Thursday, July 13, 2006

Today's Sample: Opium Fleur de Shanghai

A couple of weeks ago I was perusing the usual blog suspects when I came across Cait's review of Yves St. Laurent's Opium Fleur de Shanghai on Legerdenez. Her review pointed me to another review of this scent on Ayala's Smelly Blog. YSL created this fragrance as a limited edition for the summer of 2005, and the first thing I need to do here is ask, why? WHY? Why limited edition?! What sort of sadistic game are the perfumers at YSL playing with perfume fans?

The notes in Fleur de Shanghai are mandarin orange, chinese magnolia, star jasmine, and vanilla. Notes be damned, from start to finish, this fragrance is stunning. I admit, I'm a longtime fan of Opium, The Original (or The Elder, as it were). For fun (and for comparison's sake), the notes in Opium are tangerine, plum, cloves, coriander, carnation, lily of the valley, rose, myrrh, opoponax, castoreum, cedarwood, and sandalwood.

For many years, Opium was the only fragrance I wore in the winter. It has a spicy warmth that's both sexy and cozy. What I find so remarkable about Fleur de Shanghai is that, although the notes are completely different, this is still very clearly Opium, only softer, slightly more floral, and tempered with vanilla. The spirit of the original remains, yet it's been rendered wearble in warm weather. It's exotic and lush rather than cozy (I think it's the absence of woods that lightens it so), but it's still a very sexy fragrance. (Well, unless you hate floral orientals and don't find them sexy...smell this and I bet you will change your mind!) I'm at work, but I feel like I should be walking around barefoot with a giant orchid tucked behind my ear. Maybe I should just stay in my cubicle today, lest I get any crazy ideas.

But Fleur de Shanghai is a LIMITED EDITION. Which means pretty soon, you won't be able to find it anymore. I found mine at, 100 ml for $62. The bottle is quite large, and for something so beautiful, this is a bargain. I may even order a second bottle.

*photo from