September 17, 2006

Creed

Empress Eugenie by Winterhalter
Creed has based many of their perfumes on famous historical and more contemporary celebrity figures. They have provided fascinating educational lectures by Creed educational personnel at the department stores that carry the perfumes, such as given tSaks.  I was lucky enough to attend one put together for the Sniffapalooza group.

It turned into an extended extravaganza of sniffing through the history of the house, from their beginnings with Royal English Leather for George III in 1760 or so, to Fleurs de Bulgarie, 1845 for Queen Victoria (my favorite, a surprisingly sensual deep floral) to Fantasia de Fleurs to Jasmine Imperatrice Eugenie, which inspired the Empress of France to bring them to Paris, and then up through the modern day, into Spring Flowers (Audrey Hepburn) Tabarome, for tobacco lovers, Green Irish Tweed (Cary Grant and quite popular) to Vetiver (JFK among others) and Fleurissimo (the white flower fragrance commissioned for Grace Kelly) Jasmal (Natalie Wood) and the limited edition Fleurs de Gardenia, among  others.

Coffee beans were on hand for clearing the head and the the fragrances kept coming, one after the other, with great personal attention and the story behind each one, so it was a remarkable experience.

It was explained that all the earlier fragrances created in eighteenth to the early nineteenth century are much stronger than the more modern ones.  They go on the skin as subtle but then build great strength from an initial softness.

They do seem to encapsulate the aesthetic of the time, the signature of the year in which they were released. They continue to use the infusion technique with natural materials for creating perfume, sparing no expense on the ingredients, and don't advertise.  They have several new perfumes that are very popular with younger men so remain as current and relevant as they ever were.  The company is still run by talented family members as the major aesthetic directors of the enterprise, in a direct line from the eighteenth century to the present day.

I got an answer from Roberto Ferreira, the national Creed educator, to a question that has puzzled me about the scent of leather, in that I wondered if there was an actual leather scent or is it created from other scents combined to be what we know as "leather". He explained that different formulations of chypre, based on different cultural preferences (such as English or Russian) are used to scent the leather, and then the leather itself, once it has been treated this way, is used by Creed as a raw material to create an essence, then combined with other materials into a perfume.  In other words, the scent of leather is built from accords which infuse fine leather and then that is the scent that is approximated in perfumes.

Here is a link to a UK site with more information about the history and method of production.
Basenotes reviews and lists Creed perfumes and the years in which they were made.

Above, portrait of Empress Eugenie, Creed's French patron.

Copyright 2006, Lucy Raubertas All Rights Reserved.

10 comments:

Karenska said...

Thanks for posting this very comprehensive recap of our wonderful Creed seminar. I enjoyed reading it, as it perfectly summarized what we learned. I didn't realize that it was you who had asked that question about the "leather" scent, but it's something I had be wondering about too.

I was smitten by Fleurs de Bulgarie. I didn't purchase it, as I need to wear a fragrance for a full day and get a true sense of each of its stages before I consider adding it to my collection. Now it's on my shopping list for the October Sniffapalooza.

It was great to meet you, Lucy! Looking forward to seeing you again next month.

Lucy said...

Thanks K, it's great that you all have put these kind of events together for the likes of us scents addicts -- a true full immersion experience I would not have been able to have any other way! Looking forward to more...

Jennifer said...

So very jealous of what must have been a wonderful evening.

Gail said...

I loved meeting everyone also. I particularly liked watching Karen and her mother together. The family that sniffs together goes to bliss together.

I couldn't help myself. I had to have Angelique Encens. That green, chypre top with a Vannilic/Ambre dryout masterfully balanced by sheer notes of Cumin which only came out after several hours perfectly dressed the warmth of the base..YUM!!! Gail Adrian

Lucy said...

Hey, Jennifer - it was a early morning thing on Sunday, actually hard to force myself out of bed to get on the train over there but very worth it. I was really glad I did.
Gail - yes it was great to meet others of like mind in the flesh. I support your giving way to passion and getting the Angelique Encens, I am sure you are appreciating it even more fully at this moment. I would like to get ahold of some Royal English Leather and the Fleurs de Bulgarie, I will look into a decant possibility though...the prices! though they are certainly worth the price...

chaya ruchama said...

I'd have loved to have been there with you...

Thanks for the post...

Lucy said...

Chaya, check out the sniffapalooza site - you might want to pursue it...

Richard Lisboa said...

Hello Everyone.. It was a pleasure to have you there. I really enjoyed hosting the event for you guys and everyone was so interested in the history and the manufacturing of CREED. Also i am glad that i got to interact one on one with many of you and answer your questions. Roberto is a phenomenal person and has a huge vat of knowledge in his head not to mention over a decade of professional fragrance experience. I am looking forward to the October event and i must sincerely thank Karen for putting this together. Lucy, thanks for the wonderful article i have forwarded that to the president of my company. We at CREED finally have our U.S website it is http://www.creedperfumes.us Thank you all!!! Richard Lisboa. Creed Regional Manager.

kanashimi blue said...

Actually, Creed changed the formula of a number of its older fragrances during the mid-1980s when they introduced the Millesme range. Hence the Fleur de Bulgaria you smelt recently is different to the one originally worn by Queen Victoria. Thus product information for present day FDB shouldn't be labeled as 1852 because it's misleading!

But it's great that Creed finally has a US website because the French site has generally ignored my product inquiries.

Lucy said...

Hi kanashimi blue -

http://www.basenotes.net/house/100220
Basenotes lists the original and new version from 1980 as both still in production - have you tried going to a counter at say Saks and asking about that and if they have examples of both? I think in NYC more than likely they would have examples of both. For the lecture they had a very full selection of everything from the past, so that might be the best way to find out, or to call the store and ask to speak to someone at the Creed counter.