Reviews of Opus 1870 by Penhaligon's

    Find out more about Opus 1870 by Penhaligon's in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory


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    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    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.

    6,5-7/10

    18th August, 2014

    Xingqiwu's avatar



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    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

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    The beginning 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 beginning 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 keeps operating for a really short span just a really faint, definitely close to the skin and vague incensey/spicy feel (a la 7 de Loewe but a bit 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: 13th June, 2014)

    Kaern's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    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

    Dermis's avatar



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    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

    's avatar



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    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's avatar

    United States United States

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    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's avatar

    United States United States

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    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's avatar

    United States United States

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    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

    Possum-Pie's avatar

    United States United States

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    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

    Harvitz81's avatar



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    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

    autumngleeman's avatar

    United States United States

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    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

    postthispostthat's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    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

    Oslo-Fjord's avatar

    Norway Norway

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    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

    mrblah's avatar



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    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

    The_Cologneist's avatar

    United States United States

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    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's avatar

    United States United States

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    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)

    MysteryBuff40's avatar

    United States United States

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    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

    robyogi's avatar

    United States United States

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    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

    Jack Hunter's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    I have tried most of the range from this house and Opus 1870 for me stood out as the best. It opens with a really good peppery ceder wood scent with a beautiful Rose fragrance coming through in the background. As time moves on the Rose comes to the forefront and the woods move into the background.

    I find the scent elegant and refined and also restrained in the manner that it is never overwhelming but just compliments the wearer perfectly. A great woody floral that I found worthy of a purchase of a 100ml bottle and one that I am glad is part of my wardrobe.

    29th April, 2011

    hypnotic antidote's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    It took me a while to get this. At first, I could barely detect anything and what i could seemed very weak. I was misled I think by their marketing that likens it to a Cashmere sweater.

    Then, one day, it suddenly came together in my nose (and brain).

    A very dry wood and rose accord - one of the driest I have ever come across. There's a transparency to this scent that i really love. It's almost like a luminous sheath around you. Yet it's dry and woody at the same time.

    This for me is the smell of the Forest of Arden from Shakespeare. Spring is giving way to Summer and shepherd's are falling in love amidst the dappled sunlight coming down through full leaved trees.

    Beautiful, refined and romantic.

    06th March, 2011

    Freddddy's avatar

    Bulgaria Bulgaria

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    For me Opus 1870 is like Lartisan's Tea for Two with more longevity.

    03rd March, 2011

    Redbeard's avatar

    United States United States

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    Probably one of the most masculine of theirs that I've tried. A surprisingly transparent cedar, sweet and mild without the common acrid undertones. Much smoother than Visit, Rush, etc., and perhaps closer to a more subdued Rocabar. The deep foresty-ness is there, but is much more raw, natural and unadulterated. As it develops, it gets sweeter, with what I believe to be nutmeg...again very much like Visit but more natural and less obtrusive. It's weak, which I don't mind, but it's also oddly incomplete. I'm not sure what else I would have had them add, but it's one of those scents that feels like half a composition, no doubt because they've purposely left it simple. By the end, the spices become very heady, so even though you have to sniff vey close to smell it, it's lost some of its appeal as far as I'm concerned. Like Racquets, the far base is a bit like Geir if you only sniff it briefly.

    19th February, 2011

    sierra 18's avatar

    Switzerland Switzerland

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    I very much like this offering from Pen's, which is a nice addition to the collection. I get s lot of dry, white cedar from this one, from the very first, through the middle and into the finish. There is a slight crust of cinnamon around the edges, which is certainly welcome, and none of this frag has anything cloying or synthetic about it. This is a welcome addition to my other Pen's scents.

    31st October, 2010

    great_badir's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    One of my favourite frags of all time. For years I've been generally unimpressed with most of the Pen's line-up - their two most popular power houses (English Fern and Hammam Bouquet) are, along with Floris 89, among the biggest fragrance white elephants to ever have passed through my nostrils, and most of the others have never made me think anything other then a stereotypical "meh". Opus 1870, on the other hand, is a completely different kettle of fish - a floral, woody and beautifully peppery concoction which, to me, is the single most perfect fragrance that has ever been created. Both sillage and longevity are perfect without being in your face, it's subtle without being too distant and it's one of only a very few frags I've owned or tried that smells as expensive as it actually is. Amazing stuff from what I think is a largely over rated house.

    07th January, 2010

    olfactorium's avatar

    Belgium Belgium

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    i guess of all them fruity florals for men out there,this one is the most elegant and simple.Sweetness can be masculin and here is a proof.I get oakmoss(which i always get,no matter what)a very natural one,pear and a slight touch of a lily of the valley.Sits tightly on my skin,after 1 hour still there.Being myself a big sceptic when it comes to sweet fruity scents for men,i can say that this opus has a certain dignity and elegance.If you like stuff like YSL la nuit de l'homme,switch over to this!

    06th January, 2010

    nenuquito's avatar



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    The scent is marvelous yet it just doesn't last and makes you wish the perfume content was triple what it is. What there is is a great combination of smoky woods and a touch of cinnamon-like sweetness, sprinkled over with black pepper. It has a classic, stylish air about it that fits in well with the brand, and it can be worn for both business and informal occasions. This can also be worn by women who like a woody-musk type fragrance. Would certainly be a thumbs up if it wasn't so weak!

    19th November, 2009

    scentsitivity's avatar

    United States United States

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    Opus 1870 has a more modern feel to it than most of the fragrances I have tried from this house (e.g., Blenheim Bouquet, English Fern and Douro come to mind). It is about woods; primarily cedar, a bit smoky, a touch of spice. The opening has a bit of sweetness which diminishes in the development. A pleasant, classy masculine.

    22nd April, 2009

    Amorgos's avatar

    France France

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    A great ,balanced ,smart and evocative scent ! Bright and discreet at the same time ,traditional and modern ,so, very "british". It takes me into english gardens (roses),london's clubs (wood) palace's chapel (incense)and grocery(spices).Unfortunatly it doesn't last too much on me...

    01st April, 2009

    Bartlebooth's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    An excellent formal fragrance, that evolves beautifully from the application onwards. A sharp astringent opening with a feint citric and clove blend that continues to tighten into the drydown. A fabulous Cedarwood and Sandalwood medley awaits the wearer from the third hour onward, and it continues to develop until its demise several hours later. Decent longevity, and sillage, I found this to be a delightfully balanced formal fragrance.

    27th February, 2009

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