Every fragance company has those same challenges. There are batch variations in all scents, for all companies. I commend Adam Brecht for taking the time to give you an answer.
Thread: Batch Variations
This notion is proliferating throughout threads on this website, most notably with respect to Creed fragrances. I decided to contact Creed for their take on batch variations, or rather, for their reasoning. Read below;
Thank you for thinking of CREED and for writing.
Variations in CREED fragrances are due to changes over time in crops of flowers, fruits and spices used in CREED blends. Changes in rainfall, soil conditions and other natural agricultural factors affect the strength of the ingredients themselves. All ingredients are selected personally by Erwin CREED, 30, seventh generation perfumer, in worldwide travel. It is a duty -- one of many -- for which Erwin CREED has prepared in more than a decade of study under his father, master perfumer Olivier CREED. In most cases, the CREED family has been acquiring ingredients for fragrance from the same farmers and growers for generations, from Europe and Asia to North and South America.
While a greater use of chemicals in fragrance would result in much more uniformity and consistency in aroma, CREED chooses to use the greatest amount of natural ingredients possible, with small variations batch to batch, year to year.
I know the CREED family would want me to commend your connoisseurship of CREED products and thank you again for your note.
Adam E. B. Brecht
International Cosmetics & Perfumes, Inc.
30 West 21st Street 7th Floor
New York, New York 10010
I, for one, do not feel that this company, or any, should be admonished for taking this stance. Essentially, they have chosen not to sacrifice quality ingredients for continuity. Obviously this choice is not for everyone, as, I could name a handful of posters easily who do not feel this is a proper course of action. But then, is any fragrance house out there really for everyone?
Every fragance company has those same challenges. There are batch variations in all scents, for all companies. I commend Adam Brecht for taking the time to give you an answer.
I think that reply is just superficial PR spin and really not tackling the issues of people buying different batches that can differ greatly in quality and for the price people pay for a substandard product it is quite disgusting. I mean look at the Aventus and Green Irish Tweed threads with people having to check batch numbers to get a good bottle.
You never hear problems with Amouage or batch variations with Guerlain products and I do not believe the spiel that they use special raw materials that sets them apart from everyone else.
If that guy was honest he would admit there was foul up somewhere along the line and a lot of bad bottles went out to retail, but I guess the truth would be bad marketing for Creed.lol
Kudos to you though for contacting them and trying to get to the bottom of this long running issue.
Is there anything factual about this issue?
In fact, do we know of actual variations in product?
Did some esteemed noses do the 'pepsi challenge' and deem, per their collective experience, noticeable variance?
It's all quite subjective, no?
In my book actual batch variations would mean poor quality control. If you're selling toothpicks, that's one thing. But, if your selling a premium high priced luxury item... that's is an entirely different matter. I find Creed's response lacking. Albeit extreme, consider a batch of Aventus coming out smelling like old spice then another batch coming out like tabac. I'm to believe that Creed will find that acceptable as long as they stick to their guns about quality of ingredients? C'mon, Really?
At least this company has admitted that batch variations exist. Other houses aren't as forthcoming to admit.
I have just taken delivery of two bottles of Creed Imperial. There are differences, and not just in the bottle (one has gold leaf flaking off of it where it says Creed with the crossed things on front, the 2011, and the 2008 is not).
The 2011 juice is a paler color than the 2008 batch, which is a little more green/blue it appears. Put them side by side, they dont appear the exact same color, maybe 90% alike?
First sniff out of the bottle, the 2008 was more 'metallic' but after wearing each bottle two times, they smell the same to me and last the same amount of time to my nose.
I like several Creeds, and think Millesime Imperial is the greatest scent ever, bar none. I'm not going to stop wearing it, regardless of some minor differences between bottles. But it does astound me that some Creed have such notable batch variations, especially since it is not the only major house to use natural ingredients. You never hear (almost never) of batch-by-batch issues with Chanel or Hermes, for example, and I have a hard time believing their ingredients are that much inferior to Creed's. If Creed is going to take the official position that its batches are going to vary, then it should publish official information about each batch listing the way it varies from the typical one -- after all, Creed is in the best position to know what it's using in each batch and how it varies from previous batches. This foolishness of forcing consumers to be detectives finding the right lot for Aventus, for example, is silly. Yes, I know the answer is simple: if I have an issue with the batch variations, I shouldn't buy Creed. I respect that argument, and I've already made the decision; it's worth it for me to buy Millesime Imperial (which smells great even with variations), but not Aventus (which sometimes smells great and sometimes smells like a Pineapple tire).
To be honest, I don't think my untrained nose could pick up on a batch difference...
So it's a quality control issue and the reason it's a quality control issue is because they use such high quality ingredients and produce such a high quality fragrance that they're willing to let lower quality batches pass as high quality fragrance and not offer a discount off their high prices. Funny how many other fragrances houses can do it but Creed can't. Another fairy tale that's full of holes and a company that's full of bullshit.
I think Creed's response is part PR, part honesty. However, I too have fallen "prey" of this variance hoopla. I have made the phone calls and to be honest it has always fallen on deaf ears. I recently sent a letter to the president of the firm that reps Creed and he was quite pleasant and explained to me that I am in the minority of people who have voiced their opinions on Aventus and the difficulties in finding a certain lot number. I understand that my complaint/concern more than likely never get anything changed until hundreds if not thousands voice that same opinion.
The reason I wrote him was the fact that his store in NYC will only offer store credits or exchanges. I do not want to sold a bill of goods. If I purchased Aventus last year (which I did, and loved the scent) then purchased it a few months ago and the scent was very different, that is a problem. I received an email from Creed this morning letting me know they are working on a resolution. I will report back if and when anything happens.
This is about as much as a laughable statement as Creed comparing their fragrances to wine. Folks, the aging process is done before it gets in the bottle not after. I'd like to see the science behind Creeds magical "fermentation" process. Matter of fact they should put a label on all bottles stating this. The word "degradation" would replace "fermentation" that's why. Fermentation without yeast. LOL!
Last edited by silentrich; 7th July 2011 at 10:22 PM.
You don't let a product leave the warehouse if you think it is substandard. PERIOD. Thus, their only viable claim would be that the batch variations are within a reasonable range, and are not significant. And so if a person feels that this is not the case, he or she should consider refraining from purchasing products from the company.
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When it's all said and done Creed has a larger problem with this than any other house in the business.....Niche or Designer!!!
i think it's a bunch of paranoid delusion that comes with spending way too many hours on a fragrance website.
it's almost as if topics need to be created to talk about. or the ideas are hatched by people with agendas. this has been very clear over the past year in particular.
Windsor II is identical to Windsor I.
the Aventus thing is a massive experiment in delusions of crowds.
but hey, it's more interesting than everyone keep saying "smells pretty good to me" all the time. if we can't complain on the internet, then what is it for, really?
I have several of Creed's offerings in my collection. While I loved the fragrances that I tested, in most cases they did not turn out to be close to the samples or testers. I don't think it's unrealistic to expect a close second when making a purchase of $350.00 or more on one of their fragrances. I have purchased a few that don't even come close in either longevity or scent. I believe that Creed suffers from the Russian roulette syndrome. Any of us can understand batch differences when dealing with natural sources but if a fragrance is a pale interpretation of the original, should we give it a new name?
- Expect the unexpected
I absolutely can't believe this...
So product inconsistency is actually a sign of quality??
Creed obviously thinks their customers are retards.
Classified Growth Bordeaux quality also varies from vintage year to vintage year due to varying growing conditions and the skill of the winemaker. But, unlike Creed the wines are variably priced, within a range dictated by the house, according to quantity produced and generally accepted quality of a particular year among other factors.
"Nostalgia just ain't what it used to be"--Anonymous
Anyone, refined nose or not, can see the glaring differences between batches of Creeds. And with scents so predominantly synthetic as Aventus (besides the bergamot, birch, and juniper), they really don't have an excuse. Lime, pine, and eucalyptus are nearly non-existent in Windsor 2, and the floral notes are more heavily synthetic...it's obvious and gas chromatography will no doubt prove this true.
If in fact Erwin has been newly appointed "raw materials buyer", then he's being disrespected by the rawaterial providers, and pops should step in and assist him.
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In fact, even if the best imaginable materials would be used, without all the BS regarding "the greatest amount of natural ingredients possible" and the like, Creed would still benefit from a gigantic mark-up. Well, it's not like it's the only brand who does this. Obviously there is a fanbase out there which gushes over Creed products even before they are sent out so their economical survival is safe. It's all fair game, in a world of hype and circus mirrors.
What I don't understand, and there is little malice in my question, is why would they want to reduce the hardcore cost of the average Creed bottle from, say, $15 to $12, if not even less than that, while their prices keep going up, and up, and then up some more.
Wouldn't they make a quite handsome profit even if they would continue to offer consistency and superior quality?
I honestly don't understand the reasoning behind this greed, not even from a cynical perspective.
PS The "answer" from the Creed representative is complete rubbish, given that the few fragrances I have smelled from them were far from being more natural than the reasonably priced Parfums de Nicolai or Zents or L'Occitane.
PPS After "more than a decade of study under his father," the best "Master" Erwin could come with was that ridiculous thingy about leather essence and how it would be obtained. . . how ignorant, how shameful.
From what I have read Chanel own their own rose and jasmine gardens for the express purpose (more or less) of being able to maintain supply for Chanel No.5. I also understand Guerlain have property in different parts of the world, or at least shares in various growers properties. These are two of the largest and most established perfume makers in the business and it's reassuring to know (well, I take it on faith - I haven't seen property deeds) that they have committed to as reliable sources of quality ingredients as nature will allow.
Not all houses can afford their own plantations but thankfully there are still some, Creed included I am sure, who make an effort to keep up with who is growing what and where, and providing an income for growers around the world. The truth of the matter, though, is that probably the bulk of perfume houses are reliant on the major aroma-chemical companies like Givaudan, Symrise, Firmenich and one or two others to source ingredients and, more often than not, create and manufacture the perfumes they release ‘to brief’.
I don't know how much real estate these big companies own, or how much of the initial production of the plant and floral essences and distillations happens elsewhere on site (you see backyard brewery style affairs in jungle locales and so on in photos) and is then brought back to be further processed and refined, but I imagine it's a big and complex ongoing logistical nightmare when you factor weather and currency fluctuations and who knows what else into the equation. Expensive, too.
I think the wine analogy is fair to a point, at least in the case of perfumes that are heavily reliant on certain notes, but with perfume you are not aging one liquid in a cask and then bottling it - you are doing chemistry. So if the roses from island X were wiped out by a hurricane you use roses from island Y and try to re-calibrate the effect with a synthetic rose (simplistic, but you know what I mean) to compensate for the change. It's not rocket science.
If batch variation at an acceptable level is due to the above then so be it IMO.
However, if the variation is so hit and miss that buying something is like playing Russian Roulette then clearly the company releasing the perfume is being irresponsible and should either (a) work harder on maintaining consistency, (b) reformulate and tell people the reason why (yeah, right) or (c) just discontinue the perfume.
I have noticed that Guerlain have discontinued a couple that seemed to me to need oakmoss. In one case they tried a batch with treemoss (probably this will become a collectors item) but dropped it from the range shortly after anyway. This is more to do with IFRA restrictions than inability to source natural ingredients, but I think it's relevant to the topic because batch variations are just as likely to be occurring as the industry tries to deal with the onslaught of restrictions coming from IFRA. Of course it's also possible Guerlain felt the sales figures on these ones didn't warrant keeping them in the line. I imagine Creed have looked at Selection Verte, Cypres Musc and a few others and seen a falloff in sales and figured it was time to retire them. Who knows?
Another variation on the batch variation theme we will see more of is due to a mix of (a) quality control and (b) pure commercial interest. As I understand it Dior Homme has changed because Dior made the decision to bring several of their perfumes back 'in-house' for manufacturing?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the owner, LVMH, would seem to have made the decision based on advice from their in-house Head of Fragrance to manufacture some of their own perfumes - i.e. find new suppliers - rather than continue to have them manufactured by Givaudan, Symrise, Firmenich or whichever company developed them.
This is easier said than done because the formula for the perfume is owned by said aroma-chemical company, not the brand, so if Dior or Kenzo or Armani or whoever move production elsewhere they have to re-create their own perfume. Shouldn't be too difficult, right? Wrong, would be my guess. And this is the juncture at which the decision might also be made to use a different, less expensive ingredient or two, or it may HAVE to be made because the company who originally created the perfume also holds the patent to a certain key molecule or two used in the perfume and just say 'if we ain't makin' it for you anymore we sure as hell ain't selling your new supplier any of our ingredient X, so there!'. Or more grown up words to that effect.
So – if we see more of this expect changes in some of the better selling commercial fragrances and maybe a bit of ongoing variation before the thing learns to straighten up and fly right. Of course some may be vastly improved – I would still like to think this is the real reason for brands getting more ‘hands on’ with quality control of their lines.
I don’t have a defintive answer on the batch variation issue - I'm just sitting here watching it all happen along with the rest of you, but it is a fact that batch variations and reformulations have been going on in one form or another for more than a century as various ingredients are banned (nitro-musks), lost (Mysore Sandalwood - over harvested), replaced by superior ingredients due to advances in processing of raw ingredients and maybe even enhanced by the discovery of new floral and plant species etc.
Frankly, I am more worried about waking up to a world where what you get is, has and always will be 100% consistent, because that will be the day when the aroma-chemical companies who make most of the stuff have managed to recreate everything they need in the labs. No more batch variations – a perfect, (brave, new) world ☺
"And if you love something, buy two bottles, because next time the thing may be changed or gone."
Perfumes: The A - Z Guide. (2008)