YSL Black Opium

Sweet cream & Marlboro Lights

According to the site, YSL Black Opium was developed by perfumers Nathalie Lorson, Marie Salamagne, Olivier Cresp and Honorine Blanc. Notes include coffee, pink pepper, orange blossom, jasmine, vanilla, musk and cedar.

And it is just as the notes suggest after you take out the coffee and cedar and adding in a dollop of sugar and wisps of smoke from Marlboro Lights.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Apart from Shalimar Initial, I tend not to like perfumes with pink juices (L’Imperatrice had been agreeable up to Form 4, where its ownership rights went a friend, but everyone seems to wear it at school).

Much tamer than Angel (which I personally have a soft spot for, and which my dear classmates seem to loathe – so I only wear it in my room and to bed), and not as sweet as Flowerbomb, with a mellower patchouli base that cuts out the tanginess that Lolita Lempicka had, it ends with a musky skin note reminiscent of La Vie Est Belle.

It is mainstream enough to make YSL some cash, with its gourmand notes of creamy vanilla and soft washed out florals (to my nose, mainly orange flower and synthetic jasmine – the type that had its greener notes removed and isn’t half as heady as the real flowers).

The barely detectable whiff of coffee is also nice touch to appeal to the younger caffeine addicted audience as well.

On the coffee note, if you expected, strong, black Arabica – you are probably going to be surly disappointed. In Starbucks terms, what we get is caramel macchiato with cocoa powder on top instead of plain espresso.


It’s well crafted enough to stop it from becoming a pricier celebrity perfume. But not nearly challenging or memorable enough a release from the house that once made monsters such as the original Opium.

Longevity is not strong for me, fading to what seems like a pale whisper of woods and sweet cream with a hint of neroli by the four hour. Sillage is always quite demure throughout wear time as a whole.

While I did enjoy it despite the predominantly negative review, I would say that if you weren’t interested in gourmands (or the bottle for that matter), this isn’t something you need.

Out of all the Opium flankers thus far, this is probably the juice I least expected YSL to put out. Ranking the flankers I would put Black Opium right between Belle d’Opium, being my favourite out of the three; and Vapeurs, which was as pneumatic and vapid as the name suggested (wow, Vapeurs sounds like Lenina Crowne).


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