My Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Review: The Most Nostalgic Perfume I’ll Ever Own

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Review 4


I would like to tell you a story, if I may?

I’ll set the scene. I’m very young, only a few years old, and my parents have strapped me into a car seat, in the back of the car. My dad was about to drive us all the way down to the Lake District for a holiday. It was a long journey (Kent to Lake Windermere), about 6 or 8 hours depending on how my dad felt. It would also very much depend on how many times I would cry out, “I need to go to the bathroom!

Amusing myself in that way that kids do, I grabbed the closest thing to hand to play with. It just so happened to be a bottle of Opium by Yves Saint Laurent. The little glass window in the centre of the bottle fascinated me, and I watched the bubbles go from one side to the other, over and over again. Until I got bored of that, of course, and then I decided to open the bottle. Twenty minutes later, when the entire car smelled like the perfume department of John Lewis, my mum made my dad pull over and discovered the source.




I’d opened the bottle and poured the entire thing all over myself and the car seat. Because, why not?

I guess Opium was quite an expensive perfume back then (the late eighties/early nineties) because I remember my mum being ever so mad. She’s never let me forget what I did.

Fast forward over twenty years, and I found myself flicking through the many Sky TV channels. You know, because there’s never anything good to watch. Something caught my eye and my ears. It was a new advert with catchy music, promoting a bottle of perfume that seemed really familiar to me.


Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent.


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Exactly the same bottle as my poor mum’s bottle, but black and glittery this time, instead of that dark, glossy-brown finish. I didn’t even know what it would smell like, but I knew I had to have it. Right then and there. I wanted it! I instantly remembered all those Christmases that had gone by, where I was made to feel guilty for my five-year-old self emptying an entire bottle of expensive perfume all over the back of my dad’s car, EVERY time my mum opened another perfume gift. I’m pretty sure the car was a Ford Granada. I could be wrong. It was a LONG time ago.


I was lucky enough to have received Black Opium as a Christmas gift from a good friend, and I most definitely wasn’t disappointed. It’s taken me under a year to make my way through almost the entire 100 ml bottle. It’s a delightfully delicious fragrance, and one that I WILL be replacing *before* this one runs out.

There’s nothing worse than reaching for your favourite perfume, only to find that the damn thing has run out. That scenario makes me pull the saddest of faces.


Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Review


I can’t get enough of this beautiful scent, described as a “feminine, glam-rock fragrance full of mystery and energy”. I agree with the description wholeheartedly. It’s definitely got some edge to it, and it’s not the kind of perfume I would recommend if you like yours soft n’ subtle.


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It’s strong, definitely strong, but I like my fragrances that way. I’m not the biggest fan of barely-there fragrances that disappear after ten minutes. This one is sweet too, but in a heavy, vanilla-coffee kinda way, not a light and floral way. There is a touch of floral in there — a white floral element — but there’s also a touch of spiciness along with it. It’s still very feminine. Strong and feminine.


How Long Does It Last?


When you first put the fragrance on, it can be a little overpowering if you go crazy (which I do), but it tones down after a few minutes. I did read somewhere that it contains essences of orange blossom, but I’m not so sure that I can smell orange. Maybe everything just blends together so well that I can’t make it out? It does leave a really lovely floral-vanilla scent behind when I wear it.  I always receive the most wonderful compliments when I wear it too. I’ll be honest, that’s one of the biggest reasons I wear it. Who doesn’t appreciate being told that they smell lovely?


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I think Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent has some impressive staying power. It’s the kind of perfume that you would still be able to smell in your hair, the morning after a hectic day/busy night. (The classic female Jean Paul Gaultier fragrance is the same.) That initial burst of fragrance takes just five minutes to tone down into what you’ll be wearing for the rest of the day, and I’ve never found myself needing to reapply it throughout the day. It’s quite a large bottle. It doesn’t exactly fit in most of my handbags, y’know.

Launched in September 2014, it took me a while to jump on the Black Opium bandwagon, but I’m so glad I did. It’s definitely not the same fragrance as the older Yves Saint Laurent bottle of my mum’s that I emptied in the back of the car. I do think that there are hints of it in there, however. It makes me feel nostalgic in almost all of the same ways. I think of it as today’s version of that classic fragrance. Modern, edgy, beautifully feminine, and a fragrance I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of wearing.

(Oh, and my mum loves it too!)



Where did I get it? This was given to me as a gift, Christmas 2016.

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