August 12, 2022

Beloved by the Beckhams, Michelle Obama and Napoleon of France, Creed’s list of celebrity fans, royal patrons and family history dating back to the 1700s makes for a captivating prospect. Best known for its blockbuster hit Aventus – now considered a modern men’s classic – Creed has produced a host of other charismatic concoctions that hold its own against its most famous family member. Each uses ingredients such as vetiver, iris and even oud in unusual and interesting ways.

Founded in Mayfair in 1760, Creed started as a tailors on Conduit Street, specialising in equestrian attire and leather goods, before relocating to Paris in 1894. According to the brand, it used fragrance to scent leather items such as gloves and concocted bespoke blends for the likes of Napoleon and Queen Victoria.

The brand became a fully-fledged commercial fragrance house in the 1970s, leaning heavily on its tailoring history and royal connections, with the 2010 launch of Aventus putting Creed firmly on the map.

Now the company styles itself as “the most mysterious fragrance brand in the world”. Mysterious it may be, but it certainly knows how to charge: a 100ml bottle of Aventus will set you back a cool £295. Owning a bottle of Creed has become something of a status symbol, much like a Rolex watch or Gucci cufflinks. But to limit it to that label would be doing Creed a disservice.

Maintaining that its scents are hand-mixed using “the finest ingredients”, it has to be said, these do have potency and staying power. Yes, there are plenty of classic scents without the three-figure price tag, but if you’re a true fragrance fan or a particular Creed blend has stolen your heart, you’ll definitely get a return on the investment.

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How we tested

Our tester was a woman, so we spoke to male fragrance experts and fans for their input about how certain masculine Creed scents made them feel and which ones they liked to wear and why. We then visited the Creed boutique in Mayfair and road-tested these scents ourselves, looking at how each scent warmed up on our skin and how unique and addictive its bouquet was. We also noted how long each lasted and its silage (ability to leave a trail).

The best Creed perfumes for 2022 are:

Creed green Irish tweed

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

Sex appeal is subjective – but if riders on horseback, period dramas and errant aristocrats are your particular peccadillo, you might appreciate this rather dashing concoction. Created to pay homage to the Linton Tweed Mill, a supplier to Creed when it was a tailoring house, it channels the craftsmanship of handwoven yarns and the atmospheric landscape of the Emerald Isle. You might wonder how this translates into fragrance, but that’s what makes this so intriguing. It manages to capture the texture of this multi-faceted fabric – notes of cut grass, cool spices and citrus are interwoven with warm, earthy base notes of cedarwood, sandalwood and oakmoss that give it serious nuzzle-ability. It’s incredibly sexy but not in an obvious way, which makes it all the more appealing.

Creed original vétiver

Best: For newcomers

Rating: 8/10

Vetiver was enormously successful when it launched before it got dominated by Aventus and became unjustly forgotten. It’s more reserved than many of the brand’s more opulent bouquets – a pleasant entry-point into the Creed world and excellent for those who prefer subtler smells. Gloriously green, vetiver is usually a rich, earthy base note, but here it is cleaned up and given a contemporary makeover, incorporating both the root and leaf. It’s given added freshness with lemon and ginger in addition to woody and musky facets, which makes for a complex scent but not in an overpowering or intimidating way. If you’re feeling generous, it might make an ideal gift for a (very lucky) teenage boy making his first foray into fragrance.

Creed original santal

Best: For party people

Rating: 9/10

If vetiver is considered a starter scent, then santal is the next step up for those looking to build a fragrance wardrobe. It’s the perfect scent for guys – and girls – who enjoy wearing fragrances for fun and are regulars on the party circuit. Inspired “by the passion and grandeur of India”, it opens with sprightly top notes of ginger combined with zesty bergamot and mandarin, complemented by an enveloping heart of orange blossom and sandalwood – the latter an incredibly addictive (and seductive) ingredient that adds a sensual backdrop to the rest of the bouquet. The way this develops is incredible, showcasing sandalwood in all its seductive warmth.

Creed aventus

Best: For making an impression

Rating: 8/10

We had to come to it eventually, although this one needs little introduction or publicity. Launched in 2010, aventus became Creed’s best-selling scent of all time and was even named David Beckham’s fragrance of choice. “Once strangers started stopping us in the street to ask what we were wearing, we knew we had a hit on our hands,” recalls Eva, an in-house perfume expert at the Creed Boutique.

It’s still frequently worn today. During a night at the theatre, our tester found themselves seated next to someone who had practically marinated themselves in it, which gave the play an extra fragrant dimension, to say the least. But no smoke without fire, as they say, and aventus wouldn’t have been quite so ubiquitous if what’s inside wasn’t any good. As wonderfully loud and colourful as you might expect, a sharp spike of pineapple, amplified with spices and smoke, is among its distinguishing characteristics. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but like many classics before it, it’s a scent of contrasts, its many dimensions blending in perfect harmony.

Creed wind flowers

Best: Floral scent

Rating: 8/10

While Creed is best known for its scents for the gents, it has a decent line in women’s fragrances too. Wind flowers was launched this spring and is a perfectly pleasant and charming floral affair – a welcome addition. Inspired by a dancer being carried on the breeze, this comes pirouetting in with sweet notes of peach and iris, with a hefty dose of jasmine and orange blossom, underscored with the richness of sandalwood and praline. Despite being the newest Creed family member, there’s something slightly retro about this; it reminded our tester of family get-togethers in hotels crammed full of exotic flowers and women wearing a little too much perfume. (It was the eighties. Enough said.) Peachy floral perfumes abound on the market, but this breathes new energy into the category. It’s the perfect scent to see you through spring/summer.

Creed silver mountain water

Best: For lovers of the alpine air

Rating: 9/10

Snow bunnies will appreciate this crisp concoction, inspired by that exhilarating feeling of being up in the mountains, surrounded by clear blue skies and inhaling cool, icy air.  A fresh fragrance in every sense, you might think of silver mountain water as the minimalist antidote to the more bombastic aventus, but it’s arguably just as interesting and complex. This is as chic and pleasurable as a weekend skiing in St Moritz, boasting sharp top notes of zesty bergamot and spiky blackcurrant before veering off-piste with fresh green galbanum combined with the subtle sweetness of orange. At its heart is a salty marine-like accord, giving it an almost metallic quality. The après-ski is a warm, musky dry down, giving this minimalist bouquet some depth and staying power. If you’re fond of cool, contemporary scents that deliver an energising boost, this is the one for you.

Creed love in white

Best: Classic fragrance

Rating: 7/10

As the name and white bottle suggest, this is perfect for spritzing on before heading down the aisle. Although it goes hard on the romantic florals, it would be a shame to confine it to only a wedding day. Inspired by a drive through the blossom tree-lined streets of the south of France, it stars fruity top notes of orange zest, apple and apricot before revealing a rich floral heart of Bulgarian rose and Florentine iris, with delicate notes of magnolia and jasmine. There are probably quirkier and more interesting bouquets among the Creed family, but this is perfectly pleasant and inoffensive (the Kate Middleton of Creed scents, if you will) and if you enjoy the whiff of a pretty floral, this ticks all the boxes.

Creed royal princess oud

Best: Glamorous scent

Rating: 8/10

Oud but not as we know it. Royal princess oud reimagines this smoky, earthy ingredient as a classic amber fragrance, dialling up the glamour and femininity with a hefty dose of rose, vanilla and violet. Inspired by a time when the House of Creed was tailors to the English Court, it pays homage to the magnificent red gowns the women would wear, layering bewitching notes of oud with enveloping vanilla and patchouli. Although “aventus for her” was created to be the female counterpart to the original aventus, we would say royal princess oud is an equally good match – strong, punchy and unabashedly feminine. We advise spritzing this on whenever you need an extra spring in your step.

Creed virgin island water

Best: For warmer climates

Rating: 9/10

This is true happiness in a bottle – one sniff and, suddenly, you’re on a tropical island surrounded by swaying palm trees. Fresh and warm, it announces itself with a cheery cocktail of bergamot, crisp Mexican lime and tangy tropical fruit but manages to stay on the right side of sophisticated rather than sickly sweet. At its heart are dreamy white florals and coconut – the latter might not be to everyone’s taste, but it works perfectly in this bouquet. If you find the scent of sun cream transports you to the beach, spraying this on is like slathering yourself in the most expensive and seductive-smelling SPF you could ever imagine. The holiday scent that sets the standards.

Creed bois du Portugal

Best: Old-school men’s scents

Rating: 8/10

This is one of Creed’s lesser-known concoctions, but a delightful find when we encountered it in the store. It follows the traditional structure of a men’s fougere (citrus, lavender and woody notes) and was created to pay tribute to timeless masculinity. As the name suggests, it’s like taking a walk through a wood, with a cool lavender signature given a seductive overcoat thanks to a medley of warm, earthy notes such as patchouli and vetiver, while woody notes of cedarwood and sandalwood make for a smooth, dry down. If you’re a fan of vintage festivals – or obsessed with Peaky Blinders – this timeless gents’ scent will definitely go down well.

The verdict: Creed perfumes

Picking a best was a tough decision, but when it comes to originality, complex character and sheer charm and charisma, green Irish tweed has it all in spades. It’s a beautifully multi-faceted men’s fragrance – stylish and seductive but doesn’t scream “look at me!”.

Honourable mentions go to virgin island water, one of the sunniest yet most sophisticated scents we’ve ever sniffed, and santal, which developed so beautifully on the skin, with all the smoothness and warmth of a good vintage whiskey.

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