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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

White Floral Queen Part Two: Creed Fleurissimo

By Donna

The one thing that everyone knows about Fleurissimo by Creed is that Prince Rainier of Monaco commissioned it for the occasion of his marriage to Grace Kelly, as a gift for her to wear on their wedding day, and not released for sale to the public until 1972. Perhaps this gives people who are not familiar with this fragrance the impression that this is a ladylike composition, demure and proper as befits the consort of a Prince. That is not exactly true.

This may be the only nominally “tuberose” scent I know of that does not have a heavy tropical sweetness to it – not that there is anything wrong with that, of course. The remarkable thing about Fleurissimo is that the tuberose is perfectly and seamlessly matched with violet and Florentine iris, as well as Bulgarian rose. The result does not smell like any one of these elements, but rather a fusion of light airiness that is like a summer breeze wafting through a garden. The violet keeps the tuberose in check, not allowing it to become too heady or overbearing. In doing so, the violet itself is somewhat masked and it emerges only as a sheer freshness, which is amplified by the gorgeously cool iris note. The rose is used in a judicious dose, lending a round and soft character to the whole without being too much of an influence otherwise.

This fragrance is all sail and no ballast; there is no wood or other heavier base note to anchor it. It floats by itself on a sea of clouds, free with its sillage, announcing the presence of the wearer well in advance. It is a different kind of Big White Floral, dressed in a gauzy, translucent Grecian gown instead of a heavy satin Drama Queen number. It changes very little in character during the course of the day, except when it is hot and humid, whereupon the tuberose finally escapes from her prim and proper violet and iris chaperones for a while and goes a little wild. At any stage, the keynote to this scent is it airiness – even in a closed room there always seems to be a lot of space around it, overarching and open.

There was a time some years ago when I wore this perfume almost exclusively, and I loved it so much that I probably over-applied it at times. (It is relatively light so I hope I did not turn anyone into a fragrance hater.) Why did I stop wearing it? As we all know, fragrance and memory are intertwined, and I went through a series of very bad experiences in my life for several years that seemed to pile on each other in merciless succession, including a hopelessly unrequited love that took me years to get over. Now when I smell Fleurissimo it makes me sad and wistful, though I still adore it. I remember who I was when I started wearing it, and that person is now gone. I liked a lot of things about her, but I will never be that way again, an eternally optimistic girl who thought that everything would always turn out right somehow. I still have a streak of that optimism in me that refuses to go away completely, but that time of my life is what finally turned me into as much of a “grown-up” as I will probably ever be. Fleurissimo is a part of my “before” past. I still have a little bit of it, and lately I have been toying with the idea of trying to wear it just to prove to myself that I can. I detect its influence in other, usually lesser scents, but nothing else gets the balance just right. Its utterly disarming natural freshness and floralcy is such a delight, I don’t think I want to deprive myself of it forever. This fragrance is about radiance and happiness more than anything else, and I hope that someday it will mean that to me again.

Fleurissimo would be good for someone who likes tuberose but who finds most of the fragrances on the market that have it to be too sweet and heady for daily use, and also for those who love violet but are looking for something more exciting and sensual than the usual type of violet perfume. Applied judiciously, it is a most agreeable scent that is easy to live with, and though it not cheap by any means, it costs less than many inferior compositions. The House of Creed has been around for a long time and many of their perfumes, including this one, are true classics. It is widely available in specialty shops and at online fragrance retailers. It is available as Eau de Parfum (called a “Millesime” by Creed), and now can be found in Bath and Shower Gel, Body Lotion and Soap at Neiman-Marcus and selected Saks Fifth Avenue stores. The usual size for the EDP is 2.5 ounces, which retails for about $190 but can easily be located at a lower price online. If you really like this fragrance, it can be had in an 8.4 ounce Flacon, which is a bit harder to find, but it’s a real bargain even at the retail price of $290, and I have seen that size for less than that as well..

Image credits: Creed Fleurissimo bottle from Austrian Teplitz Art Nouveau figurine, from fine estate auction site burchardgalleriescom.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Wow your review really has me intrigued by this scent, I have never really been one for tuberose, but lately I have found myself wanting one. I will have to get a sample of it.

1:04 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello... I'm new at this.. guess, I could try and ask.
Could I participate in the draw, please.
I'm a little confused but I'm up for it! Please let me know what is going on, so I can keep up. I'll save this website. Goodbye.

4:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Dusan said...

What a beautiful, evocative review, Donna! Nothing beats a signature fragrance of a period of one's life, even if it did leave a painful mark behind. Bittersweet memories, eh? Glad you are coming round to Fleurissimo again and hope you wear the sweet part out and forget the bitter one...
Now I need to try this gauzy floral veil! :)

10:38 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

beautifully written Donna, as usual.

12:15 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenavira13, thank you, it really is different from the others.

Cieli, sorry, no draw for this one!

Dusan, thanks so much, I think I am almost ready to bring it back!

Thanks, Tom. You know, this would be a great LA fragrance - a lot of stars wear it. :-)

12:56 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to see such a poor response to this review; quite enjoyed the review!

8:21 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Faizan, that is so kind of you! :-)

1:15 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I couldn't think of anything intelligent to add, but this did inspire me to get a sample of Fleurissimo. I'll let you know what I think.

6:07 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I loved your review, Donna. You captured exactly how I feel about another fragrance that I wore in my past, with all its bittersweet connotations. Sometimes we can't quite go back. Thank you.

12:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Vietnam Ly said...

i really enjoyed your review... i was thinking about getting this as part of a day of wedding gift package for my fiance... the description sounds perfect (i dont like heavy scents, but a waft of spring breeze sounds good) she loves grace kelly and although i dont always treat her like a princess i guess i can make an exception for the wedding day =p i was thinking of including an hermes silk scarf or something vintage in grace kelly's style (too bad the hermes bag is waaay out of my budget)

p.s. Asta, is that name from the terrier in The Thin Man? we love that movie! =)

5:35 PM EDT  
Blogger Nicole said...

Thank you so much for this review and for sharing how personal this fragrance is to you. I am attached to my fragrances as well (remembering the good times and the bad when I wore them). I tested this today and adore it. I didn't know the history behind it when I tested it...but it was the only Creed fragrance that I fell in love with. Thank you for sharing.

1:59 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never knew about Creed, nor this scent, before tonight. I'm not sure if it's because for the past several years, I've been "anti" fragrance (teacher), or, more likely, I am usually fifty years behind everyone else. Stumbling upon this blog, I was mesmerized by your posting. What a lovely writer you are!

4:10 AM EDT  

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