Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Opium by Yves Saint Laurent

Total Reviews: 132
Charged with starting the
Opioid epidemic,
She proudly confessed.
06th December, 2017
A very "white" fragrance. When I think of "Opium" I think of dark drug dens in old England, full of smoke. This is the opposite. White flowers amber and myrrh. A bit of a anticlimax after all of the hype over the years.
26th July, 2017
Even if it doesn't rock your world straight off - that first spray is heavy and unusual - don't give up.

It mellows significantly, while maintaining depth and interest. It becomes vanilla and wood and gentle spice, but with a twist utterly unique to Opium.

You can use this very sparingly; just a dab beneath the hair will do. OR, you can spray more liberally and command a room with it.

I could wear this to an opera, or to a heavy metal festival. It's classy and complex, not in any way girly. It's also brave, and would do well rubbed off on a black leather jacket - a man's or a woman's.

09th June, 2017
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Oh wow!

This is the very first time I have smelled this cult fragrance and it is in its true vintage form - WOW! I can definitely see why so many seek it out - but I cannot pull it off. I know this was/is marketed to women, but there is NO REASON why a man should not own as EASILY wear this scent today!

I think this needs to be worn with Christian Louboutin heels, at least 3" high if you are a woman, which is why I cannot pull this off. Having screwed up my back, knees, and having broken a toe during multiple sporting pursuits as well as psychiatric holds, I am simply unable to rise above 1" heals - and that will not do for vintage Opium. Not at all.

Or I'd need a sex-change, and heels or not, I am ALL woman. No changes necessary or desired.

I still give it a positive review as it is everything it claims to be - it is me that cannot be WITH it.
06th May, 2017
I've got a sample of "Opium Secret de Parfum". I guess it's the same as the EDP, as the notes and descriptions fit. The opening is very aggressive, itchy, acid, almost vinegar-ish. Then it settles in a beautiful mix of florals (jasmine) and myrrhe which gives it a masculine side. Beautifully vintage and sexily feminine though. Sillage and longevity are huge!

I like the EDT even better, as it is softer and spicier, but with as much sillage.
02nd May, 2017
kjp Show all reviews
United States
perfection in its original form.classic.i always have a bottle in case of emergency
24th July, 2016
Musk and flowers and a little powder. So much more depth than some of the lighter, fruitier fragrances I tested at the counter. I was warned this had a lot of musk, and was happy to find out it was true. It has a few oils in it, so they tell me, and it does wear closer to the body.

I enjoyed it
19th July, 2016
Oh,to me the Original spicy oriental that as a young child I loved. I have seen so many different ingrediant lists. It just pulls me to find out what i found so irresistable.

I found what is my thing spicy orientals. Several natural perfumeries have similarly wonderous mixes. Wish I could remember their names. Anyas Garden, Ayala something, oh so many I need to name.
16th June, 2016
One of the few balsamic spicy scents I really like. The silliage and the opening notes may be a bit overwhelming, but the base notes are as smokey and addictive as they should be.
23rd March, 2016
As a man, I happily wear the vintage EDT. In fact, I'm having something of a love affair with it. Go easy on the trigger, and forget the current formulations, and for god's sake pass on the "Pour Homme" version-dreadful.
Disregard the marketing. This is fully unisex. The vintage is warm, sensuous and wears like your favorite scotch.
10th February, 2016
When I was in my 20's a friend received a fantastic bottle of parfum she did not like, she gave it to me and I adored.

Last year I decided to try it again in a perfumery shop, I appreciated it and the friend with me bought it for me!

It is an opulent fragrance that I use sometimes when it is really cold, it is spicy and unique and in my opinion may be used by man avoiding over spray.
29th December, 2015
I no longer have the 1980s Opium of my youth, but I have the Classic EDT from 2008, a 2015 EDT, and a 2015 EDP. Of those three, the 2008 EDT comes closest to my memory of the original fragrance - spicy, layered, sharp, complex, lingering. The 2015 EDT is bland by comparison, a pleasant but nondescript semi-oriental, with poor longevity (about 3 hours on my skin). The 2015 EDP is much superior to the 2015 EDT, coming very close to the 2008 Classic EDT - richer, deeper, and more nuanced than the current EDT, with twice the longevity.

Opium has suffered through reformulation, and its dangerous edge has been dulled as a result, but the 2015 EDP is still beautiful and harks back to its origins more faithfully than the current EDT. If you can find a 2008 Classic EDT, snap it up.
13th December, 2015 (last edited: 10th September, 2016)
Honestly, I have to say that I don't understand how anyone can't like this perfume! It's been a while since I tried wearing "Opium" (the original) so I forgot some things about it, but I have some of it sprayed on my wrist right now so I can actually review it properly!
First of all, on me, and to my nose, it's actually quite subtle! I didn't spray on a lot but I can still tell that on myself "Opium" doesn't have really huge sillage and projection. It's actually quite soft and powdery sweet, and once it dries down to the actual heart of the fragrance, even the spices aren't really that heavy or strong. It's just a really beautiful smelling perfume, and again, I noticed that I receive compliments when I wear this one! So my point is, I don't understand how anyone can actually be really bothered by this scent or not want to sit next to someone wearing it! I think it's so gorgeous and perfect that I just want to go on smelling it all day! (Luckily, the longevity of "Opium" is really good!) I also want to add, without any exaggeration whatsoever, that "Opium" is simply just sex in a bottle to me! It is, hands down, one of the sexiest perfumes that exists, and again, if I made a list of top ten best perfumes ever made, "Opium" might be on that list! Or, at least, it's definitely one the ten best orientals ever made! I also want to add that I greatly prefer "Opium" to "Shalimar.". On me, "Shalimar" is far too overwhelmingly strong and just never seems right for everyday wear. I also just think that "Opium" smells better. Plus, I never received the same compliments when I tried "Shalimar." So, to me, this one is the clear winner! Probably most of you know "Opium", but for younger readers, if you've never tried it I definitely think you should! It's just a really great classic perfume! :)
13th December, 2015
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Grown up and in control...

Few designer perfumes today still have the power to give such an aura of "in control" than <i>Opium</i> by <i>Yves Saint-Laurent</i>. I am comparing between the modern Eau de Parfum here and the vintage Eau de Toilette.

This was a ground-breaking fragrance for it's time. A heady mix of spices and resins which took no prisoners. A rich, decadent cocktail of myrrh, carnation, cloves, cinnamon, amber, vanilla, jasmine, sandalwood, oppoponax & tolu balsam... the list is endless it seems.

<i>Opium</i> is one hell of a fragrance. I guess by today's standards it would seem strange, as it doesn't fit in with the sweet, fruity trends we see marketed for young women out there. This was a fragrance that asserted it's presence. One which gave itself permission to be in control. To be in charge. If you want a statement fragrance, a real "diva" perfume, then look to <i>Opium</i> (vintage).

<i>Opium</i> is a very "grown up" fragrance to my nose, because it doesn't have the same sweet, innocent, sugary vibe of the modern female-marketed perfumes of today. It has a host of spices and resins. I get a lot of cloves and myrrh and oppoponax, with a juicy mandarin orange and soft lily-of-the-valley in the opening. I do detect carnation but more of the jasmine in the middle, with heavy, dominant amber in the base.

I would say the differences between this one and the vintage is that the vintage (to me) is the <b>intense</b> version, I would say. This is still a legend, but maybe tamed down for the modern generation. Absolutely wearable if you like dark, sensual, smoky, spicy fragrances. Not bad.
14th October, 2015
I can't say enough good things about post-2010 Opium. Yes, I went through bottles of the vintage, but the fact is this just smells wonderful on men and women, lasts forever, and retains the character of the original. When you smell it, there is no doubt it is Opium. If it were marketed under a different name it would be hailed as a glorious, baroque throwback oriental. You can achieve the effect of the original by just wearing more. My dirty laundry all smells of sandalwood incense weeks later. I get told I smell like leather and incense.The powder effect that got "old lady" comments is reduced and the myrrh and incense amped up. This is more wearable in 2015 but still strange enough that you will stand out from the aquatic and Iso E cedar crowd and people with dull minds and uninteresting taste will wish you wore something else. I actually admire YSL's honesty in changing the bottle, making it easier to discern between new and old. Treasure this while we have it.
02nd October, 2015
Review is for the pre L'Oreal version:

This is the one spicy oriental to seek out.

This one does not need any review.

Heady, far out, intoxicating.
21st June, 2015

Incredibly Seductive and Supremely Intoxicating.OPIUM is one of the best YSL fragrances fusion of Oriental ingredients combined with a Magnetic and Rich Spicy that makes Unforgettable moments for you and Feels Wonderful to everyone around you. Passionate, Hypnotic,Hot,Strong,Classic,Deep, Attractive,Complex,Luxurious and Mysterious.

So strong opening and a Beautiful heart notes but above all a Deep and Rich blend of Vanilla,Musk,Incense and Sandalwood in the base leaves a trail of Allure and Glamour for the Passionate Ladies as I adore the base notes.It draws attention and complements every time You wear the fragrance.

OPIUM is not for the faint of heart and in my opinion it makes you more of a Simple Lady as it reminds me a Femme Fatale with Alluring Eyes.I definitely suggest it to Ladies 30 and older.Surely for SPECIAL EVENINGS when you want to make a lasting impression meantime it is definitely for WINTER weather but Test it first before Buying.



09th June, 2015
Judging by the name and gorgeous bottle design, Opium is exactly what I expected it to be: Deep and smoky, ancient and exotic... It immediately evokes imagery of ancient Egypt, Myrrh and Frankincense. Even though I've only just tried Opium for the first time, it's extremely nostalgic for me. It smells exactly like 'Earth Lore' - The smoky, incense-laden shop I frequented as a curious teenager, which was stocked with small Egyptian & Buddhist trinkets, crystals, and books on witchcraft. Opium has the same mystical elements, and is an utterly phenomenal aromatic experience.
06th April, 2015
One of my go to fragrances for the colder months. Warm & comforting but sexy and spicy. My first try with an oriental perfume. Just beautiful. I don't find it overwhelming and wear it during the day also. it can be dressed up or down, the longevity is fantastic and I can still smell it off my scarves days later. I always get complements when I wear this.
21st March, 2015
Love it. The vintage, 1980s bottle of Opium EDT that I am lucky enough to own smells fabulous, and not at all as overwhelming as I thought it was going to be. Its scent actually reminds me a lot of the collected scents of the various houses and apartments where my stepmother has lived over the years. Her name is Snezana, which means Snow White (really) and she comes from Macedonia, in the former Yugoslavia, but went to live in Denmark with her family when she was a child. As an immigrant and a part-time gypsy therefore, she has a fierce magpie instinct, collecting objects and tchotchkes like amber beads, fat sachets of lavender from the Croatian islands, incense, sandalwood soap, bags of Orthodox frankincense, and wooden balls rubbed with essential oils. These objects give her comfort. Her skin and hair smell exotic too, the spicy food she eats and the herbal, folklore-type medicines she uses radiating from her pores.

Every house that Snezana has lived in has smelled of the mixture of these oils, spices, incense, dusty flower sachets, wood, and soap. It is a smell specific to her, and one that I recognized immediately when I smelled Opium. My bottle is a vintage EDT from the 1980s, so the top notes are a little ‘decayed’, but after those notes die down, I smell smoky, bitter myrrh, a clove-like carnation, and dusty, indolic florals. It dries down quickly to a soapy sandalwood and spiced amber base. Combined with a pleasant whiff of human sweat (some unlisted cumin perhaps?), Opium tends to merge with my skin so completely that, far from being the overwhelming oriental monster I’d expected, it smells instead like the best version of skin that my skin can be. Soapy, warm, balmy, and spicy.
19th February, 2015
Fascinating to find this change over time, so that each time I try it, it keeps getting better and better.

The initial attempt to test Opium (current formulation EDT) resulted in me reeling from a cacophony of loud notes, generic "department store" and little old lady aromas, and just a dash of lemon pledge.

After an hour on this first test, the shock of the jumbled notes wore off and a core of spice, hints of old lumber & warm opoponax made it's statement, but still fighting the the cloying chemical mess from the opening. It was also amazingly masculine to my nose, for such a legendary fragrance associated solely with sultry, sophisticated ladies.

A second test spritz, about one week later, left me at least considering it "interesting," certainly heavy and complex, but no winner as far as I could tell.

I wanted to like this - to love this, to get that half-closed-eyelid bliss that so many women get when speaking of the legendary Opium. In disappointment, I gave it a neutral review in here, and put it away in a drawer.

Today tho, a revelation, a stunning transformation. I tried my supply *one more time* before reluctantly putting it up on ebay, and it had become an entirely different juice.

The experience led with bright citrus/floral notes that popped and receded like quick fireworks. This revealed the core of spice and woods - as if a rare antique chest of treasures were pulled from a hidden shelf. I was enveloped in that mysterious, complex, spicy legend that everyone had raved about. Amazing.

*THIS* this was it - that magical dark myrrh-infused elixir that makes'em swoon. What had changed? The spray, sitting in my desk drawer for a couple of months? Was it my nose's progression from Spring to Summer? Was it the alignment of the stars?

No matter, this elegant, complex legend is staying with me, and my mantra of test, test, test, remains tested and true.
13th November, 2014 (last edited: 03rd August, 2015)
"Words could never be enough...”

For the first and last time, I'll let the words of others speak on my behalf...

-It is a scent of contradictions, like the ancient incense of vespers and the fleeting musk of an one night stand.

-In small doses, Opium is not incompatible with dining, clubbing or romance. Used excessively it will ward off flies, humans and evil spirits.

-A spectacular incense of monstrous proportions.

-The smell of Marco Polo's clothes as well as come back at Venice from his journey along the silk route.

-I particularly love to apply a single, small squirt before bed. The smell is just heavenly. And all night I dream of the hanging gardens of Babylon...

-I know why this perfume is called Opium. It is totally addictive...

-Good lord, this is chemical warfare of the highest concentration!

-God, Opium... what are you doing to me?

-Is it possible not to be consumed by its beauty?

-This is a sin. It must be.And the name, God that name! The whole thing is criminal.

-The Opium is the most glamorous and dangerous girl ever appeared from Paris, seducing one feeble admirer after the other as she moves along.

-Holy mother of god, this is amazing!!!It is just to die for...

-OPIUM feels more like an impressionist painting about life and love on the ancient Silk Road. Truly you can't appreciate what an oriental fragrance really is until you've smelled this masterpiece.

-Oh god, I literally felt like this perfume had a death grip on my throat.

-Even after 32 years on the market, this scent still screams "OBEY ME."

-I like it because it doesn't try to be likeable. It's just there.

-I do believe that this perfume wears you...

-While I do not wear it regularly, when I do, I intoxicate.Seduction in a bottle...

-This is what I imagine the spice from Dune smells like...

-It caused such a stirring in my loins that I'd track and hunt a woman wearing this down forever. BRILLIANT!

-Treat yourself to the parfum. There is nothing in the world like it.

-Opium is intoxicating and heady stuff. Something no wicked, decadent girl should be without.

-It is my default fragrance. The one I want to be remembered for. The one I want to be buried in.

-When it comes down to Opium, I'd have to say I'm a total sucker for it.

-Dear God!!!What on earth is this???How could you ever create such a temptation???

-Opium is timeless and magical, and it is still THE Oriental.

-Proof that there is a heaven.

-I admit it, I'm hooked. I always heard that opium was highly addictive...

-This stuff should be illegal...

-It doesn't offer any favors, you don't have to just like it, you have to love it and if it loves you back, it will be a best friend for ever ...

-It’s a bit of a creepy feeling, like meeting one of your old boyfriends, or someone’s walking over your grave...

-Opium is the most magnificent antidote to the waves of pubescent pop princess, foody/deodorant-style, mass-made scents that rule young fragrance buyers as the 20th century closed and the 21st century begins.

-I thought I bought a scent,I got Lilith in a bottle...

Do I need to say more?...
23rd October, 2014
Opium is definitely not for the faint at heart. It is by its own right a wonderful scent with powerful notes. Yet, my interpretation is that it is meant for a mature & older woman. Those who know me will agree that I am neither; especially the first quality. Therefore, I passed it over to my mother who loves it. At least that is what she says.

Oanh Schlesinger
20th October, 2014
After reading so many people referring to this fragrance as "unisex" and speaking of how well it wears on men, I have to respectfully disagree. The moment I sprayed this, the first thing I thought was "old lady perfume". I tried wearing it myself to see if maybe it wears differently on my skin. The smell is so recognizable and has been so over-worn for so long that I can't imagine why a man would wear it. Even if I had never come across a woman wearing this scent it's still distinctly feminine. It is very floral and spicy but in a distinctly feminine way. I have nothing at all against crossing gender boundaries and some of my favorite scents are the ones that blur the distinction but it's a bit foolish to do so with a perfume that's so well-known, memorable, and recognizable. If you've ever met a sweet mature woman, the kind who wears large round or oval earrings and with roughly half a dozen rings and bracelets on and with a face plastered with makeup (or at the very least wearing liberally-applied rouge), then you've smelled this perfume.

Anyway judging the smell on its own merits and without any of the vivid associations that come with it, it's nice but cloying to my nose, very sweetly floral and rather loud in my opinion.
24th August, 2014
Genre: Oriental

At once very good and very hard to wear these days, Opium poses a real conundrum. I can’t for a minute deny how good it smells, but that very smell is so intimately bound with the memories of gigantic shoulder pads, peplum bubble dresses, and 99 Luftballons that it’s near impossible to contemplate with objectivity. Evaluating Opium is even more difficult because it’s at once extremely loud and instantly recognizable. When I smell it in passing I don’t think “That’s a big spicy oriental,” I think “That’s Opium!”

For all that, it is a great scent, and an important landmark in perfume history, arguably having established both the outsized fragrance fashion of the 1980s and new standards for depth and scale within the oriental style. Without Opium, we might not have gotten Coco, Sublime, LouLou, Anné Pliska, or maybe even Ambre Sultan and Eau Lente. With its heavy resins, its cinnamon, nutmeg, and opoponax, it’s viscous, opaque olfactory texture, and its swooning, costume-drama exoticism, Opium is the archetype of the amber oriental perfume. Despite, (or perhaps because of,) it’s decadent 1980s party dress associations, I think Opium wears better now on men than on women. Applied with extreme caution, I could see it as a viable and economical masculine alternative to niche amber scents.
22nd June, 2014
Most people will recognize the scent of Opium. Although it opens with a hint of citrus, it's the soapy florals and spicy base notes that dominate. Sillage is very long-lasting - this is the kind of scent that knock one over in an elevator, so apply sparingly. A little goes a long way. It's a classic, but it's not one I'd use for every day wear - its vibe is a little too '70s. For a softer, gentler Opium-type fragrance, I prefer Coco.
24th February, 2014
I had a bottle in the 80's the perfume I remember then was warm and spicy a bit hippy
31st January, 2014
Opium by Yves Saint Laurent is not a sweet, rich contemporary oriental a la Serge Lutens. It opens with a heavy dose of aldehydes, sweet florals—ylang ylang and jasmine—and a touch of citrus. The sweet floral/aldehyde combination, also found in Chanel No. 5, is just enough to add a “perfume-y” touch. Next, myrrh, resins, and spices add warmth that balances the cold opening. I love how earthy patchouli is offset by soapy florals; Opium smells very “70s”, but I think that one or two sprays after a shower could produce an elegant and freshly scrubbed effect. Four or five sprays could be a little bingo hall. Also, men really need to try Opium.

4/5 Retro, unisex, perfume-y, elegant
31st December, 2013
Sensual, classic, atmospheric

I will never get tired of this perfume. Although I love Youth Dew more, this one is right up there next to it. It is a socially acceptable spicy Oriental, and those are rare. Since Orientals are my favorite, and Opium is so nice, of course I like it. There is also the nostalgia factor. I remember when women wore this everywhere, especially the relaxed Bohemian types, and the memories are good ones. I liked Opium even then, before I knew what it was called. This is one that everyone should try at least once. It also smells wonderful on men!

Pros: Wears well, smells wonderful
Cons: Very recognizable"

15th October, 2013
Leontion Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I own the current EdT and body lotion.

I am sure that I tested vintage opium back in the late '80s but cannot particularly recall what it was like. I have no doubt that the original was splendid stuff, but I very much enjoy the current EdT.

I get very dry spiced carnation and the scent of a very hot iron on damp cotton (I suspect aldehydes, although not listed in the official notes). I prefer the EdT to the EdP, in which the jasmine is more prominent. The orange note is more pronounced in the body lotion.

For some reason, I find that the EdT smells much better if applied with a more diffuse application, rather than in a concentrated puddle. Opium really blooms in hotter weather, applied with a light hand. I find the current EdT to be a very clean fragrance and unlike many orientals, enjoy wearing Opium all year round.

EDITED to add that my review is for the 2003 reformulation.
13th January, 2013 (last edited: 16th January, 2013)