Popular success and quality don't always go together, not just in perfumery, but everywhere. Otherwise McDonalds would be the pinnacle of gastronomy. That said, many popular things are indeed great. For instance, the cool water you mention received 5 stars, the top score, even from a stubborn perfume critic like Luca Turin.
Creed is indeed the most controversial brand around here. Most brands have followers and haters, but the problem with Creed is that they were marketing geniuses who were able to create a mistique around the brand, despite some quality control problems like the batch variation you mention. Unfortunately, they are not the only brand to do so (even Amouage is undergoing dilution and quality issues right now). They were just the most successful.
That said, if you have smelled your way around and they're the ones you like, what's wrong? go for them. Just make sure you smell the batch before you buy to make sure you like it, something you can do if you buy in a store (less so if you buy online).