Three Blind Buys
Review by Kelley
Ambre Canelle by Creed (1949)
Top Notes: Leaves of cinnamon, pink peppercorns
Middle: Rose, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander
Base: Ambergris and Tonkin musk
I did some research into ambergris scents after discovering one of my all time favorite fragrances, Creed’s Fleurs de Bulgarie. One of the top Basenotes recommendations was Ambre Canelle. Of course I was an idiot to immediately respond to the aforementioned glowing review by purchasing a bottle because it turned out not to be the case! Ambre Canelle opens with an explosion of bay leaves and rose. Both of these essential oils are very volatile and short lasting if they are natural as is the case here. This reminds me of an old fashioned barbershop smell. It’s very powdery and masculine. The cinnamon in this scent is very weak and not a problem for those afraid of too much spice. I waited patiently for the base notes to sweep me off my feet but no such luck. If there is any ambergris or even Tonkin musk in this, they are of such a pathetic strength that I can’t smell them. What did I smell in their stead….hmmm, I ask you? Why, nothing. This is a very fleeting fragrance. I would say it stayed with me for a good twenty minutes. I tested this on three other friends and we all agreed it’s very temporary. At Creed prices, I can’t recommend this even for those fickle scent-a-holics that love changing scents often during the day. Twenty minutes! I swear. Ambre Canelle is an edt.
Aubepine Acacia by Creed ( Private Collection 1965)
Top Notes: Bergamot, galbanum
Middle: Acacia, mimosa, hawthorn flowers
As you can see, I am still searching for my ultimate ambergris scent. Well, this one though beautiful, isn’t it. This opens with a wonderful mix of acacia and lemon verbena. The galbanum adds a very green quality to the opening accord and once you know it’s there, you can’t miss it. Lots of reviews mention this green lemony opening but I find it so fleeting that I hate to even mention it. Acacia is a hard smell to describe because it’s so different to different people. To me it’s powdery and smells a little like chocolate. For me, this is the smell of spring. Once the lemon verbena fades, I am left with the acacia and hawthorn smell which lasts at least 4 or 5 hours and doesn’t change much. As the citrus and galbanum notes drop out, the acacia and hawthorn seem to get stronger and earthier (is earthier a word?). This is a lovely stage and totally unisex. The ambergris in this is very light in the dry down. If you are into unusual green scents, this is one to check out. I really like it but I am sort of torn as to whether or not it is in my top 20 or 30 fragrances or so…. And, by the way, Aubepine refers to hawthorn which has a rich history of uses linked to weddings and births.
Cypres Musc by Creed (Private Collection 1948)
Top Notes: Bergamot
Middle: Cypress , galbanum
Base: Musk and oak moss.
Before I get to the review, I wanted to mention a little bit about galbanum. It pops up as a listed ingredient in many “green” fragrances. Galbanum is an aromatic resin that comes from a number of Persian shrubs that are mainly found in Northern Iran (did I ever mention that I lived in Tehran for a couple of years?). Galbanum reportedly has a very bitter and disagreeable taste. However, it has the smell of crushed green leaves and sap.
Cypres Musc opens with a gut punch. This one isn’t for babies! Fresh out of the bottle, I feel overwhelmed by the green musky smell. I bet Tarzan smelled like this. I don’t smell the bergamot but I am sure that it softens the earthy cypress a little. This smells like the cypress essential oil that I have had around the house since working on a project to try and duplicate Annick Goutal’s Eau d’Hadrien a few years back. Cypress smells very dirty and green like crushed pine needles mixed with rich loamy earth. However, that’s not the only thing that gets you; there is something in there that smells a whole lot like civet. I know it’s not listed as an ingredient, but that cat pee note is there…I am positive. The musk here is very sexy. It’s not quite MKK sexy but it approaches it in raunchiness and originality. There isn’t much development of the scent but it has amazing sillage and it lasts at least 8 hours. Of the three, this one is my favorite and was a complete surprise. I think of it as smelling like passionate sex on the ground under a forest of pine trees with pinecones jabbing into naked flesh.
I bought these three bottles on Ebay from a very reliable seller (she doesn’t like to respond to email but she is reliable none the less). I have tried to find out if they are still in production and it would appear that they are. The Creed website lists Ambre Canelle as one of its regular offerings in 30 ml, 75 ml, 250 ml, 500 ml, and 1000 ml bottles. The other two are from the “private collection” and are available in 250 ml, 500 ml, and 1000 ml bottles.
The photo of the Creed bottle is courtesy of the Creed website. The photo of the hawthorn flowers is courtesy of phytochemicals.info and the photo of Tarzan is from uwm.edu