Royal Water (Creed)

My original review of this fragrance was based on smelling a counterfeit, and was the only time I've ever been conned with a fake Creed. I find it interesting that the counterfeit was competent enough to fool me. The bottle was in the older Royal Water style, a frosted, grey-colored glass, but the markings and atomizer all looked correct. The scent was a fresh, sparkly lemon cologne with brief citrus notes, and an even briefer musky drydown. Longevity clocked in at about an hour, and it had absolutely no throw at all. I thought it was pretty abysmal. If it had been any other middle-shelf designer brand, I would have felt differently, but weighed against Creed's best work, the composition and its performance on my skin were incredibly disappointing.

Then I gave it a second chance, using a sample from a trusted source supplying from a boutique-purchased bottle. The difference could not have been any starker. The fragrance did not resemble anything I had read online about it. Its longevity was terrific. And it had plenty of throw. So what happened here? My critics would say that I was just not discerning enough, but I've studied the intricacies of counterfeiting Creeds down to the letter (see my Green Irish Tweed authenticity post), and I can't say that there were any signs of trickery on the bottle or box. But what many "grey market" Creed buyers don't realize is that perfectly legit bottles can be opened and filled with swill, resealed, and resold. I'm pretty sure that's what I was up against.

This fragrance is another gender-bender. Sharp citrus (bergamot, lemon, lime) begins the proceedings, and rapidly leads to an oddly ambery peppermint/basil accord, which smells very herbal, but also very bland, almost intentionally so. Peppermint oil can either be pert and mentholated, or warm and honey-like. Creed opted for ambery peppermint, which I think was a mistake. They would have been better off sticking to a lighter rendition. Juniper berry balances it out with some fruity sweetness, and a sour mixture of ambergris and powdery musk finishes it off. The bitter citrus and basil feels starched and masculine, and the bittersweet perfumey base leans more feminine. I got eight hours from Royal Water, and I'd say moderate application gives you a sillage radius of about three feet. This is a good scent, but Acqua di Genova Colonia is better (review pending).

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