The Making of a Masterpiece
Whether in art, literature or couture fashion, there are no shortcuts in the creation of a masterpiece, and the same is unquestionably true of perfumery. At every stage in the formation of a Creed perfume, from its inception to the sourcing and extraction of the ingredients, all the way through to the blending and bottling process, only the very best is acceptable. To be a masterpiece is to be captivating and unique, and The House of Creed will never release a fragrance that does not fit this exacting standard – but how is this achieved? What exactly makes a masterpiece?
The Making of a Masterpiece
With a background in fine art, Master Perfumier Olivier Creed is no stranger to aesthetic endeavours. Diligence, vision and skill combine to produce perfumes that tell a story. From meandering through a Portuguese forest, to conquering a vertiginous mountain range, wandering in a sun-bathed flower garden to relaxing by the Mediterranean sea, Creed fragrances are transportive, expressive, moving.
It is also important for the vessel of the perfume be carefully considered. Often crafted with the assistance of talented artists, a Creed fragrance bottle is synonymous with elegance and celebrates the uncompromising discernment of the customer. Taking pride of place on dressing tables, desks and bathroom shelves, a fragrance bottle must look the part – teasing and enhancing the sense of anticipation before every spritz. Whether it is the bold, fiery red of the Viking bottle, the powerful winged rider that adorns Aventus, or the opulent, hand-gilded golden finish of White Flowers, fragrances of such calibre deserve exquisite presentation.
Yet as important as the outward appearance may be, it is the ingredients and their treatment by the perfumier – often long before they ever reach the bottle - that truly set a fragrance on the path to becoming a masterpiece. Only the very best materials are used – ingredients that are described as being of Millésime quality – a winemaking term used to indicate the ‘best of the crop’. For Creed, sourcing ingredients of this calibre is a passion, and absolutely nothing less will do.
Making Scents Of It All
Master Perfumier Olivier Creed and his son Erwin work tirelessly to select the finest crops, travelling to every corner of the world in their pursuit. These ingredients are grown by passionate, skilled farmers, many of whom have had close relationships with The House of Creed for decades. Indian tuberose, Egyptian jasmine, French lavender, Haitian vetiver - and a multitude of other ingredients from all over the globe – are cultivated and harvested with the utmost care.
Moroccan rose is one such ingredient. The flowers are gently plucked by hand just after dawn, before the strong sun can burn the legendary fragrance. Working quickly to save the precious petals from the heat of the day, the harvest is painstakingly inspected to ensure the scent meets expectations.
Once approval has been given, the ingredients are delivered to The House of Creed factory in Fontainebleu, ready for the next stage of perfume artistry to begin. Creed fragrances contain exceptionally high concentrations of natural ingredients - 40 percent on average. These materials are often volatile, and respond strongly to the ways in which they are handled. Treat them well and the result will be stunning, but give in to impatience and disappointment is on the horizon. Thus, it is essential to have a masterful understanding of the raw materials and their requirements.
The extraction methods employed by The House of Creed reflect this – traditional, labour-intensive techniques and innovative, modern technologies are both used, the choice depending entirely on which will produce the best fragrance in the end. The time and complexity of the extraction process is never allowed to discourage this meticulous process – patience is fundamental.
Creed Signature Ingredients
After so many years of working closely with such high-quality raw materials, The House of Creed possesses a profound understanding of the dynamics and idiosyncrasies of fragrance ingredients, as well as their unique interactions with each other once blended. This artisanal expertise has led to the creation of a special selection of particularly important fragrance extracts. Known as the Signature Ingredients, this enduring collection features some of the most potent, timeless and enchanting extracts on the planet. Olivier Creed’s command of these materials allows him to create perfumes that transcend the everyday – a master alchemist composing greatness with his chosen instruments. Here, we delve deeper into the distinctive qualities of Creed Signature Ingredients, and the fragrances that contain them.
Bright, vibrant and energising, this archetypal citrus scent is extracted from the green skin of the bergamot orange. A full-bodied, enduring fragrance with layers of complexity unmatched by any other member of the citrus family, bergamot is a vivacious, enlivening top note in many of Creed’s most popular fragrances, including the legendary Aventus and Aventus for Her. It is also used to evoke the fresh, crisp air of the Mediterranean in Erolfa, conjuring long summers spent on the coast.
This extraordinarily complex ingredient possesses a dual purpose – not only does its sweet, animalic and marine scent impart a rich, sumptuous dimension to a perfume, it is also used as a fixative, slowing the evaporation process and thus allowing the fragrance to mellow on the skin for longer periods of time. The opulent nature of ambergris is celebrated in Creed’s Royal Oud – a majestic yet refined symphony of the world’s most luxurious fragrance ingredients. Ambergris is also found in Aventus and Aventus for Her, creating the iconic, sensual, yet powerful dry down that expresses the bold nature of the wearer.
Powdery, buttery and sweet, the gnarled appearance of the root of the Iris pallida plant belies its delicately beautiful fragrance. Upon harvesting, this root has no discernible scent, and must be matured for as long as 5 years – a laborious task that requires constant attention to ensure the tuberous roots are developing as desired. An exceptionally versatile scent, the iris root provides a exquisite, long-lasting base that works perfectly as a base note for fresh, vibrant perfumes - including the romantic, blossoming Love in White, the woody, lush and breezy Green Irish Tweed, and the warm yet uplifting Spice & Wood.
These wrinkled little beans are the seeds of the Dipteryx odorata plant, and hold within them a captivatingly rich scent of deceptively simple origins – unlike many fragrance oils, tonka bean extract contains only one aromatic compound. Called coumarin, this compound imparts a warm, surprisingly layered scent with hints of cinnamon, vanilla, cherry and fresh hay. Tonka bean works particularly well as an exotic base note, and creates an enticing spiciness in Creed’s bold, powerful Viking, whilst tingling the senses in warm, opulent and exciting Original Santal. In Virgin Island Water, tonka bean takes on a dynamic aspect together with fruity citrus notes, as this fresh yet warm fragrance conjures a sense of a tropical paradise, where the hot sun and cool sea breeze are simultaneously serene and invigorating.
One of the world’s most coveted ingredients, vanilla is extracted from the seed pods of the Vanilla planifolia plant. In order for the iconic black pods to form, each flower must be pollinated by hand, making vanilla one of the costliest, most labour-intensive spices available. Treacle-sweet, sensual and a little seductive, the scent of vanilla creates an easy allure with an exotic, heady edge. An utterly decadent ode to this opulent spice, Sublime Vanille is hypnotically irresistible, while Royal Princess Oud celebrates empowerment with captivating florals underscored by vanilla’s rich warmth, and shimmering, romantic Iris Tuberuse luxuriates on the spice as a sensual, elegant and refined base.
A dainty plant synonymous with femininity and innocence, violet offers two separate fragrances – one from the powdery, seductive Parma violet flowers, and one from fresh, grassy violet leaves. Love in Black celebrates the velvety opulence of Parma violets - mysterious and passionate yet sweetly soft at the edges. Green Irish Tweed on the other hand uses the herbaceous violet leaf to evoke the lush landscapes of the Emerald Isle, while the exquisitely floral, romantic Fleurissimo relies on the leaves for a balancing touch of greenery, just like a real-life wedding bouquet.
The complexity of vetiver makes it one of the most versatile, important fragrance ingredients of them all. Deeply earthy, woody and smoky, balanced with sweet undertones, this aromatic grass is celebrated in Creed’s Original Vétiver, using both the root and, unusually, the leaves to create a unique, fresh and masculine scent that instantly conjures images of long summers in the great outdoors. Nostalgic and crisp, Vétiver Geranium is inspired by the rolling green hills of the Indonesian island of Java, with an intoxicating blend of exotic scents, beneath which vetiver provides a verdant base. Light, invigorating Aventus Cologne employs vetiver notes to create a sumptuous yet revitalising heart, adding to the fresh, woody impact of this alluring Eau de Parfum, whilst Viking and Viking Cologne - odes to the bold spirit of the modern adventurer - use vetiver to conjure new horizons, fresh challenges and ambitious sights.
True to its captivating and beguiling nature, the fragrance of jasmine is wilfully difficult to extract from the flower. Petals picked by hand just before dawn are treated with painstaking care and attention throughout the process – taking over 8000 flowers to yield just 1ml of intoxicating, heady fragrance oil. Irresistible yet tempestuous, jasmine demands dedication before it offers up its hypnotic scent. Enhancing the rich, tantalising nature of Aventus, jasmine plays an important role by providing a subtle, alluring dimension to the iconic fragrance. In Spring Flower, the jasmine heart note delicately yet confidently embodies joyful femininity, while in White Flowers, this enchanting scent takes on a divine quality, luminous and redolent of a dewy morning garden. Youthful and romantic, jasmine takes on a sweeter, fresher role in Love in White for Summer – embodying the sensation of floral blooms carried on a fresh sea breeze.
In a masterpiece, the components of the work must act in harmony to express the inspiration – an artist’s skilful brush strokes convey the meaning of the painting, a writer’s choice of words deftly communicates the story. This is also true of the fragrances created by The House of Creed – Millésime quality ingredients in extravagant concentrations serve as the brushstrokes, expressing the inspiration behind each meticulously crafted fragrance - upon the canvas of the wearer’s skin.Shop All Creed Fragrances