Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Opus 1870 by Penhaligon's

Total Reviews: 37
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
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
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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
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
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
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
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Very nice sweet scent with cedar and pepper - complements most anything anytime
Great to have around the office for an afternoon pick me up . . complements from staff and coworkers
07th December, 2008 (last edited: 11th August, 2009)
motown Show all reviews
United States
When I wear Opus I imagine myself on a fall evening in my wood paneled trophy room, Scotch in hand, recounting grandiose tales of adventures in exotic and faraway lands to a group of fascinated, giggling, evening-gown-clad lady callers.

After slapping my face to bring about consciousness after such a hallucination, I am present, but still wrapped in the slightly sweet, spicy, jovial glow of dreamy egoism.

Opus 1870 is a great balance of the old and modern that just exudes class. The boozy-sweet, peppery notes evoke the spice trade, the rose brings more spice with it and the cedar and musk is stoic and ever present, keeping things grounded. This scent will appeal to cedar and spice lovers and those looking for a well balanced masculine scent.
15th November, 2008 (last edited: 23rd January, 2010)
My favorite Penhaligon scent, Opus 1870 is indeed for the true cedar lover. At the same time it is a balanced fragrance, evocative of an older-style masculinity without crossing the line into self-conscious parody or kitsch. It somehow manages to straddle the boundary between warm and cool, classic and modern. The cedar is indeed dominant and unmistakable, and those for whom that aroma conjures security and comfort will be pleased. The dry down is long and persistent; in fact, my only quarrel with this scent is its persistence: it lasted an extraordinarily long time on me, even after an afternoon in the California sun and a long hot bath, the scent remained, clear and distinguishable as the same one that I had applied hours earlier.
04th September, 2008
Opus 1870 is definitely one of this house's best scents. Penhalligon's older fragrances remind me a lot of Caswell Massey's in that they tend to smell like recreations of older fragrance formulas, which end up becoming more like caricatures of themselves, and smelling rather hokey. Opus 1870 on the other hand is obviously a modern scent with traditional sensibilities, rather than a direct attempt at a recreation. From its lovely spicy opening you know that you are smelling quality. The rose heart note is lightly spiced with clove and cinnamon along with some olibanum notes. The base is a moderately rich woody musk. This is a very well done fragrance and the first one from this house that I have thoroughly enjoyed.
02nd September, 2008