If you’re looking for a perfume with a fiery and dramatic personality to make your date nights hauntingly special, you can count on the Opium perfume to do the job. Let those fancy dinners with your significant other be forever etched into memory, thanks to this iconic scent from Yves Saint Laurent. The YSL Opium, which first came out in 1977, was created by perfumers Jean-Louis Sieuzac and Jean Amic. This perfume is also made our list of all time top ten perfumes for women.

Opium Perfume - A Classic and Classy Scent

Opium perfumeThe rich and exotic scent of the Opium perfume is attributed to a seductive blend of floral oriental notes with rich spices. Plum, coriander, clove, pepper and mandarin orange are its top notes while Lily of the Valley, rose and jasmine are its middle notes. There’s amber, myrrh, cedarwood, sandalwood, incense and musk as some of its sweet base notes – all of which add to its intense and sensual characteristics. No wonder it is an instant hit for women looking for an elegant and timeless perfume.

The bottle of Opium by Yves Saint Laurent is similar to an ‘inro’, a traditional small Japanese case that were commonly used by samurais. Even with the rise of Giorgio Beverly Hills, Christian Dior Poison and similar heavy hitters in the 1980s, the Opium perfume held its ground as a classic and classy scent that makes heads turn – no matter who is wearing it. Its opulent stature rivals even that of Chanel No. 5. Opium is truly a trademark of the excellent craftsmanship of Yves Saint Laurent, earning its place in the Pantheon of top perfumes for women of all times.

Issues and Controversies

The fiery and intriguing features of Opium perfume is truly indulging to the senses. Yet, this Opium perfume for women is not without any issue and controversy – first and foremost, because of its name. Many accusations have been thrown at the brand designer for the selection of a name that seemingly condones drug use. Moreover, a Chinese American community demanded a public apology from YSL for its lack of sensitivity to the irreparable damages that the Opium Wars did in China during the 19th century. But this public outrage did nothing to dampen the sales and the rise to fame of the YSL signature scent; in fact, it only secured its stand as one of the best-selling scents in history.

And take advantage of the situation is what Yves Saint Laurent did. For the launching of the Opium fragrance, they hired the ship Peking and decorated it with endless layers of cattleya orchids. On the ship was a thousand-pound bronze Buddha surrounded by Oriental-themed decorations. At the ship’s helm was no other than Truman Capote. Needless to say, YSL is focused on nothing but success for the Opium perfume.

yves saint laurent opiumThen there is the poster ad campaign featuring Sophie Dahl. In 2010, YSL garnered criticisms from different countries, particularly from the United Kingdom because of the model’s portrayal in the ad campaign. Dahl, photographed by Steven Meisel, only had a pair of stiletto heels on and nothing more. Her hand covers one of her nipples while her legs are spread apart. With her eyes closed and back seductively arched, she looked like experiencing orgasmic ecstasy. The print ads and posters, according to the British Advertising Standards Authority, were too degrading of women’s worth in the society and too sexually suggestive to be seen by minors.

A Must-Have for Post-Sunset Revelries

Every woman wants to put her best foot forward when it comes to looking and smelling great on a wonderful night out with her partner or even during cocktail parties with the company executives. This iconic YSL scent is the go-to perfume for after-five fun.

On my skin, the scent of the YSL Opium transitions smoothly from citrusy and woody waves to a spicy floral galore. Though I feel the fragrance doesn’t stay for too long – which contributes to my ambivalent feeling towards it – I cannot deny the fact that I feel all ‘dressed-up’ when I’m wearing it. This is exactly the simple reason why your post-sunset revelries won’t be forgotten when you’re wearing Opium.

For date night:

The rich Oriental background of Yves Saint Laurent Opium makes it a sure-fire winner during candle-lit dinners with your beau. The predominant jasmine mixed with the earthy sandalwood makes it sexy but not too overwhelming.

For corporate parties:

These formal events are a great way to prove that you can have fun while maintaining your composure and dignity as a professional. The right balance of sweet notes and warm, rich base of Opium will complement the refined atmosphere but still give a lady that extra range of character.

For girls’ night out:

You feel most comfortable when you are surrounded with friends – and that is what Opium does best. Its spicy Oriental background – such as rose, patchouli, musk and jasmine – makes for feel-good moments with your BFFs.

For family gatherings:

Weddings, reunions and birthdays held at night-time and/or until wee hours of the morning require easy-to-wear scents because you don’t have to try that hard when you’re with your family. Though Opium can be quite an intoxicating scent, don’t hesitate on using it. The trick is this: spray the air in front of you and then walk right through it. The warmth of your skin will diffuse the scent but will still make you irresistibly huggable – like a soft cashmere sweater.

Is it daytime and workplace appropriate?

Different Opium perfume reviews agree on a particular thing: it might come off too strongly for daytime use, especially if worn in an office environment. You might have heard not-so-kind words from co-workers whose sinuses shrieked because of the overpowering scent of a particular perfume – regardless of its association with a famous brand – while boarding up the corporate elevator. You don’t want your beloved Opium perfume to earn a bad reputation simply because of its naturally intense and dramatic characteristics.

If you feel naked without the signature Yves Saint Laurent Opium scent, don’t apply it before 9 AM, if possible. Apply it before getting dressed so the mist or the perfume’s oil won’t stick to your clothing – not that it ever causes any harm to your corporate attire. And for the sake of good office camaraderie, it would be best to settle with just a spritz.

Opium Perfume’s Newer Version

Opium-Yves-Saint-LaurentThe boldness and verve associated with the 1977 Opium perfume, I feel, is somewhat lost in its newer version. Because most of the ingredients in the original formula were considered to be a cause for allergy to its many users, gone is the smouldering sensation and the spicy bite it is famously known for. Pity perfumer Antoine Maisondieu for being handed over with a mission impossible such as this. To compare and contrast the old and the new would require an entirely different article, but that would just further emphasize the slightly lower stature of the latter against the magnificence of the former. But still the new version is worth giving a try.

Price and Additional Information

Different sites have different opium perfume prices. The Opium Eau de Parfum and Opium Eau de Toilette are priced as $65-115 and $60-100, respectively, at the FragranceX.com site. It is a little on the expensive side, to tell you the truth but it is worth every cent. The pepper and sweet orange lends a fresh, floral and citrusy characteristic to the EDT while the EDP is identified with a warm spicy, richer scent due to the presence of myrrh, amber and incense.

Cheaper brands have copied the signature scent of the Opium perfume so you have to be cautious when buying one; even the packaging is quite similar. Make careful inspection before you complete the transaction because you deserve nothing less.