Creed

Discovering The Power Of Scent With Creed Fragrance Expert

The power of scent has always been something that has fascinated me.

Above all other senses, it’s the one that can instantly take me back to a moment in time and trigger vivid memories.

It wasn’t until I removed myself from my deadline-driven desk and settled in for afternoon tea with one of Creed’s fragrance experts, that I realised how powerful perfume can be.

For me, and I’m sure for many others, the smell of fresh cut grass takes me back to my childhood – playing out without a care in the world.

More memories are brought to life with notes of lavender – taking me back to my grandmother’s garden, and crisp, clean linen – taking me back to a beautiful holiday in the Caribbean.

But one of my most treasured and more recent memories triggered through the power of scent, is the unique and totally heartwarming smell of a newborn baby – something I never understood until I had one of my own.

So, as Eva and I pour our first cup of tea from the pot, I’m intrigued to delve deeper into the science of the scent and how it ca control our emotions from the day we are born and through the highs and lows of life.

Throw in one of my favourite fragrance houses, and I’m in for a real treat to cheer up a very wet and chilly afternoon.

CreedWhat can you tell us about House of Creed’s history and heritage?

We started in 1760 as a tailor in London, Mayfair, so we very much belong to that golden mile of tailoring history.

The journey to perfume was through scented leather gloves. They were fashionable from the 14th century and were popular amongst the wealthiest people in society.

As you can imagine, life was not beautifully scented in those days, so they would wear these luxurious smelling leather gloves that would raise their spirits.

In Mayfair during that time, just before the ‘Dandy’ period, anything these people dreamed of, they could have made – and scented gloves was one of those luxuries.

Mr Creed started experimenting with these ideas and shortly after, we made a pair of scented gloves for King George III.

At the end of the 19th century, Queen Victoria was probably our most famous client, with regular communication between Mr Creed and the royal team of tailors and wardrobe mistresses.

We began supplying the key royal households of Europe, particularly in equestrian tailoring and uniforms.

We relocated from London to Paris in 1854 to supply Napoleon III and his Empress Eugénie, who appointed Creed as an official supplier to the royal household.

Today, we are very proud to be both French and English – we have these two cultures running through the brand, which is really
enriching.

Over the years, we have developed into a specialist perfume company, and what is so incredibly special about the brand is that we still have the Creed family involved in the business. They’re now in the seventh generation, which is amazing for a company of this age.

Olivier Creed, the seventh generation descendent of founding Mr Creed, is our Creative Director and Erwin, his son, is very involved in the business too. It is amazing to have this incredible heritage that has been passed on from generation to generation.

Olivier continues to celebrate the brand’s rich history, as well as diversifying the business. He decided to turn the business into a perfume house and wind down on the tailoring.

Tailoring is super technical, and because he trained as an artist, he struggled to bring his natural creativity to the brand.

In perfume, you can express emotion through storytelling and memories. Creed continues to be driven by artistry and perfection – a timeless, yet modern take on history, bottled in luxurious fragrances. Green Irish Tweed is my go-to Creed fragrance.

CreedWhat can you tell us about this scent and its connection with the brand’s couture heritage?

Tweed plays a prominent role in the history of Creed. It is a key fabric in equestrian tailoring. Green Irish Tweed really captures the spirit of the ‘country estate’ lifestyle.

We have a long-standing connection with Linton Tweed in Carlisle, dating back to the 1920s. Olivier’s uncle, Charles Creed, spent some time there working as an apprentice.

To continue the couture heritage and pay homage to Charles’s time there, we partnered with Linton Tweed on Green Irish Tweed.

It’s timeless in a very modern way, and tells the story of Creed really well, representing the lush landscapes and earthy tones of country estates and the fresh air that surrounds them.

 

Why is fragrance so powerful in evoking memories and emotion?

Scent is so full of emotion and memories, and there’s lots of science behind why that is.

Out of the five senses, the sense of smell is the most direct to the brain. We start smelling in the subconscious mind first – a good few seconds before we are aware of it, so we are reacting emotionally and physically before we even know it.

Some things you can fractionalise and decide if you’re going to like it, you can’t do that with smell, it’s so primal, and that’s why it’s so powerful.

Fragrance is the best time capsule. A perfume is a diary entry. The scent of your mum when you’re born and when you’re growing up, for example, stays with you forever. It’s how you find that bond from day one.

All of our senses are about survival, so there are loads of things that are really fascinating as to how and why we react to smell.

No two people are going to have the same scent education.

It’s all to do with life experience.

We generally tend to be fond of vanilla because it’s one of the first molecules we learn to smell – it’s very akin to a mother’s skin, so many baby products are made with vanilla because it calms them down.

But later on in life, you might have a bad experience with vanilla, and that comfort disappears. It is very personal – it depends on our own unique journey.

Like many things, we might be born with similar ideas and qualities, but things change as life goes on, and the same goes for scent.

CreedWhy is it that, once we are paired with the perfect perfume, we all of a sudden can’t smell it on ourselves?

When you wear a scent, your brain is very alert to begin with. It runs through the questions, ‘is this going to harm me?’, ‘is this beneficial to me?’.

Once the brain understands what it is, it thinks, ‘ok, I don’t need to worry about this again, I’m safe’. Because of that, you stop smelling it because the brain knows what it is.

You want that hit because you love it and what it does for your ego. It’s a form of communication, like when you’re choosing clothing, or a car – or whatever it may be.

You are talking to the people around you. It says a lot about you as a person. You choose your perfume because it gives you an invisible armour in a way. Be aware that, even though you can’t smell it as strongly, other people can.

People in your inner circle might also stop smelling it if they’re around you a lot.

The only time you’re not going to stop smelling it is when it’s really not right for you for whatever reason. It will drive you crazy. It’s like something irritating your skin constantly.

Sometimes we have scents in our bank that can trigger a bad memory and they don’t go away – that’s why sometimes certain fragrances just don’t work for us.

When you’re choosing perfume, it’s important to really take your time, try it on your skin and let it settle for a while before purchasing.

 

What journey does a fragrance take us on?

Perfume is a story told through evaporation.

You have to make sure you like it from the top notes, which are very fleeting and last anything from 15 minutes to half an hour, the heart notes last for a few hours, and then the base notes are what you are left with.

We are taken on a journey with fragrance, and it’s important to make sure you have a match at each stage of the process. You might love the beginning, but you might not love the end result.

Is it a flirtation?

Or is it a marriage?

We want you to find your forever match.

 

What can you tell us about Creed’s key ingredients?

A Creed perfume is going to have lots of the finest ingredients available. We are a safe and responsible business. We do use synthetic ingredients, but in an incredibly sustainable way.

Synthetics get such a bad reputation, but it’s really unfair, we can get so creative with them.

We are developing some amazing natural ingredients in the laboratory, using funghis and sugars. We can start to replicate what mother nature is doing in the lab in a way that is sustainable so we are not over farming.

Creed

How often does Creed develop new fragrances?

We are quite slow in developing. When it is an art, and not an over-marketed product, it’s about allowing space and time for inspiration.

Sometimes, like many art forms, some things make themselves. Like Aventus – Olivier said it almost made itself, whereas Aventus For Her took six years to develop.

Sometimes it is really demanding, other times it can be effortless.

Our commitment to quality means we can’t rush the development. It deserves time and space. Once the formula is created – which could take months and years – you’ve got to leave the ingredients to mature.

You want a perfume to be fluid and harmonious. Something like iris, for example, takes about six years to be transformed into an oil, and you can’t speed up the process without losing quality, because it is so delicate.

It’s the most expensive laborious ingredient.

We are not the only company that uses something like iris, but it is very expensive and labour intensive, which helps it stand out and stand the test of time.

There’s so much work that goes on behind the scenes when developing a fragrance.

It’s a beautiful chemistry that takes you on a unique scent journey.

 

How do you match a customer with a Creed fragrance?

Perfumes are about emotions.

The ingredients are there to transmit an emotion or a memory that the perfumer is trying to tell you.

It’s like when a musician is writing new music. It’s not about just putting notes together that sounds pretty, it’s about transmitting a feeling or a story, or whatever it is that inspired them.

The notes are doing that storytelling.

That’s why we use music language in fragrance, because it works in a very similar way, it’s just that we are using the sense of smell instead of the auditory.


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