Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent

Hey, Hey Posse! Today we are in the department store. Black Opium was released by Yves Saint Laurent (YSL Beauty) in 2014. Perfumers Nathalie Lorson, Marie Salamagne, Olivier Cresp and Honorine Blanc all have their names on it. The bottle is a very clever, crystalline, glittering black concept which references the original 1977 cut out Opium bottles by Pierre Dinand. It drew only derogatory sneers of outrage from me when I first smelled it. From Patty too. How could they do such a flanker to the fragrance that instantly captured department store buyers back to an oriental from the 1970s chypres and aldehydic florals?
OK, so I’ve had 5 years to simmer down. Time to come at Black Opium again with a different mindset.

Oh, and for those that are giving a shit about it this year……

Black Opium EdP by Yves Saint Laurent

Black Opium Yves Saint Laurent

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Pink pepper, Orange blossom
Heart: Coffee, Jasmine
Base: Vanilla, Patchouli, Cedar

Pink pepper and plastic wrapped white flowers floating over a cold heart of coffee. All done in a 21st century sheer-radiant style. It’s not bad. Actually, compared to a lot of the dross we are being offered as fine fragrance in the current market it’s nice.

I can smell why it’s a hit. Now I understand how it stands aside from the crowd of similar scents. It doesn’t stand out, particularly, but it is different enough. That is what happens, isn’t it? An era comes along and all the fragrances in a genre smell alike. Remember the chypres of the 1970s, the bombastic BWFs of the 1980s, water perfumes of the 1990s? Alll of them were riffs on a theme and so is Black Orchid.

Dry down is that modern super clean patchouli with hints of other things to give some lift. A bunch of musks to smooth everything over and something else that I know but can’t place. One of those ubiquitous base building blocks.

On Jin Black Opium smells like a spiced latte with floral accents. His skin works so fabulously with it that I can’t even recognise it on him. Don’t I wish….

Surrender To Chance has samples from $4/ml

Are you a fan?
Portia XX


Portia also writes for Australian Perfume Junkies

  • Ann says:

    Howdy, dear!! I liked this ok when it came out, but wanted more coffee. So I put a dab of Bond No. 9’s New Haarlem over top of it (also good layered with any of several other indies’ coffee scents, i.e. Ava Luxe, etc.) and voila — it was a caffeinated hit on my skin!

  • Brigitte says:

    Never tried it. But if it works on Jin it might work on me as we seem to share lots of fragrance loves.

  • hczerwiec says:

    Ugh, I can’t do it. I’ve had so many samples of it pressed on me from Sephora — I don’t like much patchouli or gourmand, and even if it is better than the others of this genre, it’s still a genre that doesn’t make my nose happy. BUT, I do appreciate revisiting scents you thought you hated.

  • Kathleen says:

    Agree Portia, it’s not half bad (perhaps compared to many recent department store perfumes?) but not full bottle worthy for me. I quite enjoyed my sample and have another I’ll likely use. The name is misleading, nothing like original Opium. I’m thinking companies repeat names from bestsellers to boost sales?

    • Portia says:

      Yes, you are spot on Kathleen. It costs less to advertise a remake or retread because you’ve already got brand awareness.
      Portia xx

  • Gina says:

    To me it was just the ever popular vanilla. Vanilla yuck. The end. It was okay. Not hate, not like or love. Mediocre at best.

  • Matty says:

    Black Opium didn’t get a lot of love, did it ?
    I agree that revisiting some perfumes can give a totally different view. Perhaps like you said, Portia, it now seems a lot better then some of the stuff that has come out since. I actually like it XXXX

    • Portia says:

      YAY Matty! It’s a snap for us. No Black Opium was panned from here to kingdom come. I think it was a big mistake to make a flanker that so obviously wasn’t a flanker but a whole new pillar fragrance line. Were it something brand new we may have cut it some more slack and given it a chance to be itself.
      Portia xx

  • Zibbyz says:

    Lol, and for those that are giving a sh*t about it this year…. Hit just the right spot as I was scrolling down on my phone… .entertaining review