6 Popular Black Opium Perfumes from YSL


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With several enticing iterations in the collection, the best Black Opium perfumes bring their own unique take on the mysteriously sultry coffee/vanilla/floral DNA of the original Black Opium scent.

Unveiled in 2014 as the spiritual successor to Opium (the iconic 1977 YSL fragrance), Black Opium has emerged as a ‘rock couture’ scent for women who crave an alluringly rich and dark feminine scent.

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Best Black Opium Perfumes from YSL

Dark, seductive and confident, the best Black Opium perfumes blend rich coffee with vanilla, flowers and wood. Here are 6 popular Black Opium scents to discover.

1. Black Opium Eau de Parfum

Black Opium Eau de Parfum
Credit: Yves Saint Laurent

Review

Black Opium Eau de Parfum was the first release in the Black Opium and was launched in 2014. This rich, dark, and utterly decadent scent is deliciously feminine.

A fruity opening of juicy pear and mandarin bleed into a dazzling heart of semi-sweet vanilla, delicate orange blossom, and pretty white flowers.

Black coffee in the base cranks up the intensity, supported by cedarwood, white musk and patchouli, delivering maturity and depth.

Settles to a dark yet creamy coffee and vanilla blend topped with juicy fruits and subtle hints of white floral notes. Also, consider Zara Gardenia Eau de Parfum.

Top Notes:

Pear, Mandarin

Mid Notes:

Vanilla, Orange Blossom, White Flowers

Base Notes:

Black Coffee, Cedar Wood, White Musk, Patchouli

Seasons & Longevity

Black Opium is ideal for autumn/winter and absolutely incredible in the evening when its warming nature is most effective. Choose it for dressy cocktail parties, evening gatherings or clubbing nights out.

Thanks to its rich, musky composition, Black Opium delivers excellent performance, with strong sillage and longevity of over 7 hours.

Seasons: Autums, Winter
Longevity 7+ hours

Benefits & Drawbacks

ProsHead-turning feminine coffee/vanilla scent
ConsNot as complex as others in the collection

2. Black Opium Eau de Parfum Extreme

Black Opium Eau de Parfum Extreme
Credit: Yves Saint Laurent

Review

Black Opium Eau de Parfum Extreme, released in 2021, is a more robust and deeper version of the original scent. Thanks to its deeper blend of coffee and cacao, this is a sexy, seductive fragrance.

The open is similar to the original, captivating with a slightly tangy edge of dark cherry, topped with mandarin and juicy pear. The vanilla note appears early in this composition and is joined by delicate white florals.

The base of black coffee, bourbon vanilla, patchouli, and tonka bean create the most gorgeous gourmet scent. It settles down to delightful vanilla and chocolaty coffee fragrance topped with patchouli muskiness.

Top Notes:

Pear, Mandarin, Cherry

Mid Notes:

Orange Blossom, Jasmine

Base Notes:

Black Coffee, Vanilla, Patchouli, Tonka Bean

Seasons & Longevity

Due to its strong persona, the Black Opium Extreme is best worn in colder seasons. Although it is primarily an evening fragrance, I feel it is a good day to night scent when applied sparingly. 

Lasting a good 7 hours, this seductively delicious perfume evolves beautifully over time, taking this gourmet scent to another level. Wear it to more dressy evening, daytime events.

Seasons: Autums, Winter
Longevity 7+ hours

Benefits & Drawbacks

ProsDeeper than the original and very sexy
ConsWish it has a bit more patchouli

3. Black Opium Eau de Parfum Intense

Black Opium Eau de Parfum Intense
Credit: Yves Saint Laurent

Review

Launched in 2019, Black Opium Intense Eau de Parfum is undoubtedly a very different scent, distinguished from its flankers by a strikingly aromatic herbal twist.

The perfume begins with the minty and slightly medicinal twang absinthe mixed with fruity boysenberry. Jasmine and orange blossom in the heart are topped with the anise sweetness of liquorice.

Black coffee, sweet vanilla, and sandalwood in the base give this sophisticated fragrance a dark and seductive undercurrent which I really love. Reminds of Kilian Intoxicated Eau de Parfum.

Settles to a smooth, rich aroma with a herbally edge, softened by floral and woody notes, making this a very unique feminine scent.

Top Notes:

Absinthe, Boysenberry

Mid Notes:

Liquorice, Orange Blossom, Jasmine Sambac

Base Notes:

Black Coffee, Vanilla Absolute, Sandalwood

Seasons & Longevity

This versatile scent is great for autumn and winter days or evenings. It will make a perfect companion for first dates, fancy dinners, and evenings out.

Slightly less potent than the other flankers, Black Opium Intense features moderate sillage and longevity, giving a good 4+ hour wear. 

Seasons: Autums, Winter
Longevity 4+ hours

Benefits & Drawbacks

ProsWonderfully unique coffee/vanilla scent boosted with absinthe
ConsPossibly too unusual for some noses

4. Black Opium Eau de Parfum Neon

Black Opium Eau de Parfum Neon
Credit: Yves Saint Laurent

Review

A vibrant vanilla floral scent, Black Opium Eau de Parfum Neon, was first introduced in 2019. More delicate and sweeter than the original Black Opium, this fragrance is confident and modern.

Creamy/sweet dragon fruit, zesty mandarin, and sharp citron bring an opening wave of fresh, dazzling fruitiness. A heart of orange blossom, jasmine, and hibiscus add striking florals.

Chased by the coffee, vanilla, and cedar in the base notes, the perfume dries down to a delightful creamy ‘latte’ coffee scent with a tinge of fruits and plenty of flowers.

This light floral gourmet scent is not an incredible performer. It will provide moderate sillage/projection and a longevity of 4+ hours. 

Top Notes:

Dragon Fruit, Mandarin, Citron

Mid Notes:

Orange Blossom, Jasmine Sambac, Hibiscus Flower

Base Notes:

Black Coffee, Vanilla, White Musk, Cedarwood

Seasons & Longevity

Although it is suggested that this perfume is best for autumn and winter, I personally feel it can be worn any time of year.

Youthful and easygoing, Black Opium Eau de Parfum Neon is suitable for any occasion, be it work, lunches in the town or drinks out.

Any Season
Longevity 4+ hours

Benefits & Drawbacks

ProsEasygoing creamy ‘latte’ coffee scent
ConsNot a brilliant performer

5. Black Opium Floral Shock Eau de Parfum

Black Opium Floral Shock Eau de Parfum
Credit: Yves Saint Laurent

Review

Black Opium Floral Shock Eau de Parfum is the complete opposite to more oriental-gourmet perfumes within the range, which is more fruity and floral. 

Vibrant and effervescent, Black Opium Floral Shock opens with an explosion of juicy fruits and freesia flowers. This bright opening is soon surrounded by the heart notes of white florals, injecting the bouquet with a green freshness.

The base delivers an intriguing composition of iced coffee and vanilla mixed with amberwood and white musk. 

Settles to an easygoing pear and white floral scent that should not be part of the Black Opium range. Sadly the iced vanilla coffee notes lack punch, in my opinion.

Top Notes:

Lemon, Bergamot, Pear, Freesia

Mid Notes:

Gardenia, Orange Blossom, White Flowers

Base Notes:

White Musk, Vanilla, Iced Coffee, Amberwood

Seasons & Longevity

Black Opium Floral Shock Eau de Parfum has longevity of 5+ hours with reasonable sillage and projection. 

Perfect for autumn and winter, the fragrance also performs well in spring, when the floral notes match the fresh, new season without facing the wilting heat of summer.  

Black Opium Floral Shock is my least favourite of the range as it has lost all of the Black Opium dark edginess. You can wear this perfume to casual or formal events, shopping trips or dinners with friends.

Seasons: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Longevity 6+ hours

Benefits & Drawbacks

ProsPretty pear and white floral scent
ConsLoses the coffee/vanilla DNA of the Black Opium range

6. Black Opium Illicit Green Eau de Parfum

Black Opium Illicit Green Eau de Parfum
Credit: Yves Saint Laurent

Review

Launched in 2022, Black Opium Illicit Green Eau de Parfum brings fresh green notes into the Black Opium collection, along with moreish coffee and vanilla.

Green mandarin delivers a sharp opening, soothed by sweet pear and fig leaf. In the heart, juicy fruity fig provides delicious sweetness, supported by orange blossom and jasmine white florals.

The coffee and vanilla base injects the Black Opium DNA, nicely spices by musky patchouli and hints of cedar. Settles to a feminine vanilla/coffee combo with fruity fig and fresh green notes.

Top Notes:

Pear Accord, Green mandarin, Fig Leaf Accord​

Mid Notes:

Orange Blossom Absolute, Jasmine Grandiflorum, Fig​

Base Notes:

Coffee Accord, Vanilla Bourbon, Patchouli Essence, Cedar Essence

Seasons & Longevity

I tried this fragrance in-store and found it lasted 4+ hours with good sillage and projection for 2 hours of that. Not super performing but not terrible either.

Perfect for autumn, winter, spring, when the vanilla/coffee is at its best and the green notes and fig. I would wear this as more of a casual out-and-about fragrance and is even office safe.

Seasons: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Longevity 4+ hours

Benefits & Drawbacks

ProsThe mix of fig leaf and fruit works beautifully with the vanilla/coffee base
ConsNot super long-lasting
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Ingrid’s Top Pick

best Black Opium perfumes

Black Opium Eau de Parfum Intense

My top pick is Black Opium Eau de Parfum Intense. I love the quirky addition of absinthe and feel it works so well with the coffee and vanilla.

Conclusion

When launched back in 2014, Black Opium was the first ‘big girl’ perfume for many young women. The scent acted as a gateway into the intoxicating world of dark and sultry, almost niche-like fragrance.

The best Black Opium perfumes have a moreish and addictive quality which helps distinguish them from the original and other YSL fragrances.

I feel that YSL has done an excellent job with the Black Opium collection. Rather than releasing another crowd-pleasing vanilla-bomb line, they have dared to be different. Bravo YSL.

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