YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette and Nuit Blanche editions
|l-r Eau de Parfum (black glitter), Eau de Toilette (copper glitter), Nuit Blanche (white glitter)|
Recovering from a disabled sense of smell, particularly a sense of smell that has been distorted, can be a tricky business. And, as a writer with a particular interest in fragrance, it makes life even more complicated, because sometimes I find I either can’t smell a particular ingredient in a fragrance at all, or another ingredient will set off a parosmic reaction, and then I can’t smell anything else in the fragrance whatsoever. So writing perfume reviews is trickier for me than it ever was these days, as I can’t always be sure that what I register as a smell is literally what I’m sniffing, or if it’s just something that my smell-damaged brain is registering as a smell, in order to fill in some scented gaps. Stay with me, it’ll make sense in a minute why I’m mentioning this in a minute, I promise.
YSL Black Opium in particular is tricky for me, because the central ingredient in the fragrance – of whatever edition – is coffee. And it just so happens that one of my most troublesome smells is coffee. Back in the heady days before dysosmia struck, I loved the smell of coffee (I could take or leave drinking it though), its rich darkness and instantly recognisable savour was a delight. During the worst of my parosmic days though, just the smell of someone putting a cup of coffee on their desk would cause me a whole world of distorted horror, and I’d occasionally have to excuse myself to go puke in the loos before I could continue working. My reactions to coffee smells these days are much less dramatic however, and I can actually drink the occasional cup of coffee now, but I’ve discovered that I no longer register the smell of it.
All of which is a very long way of explaining that I can’t smell the YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum edition at all. On paper, the fragrance might as well not exist, and on skin I just get a faint hit of celery, so if you want a “proper” review of the Eau de Parfum edition, this probably isn’t the blog post for you. Sorry. However, I can smell the freshness inherent in the Eau de Toilette edition of Black Opium quite well, and it’s rather lovely, but I lack the ability to smell the whole thing with the coffeeness added in. There’s a fair bit of citrus up top, with some jasmine and musks and just a hint of orange blossom, which makes this a very easy wear, if not the most complicated fragrance you’ve ever tried.
Black Opium Nuit Blanche, however, I find the most interesting of the three, opening as it does with creamy almond, almost marzipan-like top notes, making this more of a frothy cappuccino than the “espresso” of the original. There’s some orange blossom there too, lending a silky greeness to the crreamy nuts, and there’s a milky-caramel accord too. Altogether, this is far more gourmand than the other two, and it’s probably the only one of the range that I’d consider wearing on a regular basis. Despite the lack of coffee, I like it, and I LOVE the bottles of the whole range.
I do just wonder what they smell like to other people? It’s a lonely life having a nose with brain-damage, you know.
The Fine Print: PR samples
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