The nursery garden of Creed is the whole world: the house’s raw plant oils are the harvest of the Elysian Fields. Both Olivier and Erwin Creed devote a great deal of their time to sourcing and curating perfume ingredients around the globe. In the interests of having the purest and most authentic oils at their disposal, the Creeds reserve regular crops with farmers and suppliers with whom they build up exclusive relationships of trust and confidence. Creed is sure to maintain more than one line of supply so that should one crop fail utterly, there is always a reserve safely in hand.
Over the 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 locale best suit the plant in question. Thus, Indian tuberose, vetiver from the isles of Haiti and Réunion, and Calabrian bergamot are renowned. Provençal lavender, Egyptian jasmine, Bulgarian rose and Mysore sandalwood are legendary. All these ingredients are cultivated, loved and honoured by the Creeds.
One of the unique joys of a perfume high in natural oils is that while the quality always remains 100 per cent, the accents of the scent vary bewitchingly with every vintage. The perfume becomes a living entity, as vivacious and capricious as any of its wearers. Each harvest will yield flowers of a slightly varying fragrance depending on hours of sunshine and rainfall. Accordingly, finished Millesime perfumes will always follow an identical formula, but also breathe out an individual signature, just as a precious wine will vary subtly from year to year.
All great perfumers have their favourite ingredients to which they return again and again. These oils contribute to the perfumer’s definitive signature.
Iris from Florence
Olivier and Erwin Creed adore the yield of the prized iris, the flower named after the goddess who personified the rainbow in Greek mythology. Iris is a fixative in perfume: it stabilises and intensifies the other ingredients, it enriches the whole.
Creed 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 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 that is immediately recognisable and of immense presence, as epitomised in Creed Love in White.
Rose from Grasse
Considered one of the fragrance capitals of the world and the holy grail for perfume lovers, Grasse is a magical town that looks out over the French Mediterranean from high on a blue hill. From Grasse comes jasmine, and the fragile fragrant rose de mai, which palpitates at the core of so many Creed classics, such as Aventus for Her and Rose Imperiale. 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; maybe a bare three weeks for a few hours daily, once the morning dews have dried. All this from a few acres in France. The gardens of the world – in a flacon of Creed.