The power of Black Opium cannot be denied. Being the progeny of YSL’s iconic Opium, the huge and daring spicy oriental that took the latter part of the 1970s and much of the 1980s by storm, it is no surprise that this electrified gourmand feels like an icon for the modern generation. Black Opium is a fragrance about excess – it’s an indulgent perfume that says it’s OK to give in to one’s desires regardless of the consequences, which in the case of this electric gourmand, are mostly calorie-based…
Not content with just Black Opium, YSL has launched Black Opium Intense – a fragrance inspired by the energy of the night. More than just a richer version of Black Opium, Intense puts new emphasis on luminous fruity and floral notes, adding a neon-like radiance to the popular gourmand signature of Black Opium. If you’re a fan of the original or you just like your fragrances heady and delicious, you’re going to want to read on, trust me.
Top: Blue Absinthe and Boysenberry
Heart: Jasmine Sambac Absolute and Orange Blossom Absolute
Base: Black Coffee, Liquorice, Sandalwood and Vanilla
How Does it Smell?
Black Opium Intense opens with a lightning flash of tension where the bitter, liquorice tones of absinthe (a note of danger and delirium) are pulled towards the polar opposite nuances of boysenberry. The effect this causes is a vibrant and effervescent contrast of synthetic and natural, where the dewy juiciness of blueberries merges seamlessly with the sharp vinyl-feel of hot plastic: contradictions, contrasts, and colours in abundance.
At the heart of Black Opium lay a rich bouquet of flowers. Jasmine, with its sweet, tropical plumage gets a fresh, honeyed twist thanks to a generous dose of orange blossom. But this is a gourmand remember, so these beautiful blooms aren’t presented freshly-picked from the garden, no, they are dipped under a fountain of chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. Delicious.
The signature gourmand base of Black Opium is stronger in the Intense interpretation, and it feels sweeter too. Creamy, warm and nutty sandalwood blends with the bitter roasted quality of black coffee beans to create a dark and dreamy contrast to the fresh vibrancy of the top and heart notes. Vanilla is woven into the very far base linking the heady intensity of the jasmine to the plush comfort of the base. What starts as a magnetic blast of energy played at 180 bpm ends as a smooth and sultry blend that feels like a delicious second skin.
Now I will come out and say that I am not a big fan of Black Opium, I’m an Opium purest after all (different strokes for different folks, and all that) but I do like this Intense version, and it is easily the best of the noir-tinged Opiums to date. There’s something fun – something electric about Black Opium Intense that makes it so addictive to wear. It pulsates with a luminous gourmand energy and is awash with contrasts, textures, and intrigue, making for an attention-grabbing modern scent that is perfect for a night out on the town.