As has been the trend with Creed, since around 2010, when Erwin was given some authority over bulk ingredient sourcing and purchases, things are not what they used to be.
We longtime adorers of this incredible perfume house, used to heap praise upon them, for their very prominent use of natural ingredients. Most notably, in their older "grey cap" Eaux De Toillete Line, their mostly discontinued Private Collection Line (think: Vintage Tabarome), and especially their exclusive limited editions, like Scent of Oger, Bois De Santal, And the 2009 70-flacon batch of Windsor.
I myself, upon buying that first flacon of 2009 Windsor, was so taken aback by its ethereal beauty, that I immediately bought three more flacons of it. It was my Grail. Such a stately and unique scent. With sparkling, dewy, effervescent topnotes...........stately, buttoned up, surprisingly long lasting, yet still natural, optimistic and delicious basenotes........and by far the most gorgeous, floral heart I'd ever smelled.
It had a wry, knowing smile. An aristocratic pedigree. And an uncompromising sense of unorthodox romanticism that was utterly breathtaking. Just like the man, that Windsor was a bespoke perfume for.
The juice was a deep, rich reddish amber, sure to stain a white collar, but this scent was so exquisitely formal, as to match that white collar more perfectly than anything I'd smelled before.
I was smitten. And continue to be to this day.
The scent was so very lauded, by enthusiasts, that creed, the next year, decided to release another 250 flacons, and several hundred 50ml atomizers, and I again was so very excited to see if they had re-created my favorite fragrance of all time, or perhaps, magically, even bested it.
Sadly, such was not the case, and the 2010 batch was notably absent or diminished in many of the more unusual notes I loved so dearly in the first batch. It was sweeter, more feminine, and most dissapointingly, more synthetic.
As someone who has worked with all the natural floral absolutes, and synthetic floral notes present in the first batch, it was sad for me to see Creed cash in with a drastically less impressive batch, with noticeably less use of the same, extremely expensive, natural floral absolutes used in 2009. The color of the juice, and obviously the smell, showed this quite clearly, much to the dismay of house enthusiasts, and masculine floral lovers alike.
Having worn Royal Mayfair the last several days, I do appreciate Creed returning most of the gin, pine, and cedar to levels near what was found in the original, but sadly, other natural ingredients that abounded in the 2009 70-flacon Saks-issue (most notably some expensive rose and tuberose absolutes), have been replaced in the mix by an even more synthetic floral melange than was in the 2010 batch.
And while by far this is the most synthetic take on the original Windsor, that the house of Creed has brought forth yet, this offering is still my 2nd favorite by a small margin. Neither re-hash can touch the magic of the 2009 batch, but this new formula in atonal Mayfair, despite presenting the most lacking floral bouquet of any if the 3 incantations, at least, has done fairly well capturing a good part of the stately woody masculinity of the 2009 batch, and a fair amount the green effervescent top end.
Not worth the pronounced premium they are currently charging, since clearly this ingredient budget is by far the lowest cost for CREED of any of the three batches of "Windsor" (the newly named royal Mayfair being the third installment), but I'm very glad that the house is again offering at least a decent synthetic take on my favorite scent of all time, and that this time, it isn't as feminine as the 2010 batch.
A genuine thanks, to the house of Creed, for re-releasing at least some form of this former masterwork, despite this version not being up to the house standard we longtime Creed lovers remember so fondly.