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“Opium perfume is a complete 3D experience, a symphony...”

Written on: 13/11/2009

Opium perfume is a complete 3D experience, a symphony for the nose and for the brain, and is well worth the price. Don't bother with the eau de cologne though which comparatively is merely pretty and shallowly reminiscent of the real deal.

I discovered Opium in October 1977 on the day I turned 13 when my grandmother who was more suited for being my Auntie Mame gave me a bottle of the perfume for my birthday. Yes, the perfume!- tassel and all.

Opium changed me, transformed my whole world, and the way I perceived it. In Opium I discovered the scents of the whole history of the world. It sparked my love for perfumes in general, and for the art of perfumery.

Back then I wore this scent and daydreamed about adulthood, freedom, art, all the places I'd see- Cairo, Bangkok, Tahiti, Madagascar (have only seen three of the four so far.) and of all the great things I'd do, many of which I'm still working toward to this day.

I realized I was a lesbian while wearing this scent. I wore this when I first kissed my first girlfriend. I wore this on the night when we made love for the very first time. She later left me for a rich boy with a Mercedes convertible. But it was the eighties, so who could blame her? Fortunately complete heartbreak did not overpower my intense love for this scent.

No one ever had to tell me to apply it sparingly. A tiny dab between my breasts would last an entire day and night- or possibly longer except that I shower at least once a day. Opium is a powerful and long lasting fragrance- not something to bath in and constantly reapply. too much is a very bad thing.

In those days, Opium spoke to me of sophistication, faraway climes, and limitless possibilities. Today it reminds me fondly of innocence and youthful wonderment. My inner child still lives there like a genie inside that tassled bottle. I can visit her anytime I want either in that first dried up bottle my grandmother gave me which I keep, or in the new one on my dresser.

Opium does tend to smell differently on people depending on body chemistry. It smells completely different on me than on my own sister, for example. On me, it starts with bright sunshiney orange and fresh carnation that becomes intoxicating jasmine. Out of that comes the hook that wraps around the brain for me- the black pepper. That pulls me forward into something mossy, resinous and ancient that I equate with the smell of old libraries and maps directing one to an Indian bazaar. There, incense reigns, the old and very good stuff the magi bore- with spices and oh endless patchouli.

As an adult, I tend to wear Opium at night and in the autumn and winter months. As a girl and young woman, it was the only perfume I wore.

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