The Art of Millesime

Creed Quality Assurance 

At Creed, we refer to our fragrances as Millesime quality. The word “Millesime” comes from the world of wine, translating from the French to mean a great vintage. In the wine industry, a vintage wine refers to a particular year and place from which the quality of wine was superb. Creed pride themselves in using only the best quality ingredients in their perfume creations that are high in natural oils. One of the unique joys of a perfume which is high in natural oils is that while the quality always remains 100%, the accents of the scent will vary bewitchingly with every vintage.

The perfume becomes a living entity, as animated and arbitrary as any of its wearers. Each harvest will yield flowers of a slightly varying fragrance depending on hours of sunshine and rainfall. With Creed fragrances the finished Millesime perfume will always follow the same identical formula, but also breathe out an individual signature, just as a precious wine will vary subtly from year to year. Here is the magical mystery and sophistication at the heart of Creed.

The term Millésime is from the wine terminology, meaning the ‘best of the crop’. Much like fine wine, perfume making mirrors that labour-intensive process. Our Millésime perfumes are blends of the highest concentration of infused oils and the best ingredients chosen.

- Olivier Creed -

Our Signature Ingredients

Both Olivier and Erwin Creed devote much of their time to sourcing and curating perfume oils around the globe to create the finest Millesime fragrances. Many of these fine ingredients used by Creed have been used in the world of perfumery for thousands of years. Cleopatra and Nefertiti were crowned with lotus, thousands of roses filled the palaces of Imperial Rome and a poignant wreath of faded blue cornflowers was found on the golden mask of Tutankhamun, 3,000 years after his burial. They have also been used in the creation of fragrance as we know it for hundreds of years.

The origin of the natural oils used in Creed fragrances plays a huge part in the quality of the fragrance produced. Over millennia certain countries, regions and cities have become celebrated for perfume oils of unique quality. This is because the terrain, climate and growing conditions of each region best suit the plant in question. Indian tuberose, vetiver from the isles of Haiti and Bourbon and Calabrian bergamot are renowned. Provencal lavender, Egyptian jasmine, Bulgarian rose and Sri Lankan sandalwood are legendary. All these ingredients are cultivated, loved and honoured by the Creeds.

Everyone who loves fragrance has heard of Grasse, the magical town which looks out over the French Mediterranean from high on a blue hill. It was once the fragrance capital of the world and is still a Holy Grail for all perfume-lovers. From Grasse comes jasmine and the fragile fragrant rose de mai which palpitates at the core of so many Creed classics.The cultivation of rose has its own lore. Perfumers say the odour of rose cannot be overpowered: it will rise above any other fragrance. It is uniquely complex, composed of over 400 different molecules. And the May rose harvest is so brief: just a fleeting three weeks for a few hours daily, once the morning dews have dried. All this luxury from a few dry precious acres.

As the world narrows and demand intensifies, new areas of cultivation are continuously developed and expanded. For example, due to the increasing impossibility of sourcing ethical sandalwood from Mysore, Creed will in future be importing this material from Sri Lanka. In recent years too, Australia has planted forests of this legendary scented tree. The exhalation of Antipodean natural sandalwood is fascinatingly different from that of Asia: again, all due to the chemistry of the soil, the sun, the level of rainfall.

Creed's Favourite Ingredients

All great perfumers have their favourite ingredients to which they return again and again. These oils contribute to the perfumer's definitive signature. Olivier and Erwin Creed love the yield of the prized iris, the flower named after the ancient goddess of the rainbow. Iris is a fixative in perfume: it stabilises and intensifies other ingredients; it enriches the whole.

Creed also uses Orris, the extract of iris pallida, the white iris of Florence and that city's heraldic emblem. Orris can take up to six years to prepare. Three years for the root or rhizome of the plant to grow to an adequate maturity; three years for the harvesting and drying process. Orris has a much deeper and more sensual odour than the delicate scent of the iris flower: it gives perfume an earthy, warm, powdery quality which is immediately recognisable and of immense presence.

The romance of the many plants, trees, herbs and flowers which are used in perfumery add greatly to the power and impact of a scent. There is magic and enchantment simply in listing - and visualising - the oils that are used in a fragrance and remembering where the plants are grown: picturing their shape, size, habitat and colour - not to mention their perfume. Some flowers bloomed on this planet for millions of years before Man appeared. The great Jurassic dinosaurs would have gazed upon - and maybe eaten - the first magnolias. Irises grew in the Nile before the pyramids were built. They really are a gift of nature, wondrous and remarkable.