For the love of perfume
Forget Me Not: Creed Royal English Leather
According to Wikipedia, the house of Creed remains the only privately held fragrance company in the world, passed on through generations and creating fragrances for over 247 years. James Henry Creed established the company in 1760 and today it qualifies as the only house that still makes perfumes by hand, using a process called infusion. Today Erwin Creed has developed the popular Love In White and Virgin Island Water.
This past weekend, I was on a quest — a quest to find one of the oldest fragrances still in production. How appropriate that I found myself at the Creed counter, testing and re-testing fragrances that I have been aware of and appreciated from afar for a very long time. When I told Joshua, the very helpful sales associate at Neiman Marcus about Forget Me Not (the monthly piece that Divina of Fragrance Bouquet and I feature), Royal English Leather was the first fragrance he pulled. He told me the story of King George III who commissioned this fragrance in 1781. The king wore Royal English Leather on his gloves to sniff as he walked by the servants of the court, who because they did not bathe frequently smelled quite sour. A charming story, yes. But would the fragrance be stellar?
At one sniff I was transfixed. The combination of highest quality, smooth and supple leather infused with mandarin oil was nearly more than I could handle in front of our friend Joshua. I had to temper my reactions so as not to make a scene. I immediately conjured images of sexy and powerful men donning leather gloves and other accessories, making decisions that would impact an entire nation and kissing the hands of courted women on bended knee. A Mozart concerto and the images I have seen in movies washed over me like a tide as I sniffed this incredible elixir that has stood the test of centuries. Yes, this evocator of the era of true romance is a keeper alright. And it most certainly should not ever be forgotten.
The notes are quite simple. I have never appreciated leather before Royal English Leather. Perhaps the other leather scents I have tried are not sweet enough or noble enough. The fragrance provides a luxurious combination of high quality leather and sweet citrus or flowers, vaguely reminiscent of violets to my nose. Do not get me wrong, this is no frilly Bois de Violette. Strangely I find it in the same fragrance category as Serge Luten's beautiful violet creation although I cannot put my finger on the cause. Nonetheless, I will forever be changed by this magnificent leathery scent and I do foresee getting a bottle at some point. I am thrilled to take leather off my list of "can't stand" notes and I am grateful to the house of Creed for changing my mind.