Sometimes words can't express such a feeling. If the memory is necessarily inexpressible, then it would be called ineffable or incapable of being depicted or described in terms; inexpressible. It was the winter of 1985, and I will never forget it. I was 21yo, in my sophomore year of college, and I was still exploring my sexual tastes. Both sexes attracted me; today, they would classify me as pansexual or fluid. One night I was having dinner at a classmate's house, and my ways impressed his elder sister. She brazenly asked me out, and we started a brief relationship that lasted all winter. I still did not have a license to drive. So it was always she who came to pick me up with her Renault 4 car to go downtown in old Milan. Frequently, to one of those romantic places where you could listen to a singer performing live country music like Simon & Garfunkel, for example, warm up with an Irish Coffee. Winter nights were icy and foggy in those years.
At the carnival party, I remember we danced a slow "Say you, say me" by Lionel Richie, and the scent of her was all around me. My mind has that memory still imprinted; after over thirty years, I still smell that opulent perfume that impregnated the car, her coat, her hair, and stayed on my clothes for several days. It was the impeccable go-to fragrance for the colder night months. How can I forget that oriental masterpiece that had such a provocative name? Opium. It was unmistakable, and it was recognizable on any woman who wore it. No dupes or clones were present at that time.
Opium was born in 1977 and got its name because its scent is narcotic and addictive, just like the deep reddish-brown colored drug whose scent is addictive, and not because it contains notes of opiates. And today, in 2021, it has remained practically the same, maybe tamed down for the modern generation, but at least the vibe is still present, despite a slight reformulation. Opium is Opium, deep, sensual, and emotional, and from today it is also my Opium.
We now come to the olfactory notes. If you are familiar with historical scents like Shalimar and Youth Dew, Opium is in some ways the perfect blend, likewise layering the two, but it is more than just a blend. 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 smelling the vintage Opium, so I forgot some things about it, but I have some of the latest one sprayed on my wrist right now, so I can review it properly! A journey into the world of dreams that awaits us accompanied by an abundant and inimitable trail. An ethereal, idyllic and elegant perfume that conveys calm and serenity. I define Opium as a spicy oriental, so the spicy component is very profound and present from start to finish. The keynote is natural cinnamon, which becomes one of the most sensual scents in existence in high doses. In the beginning, I feel a mix of citrus fruits with hesperidic notes of bergamot and mandarin. It contrasts this tart aspect with a more floral one, and there is a very perceptible note of the lily-of-the-valley. There is a morsel of aldehydic notes, which create a fresh and powdery accord.
The heart comes denser and oily, with the dark and spicy notes of carnation that stress the spiciness, the brighter ones of jasmine, softened by the softer and warmer notes of resinous myrrh. Although the recent version does not feature the iris, I still perceive a strong dusty and powdery accord.
The more it approaches the dry down, the more it turns mellifluous and balsamic, overflowing with greedy vanilla balanced by dirtier patchouli. It added to this combination the shades of amber mixed with aromatic, smokey, powdery, and resinous opoponax. If you have a trained nose, you will catch the smokiness of the olibanum, which permeates and refreshes every part of this perfume. When I smell this scent, I think about church service on holidays because it has that spicy incense aroma. It is because of the presence of myrrh, amber, and opoponax, which to me are very overbearing.
A perfume that you can smell, and that does not go unnoticed, to be avoided when you are in a small and closed environment, or you have to spend many hours in contact with other people, not suitable for a day in the office. I consider it a winter scent for social evenings and captivating nights. From a longevity point of view, this perfume is damn great because it lasted so many hours! It stays on the clothes, and when I smelled my wrist at the end of the day, it still felt great! I think it's so gorgeous and perfect that I want to go on smelling it all day! Probably most of you know Opium, but for younger readers, if you've never tried it, I think you should! It's just an admirable classic perfume that doesn't have the same sweet, gourmand feeling as modern creations.