Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fantasia de Fleurs

Every time I think I've exhausted the line, some Creed I've never heard of swerves into my direct line of view. It sometimes feels as though Creed were like a bottomless cup of coffee at Denny's or the glass someone keeps filling for me at a party when I'm turned the other way. Do I just get overwhelmed? Maybe the pricing numbs my perceptions and my faculties start to shut down. I still have a pretty hefty bias against Creed. I'm not sure exactly why, if price point is the turn off mechanism we're talking about. The fragrances can be found at reasonable prices online (I've never paid "full price" for a bottle), and as time goes on they don't seem all that expensive in relation to the other niche lines I patronize.

The result is that even with Creed's I've seen a dozen times, I don't keep much of an open mind. It took me ages to even smell Irisia--to simply pick up the tester bottle and sniff, let alone spray the stuff on a card. Lo and behold, I loved it. Likewise Love in Black, which featured violet, one of my holy grails. Abigail, my blogging partner (would this term have seemed like anything but science fiction ten or fifteen years ago?) has played a big part in my experiences with Creed over the last year or so: I've tagged along as she treks through the line's bounty, giving everything from Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie to Tubereuse Indiana to Fleur de The Rose Bulgarie new perspective. Still, fixed ideas run deep, and even a more recent discovery like Fantasia de Fleurs seems like some kind of revelation to me. Can someone please hold this rock I've been hiding under?

I first smelled Fantasia de Fleurs the day I finally decided to purchase Irisia. Because of my bias against Creed I do this little dance. I visit and revisit the fragrances I like. I weigh the decision to buy or not to buy like it's some life or death dilemma, in a way I would never do with something I loved from Frederic Malle, Parfum d'Empire, or Serge Lutens. I spray some on and walk away. I roam around smelling it. I go home thinking about it as it fades and becomes a memory, and the memory haunts me a little as I try to remember just how much I liked it and why. I return to the store and repeat this all over again.

Fantasia de Fleurs had some stiff competition that day, as it was make or break time with Irisia, but I remember perking up at the smell of it, like Hold up, what's THIS? I'd never heard of it, I thought, but I read so much online about perfume that I know that can't be true. More likely, the name was white noise to me. Oh goody; another Creed floral. Now I read all the reviews, which are remarkably favorable. Fantasia is one of those Creeds people seem to unanimously appreciate, with a few general caveats: very strong stuff, and gorgeous if you're into that kind of thing. I did my little dance back to the store.

Fantasia strikes me as a love child of Poison and Joy. You either can't go wrong or you're doomed to excess with such a combination, depending on your perspective. Poison is one of my favorite fragrances ever, nuclear strength magic in a bottle, and Joy is pretty special too in my personal perfume canon, so naturally Fantasia speaks to me in a pretty compelling voice. That said, I would advise people who don't like Poison, or Joy, or do like one but not the other, not to hold this against Fantasia. It lacks the things about each which detractors tend to consider biggest offenses. Fantasia has no tuberose. There are no indoles, that I can tell. It isn't spiced like a meal served up to someone who's lost his sense of taste.

To be sure, Fantasia is strong stuff, but it mellows fairly quickly. It is spiced, but faintly, giving it much of its dissonant appeal. The iris, however undetectable, must go some way toward bringing the rose into the present century. One of the things Fantasia's fans point out is how modern the fragrance feels, given what it is. Judging it against a cursory glance at the local mall's inventory, I'm not inclined to agree. But I see the overall point; Fantasia isn't stuffy, and while it recalls or evokes a certain kind of brocaded, heavy velvet fantasy of centuries past, it doesn't feel out of place in this one. It has a formality to it, but it doesn't fall into that grandmotherly gap between something your ancestors subjected their families to and something you might wear on a night out.

Note to fact-checkers: Some people DO find something slightly indolic here, making the fragrance more of a Fantasia de Feces. I really don't, but you should be aware that not everyone agrees with me, as if you didn't already know. Some DO consider Fantasia stuffy, though it seems to me these are generally people who aren't much into anything so unapologetically floral. I think of Fantasia as an interesting precursor to Amaranthine, without the sugared facets. That isn't to say it has anything remotely like cumin in it either. But it does represent another way of scuffing up what might otherwise be a relatively staid floral. Like most Creeds I've experienced, Fantasia lasts well, persisting into a slightly musky, amber dry down that stays close to the skin without hugging it for dear life.


princess glee said...

So in the final analysis, do you like Fantasia de Fleurs? I'm not sure what you're saying here. I too have a bias against Creed. I think their perfumes smell "snobby" and I don't know if it's because of the perfume house's literature or if the scents are associated with the unattainable for many. I'm willing to try more of their offerings before making an overall firm conclusion about Creed. Btw, I love Love in Black.

Anonymous said...

I bought many Creeds at a sale 5 years ago-a beautiful store here was discontinuing the line, so I bought many at 90 percent off. I have and love Irisia, but I now work in a place where I cannot wear fragrance to work. May I offer you a sample, to get you through until you buy a full bottle? I read your blog daily, and I would love to repay some of the enjoyment I get from your writing. Email me at and I will send you some.

Also, if you mix F ed F with Fleurissimo it creates what Crred calls A Seductive Blend. The freshness of Fleurissimo somehow works with the sunny opulence of F deF . I also like mixing Spring Flower body oil with Fleurissimo.I like my Creeds: I bought them when I was in a hideous wedding, complete with hideous dress that made me look like Little Bo Peep. I wore the Creeds to remind myself that I was capable of looking attractive. I take them out sometimes, and sniff them, and they always make me feeler better about life!

Thank you for your beautiful blog,


Carole MacLeod

Brian said...

Okay, Princess: Are you a Glee fan or does the name mean something else? Glee seems to have taken the world by storm so I have to ask.

I do like Fantasia, yes. I don't love it as much as Irisia but I like it very much. It's funny; many of the reviews of Fantasia talk about how atypical it is for a Creed. I would say that about Irisia, myself. Fantasia seems very much like a Creed to me, with what I recognize as a trademark Creed quality.

I think my bias against Creed had everything to do with the pricing. At the time I was first made aware of Creed, however, five or six years ago, the only experience I had of perfume was the local mall, where things were considerably less expensive.

I'd also only smelled the masculines, as back then I was too scared to walk up to a counter and spend too much time dwelling on the "lady" stuff. It always made me intensely self-conscious. Now of course it's like breathing, and I breathe freely. The point is I never really cared for any of the male Creeds. I still really don't, with the exception of Baie de Genievre, whose juniper note is out of this world. Otherwise the masculines smell horrible to me; very generic he man stuff (though I know many disagree with me). I should also add that I smelled Vintage Tabarome recently and it knocked my socks off, but that seems pretty unisex to me. I think the combination of price point and my disinterest in the masculines turned me off for quite some time.

Now I have a small handful of Creeds. Love in Black, Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie, Baie, Irisia and Fantasia, and decants of at least four or five others. Not one of them cost me more than a Serge Lutens, and the bottles are bigger. So my perspective has obviously changed.

Carole! Thanks for the generous words, and the offer. I do own Irisia now, or I would take you up on your offer so fast your head might spin. I'm curious to know which Creeds you own and like the most.

Two seem like guilty pleasures to me and I always debate them at the counter. They're pretty girly, even by my tastes. Fleurissimo and Love in White.

Thank you so much for commenting. I love this: "I wore the Creeds to remind myself that I was capable of looking attractive." I think a lot of us look to fragrance for that, right? Not necessarily to feel attractive but to put ourselves in a certain positive head-space.

Anonymous said...

My younger brother has a great nose. He says Irisia smells like roots and leaves (in a good way). I love that description of Irisia. It's a perfume that seems to receive very little attention. It does smell a bit heavy, when I sniff the nozzle. When I spray it on it smells quite different, and makes me wonder why I don't wear it more often.

I have Irisia, F de F, Spril Flower dry oil (a really lovely way to wear this particular scent), Sliver Mountain Water, Royal Delight (wonderful-the tangerine note is what really makes this one. it's sutiable for both men and women. My Dad loved it so much I gave it to him-it suits him amazingle well). I also have Fleur de Tea Rose Bulgare, Tuberereuse Indiana, Jasmal, Fleurissimo- I think that is all of them. I have samples of Love in White (adore it!) and Love in Black (really like it), Vanisia (not so fond of it, but vanilla is not really my thing) and the men's Tabarome.

This spring I have been wearing a lot of Chamade, EDP. It's really lovely too!



princess glee said...

I've intended to watch Glee but I never have. My mother's a southerner and I have a two-part name, Shana Glee, my husband calls me Princess, so I became princess glee (lower case as my attempt at humility).

I'll keep the FdF in mind so when I'm at my favorite Creed-carrying boutique I will most certainly try it. Irisia sounds well worth a try too.

Angela Cox said...

I can understand a bias against Creed to a point. As I am English it reeks of Royalty and privilege ( I am a republican). That said as my aunty always said "our money is as good as their's") . So when my daughter wanted some for the reason she is interested in the Austrian royal it was made for I bought some. I adored it. I also love Jasmin Imperatrice and Fleurissimo . I buy Malle and I love Joy. The fact is the raw ingredients in perfumes cost whoever you are and that is just a fact. I wish every perfume house would do 10ml bottles for some who can't afford more . The sales assistant in a very well known London store nearly had me walk out when he whispered that "Amouage " should only be for the most discerning and stay elite .I don't think that is a sensible idea for any house why shouldn't a dustman wear it too ?