Creed Love in Black, 2008

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(image source Calvin Klein)

Perfumers Erwin Creed and Olivier Creed

I saw a bottle of this in a shop and just had to try. The bottle is that matte black that people spend thousands of dollars on to paint their Mercedes. This symbolism of affluence and chic is so strained it creaks. The desired message (“I’m hip/fashion forward/a trendsetter…”) gets lost in the actual communication (“I’m so effete that if you could see inside these blacked-out windows you’d see me fussing with my pocket square and cuff links.”)

It’s clearly an iris perfume, but there’s something off-kilter about the angles of iris that are emphasized. The papery and bread-like aspects of iris root are there but they smell sour. The fascinating bit isn’t the notes, though. It’s the progression. After 10 minutes of topnotes, I couldn’t smell a thing. It’s as if I could ‘feel’ with my nose that the perfume was still on my skin, but I literally couldn’t smell it. Did I go nose-tired that quickly, or is it the composition. I thought this was the briefest perfume in history, then oddly, another 30 minutes later, I sniffed again and found a lingering but noticeable sweet scent like inky bubblegum.

Stale bread wrapped in moist paper. Then silent running. Then bubble gum. Was this commissioned by Etat Libre? Not my thing, but pretty god damned clever.

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