Pure White Cologne (Creed)

This fragrance used to be called "Original Cologne," but I guess something happened and they had to change the name. Maybe they felt having a third "original" perfume would confuse buyers who are used to seeing Original Santal/Vetiver around. They might associate this Royal Exclusive with the regular line or something. In any case, I like the current title better. It's a very elegant moniker for a nice cologne.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again - the main problem with the Royal Exclusives is that they're so damned expensive that you expect them to smell like bottled angel tears. There's a need to experience the divine when you drop over five hundred dollars on a fragrance. The bar is set a little too high. And so far Creed has never met the bar with these creations. Of the three I've tried, none of them have warranted the price for me. Sublime Vanille is perfumey and boring. Spice and Wood smells like your average Millésime. And now Pure White Cologne comes along, and guess what? It's very nice, but nothing spectacular. I can't shake the feeling that the Royal Exclusives are the work of Erwin and not Olivier. Something about them feels unfinished, a little rough around the edges, like the nose took top-tier synthetics, threw in a few natural oils, and just placed them perpendicular to each other in a layman's attempt at haute perfumery. There's still learning to be done, and a skill that needs refining.

PWC opens with an amiable citrus melange of bergamot, grapefruit, and lemon, mixed with a very lithe touch of pear. What surprises me about the top accord is that it smells crisp and fresh, but also a little metallic and grey. It's not that far removed from the opening of 4711, really. That's bad news for a fragrance at this price point. The redeeming feature is its subtle hint of pear, which softens its rough edges and provides an ample reference point for the drydown. After about ten minutes a very powdery white rice note - Creed's recent favorite - appears, and fills the heart like cotton balls stuffed into a brassiere. Again, it's nice, it's very snowy and "pure," but as in Love in White, it's an unusual approach, and ultimately fails to convince. Rice doesn't really smell all that great. Creed should forget about whatever synthetic replicates rice powder, and look into something else for future compositions. It's doing them no favors here.

Oddly enough, when the rice dissipates, all that remains is the paleness of galbanum (also very powdery), and that subtle pear note for sweetness. This fades into simple white musk, and is a memory after thirty or forty minutes. For cologne, there's absolutely no reason to buy this, and I can't think of a single justification for dropping the cashola on it. Just stick with 4711 or Roger & Gallet. They're cheaper and better.

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