Quoting from Jean-Claude Ellena’s book Perfume: The Alchemy of Scent:
Inspired by Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew and launched with a big advertising campaign, Opium was the French answer to the press campaign for Revlon’s Charlie, launched three years earlier in the United States and the first perfume to seek to sell a lifestyle.
If you never smelt Opium By Yves Saint Laurent before, all you heard about it is true: it is a boiling cauldron of incense, spices, woods, dense florals and oranges. It’s intense like hell, and would pass through a space suit. It sort of reminded me of those mothballs my mom used to put in the wardrobe. Except that Opium smells much better. As the incense grows less thick, it leaves some space to other ingredients like cinnamon and pepper, and when it dries down (after a good amount of hours) the moth effect and the incense subside and there is space for all sorts of woods. Still intense but way more relaxed than before.
Opium Fragrance was done more than 30 years ago, but it will never grow old, not even after the tenth reformulation. It is so unique and over the top that definitions will hardly fit. Winter is the only time of the year when it won’t generate social rejection, and please refrain from using it at work, unless you’re an antiquarian.
Opium Parfum is traditionally not for young women, but if you’re at least 30, why not try it, if you’re ballsy enough. And if you’re even ballsier, wear it if you are guy, it is masculine enough to do that. I remember one day having a blotter sprayed with Opium with me, during a painful all-hands meeting, and the question from a female collague of mine was: “what’s that? It’s masculine, right?”
This is the review of the new Opium perfume, the one launched in 2009. The original was created in 1977 by Jean Amic and Jean-Louis Sieuzac (Fahrenheit Dior for men).
Two SAs I asked to, swore that the formula is exactly the same, but among the real perfumistas out there (not me, I’m the one in the meme below), there is a general agreement that this new one is different (if for anything because some of the original ingredients were banned in the meantime), and (of course) worse than the old one. Is it really like that? I never smelt the old version so I wouldn’t know and, frankly, as they don’t do it anymore, and I’m not cursed by the memory of the original version, I don’t particularly care.
(on Opium perfume reformulated)