If there is one fragrance I’m asked for my opinion of more than any other it’s Aventus by CREED. Seriously, I regularly get emails from readers or DMs on social media from followers asking me what I think about this super popular masculine fragrance. Aventus has achieved cult status amongst fragrance obsessives and casual observers alike. It’s a perfume I find myself talking about a lot – I so often have conversations with men about Aventus, whether they are into perfume or not, because it’s often the first fragrance they mention. But why? What makes Aventus special? Why has it resonated so well? I’m genuinely curious.
Aventus launched in 2010 – the year that the house of CREED celebrated its 250th anniversary. According to the brand, CREED perfumer Olivier Creed was inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte, choosing to use a host of ingredients that had a link to the French military leader. Structurally it is not an unusual fragrance – the top notes are fresh and citrussy (bergamot, blackcurrant, apple and pineapple), whilst the rest is floral, aromatic and warm (jasmine, rose, patchouli, amber etc.)
There are so many fragrance launches each year it’s difficult to write about them all. Speed Sniffs is a way to bring you to the point reviews fragrances that are quick and easy to digest. After all, sometimes all one needs is a few lines to capture the essence of a scent. Speed Sniffs are perfume reviews without all of the faff.
Only CREED could name a fragrance ‘Viking‘. There’s something so audacious yet so fitting about the name that it could only have been chosen by the house of CREED. Now, I’ll be honest and say that I’m no CREED fan, but I do enjoy a number of their fragrances, namely Virgin Island Water and Love in Black, which are really quite beautiful. So I approached their latest masculine fragrance, which just so happens to be their first since Aventus (which itself has become something of a cult phenomenon, no less), with intrigue and just a touch of caution. I needn’t have been so tentative.
It’s really heating up here in the Kingdom of the United. Friday was the hottest day of the year so far, with the mercury making its way up to a rather scorching 27ºC (that’s 80ºF to my American counterparts). I spent the day soaking up the sun at Wireless festival, enjoying the melodic tones of Pharrell Williams and the egotistical rants of Kanye West. Many people however, would have flocked to the coast to top up their Vitamin D levels on one of the countries many beaches.
I do love a good beach, but I must admit that I am not a fan of sunbathing – my short attention span makes sure of that (it’s so short, in fact, that it’s a miracle that I managed to make it to the end of that last sentence). Thankfully for me, Britain offers an array of coastlines ranging from the full-on seaside resorts, complete with candy floss, beach huts and donkey rides to the abandoned sand dunes of almost-forgotten beaches in the farthest corners of the country.
In this piece, I take a look at some of my favourite seaside perfumes. Fragrances that are evocative of the beach, whether that be the hot sands of an exotic getaway or the cold shingle of a British seaside town – there’s even a fragrance that conjures up the image of an alien landscape – a beach on the planet Venus. So pack your sunglasses and your bucket and spade, ’cause we’re going on a short summer holiday and a scented tour of the world’s smelliest beaches.
I have a turbulent relationship with the house of CREED. They are definitely on the pricey side for what they are and their quality can be a bit hit or miss, but it would be unfair to say that none of their scents are worth seeking out. In fact, I can name at least four that are sniff worthy (Virgin Island Water, Silver Mountain Water, Millesime Imperial and Green Irish Tweed) so, as much as they may not be my favourite of brands, I’m still very much willing to give them the time of day, but have always approached them with a wary step.
One particular CREED perfume that sticks out for me is Love in Black – a scent that I like to call ‘Dark Lady’ as it presents an intriguing, feminine and unexpected representation of the colour black. It’s also a perfume that really does take awhile to ‘get’ due to its striking take on violet and iris – two ingredients often used to represent beauty, but in this perfume are added to give the impression of something beautifully unconventional.
Love in Black was launched in 2008 and was inspired by former US first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (or Jackie O as she was more commonly known) and is a far cry from the clean blooms of its sister scent Love in White. CREED describe the fragrance as a “lush floral oriental”, but in my mind it is more of a black swan of a scent (funnily enough the brand uses this imagery) that plays on the contrasting facets of a modern and powerful woman.
When I first started getting in to perfume I, like many others, spent a decent amount of time lurking the Basenotes forums and learning that there is just so much more perfume out there than one would think. During my months of discovery I came across the word ‘niche’ for the very first time and back then my understanding was that ‘niche’ described ‘special’ and ‘artisanal’ perfume – descriptions that may not be applicable today.
My first experience with niche perfume was with CREED, a brand that has many fans and many detractors, and it was a decant of Silver Mountain Water that opened my eyes to the startling fact that perfume could smell unusual. Whatever your opinion is of the CREED dynasty it is hard to deny that they have made a number of rather decent perfumes – Silver Mountain Water being one and Green Irish Tweed, Millesime Imperial and Virgin Island Water being others – and whilst I may have not paid the brand much mind over the last few years I cannot deny that they have a knack for creating classic and elegant perfumes.
CREED’s latest offering is Millesime 1849, a perfume that has been launched to commemorate the birth date of London’s premiere shopping destination Harrods – a place that is as much as tourist attraction as it is a department store. Millesime 1849 aims to capture the spirit of one of London’s most famous addresses and the “imperial epoch which inspires its name, as well as the glorious reign of Victoria”.
Food and I have a very strong and loving relationship. Perhaps too loving in fact, and I’ll be the first to admit that our relationship can be a little unhealthy at times. But at those times when I don’t feel that I should exercise a good degree of self control to keep my weight down I thoroughly enjoy going out for dinner and experimenting with new food.
Our senses of taste and smell are inextricably linked and when going out for dinner it makes sense, and it’s also good fun, to match our fragrance to the style of cuisine we will be devouring. Only the other night I was heading out for dinner with friends and was having a SOTE (Scent of the Evening) dilemma, I asked my Twitter followers for help and they came back with some interesting suggestions based on the type of food (Mexican F.Y.I.) I would be eating, which got me thinking – which fragrances would be best suited for other cuisines?
To explore the relationship between fragrance and food I cordially invite you to dinner, during which I, along with the help of my partner-in-crime and budding-foodie Nigel, will pair some of the most popular cuisines with fragrant counterparts that will leave you complimenting your food and smelling wonderful simultaneously. Get your passports out because we’re going to be touring the restaurants of the world…