Friday, April 20, 2007

Opium - An Overdosed Essence

Launched in the late 70's, Yves St. Laurent's Opium was controversial not just because of its provocative name, but also of its overwhelming amount of absolute essence. In perfumery, essence is the purest and most distilled concentrate - similar to alcohol in liquors. As I mentioned in previous post, most perfumes contain about 18 to 20 percent concentration level. But with 30% of absolute essence, using Opium was, well overdosing the essence.

The scent has top notes of orange, coriander, pepper and lemon. Heart notes are jasmine, carnation, cinnamon, rose. The base notes of vanilla, sandalwood, benzoin and musk gave it the Oriental allusion that St. Laurent was looking for. It was also the real reason for the perfume's name (opium has origins in China).

It would seem that controversy had always been with this fragrance. The original advertisement that featured Jerry Hall was frowned upon by many as it was suggestive of drug-abuse. It epitomizes the Studio 54 lifestyle, of drug experimentation and casual sex, and was even called "liquid sex" by many. In 2003, the ad below featuring Sophie Dahl was deemed indecent and was banned in many countries including UK.

Opium commercial directed by David Lynch:

1 comment:

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