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Monday, July 09, 2007

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
Base: Ambergris

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 and the photo of Tarzan is from


Blogger Marina said...

Ooh boy! Kelley cranks up the heat again! :-) That last sentence of the Cypress Musc review...what do you bet the sales of that particular scent go up tomorrow? :-) (said she modestly)
Ambre Canelle is actually very, very long-lasting on me. In fact, one of the most long-lasting scents I know. Funny, huh?
Aubepine Acacia sounds very appealing too. Love hawthorn, love acacia...

10:10 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

whew Kelley-

You did the (previously) impossibe- you got me interested in a Creed...

I agree with Columbina, there's going to be a spike in interest in Cypres Musc

11:11 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Marina, yes, Aubepine Acacia is an amazing scent. As for the Cypress Musc, well.... I am sure that Mr. Creed doesn't need my help at all! Although, I think he has created a few "stinkers".

I recently gave away the Ambre Canelle because I didn't want it to go bad before I ran out of everything else in my collection. I tried it on my Aunt Sue and she had the same vanished in an instant. I tried it on two other friends and the same thing happened. I am sure that it doesn't happen on everybody because it's one of there successes. So, do you like it? What does it smell like on you?

11:36 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Tom, I got mine on Ebay for $40 plus postage. Actually, all three from the same seller. She just happens to be linked to the Bond 9 Boutique in NY if that helps. You can always write me if you need more info.

11:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

I re-read my post, Marina, and I need to make myself clear. What I should have said was...

I gave the Ambre Canelle away because I wouldn't ever get around to wearing because I would rather wear anything else. Well, you now what I mean. I didn't care for it.

11:41 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hawthorn, when ingested, is supposedly helpful in lowering blood pressure. Apparently one gets the opposite effect from Cypress Musc. But ouch, ouch, ouch, and ouch about that pine-needle-covered forest floor. :-)

12:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good reviews Kelley, although Ambre Canelle lasts over 8 hours on me and is a werid scent. I have worn Creed for a number of years, and because many of them are composed of a high percentage of natural oils if not stored properly they turn bad quite fast. It also doesnt help that the "private collection" bottles (from 500 B.C.) come in glass bottles with no rubber stopper. The bottle to bottle variation amongst the batches can also irritate the consumer (Creed makes perfumes in smaller batches than the other houses). If you have been to the Creed boutique in Paris, you would see how small this house really is - although their profits are apparently quite hefty every year and they have mastered the art of shifting juice is huge 4.0oz. bottles, a model which Chanel apparently has started to duplicate with its exclusive collection :P

Coming back to this "juice going bad" issue, I have experienced this with Cypres Musc, Santal Imperial, Baie De Genievre, Bois de Santal and Vintage Tabarome (all of which are cracklin' good scents, and I have worn the entire lines of L'Artisan, Lutens, Malle's etc. as a measure of comparison). Tuberose Indiana is another one - the tuberose in this is beautiful "fresh tuberose" but is highly volatile and you can hardly smell it if the bottle is old (which often leads to people wondering where the heck the tuberose is in this one). Among the Creed millesimes released in the 90's, if the juice is stale, the ambergris base will reveal itself much faster; this is especially evident in Millesime Imperial, Green Irish Tweed and Silver Mountain Water.

As for ambergris, try to give the hauntingly beautiful Acier Aluminum a try ..

1:33 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Kelley, my dear !

I'm with you on AC- I wanted to love it, and thought, PU.HATED it.

CM is no surprise.
I think it's underrated, and have been sending folks samples of the stuff forever.
Have a big 'ole bottle in a dark closet, reserved for these dog days, where you really appreciate a good whiff...
I keep wanting to like AA.
I've sampled it umpteen times-
Like the ingredients, all of them-
But on me, it lies there, like a pretty, but dead dog.
Oh, well.

So happy to see you again !
Smooches to you, and Corazon...

6:44 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Ambre Canellle on me was a weaker, more masculine version of Youth Dew. A serious yawn.
Aubepine Acacia is my mystery chameleon scent. Each time I put it on, different notes get emphasized. Some days it is *all* about pine, but some days I do indeed get the promised hawthorn and acacia and, since I'm a hawthorn sl*t, those are the days I'm happiest. However, it's always elegant and is one of my favorite Creeds, w/out doubt.
I haven't tried Cypres Musc, but am now very tempted to get it unsniffed after that last image. :-) Although, I do believe in avoiding the pinecones when possible.

7:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It smells of velvety, slightly spicy amber on me, rather retro, and I mean it as a compliment.
If you didn't get all 3 bottles from the same seller and the other 2weren't fine, I would have said, maybe the bottle was bad, but...And I know tat seller two. She ships slow, but she is reliable :-)

8:01 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, very interesting reviews. I tried Ambre Canelle and was not blown away by it either, though it wasn't for the lack of ambergris. Cypre Musc sounds interesting, but I don't love very green scents. Aubepine Acacia sounds like something I might love. I love the scent of acacias.

8:33 AM EDT  
Blogger Paula Williams said...

I think the Tarzan photo will do more than your words for Cypres Musc . . . Love the photo as long as you don't think too much about the pine needles and cat pee.

It sounds like a good scent for summer - a nice virtual camping trip. Complete with pine needles and cat pee.

I have to agree with elle about the Ambre Canelle. I also prefer Youth Dew.

3:45 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Aubepine Acacia has such a classic feel to it. Very pretty. I haven't tried the other two but am now curious!

5:30 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my local NM has all three, so they must be in production. the aubepine acacia is one of the ones that's only available in the big bottles - i think maybe the cypres muscs is one of those, too. i have the aubepine acacia and agree with your review. will have to revisit the cypres muscs as i love dirty musk notes. - minette

5:50 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

faizan, wow, excellent information! Thanks for the recommendation. You know, I have never tried Acier Aluminum. I will soon though.

12:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Chaya, though I am a sporadic writer, I think of you often (and see your posts everywhere!)

Thanks for checking in. Corazon sends you a big kiss!

12:07 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Maria B. I think I overdid it a little with the pine reference. Oh, well. I don't know a whole lot about hawthorn but I will check it out.

12:09 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

elle, yes, by all means...avoid the pine cones! I just hope people like the cypres musc as much as I do! I don't want a whole mob of perfume fanatics on the rampage! Yikes!!

12:10 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Marina, I didn't get any amber at all and that's a base note so that isn't the part that should have gone bad...yet. I will blame the skin chemistry.

12:11 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

newproducts, please, please try Aubepine Acacia! It is very unusual and special. I wore it to bed last night and realized this morning that it lasted way...way longer than I gave it credit for in the review. I am guessing that I put it on at 10:00 pm and when I got in the shower, it was 9 hours later and still going strong!

12:13 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Paula and John...I am going to run out and find some Youth Dew! I have to agree about the photo of Tarzan, it's magical.

12:15 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Ina, yes it is classical and at the same time very original and modern! It doesn't feel dated to me at all.

12:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

minette, to me it's more of a civet scent than a musk, although there is plenty of that. I am guessing that if you are a cat person, you will love this! What's up with civet anyway? I love it but don't know why and I am definitely not a cat person! Please, someone tell me if they get civet in Cypres Musc!!!!

12:18 AM EDT  

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