EROLFA (Creed)

Creed SAs in stores like Neiman Marcus and Harrods are reputedly snooty, and quick to fire off snarky comments at the hoi polloi that pass by. If they hand you your ass, you deserve it, because the Creed line has its own pop-quiz scent, designed specifically to give those pesky salesmen pause. The name EROLFA, which belongs to the only true "aquatic" masculine offered by Creed, is comprised of equal parts Erwin, Olivia, and Fabienne, Olivier's son, daughter, and former lover, respectively. All of this is elementary, and openly advertised on the Creed Boutique website, but that doesn't mean those Almas-eaters behind the counter know it. Next time one of them starts looking down her nose at you, drill her on EROLFA, and see if she doesn't turn a certain shade of pink.

EROLFA is, in fact, the only properly aquatic perfume offered by Creed. Many mistake Royal Water for being an aquatic - it's actually a gourmand scent fashioned after a citrus eau de cologne. Imperial Millesime is an iris-based floral with aquatic touches; Virgin Island Water is Creed's take on Coppertone; Green Irish Tweed (so often compared to Cool Water) is a floral fresh fougère; Silver Mountain Water is a tea and berry scent with a weird, blatantly synthetic inkjet printer note; Acqua Fiorentina is a less-compelling version of Silver Mountain Water featuring plum against a backdrop of calone. EROLFA, however, incorporates all the components of a true aquatic. I smell the sea, the sand, and the brine matter in between. One should clearly detect notes of salt, sea air, sand, mineral water, and seaweed, with hints of citrus (like the lemons and limes of 18th century pirate ships) ushering everything in, and a well-rendered ambergris closing things out. With EROLFA, all these boxes are checked.

Practically speaking, however, EROLFA lacks the concentration necessary in making ownership worthwhile. I'm not compelled to buy a bottle because EROLFA's samples all end up the same way: gone after two hours. The first hour with this scent is quite nice, a simple citrus intro with a dry, electrical ozone note. It's as though someone took static-charged air, filtered it into a semblance of something you'd breath from the Alps at 6 a.m., and threw it into EROLFA's core. It's a pristine coldness that smells only of its depressed temperature.

Eventually a somewhat herbal greenness shows up, with hints of moss and dampened pine, but these are soon eclipsed by a very dry and austere woodiness, which becomes fractured by the cooler ozonic notes into a semblance of sun-baked sand. This is where EROLFA leaves off, all sandy and dry, but only as an extremely close skinscent. Even the ambergris doesn't amplify the base beyond a slight sweetness. After ninety minutes, I have to squish my nose into my arm to smell it. After two hours, it's all but gone.

It's a shame Creed changed the packaging for EROLFA. The original box had that little painting of the yachts, which was beautiful. I believe the current version has the plainer blue felt label, similar to the off-green felt of Green Irish Tweed's box. Pretty for sure, but not as unique as the yachts. Why, oh why do these companies fuck with good things? Olivier must be a fan of Old Spice, and after seeing the latest tragedy that scent is packaged in, decided to have his revenge. Okay, you're right, that's not likely at all. But it's what I imagine happened, because otherwise it's completely inexplicable. Olivia, the OL part of EROLFA, is supposedly an accomplished graphic designer who works for her father's company. Maybe I should blame her.

If you're like me, and not in the least bit interested in aquatic fragrances, you should still try EROLFA, and here's why: the shit that's out there en masse doesn't really represent the standard. To measure up other aquatic fragrances, you need the perfect baseline of something like EROLFA, with its top notch ingredients, and its loving execution. This way, if you happen to find another scent that uses salt and brine without all the cloying fruits and musks, you'll know what it should represent without wondering if it's too weird to work. EROLFA is certainly a weird one, but unlike Insensé Ultramarine, it's a good weird, and it definitely works. Just a shame that it quickly drifts off to sea.


  1. A Creed that is weird? Sign me up!

  2. I have, so far, managed to avoid testing more than one Creed (Fleurs de Bulgarie, oleaginous floral soap bleargh).

    That little yacht is charming, charrrrrrming - so of COURSE it is gone. (And dang it, I miss Old Spice. Proper Old Spice, I mean, ca. 1976, when I was 8 and learning to wrap my dad's Christmas present. It doesn't smell the same now.)

    EROLFA sounds to me like the kind of noise you make when you are puking your guts out - i.e., not an ideal fragrance name.

  3. Only tested one Creed??? I can only suggest, test more. Some are excellent. Others, kind of sub-par, given their price.
    Fleur de The Rose Bulgare was kind of a nice one, I'll review it here in the spring. A little sour on my skin, but a widely-appreciated soliflore. Might be better than Fleurs de Bulgarie, which I haven't tried but wish to.

    EROLFA is worth trying just to know a true aquatic, have a eureka moment of "this is how it's done."

    Silver Mountain Water is subject to some batch variances that make it a wildcard for me, and render it un-buyable (I don't know or care about the batch numbers enough to request specific lots). Some have a lot of green tea and ambergris, other batches a preponderance of citrus and berry notes. Worth checking out, as you might find one you like.

    Original Vetiver is a deeper, richer Mugler Cologne. Much deeper, much richer, much more complex, but still the top notes are very similar, virtually identical in fact, at least for the first two minutes of wear. It's the friendliest "green" perfume I've ever encountered, and smells amazing. Very unisex. Should be tried.

    Tabarome Millesime is an oddball and I'm not entirely sure of my feelings for it yet. It's okay, but I'm not so sure about it.

    Royal Water - pass. No longevity, no sillage, just a creamy eau de cologne in perfume form.

    Bois du Portugal - get Pierre Cardin Pour Mosieur, over apply it, and bingo. You have Creed's BdP for a fraction of a fraction of the price.

    Love in Black - a love it or hate it kind of deal. Extreme iris (very synthetic) and then you get the violets and roses, all against a sugared woodsy base. It has a moment there where it turns into olfactory cotton candy, and I'm not sure what to make of that, but all in all I like this one.

    Acqua Fiorentina - greengage plum, very realistic and pleasant, with some citrus, some calone with berry notes, and not much else. Pass for me.

    Green Irish Tweed - gorgeous stuff.

    Millesime Imperial - gorgeous stuff, if you like that sort of thing. I don't, but I do see the appeal for those who do.

    Himalaya - Green Irish Tweed with the green swapped out for gunpowder grey. Intriguing scent, possibly the most show-stopping of the recent Millesimes, as that gunpowder note is amazing stuff. Apparently resembles Paco Rabanne XS a bit. Worth trying.

    Sublime Vanille - weird, heavy, cold vanilla. kind of funereal to me, and not something I'd drop the greenbacks for. Still, if you absolutely adore vanilla, it should be tried.

    Spice and Wood - disappointing. A good apple and birch accord, with dry woodsy aromatics and a pleasant sandalwood/ambergris base. I think there's some nutmeg in there, and maybe a light touch of ginger. Forgettable.

    Chevrefeuille Original - green waving grasses, sweet honey suckle, all very well presented in a natural-smelling EDT that has the power of an EDP. Worth every penny. Possibly the second best of Creed's "greens."

    Green Valley - I love this one. Creed's Marie Antoinette fragrance, imo. Cool bitter grass, with mint and ginger on top. Eventually more ginger, sweet berries, and a sparkling metallic ambergris drydown. Oh, and there's violet leaf, much akin to the one in GIT. Worth every penny, a must-try scent. Give this one and Green Irish Tweed a side by side sniff comparison. They're very similar, although Green Valley is far more "pale green" in smell, and much more of a bitter, unique scent.

    Baie de Genievre - Hot spicy juniper berry. Dries down to smell like hospital bandages, or something similar. I was rather indifferent to it, and was not drawn to this one. A woman could wear it better than I, as could a better man.

    Try these! And you're right, EROLFA does sound like a fancy barf!!! ha!

  4. Tubereuse Indiana - rubbery, Pure 80's Pop! not the typical tuberose (smells a bit like carnation!). To me, one of the best Creed's.


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