Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Blue Angel- Creed Angelique Encens



It seems like incense is the note du jour in fragrance, isn't it?

(Well, right along with orris, oud and lychee, that is. And I hope to never come across a perfume that combines all of them together)

But going back in time, we can find one of the most classic incense scents that dates from 1933 and back then could be considered a celebrity fragrance, because it was inspired by Marlene Dietrich, who in 1930 starred in the movie Blue Angel and established herself as an iconic, mysterious and enigmatic temptress who would lead men to their doom.


That's quite a reputation. For an actress and for a perfume.

Angelique Encens is and isn't what you might expect. Its opening, famous for the herbal angelica note, registers in my nose as tinged with lavender. It's not supposed to be there, but the feeling both of the color and of the flower can almost be tasted. It's melancholy in a sweet, nostalgic way, like a forgotten sachet in an old drawer. But that drawer is more than it seems. Some of its content is quite lacy and racy. And incensy. Don't forget that part.

The incense here is different than many of the ones we know from modern perfumes: it's not ceremonial and aloof like the CdG Incsense series and it has none of the Darth Vader darkness of Black Cashmere or YSL Nu. Instead, it's sweetened by vanilla and dirtied with ambergris into a soft and tempting dry-down that while different than Shalimar, it shares a common sensibility with it.

One of the things I like best about Angelique Encens is how it shifts and changes on my skin. Sometimes I get the full vintage, black-and-white sense of a perfume from long ago and far away, while it never feels dated. A vanilla-incense combination could have come from any contemporary perfume house, though I doubt they'd make it better or prettier.

Angelic Encense is part of Creed Private Collection, which means it's only sold in huge 8.4 oz flacons with a hefty price tag ($300, but fragrancenet.com supposedly has it for $205). Here and there you might be able to find a better deal, but since Creed is prone to faking and counterfeiting, I'd personally avoid them. Besides, who even needs a lifetime plus several incarnations supply of perfume in one bottle? My personal recommendation is to go for a decant.

11 comments:

  1. And I would say a decant is just about essential - even if to just show up the contrast between the masterful Creeds of the past (AE, Vintage Tabarome) and the more frequent generic blah of the present. I ain't a modern Creed fan. Though I of course have one or two exceptions in my idiosyncratic listing...

    Wonderful review, G. You sum up the dichotomies in the scent so well.

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  2. Lovely! I have opted for my rather big decant too. I completely agree with you: this is vintage, orientalised, sweet incense and it melds onto the skin oh-so-fabulously.
    Vintage Tabarome is also gorgeous, like Lee says.
    What other Creeds do you like G?

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  3. Help, I like almost every Creed from the past (including the non millesime edt), and every single Private Collection I've smelled so far (Selection Verte, Cypres Musk). After all 220 Euros for 250 ml. isn't that much...someone stop me before it's too late...

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  4. Lee- Thank you :)
    I agree about their most recent scents. I just can't get excited about any of them, though I think the masculine scents are more interesting than the florals.

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  5. Tom- Good question. Lee would probably say that you do. You should definitely try it, because it's that good. I think it might be a bit too femme, especially in warm weather. I prefer to wear it in winter, but that's how I'm with all my other incense frags.
    I predict that you'll like it, just not enough to wear regularly.

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  6. Helg- I'm another big fan of vintage Tabarome. I'm even fond of the new version, though not enough to actually buy it. I don't get most of the new one and can't even tell them apart. The last one I tested seriously was Himalaya. The opening felt like an awful "cologne" thing. It got better after that, but the heavy sweet amber base wasn't my thing, either.

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  7. Edwardian- I have yet to try Cypres Musk, but something tells me I'm going to love it.

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  8. There are fake Creeds on the market?

    I know there are quite a few fake Chanel No 5's floating around but who would have thought con-merchants would have the elitist and refined taste to target Creed. Creed is not really popular, nor readily accessible, outside of Western Europe.

    I agree with the above comments that the modern Creed inventions aren't as impressive as the vintage stuff. I think I'm the only person who was disappointed with Virgin Island Water.

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  9. I’ve always enjoyed reading your thoughts on perfumery so please keep up the great work: I wish you all the best with everything.

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  10. wonderful! what a vast knowledge you have! though earlier i rarely read your articles as i did not have any web site or blog.but now i have a blog so regularly read you. i am really impressed by you.and i appreciate the service you render.

    thanks a lot

    ReplyDelete

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