|Empress Eugenie by Winterhalter|
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.