a journey of the senses by FLACONNEUR
OPIUM – 1977 – ♀
Top Notes: Bergamot, Clove, Jasmine, Coriander, Laurel, Mandarin, Pepper, Plum, Citruses
Heart Notes: Orris root, Lily-of-the-valley, Carnation, Patchouli, Peach, Rose, Sandalwood, Cinnamon
Base Notes: Amber, Benzoin, Coconut, Musk, Myrrh, Opoponax, Sandalwood, Tolu balsam, Vanilla, Vetiver, Frankincense, Cedar, Cistus
Opium was originally introduced in 1977 for women by Yves Saint Laurent. The men’s version followed 18 years later in 1995. This very popular spice-driven oriental fragrance was the creation of perfumers Jean Amic and Jean-Louis Sieuzac. The recipe was simpl but effective, containing a fruity, spicy opening, followed by a floral heart and a base of sweet woods. As you can imagine, the perfume’s name itself brought accusations against the brand stating that Yves Saint Laurent was condoning drug use. All of the media hype had a positive effect and gave Opium more worldwide recognition instead.
Yves Saint Laurent went all out for the launch party for the premier of Opium. The ship Peking was rented from the South Street Seaport Museum in New York’s East Harbor, and writer Truman Capote was the ship’s captain. The ship was decorated in a similar Oriental theme as the perfume’s packaging design, with banners of gold, red and purple. The centerpiece of the decorations was a thousand-pound bronze statue of the Buddha, encrusted with white cattleya orchids.
The men’s version of Opium was released in 1995 and created by perfumer Jacques Cavallier of Firmenich. It, too, is an interesting twist on an oriental construction of vanilla, black currant, galangal, star anise, ginger and pepper with a base of cedar and Tolu balsam.
This Fragrance Flashback featured video was created by the American film director, television director, visual artist, musician, actor, and author David Lynch, who produced a commercial for Opium in 1992. This very short film was done in Lynch’s classic surreal film style, making it unique and memorable.