Viking Creed – A New Fragrance Release for 2017

Viking by Creed

Update: November 1, 2016

A video by Jeremy Fragrance has been circulating in the fragrance community showing a bottle of Viking by Creed.

Jeremy attended the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) expo in Cannes where Creed, among other perfume companies, had a booth.  

While Jeremy's focus was on Creed's White Amber, we caught a glimpse of the Creed's Viking bottle. Check out the video below. The shot of Viking is on 9:20. ​


Update: October 19, 2016

Two separate sources on Facebook share communication from Creed ​contradicting the information about the imminent release of Viking early next year.

One source met Erwin Creed during a promotion event of the company in Dallas. To the question when Viking and White Amber are coming out, Erwin allegedly responded that it was going to be a while since the fragrances are not yet finished.

 Another source quotes a customer service source at Creed. The source doesn't deny the existence of Viking or any plans for such a fragrance. They just say they are not aware of it. 

As the story around Viking by Creed has turned into a whirlwind of rumour and speculation, I'll keep providing updates here on new information I come across. Stay tuned for more. ​


Viking by Creed. This is the name of the new fragrance that Creed is rumoured to release in the first quarter of 2017. 

In a post for Fragrantica Miguel Matos reported that at the 2016 TFWA World Exhibition Creed introduced two new fragrances: Viking and White Amber

The bottle of Viking has a design similar to Aventus but in bright orange (think Hermes orange). It will likely come in the standard sizes of the Millesime collection - 75ml and 120ml.

Vikin by Creed

Source: http://www.basenotes.net/threads/427788-New-Creeds/page2

Daniel says Viking is a fragrance full of virility and what he interpreted as oak moss. I'm not sure how to interpret the "virility" part but various members of Basenotes have shared the following composition notes:

Top
Bergamot, Black Currant, Pink Pepper

Middle
Fruity Notes, Driftwood, Salt, Rose

Bottom
Ambergris, Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Sea Salt

A Basenote member also mentions that the alleged price of the fragrance is €275 for 120ml bottle. 

Aventus by Creed: The King of Men’s Perfume Review (2016)

Aventus by Creed

Two years ago I wrote a Creed Aventus review that called the perfume the choice for soulless careerists. Two years later my feelings haven't changed. 

It is not that I don't like Aventus. I do. I think it is a superb fragrance worthy of a 5-star rating. ​What I don't like is what it stands for. Here's the basis for my love-hate relationship with Creed and Aventus.

In 2010 Olivier Creed masterfully blended roasted pineapple, smoke and creamy vanilla. The result was a fragrance that was original, versatile and mass-appealing. He called it Aventus.

Balancing originality and mass market appeal is usually a tall order for many designer fragrance houses. This is why, many of them err on the side of the tried and true.  

​This is where things start getting a bit odd. First, Creed spins a tall story how Aventus means success in some ancient language. My search didn't reveal any confirmation of these claims. 

Dissecting the name on my own, I figured the best translation of the name in ​English would be From the Wind. Ventus means "wind" in Latin and the preposition "a" means from

I am not sure what the meaning of the name has to do with the fragrance. Likely nothing and this is okay. Aventus sounds good and suits the fragrance. ​

Leaving the name aside, Creed explains that Aventus was inspired by "the dramatic life of a historic emperor, celebrating strength, power and success". The emperor in question was Napoleon Bonaparte. He indeed is a notable historical figure.  He could also have been a great example for emulation had it not been for his erratic temper, short stature and self-grandeur.​

Creed Aventus

Creed's website says "Aventus man" is "destined to live a driven life, ever galloping with the wind at his back toward success".  It continues,

"Aventus is a sophisticated blend for individuals who savor a life well-lived".


As I read this, images of brashness and arrogance rush in my head. Even though I love the perfume, the imagery it conjures up has always irritated me.

Oddly, the description of Aventus reminds me Trump and people like him. Arrogant, ego-driven individuals who seek ultimate power and success for its own sake. Or for the sake of being able to say they are successful. 

What Does Creed Aventus Smell Like?​

If you forget all the silly imagery of Napoleon and ever galloping towards success,  Aventus is a masterpiece.  

It opens with a strong blast of pineapple.  Its juicy sharpness is accompanied by bergamot and fresh apple, which gives even more tartness to the composition.

After the first fruity blast, you might detect a smoky note creeping in.  This is the birch, which stays sharp but adds some solidity and anchor to the composition.  I particularly enjoy this note because of its unusual character in modern compositions, especially when transposed on the background of pineapple.​

Creed Aventus
Creed Aventus
Creed Aventus

Aventus remains mostly linear after the initial fruit blast.  The smoky notes remains until the dry-down and it is joined on stage by an oak moss accord giving more earthiness to the composition. I particularly enjoy the vanilla accord that emerges towards the dry-down.  The creamy sweetness of the vanilla gives a nice balance to the oak moss and birch.​

There are countless online forums where fragrance aficionados dissect how fruity or smoky each batch of Aventus is.  Some reviewers have gone so far as to conduct a thorough research of each Aventus batch and document it on a sliding scale.  Hunting batches with the right amount of fruitiness or smokiness has turned into a favourite past time for many Creed addicts.​

If you don't have a clue what all these batches are why they cause such a furor, here's what it is about.​

Creed and Batch Variations​

Creed, just like all fragrance houses, manufacture their perfumes in batches.  I don't have any insider information on this but I suspect the big designer companies produce hundreds of thousands of perfume bottles in one batch.  Bottles of perfume from the same batch have the same ingredients and therefore should smell exactly the same.​

Usually, bottles of the same perfume smell exactly the same, even if they come from different batches.  This is because the formula and ingredients don't change from batch to batch.

Further, companies test and make sure that their perfume batches smell the same.  This practice is a form of quality control and is very common among many industries.​

This [Aventus] feels like a wood paneled man cave with roses in vases.

Mark Behnke 
Managing Editor
CaFleureBon

Usually, ensuring consistency between batches is not difficult.  Most designer fragrance makers use synthetic aroma-chemicals in their compositions, which have precise aroma profiles. Sometimes, however, consistency becomes an issue when a fragrance features a large percentage natural ingredients. Ingredients coming from natural sources may have a slightly different profile depending on the harvest season, weather conditions, etc.

On occasion, manufacturers may source a certain ingredient from a different region if the original source is not available.  These changes may translate into a slightly different-smelling fragrance.  Overall, however, such changes are not significant enough for the average consumer to detect them.​

Creed argues their fragrances contain a high percentage of natural ingredients, which may cause slightly different aroma profiles between batches.  To contradict their own reasoning, Creed also explain they have extremely high quality control when selecting their natural ingredients plants harvested from the right source and at the right season.​

I've smelled several Aventus batches and to me, they smell pretty much the same.  I don't discount the fact that there may be batches out there with more pronounced pineapple or birch notes but I wouldn't obsess too much about it.​

Where to Rock It​

It's hard to beat Aventus on versatility.  Its happy zesty side makes it great for casual wear on a hot summer day and its smoky accord turns it into a classy formal fragrance for a winter night.  If you want to impress and grab people's attention - go for Aventus.

I tend to wear Aventus more often in the summer, just because I prefer warmer and heavier fragrances in the winter.  As I say this, however, I remember having a streak of several weeks a couple of winters ago where Aventus was my go-to fragrance.​

In general, when in doubt, put Aventus on. You can't go wrong.​

What Do The Frag Heads Say About Creed Aventus​?

It's hard to find a reviewer who doesn't like Aventus.  It gets so much love that it regularly tops many fragrance ranking lists online.​

Here are some of the reviews I really liked about Aventus.

Alexandria is a regular fragrance sniffer at Al's Street Scents channel on YouTube.  Even though she is not a fragrance connoisseur, Alexandria usually gives an honest woman's view on some of the popular men's perfumes.​

Out of three fragrances (Aventus, Original Santal, and Virgin Island Water), Alexandria picked Aventus as the best smelling one.  She called it a timeless scent that would work well for any season.​


​Kafka from Kafkaesque has a dissenting opinion when it comes to Aventus.  She finds it "over-hyped, simple, thin, linear scent that carries with it some frustrating issues, and which isn’t worth the high price".  To her, "Aventus, as a whole, feels wholly insubstantial in body, and is simply a nebulous haze of three primary notes: birch, oakmoss, and pineapple".

The subtle vanilla note emerging in the dry-down of the composition doesn't escape Kafka's nose.  She rightfully notes that the vanilla is not a dominant note.  She calls it a "muted wallflower" in the sense that it never takes over or dominates the composition.​

Even though Kafka's observations about Aventus overlap with mine, we diverge opinions on longevity.  She found Aventus short-lasting, while I can easily get 24 hours out of it.  I suspect the short longevity Kafka experienced might have been due to the fact she was using a sample. My tests, on the other hand, are based on the bottle I own, which gives me very liberal sprays.

Read Kafka's full review here: Creed Aventus Cologne


​Mark Behnke wrote for CaFleureBon that Aventus feels like "a wood paneled man cave with roses in vases".  I don't get any rose from Aventus but I won't be surprised if it is in the heart of the fragrance.  

Mark explains that the dry down of the composition features the classic notes of vanilla, oakmoss and ambergris. What sets Aventus apart, he says, is the skillful mix of these notes, especially the vanilla, which adds "a bit of decadence".

Read Mark Behnke's full review here: Fragrance Review: Creed Aventus: The Life of Napoleon from Top to Base Notes​

The Bottom Line

Aventus is a pure winner for me.  It is the perfect combination between originality and versatility, which gains it great accolades from me and the fragrance community.

Would you buy Aventus?
Even though it comes at a ridiculous price (around $400 for 125ml), I would seriously consider buying another bottle.  It is that good and versatile.

Would I get compliments wearing Aventus?
You will get tons of them. Aventus is the only fragrance that has consistently gotten me compliments.

What rating would you give Aventus?
It is a solid 5 out of 5.  A worthy successor of the original king from the Creed dynasty - Green Irish Tweed.


Rating:


Notes:

Bergamot, Black Currant, Pineapple, Green Apple

Birch, Patchouli, Rose, Jasmine

Musk, Vanilla, Oak Moss, Ambergris


Performance:

18 Hrs
Longevity
Strong
Projection

Creed Aventus Review: The Ultimate Panty Dropper

Notes

Bergamot, Black Currant, Pineapple, Birch, Ambergris, Musk, Oakmoss, Amber, Vanilla

The Short Story

The scent of mean corporate lawyers and back-stabbing careerists.

The Long Story

creed-aventus-men-fragrance1Creed’s Aventus is the scent of the aspiring climbers of the corporate ladder.  If their boss in the corner office wears Green Irish Tweed, the yuppie with the skinny tie fetching him the Starbucks wears Aventus.

Aventus and the aspiring junior are perfect for each other. The latter is enchanted by the prospects of power, success and wealth and the former was created to celebrate power, vision and success.

Proximity to power creates arrogance.  It creates the illusion that just because you enjoy the favour of those in charge, you are one of them. In this sense, Aventus is also the fragrance of mean corporate lawyers and back-stabbing careerists.

corporate-wellness-consultant-2

To their benefit, however, Aventus is a good fragrance.  It opens with fresh bergamot and tarty black currant and pineapple.  Usually, the latter two notes are used to add sweetness to a composition. Not here, however. They play very well with the citrus notes and contribute some gravitas and heftiness to the light and fleeting nature of the bergamot.

Creed_Aventus__84035_zoom

The fresh opening transitions into a smoky/bitter birch and patchouli combo. It still maintains its freshness but at this stage things become interesting.  Incense is not on the ingredient list, even though a smoky note is clearly present. I believe the birch and patchouli  are responsible for this.  For me, the tarty pineapple and smoke  define the fragrance.

The somewhat sharp middle notes are tempered down by a sweet musky base.  Musk, amber and vanilla add some sweetness and shave off some of the harsh edges of the woody middle.

corporate

Even though Aventus would probably work anywhere, I see it working best in the office, preferably around people with influence.  The crisp, yet, serious vibe that it gives out would definitely give the impression that you are a modern man who values quality and means business.  If this is you, or at least aspire to be one of those men, then run and get two bottles.  Your promotion may depend on it.

What Makes Perfume a Classic?

If you read fragrance forums, you have probably come across proclamations that this fragrance is timeless or that one is a new classic. I’m really struggling with this term “classic”. I remember when in 2001 when 50 Cent’s album Get Rich or Die Trying came out. I was living in New York at the time and every other person I knew was doing the finger clap proclaiming that the album was a new classic, yada, yada, yada. I admit, it was a good album, actually, I think it was his only album worth listening to but then that’s just me. My point, though, is how do people know that something has reached the status of a classic? What does it even mean?

50 Cent

So I did some thinking on the topic, while in the shower of course, and I came up with the following criteria a fragrance must meet to be considered a classic.

A fragrance to be considered a classic it must:

  1. be universally recognized as a perfume of superior quality;

  2. have had a long-term influence on the fragrance industry;

  3. have a multi-generational following.

You may not agree with this definition but before you bash it let me give you my logic. Here it is:

  1. Universal Recognition as a Perfume of Superior Quality

Think of anything that you would consider a classic – from Christmas carols to Old Spice, any product or piece of art that is considered classic is universally liked. This doesn’t mean that just because a fragrance is universally liked you must like it and wear it. In fact, many fumeheads don’t even wear fragrances that are too popular. They, however, tend to respect and appreciate them. Old Spice, for example, is rarely worn by connoisseurs. Most of them agree, however, that it is a good fragrance.

creed-GreenIrishTweed

  1. Long-Term Influence on the Fragrance Industry

A fragrance can’t be considered a classic just because many people happen to like it. Lady Gaga’s Fame is a top seller. If sales is any indication of how liked a fragrance is, then Fame must be very liked. Fame, however, just like Beyonce’s Heat and Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday, are not classic because they have not brought any long-term benefit to the fragrance industry (sales don’t count, just like gimmicky black juice doesn’t, sorry Gaga).

Sample-vialsClassic fragrances are beacons of change, they show a new direction, they are emulated and start revolutions that have ripple effect in many decades to come. Royal Fougere created a genre named after it. Coty’s Chypre did too. Mitsouko became a cornerstone of the genre Chypre created and got to define it. Green Irish Tweed and its smaller brother Cool Water started the acquatics, which 30 years later remain the preferred scent for many. This is what classics do and it is way more than just being popular.

  1. Multi-Generational Following

Back to Lady Gaga and Nicky Minaj, just like most celebrity juices, their fragrances have a limited lifespan. They are, in a way, like shooting stars – they shine really bright for a few seconds and then they die out. The classics are more like the sun – they shine a long time. Again, just like the sun, because they have been around for so long people tend to ignore them and take them for granted. Take Chanel No. 5 – soon it’s going to be a centenarian and it hardly draws much attention. The buzz is reserved for the newcomers, not for the old-timers.

Guerlain Shalimar

Classic fragrances have multi-generational following. It’s inherent to their nature. Consider Chanel’s Egoiste – it’s not unusual a father and a son to wear it. Many Creed perfumes tend to be considered signature scents and worn as a symbol of lineage. The best example of multi-generational following, though, is Old Spice. Men of all ages and walks of life have worn it and continue to wear it for the past several decades. It’s become so entrenched in our culture that it has come to define the smell of a man and of a dad (at least for North Americans). It is probably the only fragrance that is safe to give a gift to any man of any age.

How would you define a classic fragrance? What are some of your favourite classics?

What is What on the Perfume Counter: Designer vs. Niche

Lab-Glass

Since time immemorial fragrance experts have been dividing perfume into two general categories: designer and niche.  Generally speaking, designer fragrances are sold branded and sold by fashion designer brands and the niche ones are created and sold by companies that focus exclusively on perfume.  It is a myth that niche perfumes are made by perfumers-artistes and that the designer stuff is created by somehow lower caste of fragrance makers.  In fact, the biggest master perfumers create scents for both – niche and designer companies.  Bertrand Duchaufour, for example, has created masterpieces for  Dior (Fahrenheit Fresh) and L’Artisan Parfumeur (Timbuktu, Dzongkha, just to name a few).

In the past one can say there was a somewhat clear division between designer and niche fragrances.  This distinction, however, has been getting blurrier and blurrier as designer brands start releasing exclusive or limited edition lines and niche companies start looking more like mainstream brands.  To put some order to what is currently on the perfume counter, I’ve tried to classify the different types designer and niche juices on the market.  This classification may not be accurate, however, it presents a structure of the different types of players in the perfume market.

If we were to put all types of fragrance brands on a continuum, mainstream designer brands and purist niche houses will be on the far opposite ends.  Everything else will pretty much fall somewhere in between.

Drugstore Fragrances

You can’t get more mainstream than that.  The drugstore designer fragrances are borderline hygiene/cosmetic products.  We all know them and have used them at some point.  I call them drugstore fragrances because this is where you find them.  The classics in the category are Old Spice, Aqua Velva, Brut, etc.

acqua velva

Drugstore fragrances are usually an extension of an already existing cosmetic product: a lotion, aftershave, shaving cream, etc.  I haven’t come across anyone who buys a drugstore fragrance only because it smells good.  In fact, I am yet to meet a person who buys Aqua Velva period.

Drugstores are also known as the graveyards for designer fragrances.  You know a perfume is on its last legs when it appears in the clearance section of your local pharmacy next to the expired Bed Head hair spray.  Some of the regular nearly dead in this section are Jovan Musk, Dirty English and Bob Mackie.

JovanMuskEven though the drugstore is where you can find the cheapest of the cheap, there is another place where not self-respecting human being should ever look – the dollar stores.  Recently I was looking for paper plates and passed by the cosmetics aisle.  There I found gems like Blue Water – Our Version of Davidoff’s Cool Water and Clean Musk – Interpretation of Elizabeth Arden.  The fact that these sell at a dollar store and that their price is under $5 should tell you plenty about their quality. If you were ever to get a rash from a perfume, it would be from these ones, not Chanel No. 5 with its oakmoss (a wink at the European Commission’s Scientific Committee of Consumer Protection).

Mainstream Designer Fragrances

designer-perfumes-colognesThese are the scents you find in almost any department store – Armani Attitude, Gucci Guilty, Ralph (Ralph Lauren), D&G The One, etc. As it is evident by their names, they are released by large fashion brands in large quantities and very broad distribution.  For the fashion houses, fragrances are intended to serve several purposes:

  1. they serve as a gateway drug to the brand – if you like the perfume, maybe you will try the dress or shoes or whatever other high price item they make.  
  2. Designer fragrances capture the low end and middle level market. You may not be able to afford $5,000 Zegna suit but you can definitely spend $50 on Z by Zegna and buy into the “dream”.
  3. They are cash cows.  Armani was quoted saying that his fragrances bring in 75% of the revenue of the company.  Fragrances are cheap to produce, so the gross margins per bottle are huge.

Armani-AttitudeAs the cost of the perfume is carefully watched, the mainstream designer fragrances tend to use mostly synthetic ingredients. One cannot safely say that none of them use any naturals, but it is a fair assumption that the large majority don’t.

The mainstream designer fragrances have a huge distribution network usually through the perfume company commissioned make and distribute the fragrance.  Beaute Prestige, Puig, Estee Lauder and Coty are some of the largest distributors of designer fragrances.

The mainstream designer fragrances are the ones with the double digit flanker releases. Staying relevant and keeping prominent shelf space is key in the overly saturated fragrance market.

Designer Limited Editions/Exclusives Lines/Private Labels

The curse of the mainstream designer fragrances is that their huge popularity destroys their exclusivity.  It is not exclusive to wear a Chanel perfume or an Issey Miyaki.  Therefore, a particular segment of the market would not buy these fragrances and would go to smaller brands with a perceived exclusive status.  Likely in response to this trend, many designer brands started releasing private or exclusive lines.  They are usually made with higher quality ingredients and tend to be more original and creative.  Their distribution is limited to high-end retailers or only to select boutiques of the brand (Cartier‘s L’Heures de Parfum, Chanel’s Les Exclusifs, HermesHermessence, etc.).

The exclusive line fragrances are often no different than many niche perfumes – they have comparative quality of the ingredients and many are as creative as any niche scent.  They come at higher prices, often double or triple the price of the mainstream designer fragrances.  Tom Ford‘s Private Blend, for example, start at $200 for a 50ml bottle.

Popular Niche Lines

By definition niche perfumes houses focus exclusively on making fragrances.  Their existence precedes many of the designer houses popular today.

The most popular niche line I can think of is Guerlain.  They have been around since 1828 and for the most part have produced only perfume. In the recent years (likely after their acquisition by LVMH) Guerlain added a cosmetic and skin care lines.  The brand still remains mostly known for its fragrances despite its diversification.

LArtisan-ParfumeurNowadays, many of the popular niche lines act and behave very much like designer perfumes.  Evidently, the management at Guerlain is acutely aware of this mass-marketisation of its brand that it had to start releasing exclusive fragrance available only in its boutiques. Rumour has it that L’Artisan Parfumeur is going down to a similar path by signing a distribution deal with Sephora.  The company is said to have some exclusive fragrances that will be available only in their boutiques.

Purist Niche Lines

The purist niche lines stay the closest to the idea of perfume as an artistic expression.  They focus exclusively on creating fragrances and take a much more artistic approach to the process.  The goal is to create a unique fragrance that expresses a certain idea, emotion or a place.  Commercial success comes second, which, however, doesn’t mean that they are not profitable businesses.  James Heeley summed it best by saying that he makes fragrances that he likes – if other people like them too, that’s great, if they don’t…oh well, they can find something else.

Niche fragrances

Some of the more well known purist niche houses include Patricia de Nicolai, Heeley, The Different Company, Parfumerie Generale, Creed, A Lab on Fire, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Tauer Perfumes, Le Labo,  Editions des Parfums Frederic Malle, etc.  Their distribution is limited to high-end department store, specialized fragrance niche perfume stores, the niche company’s own boutiques and specialized websites.

clive-christian-guinnessLimited production and high quality of ingredients contribute to generally higher prices.  It is safe to say that niche perfumes range in price from $150 to several thousand (e.g. Clive Christian‘s concoctions).  The majority lines, however, fall in the price range $150-$300.

Some niche companies (e.g. Creed) often make claims that they use almost exclusively natural ingredients.  One can never be sure if this is true, however, chances that almost always there are more synthetics in a fragrance than the marketing materials dare say.

Indie Fragrances

copper-skies-by-kerosene-new-bottle

I’ve come across some indie fragrance houses, which can be generally categorized as indie lines.  They are usually fragrance enthusiasts (with or without professional training) who make perfumes either as a hobby or as a supplementary business.  Kerosene and Aftelier Perfumes are two lines that come to mind.  The line was started by John Pegg, a youtube fragrance reviewer, in 2011. He has 11 fragrances with very limited distribution and I believe also very low production.  With solid financial support and business savvy leadership, an indie fragrance house can easily become a more established purist niche line.  Many times the difference between a niche house and an indie house is nothing more than money and full time dedication to the art of perfumery.

I hope this informal classification gives you a good idea of the main types of fragrance houses on the market.  The market and industry are fluid and some designer and niche fragrances switch their places in the market.  Good fragrances abound in each category and it hardly makes any difference how a fragrance is classified as long as it smells good.