going to work on a morning. I much prefer to savour this for special occasions when I can enjoy the sheer luxury of wearing it.
Another bonus to this unique fragrance is its staying power, which I mentioned earlier. Opium seems to last and last when I wear it and indeed I can still smell it on my skin and am aware of it hours later. It seems to emit subtle scents for hours, also leaving a gentle scent behind in a room when you walk through it.
As a fragrance for evenings out and special occasions, Opium will always be one of my favourites. I have became quite sentimentally attached to it over the years and wouldn't want to be without a bottle.
Opium is quite expensive but you can find the odd bargain from online fragrance retailers such as a favourite of mine, www.fragrancedirect.co.uk, where you can currently buy an Opium gift set which includes a 30ml bottle of Eau de Toilette as well as 50ml bottles of Opium shower gel and body lotion for just £29.99. However, if you buy your perfume from stores such as Boots for example, you can expect to pay around £40 for a 30ml bottle of Eau de Toilette alone, so it is indeed worth shopping around when buying perfume.
I am coming up to my more mature years now and although it seems impossible that I was once young, felt sexy, glamour and exciting, certain things recapture the spirit of youth while retaining the allure of a real woman. Of course Perfume, not eau de toilette, plays a real part in this as women have been using some forms of scent since long before we had shops, TV and advertising to inspire us.
My favourite perfume of all time is Opium and although I might try others, I always come back to this particular one for many reasons. I first tried it in my mid thirties, which I'll only say was over twenty years ago and it has stood the test of time, as do most fragrances from the House of Yves St Laurent.
The Jewel in the Crown
The very name OPIUM suggests Eastern regions, opulent palaces in the sun-drenched countries we like to imagine in our dreams. The bottles this perfume come in have changed over the years from smooth and sleek to rich, dark and jewel-shaped, but the perfume itself stays the same, a rich aroma that seeps into the pores of your skin and remains as a lingering reminder throughout the day and well into the early hours of morning.
A Heady Mixture.
On opening the top, whichever bottle you might own, you will get a hint of very special mixture that makes this perfume so unique. Spray a little on your pulse points and allow your nose to pix up the warm, rich mixture of citrus, floral and oriental. For this mixes the best of all three to make a perfume you cannot resist.
Top notes of carnation, mandarin and bergamot play like summer breezes across the senses, while the middle notes of myrrh and jasmine bring in the mystic allure of the souk, while the final accord waits to deepen and finalise the perfection that is yours with deep amber and vanilla depths.
This perfume has changed slightly with the times, but the fragrance is timeless so you may find your current bottle has a slightly different make-up, but its still a gorgeous mixture even if you choose the slightly younger and less heady make.
Beware the temptress is a minx.
Yes, I'm afraid that once you've sampled the delights of this perfume you won't wish to go back to anything else. This is a mature woman's perfume, though young ladies might be tempted to play, this is a minx, light and playful one moment then all woman the next.
I have been using this for most of my adult life and it still stays as addictive as the name it carries. But it's far less dangerous, though expensive on the pocket, unless you use its charms with yours to tempt your valentine to buy this for you. If so then be careful of what you wish for, it will probably come true.
Down to Earth.
This is a really lovely perfume and although it was nearly banned for its name, it's been around since the late 1970's and although the formula does adjust slightly you can bank on it being a winner for most people. I find it lingers on my skin for ages and can't wear it in the day unless I'm going out later, which sadly I don't do so much now. In my twenties it took me from work to play and as I got older I would keep it for the evening. Now I'm over the hill I wear it on the rare evening out and remember when it honestly did make me feel every bit as alluring as a screen siren.
You can buy it in most good department stores for about £39 per 30mls. Do shop around though.
Thanks for reading.
This review may appear on other sites. ©Lfuller2012.
This is my nan's absolute favourite perfume and she get's given it by the bucket load!! No, in all seriousness she get's 3 bottle for her Birthday and atleast another 3 for Christmas, that's without anniversaries/mothers day etc.. So sometimes when she has a clear out she passes the stuff to me!
The Top Notes of this perfume are ~
* Mandarin Orange
* Bay Leaf
The Heart Notes are ~
* Lily of the Valley
* Orris Root
The Base Notes are ~
As you can see this scent does hold a lot of scents within itself and can be overwhelming, I find it a little on the strong side as I rather fruity fresh scents over oriental musky scents.
The top notes are fruity and spicey and this is the warming scent that hit's your nose first, this soothes into more floral heart notes, which do calm the scent somewhat, but the cinnamon is quite predominant. The woody basenotes are left to linger and these are what will be left of the scent after the fruity top notes and floral heart notes disperse.
As you can tell from the mixture of notes, this is a very oriental scented perfume.
Mandarin and bergamot are the greeting scents, hint's of Lilly of the Valley and carnation gently blend into the spicey base of patchouli and amber.
Recently changes have been made to the packaging, this is most noteable in the bottle, previously the bottle was pretty plain, just a rectangular shape with curved edges and a red lid, the bottle is now square and squat and more modern looking but with a very oriental feel.
Prices vary depending on where you purchase but generally it retails in the region of between £28 - £58.
I have to say that I was not very impressed with this fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent and I'm glad that I did not spend any money on it rather it was a perfume that I tried while staying at my parents house, maybe I should have guessed because it was one my mother owned and there is quite an age gap between us as she gave birth to me a little late in life. Given that it retails around the £40 mark it is not a cheap fragrance either.
It is a very musky fragrance which I find to be rather over powering and it certainly goes to your head, it does have a raher cloying feel to it and I found the smell to be still on my clothes the next day. The main notes are vanilla, jasmine, lilly, amber and mandarin and it does have a spicey oriental feel to the smell but it is not an attractive one in my opinion.
The bottle also has an oriental feel to it in the way it is designed, it is a textured bottle with red and gold lettering and a slightly yellowish colour. There is nothing special about the design of teh bottle and for me it looks a little dated by todays standards.
It has a rather over powering floral scent to it and not one that I find very appealing, I find it to be quite an old smelling fragrance which ight suggest why I found it being used by my mother. For me personally I'm looking for something that has a fresher more youthful feel to it and this fragrance simply does not measure up in that respect.
Not a fragrance I would recommend for anyone under the age of 40 but it might appeal to some older people.
~Opium the fragrance~
The lovely YSL people want us to imagine Opium as a voluptuous fragrance that will transport us into a whole new world of fragrance appreciation. A world where we are all happily drenched in Opium or the new Belle de Opium at the very least and have become more exotic and enticing then we ever dreamed we could be, purely because we have spritzed on a dash or two of the Opium fragrance. The play on the name is one that YSL have used to suggest there is a naughty dark side to the fragrance that will entice us into needing to wear the fragrance often and I feel that the name has made the fragrance into more than it may have been had it been called something a little less controversial.
After all YSL are rather quick to tell us all that Opium is a fragrance with an 'outrageous and evocative name', a fragrance that is a gateway to a 'fantasy world, a trip to the unknown, to an extraordinary elsewhere, mysterious, full of sensations and emotions'. Are YSL saying that if we dab a little of the fragrance on we will be led into a whole new fragrance wearing world of hedonistic enjoyment as long as we keep our Opium levels topped up and the ever expanding YSL coffers full of our hard earned pennies? The answer to that is open to interpretation yet I do feel thats where the whole concept is trying to lead us.
~Love it or hate it Opium always causes a stir!~
Where can you even begin to write about a fragrance like Opium that has been around for so long and caught the nose of so many avid fragrance buyers. The fragrance is perhaps a fragrance icon to many and at one time it was so widely worn that you could end up walking into a room and find at the very least one other woman and possibly several were drenched in its heady and exotic oriental fragrance. Many say that rather than you wearing Opium, Opium wears you and in many ways I do have to agree with that statement as on many fragrance wearers the balance of power is tipped too far in Opiums direction and the fragrance can over power rather than enhance. Those lucky few who are able to indulge in the delights of the Opium fragrance and still keep some of their own aura going at the same time without it smelling like cats urine are the ones who tend to love this super strong fragrance. Other mere mortals such as myself have struggled to use and enjoy the fragrance with any great deal of success and as such can appreciate what it has to offer yet are unable to enjoy it very often if at all, as it envelopes and takes over to the point of no return.
~The look, the feel~
Opium has had a little update in terms of how it is packed and presented and the tall lean fragrance bottle of old that was the EDT bottle is now closer to that of the EDP and is more in keeping with the look of the new Bell de Opium bottle. I feel that the taller older EDT bottle was rather dated looking and was prone to being tipped over all too easily, so for me the new look that reflects the old EDP bottle is one that works well and allows us to use the fragrance without tipping it over as often. The new bottle is more compact yet still stores the same amount of fragrance within it and I feel it works better when you need to use it. The bottle sits better on a dressing table and the spray applicator works as it should when in use. The theme of the bottle gives off a much more classic oriental look and the effect it better than that of the previous taller design.
~An intoxicating scent or too much, too long, too soon?~
Opium is a fragrance that you either love or hate, it seems to me that there is very little middle ground when it comes to this fragrance. I for one have tried to love it and failed time and time again and I feel that perhaps the fragrance does not suit the oils in my skin most of the time and very often it doesn't suit my mood either. I find that the heavy perfume Opium gives off is one that can give me a headache at times and that makes it a fragrance I wouldn't be able to wear on a daily basis. At times the rich creamy and rather cloying fragrance that Opium gives off is all too much and I cannot bear to be around it let alone wear it. During those times I cannot even put up with smelling it when worn by someone else and the overly strong blend really does just get up my nose too much.
The opening notes of the Opium fragrance are surprisingly citrusy bergamot, mandarin and fresh green lilly of the valley. To me the citrus note is apparent as I do get a distinctly fresh citrus tangy note when the fragrance is freshly applied to my skin. The lilly of the valley for me is rather drowned out by what comes swiftly afterwards and if I an honest I cannot really say with any certainty that I smell it at all, which is perhaps due to the mid notes kicking in rather quickly when the fragrance dries down on my skin. Within those heart or mid notes there is warm and exotic jasmine which is a definite tone within the fragrance, this is quickly strengthened by myrrh and a slightly cloying and sickly sweet carnation scent that rather spoils it all. All the way through the fragrance there is a definite spiced feel that gives a constant spicy warmth, again its something I have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy and at times it can tip things over the edge towards a total lack of wearability.
The base notes of the fragrance are warm vanilla, amber, sweet myrrh and patchouli and these really do give the fragrance the longevity that it is widely known for. The fragrance seems to cling on like a limpet at low tide once its on your skin and can endure all manner of weather conditions yet still remains in place. The fragrance can deepen when worn on warmer days or evenings and gives off a thick, enveloping sensation that is exotic warm and very oriental in its origin. The fragrance is one that does not need fragrance layering to my mind as it seems to be able to bring itself to life without additional help from body sprays, lotions and bath products. In a way that is of course a wonderful bonus to those that love the fragrance, as it packs such power that it can do the work of fragrancing you from morning to night with just a few light sprays from the easy to use applicator.
The whole idea of Opium as a fragrance is that it will allow a woman to wear it and feel transformed into a thing of sensual beauty and mystery. I feel that there are some very lush and sensual parts to the fragrance yet the often over heavy and cloying blend can dumb those down rather too much for me at times. The fragrance can be something I detest at times and want to avoid at all costs and to me that says that it falls a little short of what it ought to be able to do for me. At other times when the mood takes me I can wear the fragrance for a few short hours, although I do more often than not end up washing it off as soon as I am able to, as I cannot sleep at all well when wearing the over heavy fragrance.
The power and longevity of this fragrance is such that if it is left on over night it can still be there in the morning in a softer way and it will almost certainly leave its mark on clothing or bedding that it comes into contact with. It will also leave its fragrance on anyone you nuzzle up against and leave them lightly coated in a softer Opium fragrance. The fragrance will not only follow you into a room when you wear it, it may well arrive before you as it is very strong and when over done it can be far too much to wear for work or for wear in crowded places. I feel the fragrance is very individual yet can be too much for daily wear and is mostly suited to those confident few who seem to be able to carry it off with aplomb.
~Is it similar to anything else?~
~ Coco by Chanel ~ Warm oriental with a difference ~
As I am not one of those I don't rate the fragrance amongst my favorites and would say that for a similar exotic and oriental fragrance that is easier to wear yet still has plenty of longevity then Coco by Chanel may be a better, or at least easier to wear choice. Coco is not the same, the influences are different yet the over all feel is similar and the warm oriental fragrance that it gives off will easily give Opium a run for its money at a similar cost.
~ Samsara by Guerlain ~ Exotic warm and enveloping ~
Amongst the other fragrances that are singing from the same song sheet are Samsara by Guerlain with its name taken from the sanskrit word meaning to be reborn. This warm and woody oriental fragrance will be right at home amongst your collection if you are an Opium fan and I found that when I wore Samsara it certainly gave me that familiar warm and spicy vanilla theme that I feel within the Opium fragrance.
~ Cinnabar by Estee Lauder~ So close they might be twins....almost! ~
The Estee Lauder fragrance Cinnabar is another fragrance that has similar influences within its mix as it is a warm and exotic spiced fragrance that has heavy undertones and very similar ingredients such as lilly of the valley, jasmine and patchoulli. It then also uses tangerine and cloves for a fruity spiced feel that will last and last until you can't take any more of it.
~ Youth Dew ~ Another classic oriental ~
Another Estee Lauder blend that smacks a little of the Opium fragrance has to be Youth Dew, which Estee Lauder describe as being 'sexy, warm and opulent.' I feel thats coded for too heavy, too sickly and old fashioned and although I can say that it has a certain similarity to Opium in that it is another oriental spicy blend I feel that of the two Opium is actually the better fragrance.
~ Body Shop Woody Sandalwood ~ A cheaper way to get a similar feel ~
For those on a tighter budget who like the sound of Opium but cannot afford to try the fragrance in the first instance for fear of finding it doesn't suit, a similar fragrance at a budget price would be the Body Shops Woody Sandalwood perfume oil if you can locate some. It has some qualities that remind me of Opium and has a good level of longevity when on the skin. Prices used to be around £8 for s small bottle and if you find you like the fragrance then Opium may not be a bad choice for you at all.
As far as rating Opium I feel I don't want to under rate it as it does have a lot going for it yet it seems most often to miss the mark for me. I can see that it is a very bold and interesting blend that has been a popular buy for many years and that has to go in its favour. Over all I feel that for many the fragrance is just too strong and will over power and cling on for far too long. Opium is not an easy fragrance to wear in that it requires both the fragrance and the wearer to blend in with each other and if one is at odds with the other the blend is flawed and cannot perform as it should. Some times I feel the smell of the fragrance is so strong that I am just unable to go near it and to me that says that Opium and I are not really a match made in heaven. As such I feel that I can only rate Opium as a 3 star fragrance based on my own experience and opinion and my best advice would be to try it out prior to buying it and allow it to stay on your skin for a full day before deciding to buy. After all the fragrance is not in any way cheap to buy and will therefore be a large investment for any fragrance buyer.
The fragrance comes as an EDT in regular 30ml, 50ml and 100ml bottles and as such any new to the fragrance purchasers may want to begin with a smaller bottle and see how it goes. Prices can range from £25/ £33 for the smaller older style bottle online and can go upwards from there towards the £80 mark for a larger bottle, or for a bottle that is part of a gift set. A standard 50ml bottle is selling for close to £50 at the moment. House of Fraser have a nice gift set on sale right now with a large bottle of Opium and a tub of the matching body cream for £78 which is good value.
Boots also have a rather good gift set which includes a 30ml bottle of the Opium fragrance along with a 50ml shower gel and a 50ml tube of body lotion. The set is keenly priced at £40 and comes attractively gift boxed making it a good gift choice. As Boots are selling a 30ml bottle of the revamped fragrance bottle for £39 the gift set looks like a better buy. I feel that in certain stores prices for the fragrance can be overly high and that it may be best to wait until the after xmas sales to be able to get the best prices unless opting to go down the gift set route.
Opium has been around for decades. It was a fragrance staple in the eighties but the fact it is so synonymous with a specific period of time means it could fall into the category of "old fashioned". I have seen Yves Saint Laurent try to reinvent the image of this perfume with swanky adverts and even using Kate Moss as a model for it in their poster campaigns, but I don't think the young generation will ever fall in love with this dated fragrance not matter how hard YSL try.
It is certainly a signature scent. If someone is within a 6 foot radius of you, they will smell this fragrance. I have stepped in and out of a room and people have said the scent lingers for a long while. It also lasts a long time, you will probably not have to reapply Opium more than once a day. And, although expensive, just a quick spritz and you're good to go. Some people may not like the fact that a fragrance can be so distinctive, but I love that people can smell my perfume from far away. It's just a pity that I don't like the perfume....
I am young, and when I have tried this perfume it makes me feel like an old lady. It had scents of vanilla, jasmine and mandarin and, although I love oriental frangrances normally, I find Opium migrane inducing.
This perfume separates opinion so much that I would highly recommend not buying it as a gift unless someone has specifically said that they like it. It is certainly not for wallflowers but it is even too much for someone like me who loves strong perfumes. It's not for me at this moment in time, although I am open to the fact that in a couple of decades my opinion may change!
I was certainly glad that I did not splash my own cash on this product, instead I got it as a present, it is not to say that it is necessarily a bad perfume, I'm sure some people will like it, rather it is not a fragrance that suits me and not one I would buy for myself.
Opium by Yves Saint Laurent has been around for a fair few years now so I guess it must have some loyal followers. It is also not a cheap scent either, retailing at around the £40 mark, which makes it cheaper than Chanel but in my opinion it is not a patch on Coco by Chanel even though Coco is almost double the price.
The bottle is rather traditional looking, the textured bottle has gold and red lettering to give a hint of the orient to it. Mandarin, lily, jasmine, vanilla and amber are some of the main notes in this perfume, it is certainly what you might call a statement fragrance, one that announces your arrival and then lingers a fair while after you have left as well and for me i find that rather dominating scent a little over powering and not the sort of effect I'm looking for in a fragrance. It is a musky fragrance and one that is too heavy for my liking and I'm not adverse to a musky scent either.
It is a strong floral scent and one that smells a little old these days, I prefer something a bit sharper and fresher to wear, it is a scent that is suitable for evening wear and to be honest it is not something I would wear again after trying it the once. I guess at some point it will find its way into the bin or a local jumble sale.
Rather than write about a fragrance I love, I'm going to review one which, for me, is the Marmite of perfumes because I absolutely loathe it. A friend gave me a bottle of Opium eau de toilette as part of a birthday gift a couple of years ago, despite my frequently having mentioned in her presence how much I disliked the scent and how it reminded me of a tart's boudoir! This is definitely a perfume which polarises opinion.
I was slightly disappointed that such a good friend could know so little about me. I always feel that a perfume should reflect the personality of the wearer and in my opinion, Opium is a fragrance best suited to voluptuous and sultry looking women who walk through a room leaving a trail of exotic fragrance behind them and who exude a certain 'je ne sais quois'. As someone who is way past even bothering about being sultry and certainly know what's what, this just isn't the scent for me, especially as I think it's likely to attract the sort of man I don't fancy anyway! I'm pretty sure George Clooney wouldn't like women wearing this perfume!
A brief history
Yves St Laurent introduced this perfume to the buying public in 1977. The fragrance was created by Jean Louis Sieuzac, who also created Dior's Dune and Oscar de la Renta's Oscar, another two perfumes which are very heavy floral orientals.
Price and availability
This perfume is available in most department stores and is also currently on sale in Boots for £39 for a 30ml bottle.
The packaging for this product is perfect, being that wonderful Chinese red and gold and a very classy looking bottle. It's certainly in keeping with the oriental notes of the fragrance but it's the contents of the bottle I simply do not like.
Yves St Laurent claim the top notes for this fragrance are mandarin, bergamot and lily of the valley, followed by heart notes of jasmine, carnation and myrrh, which then evolve into the base fragrance featuring vanilla, amber, myrrh and patchouli. However, I suspect that there is also a healthy (or unhealthy, depending on your view) amount of musk in the mix, as well as sandalwood and every other heavy fragrance that springs to mind.
This perfume, for me, symbolises the 1980s when the popularity of this scent was at its height and it really became the female equivalent of Brût because women were splashing it on left, right and centre. It brings to mind big hair, shoulder pads and power dressing, lots of (so called) style and far too much substance and perhaps that's really why I don't like it. Another reason I find it impossible to like this perfume is the sheer heaviness of it. It's definitely not a day time fragrance, although that never seems to stop people from wearing it during the day. A little bit of this goes a very long way and unfortunately, despite the watch words for the 80s being 'less is more' many people ignored that advice and practically bathed in the stuff. It's one of those scents which it's almost possible to taste at the back of your throat when liberally applied. Added to the fact that the heart notes are carnation, which is lovely when you get a little whiff of the flower in the garden, though not so nice in its distilled form, and jasmine, another very heady floral scent, this perfume is guaranteed to give the olfactorily sensitive a thumping headache. As the perfume dries down to the base notes, it's possible to get a whiff of something really very unpleasant which smells to me almost like burning rubber.
As you've probably gathered by now, this is definitely not a perfume I'd recommend unless you want to check out your gag reflex or give yourself a headache. I know many women love this scent but I think there are truly very few women who it really suits. This is simply perfume overkill. It's certainly killing me! I've put a dab on my wrists to do this review and I'm now going to go and scrub it off before I pass out from the pong or throw up!
I have what I can only describe as a "fragrance fetish" as I simply love pampering myself with gorgeous beauty products. However, as well as the changes in my 42-year-old skin (now nearly 43!!) my tastes have also dramatically changed over the years.
A fragrance that I used to simply adore unfortunately now makes me feel quite nauseous and gives me a horrendous headache. The fragrance I am reviewing today is that belonging to Yves Saint Laurent, namely Opium for women.
Whilst I was aware that Opium has been around for a considerable time, I was shocked to discover that it was launched some 33 years ago, when I was just 10 years old. Acccording to the research I've carried out, the fragrance was extremely popular in the late 70's and women rushed to purchase it by the gallon.
Apparently, Opium was marketed as an erotic fragrance and naked women were used in its' advertising! I also learned that when it was first launched in America, its' name caused considerable controversy. However, this did not effect its' sales and in fact, had the opposite effect as it considerably assisted with its' marketing!
Opium gives the image of sophistication, particularly with its' extremely attractive updated bottle. However, I have noticed that there are still a considerable amount of the older type frosted glass bottles for sale on the internet and in my opinion, the new bottle oozes both style and elegance; something which was lacking in the older design.
The unique shaped rust coloured bottle has been designed in the shape of a Japanese inro, which is a precious box used for storing miracle plant remedies and essential ointments.
The new design is simply superb, as its' glossy finish is extremely eye-catching and very luxurious. The well-known logo of Yves Saint Laurent is located in the lower section. Even the lid of the bottle has a distinctive design, which makes this fragrance stand out from its' competitors.
I hadn't used this fragrance for at least 15 years and a few months ago, decided to treat myself. However, I was extremely disappointed, as now I simply cannot bear the intense aroma of a fragrance that I used to be so passionate about.
It is an extremely strong fragrance and in my opinion, very overpowering and as I wasn't sure of its' entire contents, I had to check online to provide you with accurate information. We have the top notes of mandarin, bergamot and lily of the valley, which are short-lived when we are then greeted with the heart notes of jasmine, carnation and myrrh, which stay with us for a few hours.
The long-lasting base notes, which remain with us for approximately 6-7 hours are that of vanilla, patchouli, opoponaux and amber.
With its' blend of rich notes, the fragrance is considerably oriental and spicy and more suited to the older woman (like me L), as I believe it's too heavy for the younger generation. It has a strong spicy aroma and in my opinion, is a very stylish and classy fragrance, but you will need a fairly strong head to be able to carry this.
However, I am not criticising this fragrance, as of course, it's down to personal choice and unfortunately, this is no longer to my liking. If you favour strong spicy fragrances, this is most definitely the fragrance for you, particularly as it's staying power is superb with one application lasting for the whole of the day.
Yves Saint Laurent has manufactured a classic with this fragrance, which I believe will be around for many years to come. I normally tend to layer my fragrances with matching body lotions and shower gels and whilst these are available within the Opium range, in my opinion, the fragrance is sufficient on its' own.
Opium is available in both eau de parfum and eau de toilette and can be obtained in most good department stores and larger branches of Boots. I have checked Boots' website in order to provide you with up to date prices and as of July 2010, you can purchase a 30ml bottle of eau de toilette for £39, a 50ml bottle of eau de toilette for £50 and a 50ml bottle of eau de parfum for £60.
It would be unfair of me to downgrade this fragrance, simply because I no longer enjoy its' aroma, so I'm going to award Yves Saint Laurent Opium for women with 4 out of 5 dooyoo stars.
I hope you found my review useful and would thank you for reading.
I am one of those people who finds that within minutes of spraying on perfume there is nothing left except the faintest aroma of whichever product I sprayed. Its become a source of a lot of frustration over the years because, lets fact it, Eau de Toilette is generally expensive and what's the point in spending my hard earned dosh on a pretty little bottle of scent if the only good it does is to look pretty on my dressing table!?
Serendipity played a hand in me finding Opium. My mum was given an Opium gift set from a client for Christmas - and she hates Opium with a passion and as I'm never one to knock a gift horse in the mouth, I accepted the Opium Eau de Toilette from her, believing it was at least worth a try! I've not looked back since and now YSL's Opium is probably the perfume I use most often.
Opium comes in a traditional looking bottle which is simple, if not a little old fashioned compared to the newer designer bottles that seem to be hitting the shelves. Its just a bottle, not a bottle designed into the shape of a shoe, or an ice cube or a lady's body.....just a bottle....and there is something about that that makes it feel a little more grown up and sophisticated because it doesn't need gimmicks to make it appealing. The bottle itself is glass with etchings of leaves over it in a type of swirly pattern - and the word Opium is centre stage on the bottle itself. I quite like the fact that the bottle is transparent, not only because the honey coloured perfume appears rich and inviting, but also because you get to keep an eye on how much perfume you have left. Also, when the bottle is nearly empty you can see which direction to tilt the bottle in in order to get the perfume in the corner where the spray tube is and so you can always get the last dregs out easily.
The Eau de Toilette is delivered by means of a amber spray nozzle which delivers a generous amount of vapour onto the skin in the direction sprayed. I usually find one squirt on either side of my neck is more than ample to deliver the optimum amount.
When I first experienced the smell of Opium I found it to be very overpowering. There is no doubt that its a strong smelling fragrance which is intense and certainly not shy in coming forward. This is a perfume that want's to be seen....that want's to turn heads....that wants to be noticed. And for that reason, I don't believe that Opium is a perfume for wallflowers or for people that like to hide in the shadows. This fragrance is for out-going, strong, vibrant women who are not afraid of expressing their sensuality or of using the power of their charms to get what they want out of life.
The fragrance is invigorating and provocative and yet it also feels somewhat classical and reminiscent of a bygone age filled with elegance and glamour. It is overwhelmingly spicy and aromatic - and smells of somewhere exotic such as the Far East or South East Asia. I smell warm musk, cinnamon and incense infused with woody oak and cedar undertones.
Once I have put it on, I like how the fragrance seems to meld with my body and starts giving off an aroma which is unique to me. The fragrance becomes somewhat more subtle and its less obvious that I'm wearing Opium because it doesn't smell how it does straight from the bottle. People always ask me what perfume I'm wearing and are quite surprised to hear that its Opium because its tones are so warm and spirited, without being overpowering or oppressive (which is often people's immediate impressions of Opium!).
Importantly, the fragrance does last on me and it remains fresh throughout the day. Like I said, there is some evolution that takes place between the initial squirt and the resulting aroma when it melds with your body chemistry, but it does last for the whole day without any significant fading in strength or quality.
Such perfection does not come cheap unfortunately. A 50ml bottle of Yves Saint Laurent Opium Eau de Toilette costs in the region of £34 if bought online. If bought in non-online shops then it may cost a little bit more but you do sometimes get the benefits of freebie samples of other products in the Opium range.
Overall, Opium remains my scent of choice because it compliments me so well and helps to make me feel confident, powerful and desirable. I fully understand that it isn't for everyone because we simply aren't all the same, but don't dismiss Opium out of hand and give yourself a little time to be intoxicated and to fall in love.
*Also on Ciao*
Long ago during the summer of our youth, Himself returned from a business trip with a gift that changed my life forever: He presented me with my first bottle of Opium. Since that time, I've never truly been the same.
I still dabble occasionally with White Shoulders and Narcisse. Obsession and Green Tea are welcome on my dressing table--my tastes in scent remain eclectic. But it is Opium that friends remark upon and new acquaintances ask about. It is Opium that clings to my sweaters and jackets. It is Opium that announces to all and sundry that Herself has recently passed this way. The other fragrances are mere flirtations. As all my family and friends know, Opium has long since become my signature scent.
Indeed, Opium has become my addiction. Whenever my supply runs low, serious effort is expended to ensure procurement of a new bottle before the old one is dry. I have been known to go to extreme measures to replenish my supply. I'm not too proud to drop heavy hints before birthdays, holidays, and other occasions when gift-giving is merited. For example, as Himself and I approached our 34th wedding anniversary, my then-current bottle was over two-thirds empty. This meant that the possibilities for negotiating my resupply were, um, promising. . . .
Opium has an exotic spicy fragrance that overlays just a hint of musk. It is neither overpowering nor subtle, and it tends to accentuate each wearer's body chemistry in a way that is as unique as the individual herself. The result is a wondrously earthy sensuality that is the aromatic counterpart of a low raspy voice.
Opium addicts who like to layer their scent know that the parent company, Yves Saint Laurent, offers a number of additional products in the Opium line, including soap, shower gel, body creme, body moisturizer, dusting power, and body oil.
Opium is known almost as well for its presentation style as for its scent. The classic terracotta and gold stoppered container pictured in this review category is always on my dressing table--even if the bottle itself is empty. It sets a worthy standard. The outer packaging for the classic bottle is a sturdy oval case made of molded plastic and/or pressed board, depending on the product it protects. The outer container for my .26-oz parfum bottle even includes a space in the base to hold the corded tassel that is part of the design. The outer container repeats the terracotta and gold of the stoppered bottle, adding golden foliage and black accents. The overall look is quite striking.
A simpler design borrowing many of these same elements is used for the eau de toilette spray bottle. The spray bottle is much more practical, especially for travel, less likely to leak or spill than the stoppered bottle. Nonetheless, men wishing to score higher points with the women in their lives should opt for the classic version. Its impact is rather like the difference between a diamond and cubic zirconium!
Of course, Opium is a costly addiction. In the States, a 1.6-oz/50-ml bottle of eau de toilette sells for $50-55 at the cosmetics counters of upscale department stores (though persistent shoppers can find sales and discounts courtesy of both brick-and-mortar and online retailers). In the UK, the price is comparable at £30-40. The department stores may be a bit more costly, but their supply is reliable and, unlike the discount sellers, they maintain a full range of other items within the Opium product line.
In my own experience, there is no question that wearing Opium makes me feel more attractive and desirable--a situation from which Himself is satisfied to reap the advantage. After all, it was he who started the whole thing with that long-ago gift. . . . Still, as a matter of record, just because I took the fall doesn't mean I didn't notice the push!
An Opium for Men is now also available--though I confess that this fact leaves me feeling a vague kinship with those members of Augusta National Golf Club and Royal Troon who express mild outrage over the possibility of having women join their ranks.
In my home on a Friday night it stinks to high heaven! My parents go out and they insist on wearing his and hers matching fragrances. Usually it is this Opium that gets flashed about, sometimes it's Obsession and there's me getting ready to go out too and like I say it can stink in my home lol.
My Mums favourite fragrance is this. It's one of them fragrances that if she runs out of it, without a second thought she'll go out and grab a bottle. She's not a person like that with anything else and I guess really this is her signature perfume!
The other night I was going out and I am rather fond of strong perfumes and I decided to nick her bottle and see how it fared on me! Shhh though don't tell me Mum for heavens sake! lol.
As far am I'm aware of this is only available in 50ml and 100ml sizes in the Eau De Toilette option though there could be other sizes too and of course this range is pretty big and there is a shower gel, body lotions and creams about as well (I know cos my Mother buys them too!). However no matter the product they all come in very similar packaging and that is a brown box (in this case oblong shaped) with a gold leaf pattern to the front of it and in gold bold writing on the front I'm told it is Opium Eau De Toilette Vaporisateur and that it is by YvesSaintLaurent and the size is stated (in this case 100ml). On the back of the box ingredients are listed and there is a flame symbol displayed letting you know it is flammable and to the bottom of the box there is a bar-code on there. Nice enough box, opens easily and it is distinctive although in my humble opinion a little old fashioned but saying that the box and image sort of go with the fragrance...I shall explain that a bit more in depth later lol. The bottle is glass and see-through with a leaf pattern embossed into it. It's a sort of oblong, flat bottle and all it says on the front is Opium and again that it's YvesSaintLaurent. The lid matches the writing and the box, being that same brown colour and it simply twists off and off with ease and that lid conceals a small gold spray button. Nice enough bottle and box but like I say probably more appealing to older, more mature choosers of perfume!
The Perfume Itself:
Gold and rich in colour when you see it in the bottle and it sprays out a light gold liquid onto the skin and dries rather fast. You can't feel it much when applied (apart from it's a bit wet for a moment or two) and it's none sticky and like I say it does dry fast though the one thing I do find with this fragrance is that a lot is dispensed per squirt so be gentle with it lol!
The fragrance is very heavy indeed and in my view made with a highly confident older wearer in mind. Even spraying a little on yourself when you walk out of a room you leave this spicy aroma behind you and what's more it lasts on the skin as strong as when you first applied it for hours and hours (until you wash it off in fact).
So the scent is as I have mentioned is heavy and I classify it as an evening fragrance really. The fragrance is made up of Citrus, Pepper, Coriander, Plum, Clove, Jasmine, Mandarin, Iris Root, Rose, May Bells, Patchouli, Carnations, Cinnamon, Peach, Cedar, Benzoin, Vanilla, Incense, Labdanum, Vetiver, Tolu Balsam, Coconut, Myrrh, Amber, Musk, Opoponax and Sandalwood and to my nostrils smells rather Oriental and as I said it is rather spicy and tangy but fresh and vibrant too. All those ingredients are blended really well and every time you sniff it you feel it's more of this and less of the other. Like when I first sniffed it I had it pegged as a sandalwood, jasmine and vanilla perfume in the main and then another time I inhaled it I could really detect the vanilla incense more with a hint of the patchouli and clove mentioned. It really is a multi faceted perfume and is very chameleon like.
Whatever you think this smells like you will, like I do (I think) think that it's deep, sensual and rather woody and I really do like it however although I do like heavy fragrances as a rule for me this is just a bit too over the top and as I keep mentioning I really do think this isn't very modern and meant for the more mature (over 50's) ladies. It is a nice crisp, deep fragrance though and definitely worth a sniff next time you see it if you like your rich and slightly breathtaking fragrances.
Prices (Taken from Boots but do shop bout online if interested in this as there are some great savings to be made!).
Also available in Eau De Parfum and there's options for men too!
This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.
Created in 1977, Yves Saint Laurent's Opium, is among the undisputed classic scents for ladies / A seductive mixture of roses, carnations and lily of the valley /