Chances are that if you’re reading this blog, you’re not familiar with YSL’s Opium. It was launched in 1978, well before my time as well, and caused a bit of a stir at that time. The hoopla was caused by the shock of a perfume being named after a drug (imagine a new scent released now being called “Meth” or “Coke”). Further sensation was caused by the juice itself which was spicy and heady (and it still is), the YSL couture collection was created to back up the scent (this is the norm now, especially for Chanel who has even in all subtlety featured a large perfume bottle in the center of a runway), and there was of course, a ton of marketing to back up the perfume including a disco party.
Belle d’Opium tries to recreate the hoopla, with almost no success. It’s not YSL’s fault. It’s just that with the crazy amount of perfumes being released these days, and the overwhelming obsession with niche fragrances, it’s difficult to really make waves with a scent, and what some are calling a flanker at that.
Belle d’Opium is to be an update of the original. Something that younger audiences can relate to. If you weren’t alive when the original Opium came out, perhaps you’ll take notice of Belle d’Opium. YSL says that this isn’t a flanker, but after smelling it, I have to say that it is. It keeps the same feel of the original Opium but updates it with a few different notes, and that’s what a flanker is.
Having worn Opium for some time which I was younger, I have to say that I do like this new version better. I’m sure that it’s partly because I am the intended audience for it. The only reason that I stopped wearing Opium was because it did start to feel a little too much for me, and I thought that it was a little too mature. I felt like a poser in it. Like a 20 year old wearing a tweed Chanel suit. What’s the point in trying to look older than you are and failing miserably at it?
But the Belle d’Opium feels like me. It fits me like a glove and I can wear it like my favourite BCBG dress or stacked platform pumps. I think it’s because it combines 2 of my favourite kinds of notes: big white florals and incense. The drydown is quite spicy and peppery and has notes of patchouli, amber, and sandalwood. Thus, it is a long-lasting scent, and for me the top and middles notes barely lasted, and I was left with mostly patchouli and amber which is just fine with me.
Check out the Belle d’Opium commercial which kind of hints at its more “ethnic” roots.