Gourmet Perfumes: Quality Over Quantity
April 6, 2017
Erwin Creed, a seventh-generation perfumer from the 257-year-old fragrance maker House of Creed, who currently oversees the global distribution of his familyís perfumes, has recently come to Warsaw to meet with Creedís Polish distributor, Quality Missala Perfumery. He spoke to the Voiceís Marzena Robinson.
You are both the ambassador for the brand and a ďnose,Ē alongside your father Olivier, a master perfumer. Did you always know you would join the family business?
When I was very young, I wanted to be a Formula One driver. Then I wanted to be in fashion, to do something different. I wanted to prove that I can create something by myself. But I matured, and step by step, I fell in love with this beautiful brand, especially after I realized how much craft and care goes into the perfumes. I saw the potential of Creed, how many things you can do with this brand.
I admire my father for making perfume in the beautiful, artistic way. He doesnít want to go too much in the commercial way. He is an independent perfumer for whom there is no limit in terms of budget or time. He makes perfumes with what he wants to and is not restrained by the price. I think 99.9 percent of perfume on the market is guided by the price. He works on a scent as much time as it takes and he doesnít need to meet any marketing deadlines.
Can you tell me a little bit more about the process of creating a new fragrance?
For me there is a lot of connection between the art of making perfume and the art of cooking. We are like a chef for whom the inspiration comes mostly from ingredients. You canít create a very good dish with very bad ingredients. Today we are like a gourmet chef with the best ingredients. When you have good ingredients you donít need to make something very complicated. We donít use a lot of ingredients. Itís like when youíre cooking, if you have a beautiful fish, you just put a few simple ingredients with your dish, you donít want to lose the taste of fish. So we spend a lot of money to get the best ingredients. We use mainly natural ingredients, so their quality depends on a lot of factors: the soil, the season, the weather, the location, the exposure, the country. As we are very conscious about maintaining the quality we work with the best suppliers. They want to work with us because they can smell their own crops in the final fragrance, which makes them feel involved and proud. And they like to work with a prestigious brand. Itís good for their image.
Is it true that your fragrances are hand-crafted?
Yes. Each scent is weighed, mixed, macerated and filtered by hand, the same way since we started more than 250 years ago. In our industry that is unique. Today a lot of brands use a very commercial process.
What do you find the most exciting about this business?
The thing for me is that itís actually a little bit of everything. Iím more involved with the commercial side of the business, with the factory, the image, journalists, design of the Creed corner in a store, while my father is more involved with the creation of perfume and design of the bottle.
An important part of my job is traveling to meet our distributors all over the world. We are not a commercial brand. We make good perfume but we donít know how to sell perfume. Thatís why we need to have good distributors who know a little bit about the launch, the presentation of the perfume. And the launch can be very exciting, when you meet your customers in person and they tell you how much they love Creed.
So now I try to do a bit of everything but Iím also planning to get more involved in the creation process of the perfume.
Why do you think Creed is so popular with celebrities?
I think itís simply because they like how it smells on their skin.
Do you like wearing perfume?
I usually donít wear any scent during the week because I need to keep my mind free and be able to smell my fragrances. When I wear fragrance, most of the time, itís the scent Iím about to launch because I want to understand the evolution of the scent as it mixes with the skin throughout the day. But if I do wear perfume it depends on where I go or whether itís a cold or a warm day. This helps me to choose perfume. When itís freezing I donít want to put anything fresh on, I choose something stronger, deeper. I like when people have two or three different perfumes, for different occasionsódifferent for day, different for night.
Do you have a favorite perfume from the House of Creed?
I donít want to have a favorite scent. If you had many children which one would be your favorite? But I can tell you which is my least favorite. Itís Aventus, because itís too popular, itís definitely our bestseller. The multisellers who have a lot of brands take only the bestseller of each brand, and when people ask them for something from Creed they always offer them Aventus. I want to stop it because we donít want to be commercial. Aventus is a very good perfume, but we make a lot of beautiful perfumes, and sometimes itís nice to wear something else.
Do you make any tailor-made perfume?
Not anymore. Nowadays we have to register perfume, do lots of tests, give a name to the perfume when we want to sell it. And we need to sell a minimum quantity of 5,000 bottles. So now we only make bespoke scents for our best department store partners. Last time it was for Harrods.
Are you happy with the Polish market?
Iím happy to be with Missala Quality Perfumery and Iím happy for the Polish people that they can find Creed here. But itís a little market for us. Iíd like to see the market as big as in the USA, which is the best for Creed. For me itís always nice to see my brand in a beautiful store like Neiman Marcus or Harvey Nichols, with its own space, a kind of shop in shop, but I donít see an independent Creed store yet in Warsaw.