Bargain Fragrance Reviews Bargain Fragrances: 1881 by Nino Cerruti (1990)

Bargain Fragrances: 1881 by Nino Cerruti (1990)

03/04/17 10:44:29 (13 comments)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less. 

Summary: 1881, the third men's fragrance release from the Italian house of Nino Cerruti, is a typical 90's style citric fougere. But amongst the current launches of super-sweet, woody oud, and repetitive aquatic scents, its herbal freshness is a welcome departure.

Perfumer: Martin Gras

Cerruti 1881

Try this if you like: Citrus; herbal aromas; a gin and tonic; green scents; earthy aromas with moss and vetiver.

Reminds me of: Boucheron pour Homme; Lauder for Men; Gucci Nobile; Guerlain Coriolan; Dior Eau Sauvage.

Pros & Cons: Many will suggest that 1881 is a copy of Boucheron's pour Homme (which was actually launched a year after 1881) and this comparison is significant (although Boucheron has a more significant blast of lemon and verbena). After a few decades of rich, oriental and ambery aromas, 1881 was part of the new trend of fresh men's scents in the laye 80s/early 90s. However, it is a different creature from the fruity, sweet and melon-fresh aromas that followed (such as Escape or L'Eau d'Issey pour Homme). This has led some to consider 1881 an "older gentleman's" scent or outdated. For example, Fragrantica reviewer Lenski wrote, "This is a sophisticated perfume - definitely for a man of maturity. I wouldn't suggest it for a man under the age of 30. Very elegant, harks back to an age of discovery and fine etiquette."

And Genny 17 explained, "I bought it for my husband, but I do not like it; it smells very aromatic, basil, rosemary, sweet and soft and floral at the same time, I imagine a very old gentleman wearing this. It has no appeal to me as a masculine scent, only for lovers of soft aromatic scents, without the wow factor for sure. Quiet like a chamomile tea!!"

Cerruti 1881 ad

In contrast, Stormchaser wrote, "This is Gorgeous. I bought this for my fella and it drives me wild - fresh, clean and sexy - very different to so many male fragrances...just lovely and great bottle too."

However, what some see as "old" others see as classic. Fragrantica reviewer Robwiz offered, "I tested this out of curiosity in a high street store. It blew me away. The initial hit is a riot of notes, however, it very quickly settles into a wonderful dry down that's citrus, spice and wood. Altogether very fresh, clean and pleasant. It isn't a boisterous, loutish fragrance and it doesn't fill a room when you enter – absolutely perfect for my purposes. I've read some review comments that suggest this is an old man's scent. I don't get that at all. It's just a most pleasant, inoffensive fragrance that would be appropriate in any setting. It's probably my current favourite and of all in my wardrobe the one that wowed me most on first sampling."

The scent, now almost 30 years old, has certainly undergone reformulation and the naturally the basenotes are not quite as rich as they once were. Fragrantica reviewer Fuggerone confirms this by concluding, "Even though reformulation brought down a bit of its charisma, this scent in the 90's was a must have; it's great even though now its drydown smells synthetic to me!"

Most of the other comments are enthusiastically positive. Current longevity and sillage are both very good and I was impressed that the fragrance actually elicited compliments from three people the first day I wore it (after years of not having it in my wardrobe). And I agree about the bottle - quite attractive!

Notes: Top notes are lavender, carnation, galbanum, bergamot, juniper, cypress and elemi resin; middle notes are vetiver, ylang-ylang, rose, lily-of-the-valley and cassia; base notes are musk, sandalwood, patchouli, oakmoss, cedar, pepper and pine tree.

Designer’s Description: "From Italy, this pillar of perfumes captured everything. Brightness, freshness, sensuality and refinement. The sensation of a sunny day near the Mediterranean, the tranquillity of a walk in the shade of cypresses, junipers and stone pines.... The man: A man with potent charm and style, combining Italian elegance and French sophistication. A lively start with extracts of Blackcurrant, used here for the first time in a man's fragrance, together with cypress and bergamot. Heart Notes (ylang and patchouli) bring depth. Base notes of Sandalwood, pine and oak moss for density." Cerruti1881fragrances.com

Number of times tested: 5 times over the last 3 weeks from a current bottle; 100+ in the 1990s from an original bottle.

Number of sprays applied for this review: 1 spray to the back of my hand from a 100ml bottle I purchased online (ca. 2017).

Fragrance strength: Eau de Toilette

Cerruti 1881 ads

Development: (Linear / Average / Complex): 1881 has minor development in its current reformulation whereas I remember the original offering slightly more complexity. 1881 opens with a blast of tangy juniper and cassia (blackcurrant), but by no means is this fruity; rather it is a sharp, green aroma with hints of pine and patchouli. As the fragrance develops, the earthier herbal notes become more pronounced and the fragrance begins to soften. Gentle woods and vetiver with hints of oakmoss (more so in the original) anchor the basenotes though by no means is this a woody scent.

Longevity: (Short / Average / Long-lasting) 1881 lasts perceptibly for about 4-5 hours on my skin.

Sillage: (A Little / Average / A Lot) Though I don't find it as strong as say Boucheron, the fragrance indeed garnered compliments. The subtlety of the aroma however might make this a great workplace choice (as opposed to some of the sweeter intense and extreme variations we've been seeing enter the market).

Note about the packaging: The bottle is a stunner with its frosted and carved glass recalling Picasso's Minotaure, and sleek rounded silver cap. The bottle is housed in a pale green paper box that mimics the surface of aged stone.

Where can I buy it? I bought my 100ml EDT spray for $14 USD shipped at Ebay. Also available between $18-$25 USD at other online sites.

The Bottom Line: Founded in 1967 by Nino Cerruti, the Cerruti 1881 brand's heritage goes much further back. In fact, 1881 was a significant year as it marked the beginning of the Cerruti family's weaving workshop in Biella, Italy. As such, the eponymous fragrance successfully represents the brand's classic elegance and appeal with its timeless simplicity and ease. Though not quite as groundbreaking an aroma as Cerruti's first fragrance, Nino Cerruti pour Homme from 1978, 1881's harmonious blend of notes such as blackcurrant, galbanum, lavender, tarragon, ylang and juniper creates an impression of both herbal richness as well as a breezy freshness. In fact, it might even be suggested that 1881 is an update of classic eau de cologne formulas with an emphasis on leafy greens.

I keenly recall its launch during my adolescence and its bright green juice. I wanted to love it each time I tested it but my heart, er nose, kept going back to the sweeter, breezier Eternity for Men; I typically have a hard time with the dryer aromas of this genre such as Eau Sauvage, Boucheron and Guerlain Vetiver, for example. Years later, I eventually purchased a bottle and found the sharp greens to be surprisingly gentle when compared with similar aormatic fougeres (e.g. Devin by Aramis).

Today, I am wearing 1881 and detect something almost smoky...perhaps the vetiver, cypress and moss? In a way, 1881 is almost like a fresh forest incense, if one could imagine such a thing. And though there have been a number of flankers (surprisingly, I haven't tried any of them...yet), 1881 still seems to be attracting new fans as the Fragrantica reviews illustrate. With such a great bargain price and in such stunning packaging, it's no wonder; it's hard to find another aroma that succeeds at "fresh, dry, green" quite as well as 1881.

 

Image of the author

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

Managing Editor & Columnist

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison’s journalism in the fragrance industry has appeared in international print and online publications such as PlayboyMen’s JournalMen’s Health and the New York Times. Marlen is also a regular contributor to BeautyAlmanac.com and works as a graduate professor, thesis advisor and faculty supervisor for MA programs in TESOL, Education, Writing and Literature. Learn more about Marlen by visiting:  www.MarlenHarrison.com.

 



Previous Bargain Fragrance Reviews Next


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HyacinthBucket
HyacinthBucket

@Konga5000 (again) All my old fragrances that have been reformulated are missing their bright, natural bergamot openings for the same reason. Bergamot causes photo allergic reactions. Bergapten-free bergamot has been available for decades so I'm not sure why bergamot is restricted. (Bergapten is the chemical in bergamot which causes photo sensitivity.) Whatever aromachemical Guerlain is using instead of bergamot smells like the real thing so that's pleasing. My vintage bottles of Shalimar still have a brighter opening, though.

Mar
26
2017
HyacinthBucket
HyacinthBucket

@ Konga5000, The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) have guidelines limiting (or banning) the use of certain ingredients. I believe oakmoss is limited because it can cause serious contact allergies and photosensitive allergic reactions.

The guidelines allow all people to enjoy fragrance without fear of adverse effects. And because different countries have different regulations, adhering to the IFRA guidelines allows fragrance manufacturers to trade in all (or most?) countries. I believe that is the reasoning behind it.

I may be wrong but I believe niche houses who do not belong to IFRA and do not trade in countries with stricter regulations still use "banned" and restricted ingredients. But if they want to do business overseas they need to adapt their formula to each nation's particular regulations.

That's what the oakmoss issue is about, more or less.

Mar
26
2017
Konga5000
Konga5000

What is the OAKMOSS issue? Is it toxic or something? Or is it expensive ?
This one sounds great and I must try it for that price! I love "cheapies" that actually work!

Mar
06
2017
OlfactoryLover
OlfactoryLover

We sell so much of this every week to men of all ages which is quite impressive in itself. Because the price tag is quite low now a lot of guys have this as a work/daily fragrance as it is non intrusive and has pretty good performance. I would love to read an article on discontinued lines which a lot of us agree shouldn't have been (Armani Attitude is mine). That would be great to see what others think.

Mar
06
2017
Douceamere
Douceamere

I like this very much. The aromatic, fresh and floral notes balance each other out very pleasantly, and it doesn't seem as screamingly synthetic as a lot of later fresh fougeres.

As for its similarity to Boucheron Pour Homme, though they both seem to be in the same family, I think 1881 is a much more subtle scent. They are both elegant and classy, I love them both.

Mar
05
2017
FlirtBoy
FlirtBoy

I don´t think it´s copy of Boucheron (which was released one year later as article mentions) but it´s pretty similar to Lauder for Men (1985), just lacking Lauder´s sweetish basenotes = agree with Your article

Mar
05
2017
missan
missan

The original was very good. Today´s not so much.

Mar
04
2017
Wizology
Wizology

This article is on point...

Mar
04
2017
Freedomlover
Freedomlover

Classic one of my first fragrances i love most ceruti fragrances for men cerutti image is fantastic for me and for the price a unbelievable fragrance.

Mar
04
2017
cincobayou
cincobayou

All of your reviews are interesting and I try not to miss reading them, Marlen.
This sounds like one I shall buy for my grandson.
I might give it a whirl, too, since some men's fragrances appeal to me.

Mar
04
2017
ShotsK
ShotsK

Sadly oakmoss is no longer an ingredient

Mar
04
2017
lovetribe
lovetribe

i love this

Mar
04
2017
Blueslippers
Blueslippers

Interesting read as I've been using this for many years as a work/everyday/signature scent and had made the decision not to replace it due to the fact it was starting to feel a bit dated.
It's opening is incredibly harsh and old fashioned but it does drydown in to a lovely lemon fresh fougere quite quickly and given its price, it's fantastic quality.
I am going to stick with my guns and give this a miss for a while, but I suspect I will eventually pick up another bottle in the future and for anyone who's never tried it, go ahead, it really is very good!

Mar
04
2017

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