Himalaya (Creed)

Creed's masculine Millésime range can be broken down into three tiers: the classics, the modern Millésimes, and the wet-shaver Millésimes. Some contend there's no stacking order, but I tend to think that the classics should be considered first; the wet-shavers ought to come last. The classics include Green Irish Tweed, Neroli Sauvage, Royal Delight, and Millésime Imperial. The wet-shaver Millésimes include Bois du Portugal and Tabarome Millésime. Tucked neatly between these categories are the modern Millésimes - Silver Mountain Water, Royal Water, Green Valley, Original Vetiver, Original Santal, EROLFA, Aventus, Virgin Island Water, Royal Oud, and last but not least, Himalaya.

Having tried almost everything in the modern range, I can say that they have impressed me and disappointed me in equal measure. Himalaya, however, was one of the impressive modern Millésimes, and I am not someone disposed to liking it. "Fresh" orientals aren't my bag. You can keep your 212 Sexy Men and Armani Attitude. If I want to go all brisk and spicy, I'll stick to the classics. The ever-available Joop! Homme will never let me down, nor will Obsession for Men. But Himalaya finds its place among respectable orientals, and holds its own with powerhouse chypres of yesteryear, items like Quorum and Yatagan. In fact, deep down in its icy heart, Himalaya is a 1980s monster man-frag.

Its opening is an explosion of pink pepper - actually verging on overdose for me, although not quite. Pink pepper is a good note, poo-pooed by plenty of snobby perfumistas as being the "note of the day" in men's frags (although not so much anymore), but still worthy of its overuse, particularly when one considers how frequently lavender and bergamot get overkilled in millions of fougères. Creed's use of this infamous ingredient is very naturalistic, and for the first five minutes Himalaya's wearer is surrounded in a hi-fidelity haze of fruity spice.

From the pepper, Himalaya transitions into a dry, grey, gunpowdery accord that I read as a mini fragrance-within-a-fragrance. Here's where this Creed gets really interesting. The greener and more natural elements seem to mimic the scent profile of Quorum by Puig - that's right, I said Quorum by Puig - and the richness of pine, olibanum, cyclamen, and perhaps a ghost of tobacco create the famous "gunpowder note" at Himalaya's core. If you just sniff casually, it smells a lot like gunpowder, or even just frozen rocks. But if you really delve into it, this accord reveals its many components. Eventually rich sandalwood, cedarwood, and ambergris notes develop into a fresh and warm base that lingers for a couple hours before fading away.

I'm not really sure why, but I almost think Himalaya smells rather old-mannish once the pink pepper burns off. However, its intense gunpowder note is pronounced enough that it saves the composition from seeming too staid and "gentlemanly." Had they been balanced differently, this scent's mixture of piney tobacco and traditional woods could have come across as a bit stodgy.

There's nothing stodgy about the packaging, though. Let me say this using exact language: Himalaya's packaging is really fugly. So fugly it should get village fair blue ribbons for its fugliness. Creed claims the all-silver motif was designed by Erwin, on what was apparently daughter Olivia's day off. She should have taken a working vacation and overseen her brother's little art project. Himalaya's disgusting silver bottle and RoboCop tin foil box gives the appearance of containing leftover lobster from my dinner at Mendy's, not a high end perfume.

In a nutshell, Himalaya is Green Irish Tweed with the green swapped out for gunpowder grey. Truly underrated, easily versatile, good for any season, and inoffensive to a fault. Worth a try, especially if you like pink pepper.

1 comment:

  1. I like Creed.
    I like Creed's crisp, clean British style & use of quality ingredients.
    But other than the sandalwood what in the blue hell does "Himalaya" have anything to do with the Himalayas?
    Lots of good smellin' stuff grows here in the Himalayas!
    From sandalwood, brown cardamom, timur (like Szechuan peppercorn), Ashwaghanda (Indian Ginseng), Himalayan Mandrake, Himalayan Barberry, Costus (Sassurea costus), Raat-ki-Rani (night blooming jasmine), cassia, cinnamon, camphor, frangipani, Adhuwa (Nepali ginger), Besaar (the Nepali variety of turmeric), black & green tea, & Himalayan honey is just incredible!
    Last but not least the fabled Jatamansi – a plant that has been used and venerated for over four millennia in Tibeten and Indian medicine (Ayurvedic). It was also used in the Middle East (known as Nard) and is mentioned in the Bible (John 12,3) as the oil that Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with at the Last Supper. It appears too in the Song of Solomon and was reputedly use by the Mugal Empresses Nur Jahan.
    So Creed, get it together & throw some British pounds towards harvesting some of your 'quality' here in Nepal!


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