Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Opus 1870 by Penhaligon's

Total Reviews: 57
This is really not nice. Citrus opening, maybe there IS some Bergamotte, but the rest seems to be pure synthetic spicy dry sandalwood/oud derivative with musk and too much cheap soap plus a hint of plastic bag.
11th December, 2017
A definite thumbs down.
A fellow basenoter commented on the Heeley Yuzu thread that this is easily a flyer and should satisfy any Yuzu cravings.
There is a slightly fresh citrusy opening but from then on its a sickly dry powdery barbershoppy Lemon rose with hint of Yuzu straight up the nose -that would be the pepper- annoyance.
Heeley's Yuzu outclasses it by a country mile and achieves its goal of being fresh and enjoyable metromasculine justifying its place above Heeley's similar product Sel Marine.

Phew. Washed it off.
But if you like dry powdery barber shop smells fair enough.

Fragrance: 2.5/5
Projection: 3.5/5
Longevity: 3.5/5
06th December, 2017
Desperately wanted to love this as it was recommended as a pepper-dominant fragrance, but the notes above are accurate: The pepper is only a top note which doesn't linger for more than 30 enjoyable minutes. Then it's a combination of woody straw and a sweet sweat fragrance which bizarrely was very reminiscent of a teenage crush - but I'd be very surprised if she was wearing a relatively expensive men's fragrance in those days!

A grown-up fragrance, certainly, but a little sweet for me. It puts me in mind of a friendly English professor; winsome, but a bit fusty and asexual.
15th May, 2017
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Nice scent with a fruity berry blast.
29th January, 2017
Really love the combination of Ciara Wood, Cedarwood, Australian Sandalwood, and Black Pepper in the opening. The Rose and Yuzu Fruit gives this fragrance the balance it needs to stand out among others. I just received this and am in love!! [As a side Opus 1870's dry down, I detect a very reminiscent opening of Merchant Loup's woodiness, yet, unique...]

Overall, a lovely fragrance that I am going to have a field-day displaying!
27th November, 2016
This is a masterpiece, a true gentleman scent. I wear it when i have a dinner jacket party at the club.
02nd March, 2016
Why does Opus 1870 seem to embody the clichés of English ‘men’s ’ perfumery of the aftershave variety when clearly it is doing a few different things? Maybe it’s the discreet powdery florals tucked almost out of perception in the centre, or could it be the rather ho-hum quality it projects, or maybe it is just the emphasis on the fresh and bracing? Whatever, it is unusual for the above average dose of black pepper in the composition, which rests on a shaved pencil woods accord and is introduced by something citrusy with a hint of swimming pool bleach at the start.
The woods are clean and just shaved off and the pepper similarly has the liveliness and faint citric punch of the stuff that is just ground. But the presentation of these decent notes seems a touch indifferent and middle of the road – nothing here that is truly radiant. An offering that is likeable but not among the first tier of guests you want to invite to the party of your life.
27th November, 2015
So English, it bleeds red and white. Not Queen Victoria England but more Clive Owen and Daniel Craig. I know, I know, they hawk other non-English juice but I could easily see them wearing and being the face for Opus.

What’s Opus like? The opening is a refreshing blast of red fruit (I’m told it’s Yuzu but my local grocery store doesn’t have Yuzu so I’ll take their word for it) and black peppercorn (my local grocery store DOES have black peppercorn!). I’m not a big fan of red fruits but the commingling of black pepper really tampers the screechy fruit. From grocery store, we head straight into the heart of England – rose and cloves. It doesn’t get any more English than this. The plumy rose juxtaposed against the dark cloves really takes Opus into another direction. Opulent England. Red velvet and stiff upper lip England. There’s also a dash of cinnamon and incense that meld into the rose and clove accord. Slowly, we start to leave England and head to the cedar chest buried in Grandma’s closet. Warm, soothing cedar. Smells expensive and expansive at the same time. I can’t think of another fragrance in production that uses Cedar this well.

Performance, unlike the English national football team, is great. Easily lasts 7 or 8 hours and projects just at the right level. I should add that Opus only works in English weather – overcast, rainy, and cold. Don’t bother wearing Opus when the sun is high in the sky and temps are warm. Opus is best enjoyed on cold, winter nights.

05th November, 2015
Second time I've had a sample of Opus to wear and I still can't quite warm up to it. The top is a boozy like pepper spice that's almost a bit heavy, but redeems itself in that it doesn't present for very long. The drydown is a slightly sweet cinnamon floral over woods. Nothing really stands out beyond the cinnamon. There's a bit of a barbershop tone, but not as prominent as in several other Penhaligons offerings. There's also something about this fragrance that seems elderly. Mild sillage and longevity, in the Penhaligons fashion, but it'll wear lightly for about 4 hours. Didn't turn me off, but not compelling enough that I would wear it very often either. A deserving Neutral rating for me.
08th October, 2015 (last edited: 27th October, 2017)
Gives me that Old school feeling. I like it, personally. I wouldn't wear it to please or impress anybody. Makes you feel mature and alot older. Also gives you a classy, historical sophistication vibe to it! As someone had mentioned like a museum or library type of vibe
Yes it would suit better for an older man, but it's not always about physical or visual interpretations. Anyone can rock this if you act mature or present yourself in a manner that the bottle depicts, gentlemenly :)
04th September, 2015
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom
A nice, warm, slightly berry-fruity, transparent rose (akin to that in Voyage d'Hermes parfum) on a cedar wood background, with a very light dusting of pepper. Not bad for what it is, which is a very safe and understated office-type scent. It lasts ages on me, but after 30 minutes, projection is measured in microns, even with a dozen sprays. A starter rose scent, sans frissons. I defy anyone's knees to tremble whilst wearing (or smelling) this.
02nd January, 2015
A nice fragrant thingy without praise or blame, basically a cedar-incense (pencil sharpener) with gentle floral notes, notably rose, with a light, silky and warm fruity feel, and a pepper note giving the right amount of, well, pepper (meaning "dynamism"). The notes smell honestly more ordinary than it may seem reading the pompous names listed above – it's a decent, a bit dull blend of cedar, flowers, pepper, citrus, in short a unisex classic cologne with a bolder wood accord. Despite it is really nothing special, it is still a nice, refined, bright scent, lively like a mid-spring afternoon in London, also with a slight and pleasant "barbershop" vein running all over – some classic, dandy, delicate and shady mood, mixed with a sheer, urban sort of transparency. Sophisticated soapy drydown. Nothing exceptional, but nice.

18th August, 2014
A timeless classic from Penhaligon's

Of course beauty is always in the eyes and noses of the beholder, but IMHO, Penhaligon's Opus 1870 is one of the most magnificent fragrances ever created - a true masterpiece! The top notes of pepper and citrus meld quite quickly into a woody complex of cedar and rose undertones with a slight hint of musk. The combination conjures up delightful scenes of some of London's most beautiful squares and parks (Berkeley's, St. James's, Holland) in the late summer and early autumn. Opus 1870 epitomizes European city life at its finest. Along with Rochas' Macassar, Opus 1870 is truly a timeless masterpiece.

Pros: Wonderfully sophisticated, urbane fragrance of unusual complexity
Cons: None!"

21st September, 2013
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The Opus 1870's opening is promising on my skin despite i tend to appreciate far more some completely different type of fragrances. I'm soon surprised by an extremely sharp, subtle, translucent and sophisticated citrus/dry spices (pepper) accord that is yet incensey and soaked by rosey and woody nuances. This aqueous introduction possesses a typical Penhaligon's stiff vibe, spicy, dusty, conservative and astringent, something projecting an extremely sharp and almost ozonic fruitiness in the air. What does it happen in a while? On my skin gets to operate for a really short span just a definitely faint, definitely close to the skin and vague incensey/spicy feel (a la 7 de Loewe but a touch smoother and sweeter) with woody (dominant cedarwood)/rosey accents. The aroma disappears at all in a couple of hours on me. My skin is therefore able to project just a faint woodiness which is sweetly spicy (due the interaction by cloves and cinnamon), incensey and faintly floral. A well crafted concoction for the lovers of the "olfactory translucency" but a too much evanescent experiment for my full pleasure (apart that i would deflect towards the stouter and more mysterious 7 de Loewe at half of the price).
04th April, 2013 (last edited: 07th January, 2015)
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Bit of a masculine powerhouse imo and as dry as a bone. I like the topnotes of yuzu and peppers, but any citrus note would have worked. It then gets real spicy and woody with cedar to the fore --it's quite a dominant note throughout actually. Opus is trying to be 'modern' but I think it would suit the older man better. Vey nice.
14th March, 2013
The scent opens with a burst of oriental sweetness, liquorice root tea, but still expresses itself very dryly. Think panela sweetened sugar syrup, that has half dried onto a cedar palette. It is surrounded by salt which has taken the water of the syrup and made it more chalk like. There is not much that is overly resinous about it. The musk sits behind the wood. A light old formulation of English Fern stirs on the side of a paddock 500m away and is carried through somehow on a breeze to the mens tea room of this scent. There are peach coloured roses to the side, falling off the bush that also nest under the trees/woods. The pepper is very powdery and aged, finely ground white pepper with cinnamon of the same age in there too. Pepper takes over and a handful is thrown over the mound lightly coating it. Small patches of thin moss spring up, cousins of the fern. The softness from the Australian sandalwood, which compared to Indian sandalwood, is much more rounded at the ends and lends the scent a certain femininity that is balanced by the pinch of old, polite incense.

Maybe I will wear this scent when I retire and are in the reading room.

The smell makes me think of the museum cottages here in Australia that recreate colonial domestic scenes with old washing apparatuses, combs, mirrors, worn but pleasant things. The wood lacquered again and looking worn still. A suspended patina. It's polite with a bit of brightness, it's character is playful but in a methodic way: an uncle's tried and tested joke, there is nostalgia in the feel of it.

07th January, 2013
It's all about pepper, cedar and incense. And it's very good combo. Smells classic and elegant along with others Penhaligon's releases. Lasting power, sillage and projection are medium. Thumbs up.
12th December, 2012
Fish Show all reviews
United States
The opening of Opus 1870 says, I'm here, I'm different, but I'm very nice. I was not sure I would like the pepper opening which is a semi-sweet mixture of the pepper, citrus, rose and woods that actually subside in a relatively short period, but I really like it. After dry down comes the cedar (mild and sweet, not too strong at all), a nice mild rose, woods, incense and musk which makes it a nice clean manly scent to wear almost anywhere at anytime. I like the total difference of Opus compared to the many citrus headed scents I own which can become boring over time. I feel Pen has a really nice fragrance here and is worthy of a try by all, but mainly middle to older aged gentlemen, although some in the younger crowd may enjoy this one too.
03rd December, 2012
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
Good modern offering from this venerable house. Wood (cedar), pepper (black) and rose are the main notes and they create a dry, spicy masculine scent that I like. Great quality like all offerings from the house. This doesn't summon up the classic English scents like Haman or Blenheim Bouquets and is closer to some of the modern designer scents like Gucci Pour Homme, although this is dryer and very masculine despite the rose note.
29th October, 2012
jcw122 Show all reviews
United States
This scent makes me nauseous. The wood smell is too intense and simply smells like dark-stained wooden furniture. You can say it smells refined and formal and all that...but honestly it reminds me too much of furniture. Yuck.
16th September, 2012
Very prominent Cedar fragrance. Woody and pepper scent. This lasts longer than most Penhaligon scents, which has been my only beef with this house. Their fragances are used by royalty, and priced as such. I just have a hard time paying for something that fades before I get to work. Opus lasts longer than Blenheim Bouquet does.
10th June, 2012
This is all about spicy (peppery), woods (cedar), and rose. The cedar is prominent from the get go and is supported by the pepper and some coriander. There are hints of some rose after a couple hours, but they are more supportive than a front liner. A bit of musk in the dry down, but overall a very nice, refined British scent. Of the Penhaligon’s line, this is the most modern based scent to what is coming out today and it is well done.
09th February, 2012
Finally, a Penhaligon fragrance I like. I was about to dismiss this one too but then the drydown came. the rose is a unique strain in my experience. It combines with incense and aromatic woods in the drydown. There is no aquatic note, but when i wear it, every time i catch a smell of it as I am doing things it gives me the sensation of being watery. It's either something in the rose (which is kind of hard to describe) or it's the light incense. Whatever it is, it is a very agreeable sensation. It's a light fragrance (not at all heavy like many incense fragrances can be). Something like this is how I imagine my favorite protagonist-gentlemen of nineteenth century English literature to have smelled like. refined and understated of course. The notes might not seem interesting or new, but the sum is greater than the parts with regard to Opus 1870. It has really good longevity surprisingly for what it is. This is one of the best and unique rose cyphres that I have come across. I'm happy I gave Penhaligon one more chance to impress me.
25th January, 2012
I enjoy spraying this when im on my own. I like to smell it on myself. My missus doesnt appreciate it, and that may be why i like to wear it when doing my own thing, she doesnt hate it but she doesnt like it much either, it hasnt got that sexuality going on, Endymion on the other hand, is a different story..
14th December, 2011
Opus 1870 is my favorite from the Penhaligon`s line. It`s one of the most refined fragrances I can think of. Pepper, woods, spices and rose. Typical British "upper-class" aura, but also very versatile. Perfect for all seasons, but not for the most casual attire. If I was forced to choose only one fragrance to use, then Opus 1870 could be my signature scent without scruple. Highly recommended!
07th November, 2011
I love this scent, but its not very versatile in terms of social environments. The cedar is very prominent in the beginning, and then it becomes a nice, complex floral smell, with a cedar background, and it remains this way for the next few hours.

I think this is a great fragrance in the office (or lumber yard), but outside of the office, not so much. It makes me feel like "a dependable and reliable working bee, working for the greater good of the hive". Other than that you can wear it through out the year, but it probably does better in the cooler months.

I wouldn't try to wear it with a polo n jeans, or on a date, or just hanging out with friends. It really is a complex, yet conservative fragrance. If this is your first Penhaligon's fragrance, there are more versatile offerings such as endymion. Now if you want a complex woodsy, cedary fragrance to add to your daily rotation, then this is the one you want.
02nd October, 2011
An interesting bland yet spicy opening, giving me not much faith for this one. Once it faded, I became confused. As if I put on an entirely different fragrance. It went from a coriander bomb, to rose, rose, rose. Smooth, and beautiful, is the only way to describe this type of rose note. Slightly fruity, as if somebody poured apple juice or white grape juice all over the rose pedals. A bit feminine though at this point imo (as rose notes tend to sway to the feminine side). A neat salty accord behind the rose note, that keeps my interest.. It becomes a little powdery and musky after a bit. A base of woods is quite dominant, as the note breakdown suggests.

With this one and these notes: what ya see, is what ya get. Expect those notes listed. I would classify this as an aromatic rose fragrance. It smells less intense on the rose from a distance, than up close.. although the rose may be the key note here, it's not too powerful of a rose note. AKA: This is NO Noir de Noir, for you rose lovers out there. The rose note here eventually becomes a little dirty as it fades down, due to the musk.

Recommended wear: DATE scent. For sure. This is something you wear when your significant other is close to you. It's an intimate and exotic scent. I give it a neutral rating, because I'm not a huge rose fan, and it hasn't won me over completely yet. But it is without doubt an excellent one from this house.
27th September, 2011
drseid Show all reviews
United States
I love cedar scents, but not really Opus. The primary reason is the cedar is somewhat muted and mild here (even though it is the most dominant note by far throughout the scent's development) possibly tamed by some rose and maybe a hint of pepper. I guess I just am not getting a lot of personality from Opus 1870. Not a bad scent, but not distinctive either. 2.5 to 3 stars out of 5.
18th September, 2011 (last edited: 27th December, 2012)
Top notes: Bourbon black pepper, Yuzu fruit, coriander
Heart notes: English clove rose, cinnamon, temple incense
Base notes: Aromatic cedarwood, Australian sandalwood, Ciara wood, musk

Don't let the date on the bottle fool you. This is not a reissue of a Victorian-era fragrance, but rather a modern scent launched in 2005 to commemorate the founding of Penhaligon's in 1870.

Upon first spray a sharp, dry blast of pepper and cedar hits you in the face like opening the door on a chilly November morning. Officially cedar is listed as a basenote, but it dominates Opus 1870 from start to finish. (The only other fragrance I know with this much cedar all the way through is L'Artisan's Navegar.)

The fragrance turns creamier as it develops but stays fairly linear. There's supposed to be a rose note behind the heavy pepper and cedar, but to my nose it comes across as lime.

Bracing and invigorating, this is a great scent to start the day. In aromatherapy, black pepper is used to stimulate mental alertness, and I find this a surprise added benefit. Wearing Opus 1870 focuses my attention and allows me to power through my work with less distraction and more confidence.

Opus 1870 strikes me as a civilized manly aroma. It's very versatile and can be worn on all but the hottest of summer days. Damn fine stuff. I will be buying a bottle.

27th June, 2011
Nice. Others have said it well, so I'll just add my thumbs-up to theirs. It starts off a tad sweet, with obvious pepper and rose, and as it dries down it becomes mellower, woodier (cedar & lots of it), and softer. There seems to be a touch of incense here as well. Overall, good, and enjoyable, but doesn't get me headed to the shop to pick up a bottle.
02nd May, 2011