Friday, August 12, 2011

In a nutshell: YSL's Opium pour Homme

Woody vanilla with hints of spice, talc, tobacco, cedar, and patchouli, wrapped in a tailored cashmere V-neck that still manages to breathe. Less baroque, boozy, and dramatic than the women's version, but with a similar fizzy cola veneer and autumnal hue. Opium pour Homme is masculine vanilla done right: soft, elegant, and sweetly sexy instead of obnoxiously gourmand (looking at you, A*Men) or viciously powdery and ironically femme (hi, Le Mâle and Joop!). Dries down to a warm, slightly leathery patchouli-cedar with a wisp of vanillic smoke curling throughout. The original Opium is a wonderful thing, a whirlwind of opulence coming at you from all angles - in Technicolor, with surround sound - but its elbow-jabbing sillage and brick-wall density make it something of a loose cannon, hard to tame and wear discreetly. Pour Homme is far more relaxed and user-friendly, yet doesn't descend into dullsville the way so many masculine sequels to feminine originals can (shout-out to my peeps Euphoria for Men and Dune pour Homme, among many others). Just like that tailored V-neck, Opium pour Homme works because it's built with care, demands nothing of its wearer, and needs no parade to prove its good taste. It's a winner, and easily wearable for women who want a smart, non-candied vanilla, or for whom the original Opium is just too much. Bonus: cheaper than dirt and about as easy to find (check online discounters, perfume shops, your local Wal-Mart, and hell, the gas station).