Stick With Your Love Of Perfume: You'll Evolve


The flameouts continue. Apparently there has been a shift in public opinion, and the perfume house of Creed is now home to "scumbags" of the, ahem, highest order. (Get out your paypal accounts: Aventus! Wink, wink.)

This week I happened across this thread on basenotes. You can read all ten tedious pages of it yourself if you so please, for I shall abstain from detailing its unholy contents by its godless authors here. I'll stop at saying that it is indicative of all that remains troublesome about that forum, still a community of classless heathens with more money than brains. To sum it up in a few short words: Creed's fragrances are cheaper in France than they are in America, which makes its owners greedy scumbags who should be boycotted, 'cause that'll learn 'em real good, real fast.

Honestly, I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.

If you're world-weary and wise enough to avoid wading into this horrendously sludgy runoff of backwards logic from third-world brainage systems, you're sharp enough to imagine the word warriors pummeling each other senseless. You don't need me for that.

Instead, I'd like to suggest what Creed perfumes could mean to you as a budding fragrance collector, or even an established fumehead junkie with a few hundred bottles in your collection.

Creed is the twenty-first century mercury switch of your perfume maturity.

Let's look at it this way: when you first start out in this "hobby," you look for the hot shit brand that'll put you a few cuts above your friends in the wearing game. On their best nights, your pals will sport seventy or eighty dollar department store frags, but you're going to wear one better. Much better. You get what you pay for, right? Creed is popular, and it's very expensive. You have to try it. Then you have to have it. And for a while there, it's impressing you, and some of your friends, and you figure Creed is important.

Then you grow up a little. You try three or four hundred other perfumes. Most can be had for ten or fifteen dollars an ounce. Without realizing it, you lose interest in "fresh" and "modern" and "sexy," and gravitate towards things that are sophisticated. With sophistication comes pedigree: Dior's lesser known releases, defunct and endangered brands from thirty years ago like Balenciaga, Guy Laroche, and Jacques Bogart. You're following perfumers, not perfumes, and smelling good is never about money.

Eventually you reach a point where you've been through at least five hundred perfumes, and a light bulb goes on - Creed, oh yeah, Creed. What did I think of their latest perfume again? Shit, I can't even remember. It was good. I liked it. Fuck it. If I see it on Amazon for under two hundred dollars, I may grab a bottle. Maybe Fragrancenet has a good deal today - let's see what they have.

And that's how it actually goes. By this point you're far more interested in the idea of a good, honest, straight-up fougère, like Rive Gauche Pour Homme, than you are in the extravagant glitz of an over-developed hybrid like Silver Mountain Water. And if SMW really intrigues you, you want to explore the idea of SMW by smelling frags inspired by it, or otherwise related to it. But traditionalism has won the day. Things from the "old school," wafting dry florals and talcum powder, make you smell and feel good. EROLFA smells very good, but also has you wondering if you'd have been better off buying a few backup bottles of Caron's Third Man instead.

So that four-ouncer of Green Irish Tweed on Amazon (sold by Amazon) for a hundred and forty bucks makes the rotation, but it competes for its place there. You still love it, still enjoy it, but you don't have to wear it. The bottle will last you. Know what you can't keep in stock? Francesco Smalto Pour Homme. Furyo. Zino. Tsar. The last thing on your mind as you're rocking your favorite Edmond Roudnitska composition is that it's Creed's fault you can't pay full retail for their perfumes.


  1. Creed isn't that popular in France. At least it wasn't when I was last in Paris in 2008.
    I didn't see any Creed in Moscow in September either, nor Tom Ford. Plenty of Amouage, Clive Christian, Guerlain, Robert Montale, Byredo, Juliette Has a Gun , & darned near everything else was on offer at outrageous prices.
    Meh, I bought a bottle of Spring Flower when it first came out & I was working at the Nordstrom fragrance counter one Xmas. Fleurissimo is just nasty & obnoxious in my opinion. I can't think of any other Creeds I've been impressed by enough to buy.

    1. The problem isn't that Creed is unpopular in France. The problem is it's too popular in the US. Since the Aventus Big Bang six years ago the brand realized that they appeal to the wrong demographic for their "luxe" image (middle class guys with too many designer perfumes) and they've been trying to price them out of the market ever since. Unfortunately for Creed the grey market is still very beneficial to Amazon and Fragrancenet customers.

    2. "First World problems at Christmas time - what would Tiny Tim think? LOL."
      - Bigsly on Basenotes
      Seriously, those Basenoters need to get a life.

    3. He's a master troll, Bibi. He's where he belongs.

  2. Exactly how I feel about this whole charade of Basenotes/CREED. Great post!

  3. I think Creed makes good fragrances, and that Luca Turin's a bit excessive in his criticism of them. They're pleasant, well blended, and they don't seem to skimp out on the more expensive aroma molecules. They do smell much better, richer, and smoother than most of those thin, airy, nondescript woods, musks, and ambers from Sephora and Macy's.
    With that said, I still don't get the price tags for these scents (I mean, I obviously know why they're so expensive, just not why there's the demand to justify it). There are plenty of designer scents out there which dont smell significantly cheaper than Creed fragrances, even though they cost a fraction of the price. Older powerhouse aromatic fougres and chypres smell just as natural, and some of them cost about as much as a couple of cocktails for 100ml. For that matter, even other niche houses are cheaper and more interesting than Creed.
    The whole "natural" gimmick they have is a joke too.
    I still remember finally smelling a few Creed fragrances for the first time, and I couldn't even fathom what I should expect from those bottles of olfactory ambrosia sitting on the counter at Neiman Marcus. All I could think was......"this is it?"

    1. As with anything, it's a combination of demand and target demographic that dictates the prices. For whatever reason, Creed has become bigger than big in America. They don't like that, or I should say, they half like it - they're fine with wealthy Americans buying their products, but are clearly unhappy with the Aventus club and the visibility of Creed among guys still earning their undergrads. You can't be the king of niche if you're selling just as many units as Chanel, to the exact same customer base as Chanel. The balance between being popular and overexposed is very fine, and in recent years has tipped too far into the latter territory. Hence the ridiculous price increases. Of course, the overexposure is also overextension; how many affordable grey market Creeds can you find on Amazon right now? I can find plenty.

      I think expectations with the quality of the perfumes can be too high. These are just perfumes. They're not liquid magic. The satisfyingly seamless Green Irish Tweed is the only one I'll ever need.

  4. For me "Original Vetiver" is the one worth going to the bank for...

    1. Hi Atze, I also love OV, but I think Green Valley is even better than OV AND GIT! Sad they don't make it anymore. Creed does "green" better than most.


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