The Art of Millésime
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.
Our millésime perfumes are blends of high quality natural raw ingredients that are weighted, mixed and macerated, in most cases by hand, in a small artisanal factory near Fontainebleau, France. The process is labor-intensive, but Creed is driven by artistry and perfection.
- Oliver Creed
Our Signature Ingredients
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 Millésime 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.
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 honored 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..
All great perfumers have their favorite 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 stabilizes and intensifies other ingredients; it enriches the whole.
Creed uses Orris, the root of the Iris Pallida, which can take up to six years to prepare.
Three years for the rhizome of the plant to grow to an adequate maturity. Three years for the harvesting and drying process.
Orris has a deep and sensual odor, it gives perfume an earthy, warm, powdery quality which is immediately recognizable 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 visualizing - the oils that are used in a fragrance and remembering where the plants are grown: picturing their shape, size, habitat and color - not to mention their perfume.
They really are a gift of nature, wondrous and remarkable.