Creed is one of few family owned and run perfume houses that have resisted the temptation of being purchased by one of the large fashion and beauty groups. Today Oliver Creed and more recently his son Erwin Creed have steered the company into the 21st century with fragrances such as Himalaya, Aventus and Royal Oud. The family is known for their production of natural essences using traditional techniques requiring parts of the work to be done by hand. These are techniques many larger manufacturers would not be able to perform. James Henry Creed began making fragrances in 1760. Queen Victoria appreciated his work and Creed became an official supplier to the royal household. The patronage of Empress Eugenie convinced James Henry’s grandson, Henry Creed to move the family business to Paris in 1854 where it has remained. Although the house is considered French, their fragrances have been made widely available all over the world by a number of key niche fragrance distributors. I don’t know if there is any personal history between the Creed family and Luca Turin, but it was interesting that to see both Luca and Tania Sanchez, who co-authored Perfumes: The Guide, had little, if anything positive to say about the brand in their reviews. Not long after the book was published I remember finding a radio interview online during the promotional phase of the book. A Creed spokesperson bravely dialed in to discuss the fragrance house and Luca’s review of one of the house’s best sellers for women in which he commented that it was “so disastrously vile words nearly desert me”. But words didn’t desert Luca as he continued his review with, “if this were a shampoo offered with your first shower after sleeping rough for two months in Nouakchott, you’d opt to keep the lice”. As you would expect, Luca Turin’s spoken words are as sharp as his written words and the poor PR guy from Creed had little chance of surviving this radio interview. I on the other hand am quite fond of Creed. Aside from a couple of samples I have, Erolfa, which was created in 1992, is the only Creed fragrance I have purchased. I often find the Creed fragrances are classic (and safe) slightly more elevated versions of other mainstream successes. Himalaya is a luxurious expression of Chanel’s Platinum Egoiste or Millesime Imperial reads as something Dolce & Gabanna would do in the late 1990s. Erolfa does not push any boundaries but is a wonderfully simple and is an appealing fragrance easily worn by all men.
Erolfa begins with a polite accord of citrus and herbal notes. Predominantly lemon and linalool, the accord is made interesting with its mix of basil and orange. Within minutes a number of fruity notes and Calone create a vision of melon. This is paired with a muted jasmine, fresh spices, ginger, pepper and coriander. The base notes are classic Creed: Amber and musk, sandal and cedar wood. Inspired by the scent of fresh sea air, Erolfa contains some powerful ozonic aroma chemicals, popular in the 1990s, creating the lasting scent of fresh laundry. The top notes have a small amount of cumin that dirty this fragrance up a little, giving it an air of masculinity. The scent of a washed shirt that for the most part smells clean, but on closer inspection still smells of its owner.
Erolfa is a no brainer. Aside from smelling good, it can be worn by men of different ages, backgrounds and lifestyles. Perfect for summer, spent by the water or great to complete a clean-cut office look with suit, carefully pressed shirt and oxfords. It is a safe gift idea. If you give it to someone who doesn’t like it, finding a home for your unwanted gift should not be a difficult task.
Dolce & Gabbana D&G Masculine, Ralph Lauren Polo Explorer, Christian Dior Higher Energy, Carthusia Uomo
Perfumer: Oliver Creed
Bottle designer: Oliver Creed, Pochet et du Courval studio
Release date: 1992
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Water