YSL’s Black Opium perfume is one that I’ve lusted after for a good two years or so – however over the past few years I’ve been on a real whittling down of my collection in a bid to only have ones I am completely obsessed with in my collection – I think my collection has roughly halved. I remember sniffing this whilst out shopping a few years ago and it’s one I had my eye on to get at some point – at Christmas I decided to go on the hunt for a set as part of the boxing day sales (as that’s normally the only way it’s ever discounted!), and whilst I couldn’t find a set in stock anywhere, I did manage to get a discounted limited edition bottle.
Black Opium is such a popular fragrance line for YSL that it’s spawned a lot of twists on the original, Floral Shock, The Glowing & Nuit Blanche are just three of the iterations on this – but mine is the OG, and ultimately out of all of them the one I liked the most (however, if you want to buy me a present, I will happily collect the set as I’d wear all of them.)
The YSL Black Opium bottle designs are all roughly the same – a narrow oval glass bottle covered in glitter with a circular clear middle that allows you to see the peachy toned liquid on the inside. The original fragrance is normally all black glitter but my limited edition bottle had a gradient twist – from a distance it looks like a pale peachy pink glitter which fades into black. However up close you can see that there’s pale pink, red, gold and some silver glitters that all makeup the the ombre transition. The glitter isn’t coated so it has some texture in the hand – however it is sealed into place and doesn’t create a glitter cloud every time you pick it up or put it in your bag for travel.
The bottle is topped with a rounded dome like lid that features the Yves Saint Laurent logo in a pink chrome writing that feels quite reminiscent of their The Shock mascara‘s packaging, and reveals a standard spray top that creates a nice mist.
This for me sits in the same kind of category as Black Orchid from Tom Ford – it’s a darker more “evening-y” fragrance that I tend to lean to during winter days and through to the night for the rest of the year – however the winter-feeling days are extending well into spring so far and I have been reaching for it quite a bit in the past few weeks in a bid to get myself fully familiar for this review.
The first notes in this spray which are noticeable to me are the freshness from the orange blossom and pear – pink peppercorn is also listed as a top note however my nose does not pick up that straight away and find that it’s something that sits very subtley. As those top notes settle down quickly there is a noticeable warmth that starts to come through mainly from the overwhelming hit of vanilla, with slight coffee, almond cedar and cashmere wood only adding to the overall warmth – these notes become the most prominent notes for me that last through the day.
Patchouli and Jasmine provide backup to the a slight floral boost to the almost-overwhelming gourmand warmth that the other notes bring to the table but they do little for me to break into the oh-so-prominent vanilla notes. The longevity of this I would say is about average, it’s very obvious for the first 3 hours or so and then tends to stop being so immediately noticeable on myself somewhere around the 5-6 hour mark, when I really need to stick my nose into my skin to pick up on what’s left (which is mostly vanilla) – however other people are still able to notice and compliment it. It doesn’t have the same power as something like Tom Ford Black Orchid, but it does sit where I would expect as a minimum of a perfume at this price-point.
I don’t know what it is about it but I can’t help compare it to the Lancome La Nuit Tresor perfume I also got around the same time – it might be the black and pink packaging and the luxe feel to the brand and bottle. But I find myself preferring the Lancome over this one and tends to be the one I prefer to reach for out of the two. There are many sharing notes between the two which on the surface would make you think that they would smell somewhat close. But the sweetness that the La Nuit Tresor has over this one gives it a slight edge to me and this feels a bit more mono-noted in notes where as Lancome’s is more of a evolving fragrance as you wear, with more notes with more dimension.
I like this perfume but I’m not sure I 100% sure I completely love it and would be looking to always have a bottle of this in my collection – I’d potentially rebuy it if I spotted it in the sale at a crazy low price. I think had I not bought two pretty similar perfumes so close to one another then maybe I’d be able to appreciate them separately a bit more from each other – but the similar bottle colours with the heavy vanilla scents that I’ve had and been using for the same amount of time has meant that I can already tell that I prefer Lancome’s over this and if I was picking one I’d definitely head in the other direction.
If you like vanilla scents than this is one that is worth checking out, but if you’re fans of notes like coffee or jasmine I don’t think any of the other notes are that immediately obvious individually, so it might disappoint.
Have you tried YSL Black Opium? What is your favourite perfume at the moment?