It is possible that you bought a fake. Fragrancenet being legit simply means they don't intentionally sell you fake products. But as a grey market seller of Creed, they are dealing with many many different retailers unloading stock. Fragrancenet being legit does not mean all these sellers they deal with are legit. And it is possible the buying department at fragrancenet is not able to distinguish class A fakes at times from a unscupulous seller. Why can you trust Neiman Marcus more than Fragrancenet? Not because fragrancenet is illegitimate, but because Neiman Marcus only deals with one seller: Creed, the manufacturer.
I bought from Fragrancenet twice. The first time MI and SMW. Both were authentic and good. The second time VIW. The VIW did not come with a pamphlet. I thought it's fine since it might have been misplaced by someone at fragrancenet. Then the card with the two pictures - it had a different size than my VIW from Neiman Marcus, as well as different writings on the bottom piece. I then started to pay attention and immediately noticed the box had different printings too. And last and most determining factor was the smell. It was very very different than the sample I bought from STC, and the bottle I got from Neiman Marcus. STC and Neiman bottle smell the same - fresh lime and yummy coconut. The one I received from Fragrancenet was lemon and extremely sweet, artificial coconut. I actually had to wash it off me due to the unpleasant smell. The projection was also much larger than the real VIW. That's not batch variance. That's a different fragrance.
I called fragrancenet and they agreed to refund me including return shipping. So I have to give them credit because the return process was fast and easy.
I am not saying fragrancenet is not legit. What I am saying is if you buy from a grey market seller of creed or any luxurious goods, YMMV. So always be cautious. If you sniff something wrong, don't simply think it is batch variance or fragrancenet is totally legit so there couldn't be anything wrong with the product you received. You can always exchange or return.
Another experience I had when a legitimate seller unintentionally sold illegit goods is this. I have a habit of collecting handbags. When Balenciaga city bags were sold like hot pancakes a few years ago, an unscrupulous retailer successfully sold their stock to COSTCO. Those class A fakes are actually not too difficult to detect by Balenciaga enthusiasts. But to most consumers, apparently including COSTCO's buying department, they fell through the crack. The angry purse collection community contacted Balenciaga as well as FTC. These handbags were pulled from Costco's website. Who can say COSTCO is not legit? Costco sells real goods 99.9999999999% of the time! including luxurious brands such as Cartier, although it is not an official dealer. But when dealing with grey market goods, it is never 100% because the company is not dealing with the manufacturer or official distributor, but different upstream sellers.