Opium by YSL

Opium was imported to China by the British who procured it from their colonies in the Indian subcontinent. It was introduced in order to create a market demand for British product that was otherwise nonexistent — they needed something cheap and easy to trade for all those lovely teas and silks. Opium proved popular, too popular in fact,  and so the Chinese banned the drug citing it as an evil that was reducing their society to narcotic addled degeneracy. The resulting retaliation led to the Opium Wars, which, the Chinese lost, and the cession of Hong Kong into the British Empire.

Noses Jean Amic and Jean-Louis Sieuzac created Opium for Yves. St Laurent in 1977. In perhaps no other YSL scent is the designer’s disposition for the exotic more present. It was launched with a couture collection featuring pagoda shoulders and mandarin jackets, the mysteries of the orient echoed by the scent’s notes of mandarin, plum, cinnamon, jasmine, and orris. The scent is special in its sweet woody base notes including sandalwood and musk, creating the female equivalent of Old Spice. It’s a bold perfume, for a woman, not a girl, and as it wafts into the nostrils its effect is the kind of seduction that is pure St. Laurent. It is just as potent now as it was in 1977.


2 responses to “Opium by YSL

  1. Janet Allen

    I hope this is the right place to write my comments. I have bought Opium since it first came out. I am married, have raised 5 children and continue to work as a registered nurse since 1971. I literally wear it every day. But something happened…the scent has changed. I thought when I bought some at a swap meet to save about $20 that I bought a knock off brand and actually brought it back to the man and left empty handed. Then I bought another one at a perfume store in a mall-same thing. I bought it now 4X on line and it still doesn’t smell the same. What happened? I know the smell instantly and I miss it sooooooooo much. HELP???

  2. Hello Janet,

    I believe they changed the formula on you. Often companies will alter the formula, replace ingredients with cheaper substitutes, throw some notes out to make it more “modern” or lest costly to produce. They never tell the consumer this. If you want the old scent you remember your best bet is to purchase it on ebay and try and find an older bottle. Good Luck!

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