“From father to son, since 1760” – says the label on CREED perfumes. The perfume tradition of 260 years is most often described as: creating original fragrances of extravagant quality.
Interestingly, CREED perfumes were so exclusive from the start that they remained largely unknown to the general public. “The best-kept secret in the world of perfumes”, as CREED is sometimes called – is not a secret among the rich and famous clientele. And it is made up of members of the royal and presidential families – from Britain’s Queen Victoria to Winston Churchill and John Kennedy. Famous “Bonds”: Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore, all used Green Irish Tweed, a perfume originally created for Cary Grant.
In addition to the slightly more than 200 perfumes they have released so far, every year a couple of dozen fragrances are developed, whose formulas are adapted to the wishes of several privileged members of the world’s elite. It is known that there is a “waiting list” for this service, and although CREED will never tell you who they are and how much they pay, it is believed that Madonna and Gerard Depardieu are among them, and it is said that the price is around 10,000 pounds. What is known for sure is that special contracts are made with such a clientele, which determines the period of exclusivity. Some of them were signed for five years and some for the rest of the client’s life.
The history of CREED begins in the 18th century when James Henry Creed opened a tailor’s shop on Conduit Street in London. He first supplied members of the English court with suits and leather gloves, and soon his creations became an unavoidable part of the outfit of the London elite. A pair of fragrant gloves were made in 1781 from Royal English leather in honor of King George III. James wanted the king to inhale a rich mixture of mandarin, ambergris, and sandalwood while resting his chin on his glove. This was also the first perfume with CREED’s signature.
Henry Creed II, the third generation of CREED, was born in 1824 and is one of the most innovative perfumers of the time, but also an equally skilled trader who spreads the family brand across the continent, creating “the most beloved and famous scent of European monarchies.”
At the request of the French Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, CREED moved to Paris in 1854, where the famous Jasmine Imperatrice Eugénie was created, a fragrance that is still available today. At her request, a sensual, floral oriental fragrance was made in which the combination of bergamot with rich vanilla and amber creates a fragrance full of warmth and strength, just like the woman after whom the perfume was named.
Among the clients of royal origin were the Austro-Hungarian Tsar Franz-Josef, his noble wife, Empress Elisabeth, and the Russian Tsar Nicholai II.
In 1885, Queen Victoria, for the needs of the British Royal Court, appointed CREED as the official supplier. Fleurs de Bulgarie was created by order of the Queen, a perfume still existing today. A fragrant creation accentuated by a bouquet of citrus, fruity and powdery tones, which combine sensuality, warmth, and elegance. The connection between the perfume house and the British royal family does not end in the 20th century either: Prince Charles and Diana used exclusively their perfumes, and in 2006 Kate Middleton received the first bottle of CREED – Royal Ceylan.
In 1956, Fleurissimo was created, a perfume that Grace Kelly wore on the day of her wedding to Prince Rainier. That’s how Hollywood’s long love affair with CREED began: Angelina Jolie uses Love in White, Sofia Vergara always smells like Jardin d’Amalfi, and Susan Sarandon always uses Creed Santal.
Today, the company is run by Olivier Creed, the sixth in the family line and the creator of some of the most popular fragrances: Green Irish Tweed (1985), Silver Mountain Water (1995), Millesime Imperial (1995), Spring Flower (1996), Original Vetiver (2004) and the Himalaya (2002).
Olivier Creed – described by The Independent as “the most elegant perfumer in the world”, took over the family business in 1985. He originally attended the prestigious Parisian art school Ecole des Beaux-Art.
As he has repeatedly said, the only time his schoolmates spoke positively about perfumers and perfumes was in 1982, when Colin Smart (a famous rugby player for English Newport) after winning a match against France in Paris, during a celebratory dinner drank a bottle of aftershave mixed with wine and ended up in the hospital. The journalists found out about the unpleasant event, so they asked the captain of the team that took Smart to the intensive care unit how he felt, and the answer was: “Not very well. But he smells wonderful. “The event has long been retold as “The Aftershave Incident”
Olivier’s first perfume, Green Irish Tweed, like a perfectly tailored suit, has become a timeless classic that never goes out of fashion. It is a combination of woody freshness and pure masculinity, and lemon and verbena from India, peppers, violet leaves, Florentine iris, sandalwood, ambergris in their unity act as refreshing as a walk on the green glades of Ireland. Green Irish Tweed was created in 1985 and has been one of Creed’s best-selling fragrances for years.
When Olivier Creed took over the company, perfume sales were around 1,200 bottles a year, and now, despite the very high price, that figure is close to a million. The high price of the perfume stems (in addition to the image) from the fact that all CREED fragrances are produced by hand, in the way set by James Creed. Namely, for the production of their own natural essences, the house kept the traditional technique of infusion – an expensive process, which was abandoned by most perfume companies.
We have one basic belief: we always use natural ingredients, the synthetic version is not an option for us. And that way of working is not cheap. I traveled thousands of miles to find the right fruit or flower. My bergamot comes from Calabria, a favorite iris from Florence. I found a rare and extraordinary sandalwood in the city of Mysore, India – Olivier explains
Compared to others in the French fragrance industry, this house has the highest percentage (from 65% to 90%) of natural ingredients in its perfumes.
The specific way of working is reflected in the fact that CREED is never advertised or celebrities are hired for the sake of brand promotion. The perception of the house as elitist also stems from the fact that their products are available in only a few outlets.
All CREED fragrances are made in one location, in a workshop located in the French forest of Fontainebleau where about 30 people handle bottling by hand. No factories, no market testing. The perfume is never released until it is approved by the main perfumer Olivier Creed, for which it sometimes takes up to five years. It is this deviation from the pressure of continuous production of new fragrances, which is followed by most production companies, that keeps the quality of fragrances high above others because it is never endangered by meeting deadlines. However, it seems that this policy is very effective because the house doubles its sales every year.
Olivier compares the creation of fragrant harmonies to art. As is the case with painting, when inspiration comes, he tries to use it immediately, which is why he built a small laboratory near his bedroom.
When he worked on Silver Mountain Water, a perfume characterized by “indecisive notes of tea and black currant” (worn by David Bowie, among others), he remembers: “I knew something was missing in the formula, but I couldn’t figure out what. And then I woke up once sure that what it was missing was a note of alpine wood. I went to the lab and prepared the mixture. I knew immediately that I got the scent I wanted, “he told the Independent.
The romantic fragrance Love in White, inspired by spring in Fontainebleau, was created by Olivier in 2005. “Everything looked so beautiful and optimistic. It was as if something wonderful was about to be born. I thought that’s how love begins, with all it needs to experience and anticipate. I wanted to capture this mood in one perfume using white flowers, like magnolia, hyacinth, and daffodil. “
Love in White is made from ingredients he, by himself, collected on five continents during his travels. The fragrance opens with aromas of orange from the Spanish south, middle notes are rice, Egyptian iris, jasmine from the Italian coast, narcissus from the French Riviera, magnolia from the mountains of Guatemala and Bulgarian rose. The base of the perfume consists of vanilla from Java, Calabrian amber, and Indian sandalwood. This is a favorite perfume of two former American first ladies: Michelle Obama and Laura Bush, which is why it is sometimes called the scent of the White House.
Today, a seventh-generation perfumer works in the house. Erwin Creed took his place next to his father. The two travel together, searching for those precious ingredients and launching fragrances that lead CREED in a new direction. Father and son together created some of the most sought-after perfumes at the moment: 2006. Original Santal for men and women, a fragrance in which the royal and spiritual splendor of India meet, a unique blend of Mysore sandalwood, fiery cinnamon, warm vanilla, and tonka bean; In 2007, Virgin Island Water was born – a perfume that won four out of five stars in the New York Times critique; 2008. Love in Black, a perfume of evening elegance, inspired by Jacqueline Onassis, packaged in special black bottles made of sand that can only be found on the Greek islands; 2009. Acqua Fiorentina inspired by the Renaissance city of Florence as well as Sublime Vanille, the first in the new Royal Exclusives collection.
CREED celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2010 with the opening of its only U.S. store on Madison 794 Avenue in Manhattan and the creation of Aventus, a men’s, fruity-woody perfume. Napoleon Bonaparte was the inspiration for this combination of fragrant notes that evoke his life, ideas, perseverance, war, peace, and love. Top notes of Aventus are an embodiment of fruity freshness provided by black currant, apple, pineapple, and bergamot. Middle notes are sweet aromas of rose, smoky birch, purity of Moroccan jasmine, and intense patchouli. The composition is closed by the scent of oakmoss, vanilla, musk, and amber.
Aventus is perhaps CREED’s most famous fragrance of all, a real sensation around the world, the perfume that has perhaps marked the 21th century, with its popularity and ubiquity.
The father and son also worked together on Aventus for Her, the female counterpart of CREED’s global bestseller.
In honor of the legendary Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, London, founded in 1849, the fragrance was created as a “tribute to an unsurpassed heritage”. The perfume Millesime 1849 is also a tribute to perfectionism, tradition, and dedication to the master perfumers of the Creed family. Oudh, oud or aoudh – or agarwood, the most precious and expensive wood in the world and incense, CREED mixes with Calabrian bergamot, jasmine, and ylang-ylang, and in the base (which lies for years), bourbon vanilla, sandalwood, musk, and patchouli.
When asked by KA Magazine, what inspires him to create a new fragrance, Erwin replied:
The same impulse that drives a sculptor to pick up his tools, a painter a brush or an architect his background. Creating a fragrance is a creative endeavour, and for more than two and a half centuries we have been moving towards the concept of perfection, fragrance by fragrance, following the vision of true beauty and quality.
You can read which Creed perfumes are a favorite of CELEBRITIES in THIS article.
The list of Creed perfumes follows below:
- „Vintage“ Tabaróme
- 2000 Fleurs
- Aberdeen Lavender
- Acier Aluminium
- Acqua Fiorentina
- Amalfi Flowers
- Ambre Canelle
- Angélique Encens
- Animalis Pimenta
- Asian Green Tea
- Aventus Cologne
- Aventus for Her
- Baie de Genièvre
- Bois de Cédrat
- Bois de Rhodes
- Bois de Santal
- Bois du Portugal
- Cedre Blanc
- Chèvrefeuille Original
- Citrus Bigarrade
- Creed pour Enfants
- Cuir de Russie
- Cuir Imperial
- Fantasia de Fleurs
- Feuilles Vertes
- Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare
- Fleurs de Bulgarie
- Fleurs de Bulgarie NEW
- Fleurs de Gardenia
- Fleurs de Gardenia (original)
- Green Irish Tweed
- Green Valley
- Herbe Marine
- Iris Tubéreuse
- Jardin d’Amalfi
- Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie
- Les Floralies
- Love in Black
- Love In White
- Love in White for Summer
- Millésime 1849
- Millésime Impérial
- Néroli Sauvage
- Orange Spice
- Original Cologne
- Original Santal
- Original Vetiver
- Pure White Cologne / Original Cologne
- Rose Impériale
- Royal Ceylan
- Royal Delight
- Royal English Leather
- Royal Mayfair
- Royal Oud
- Royal Princess Oud
- Royal Scottish Lavender
- Royal Service
- Royal Water
- Santal Impérial
- Scent of Oger
- Sélection Verte
- Silver Mountain Water
- Spice and Wood
- Spring Fling
- Spring Flower
- Sublime Vanille
- Tabaróme Millésime
- Tubéreuse Indiana