This is my tenth year, in various capacities, within the fragrance industry. One does not come this far without hearing a tall tale or two over the years. Some printable; some unfortunately aren’t. Thus imagine my amusement a few years ago when George Clooney’s negotiation for fragrance licensing with Coty fell through, in part, because the asking fee was $30 million dollars.
Now don’t get me wrong: I’m sure Clooney had his sound rationales, and $30 million dollars would surely come in handy when buying a more secluded villa in Lake Como, with the privacy he had sorely missed when vacationing. With this being said it’s doubtful that I would need a copy of bottled George in the first place, for when I am compelled to take after the leading man —along with other cultural icons such as David Beckham, Russell Crowe, Pierce Brosnan, among others— I pull out my copy of Green Irish Tweed.
|actor David Kelly in his green irish tweeds|
Officially Green Irish Tweed was created by master perfumer Pierre Bourdon for yet another leading man among leading men —Cary Grant. The chronology gets fuzzy beyond this point, however. He supposedly used it, though Grant would kick the bucket within a year after the fragrance introduction. Carbon dating the scent through its olfactory blueprint would be somewhat futile in this case, for it’s a green aromatic fougère that subtly influenced the masculine market for years, pointing to the future rather than its past. (But more on that later.)
Timeless doesn’t even begin to describe this scent, for Green Irish Tweed is working incredibly well for men of all ages. Just like the same Shakespearean passage could be interpreted so many different mannerisms and contexts, Green Irish Tweed somehow manages to give off a different spark in different situations: on a young lad, the vibrant and brash green opening; on a middle-aged businessman, the all-purpose aromatic earnest; and the golden men, the classic fougère base. That’s not to say that GIT lacks character, as it opens with a bracing rush of green and citrus elements such as lemon verbena. True to namesake fabric the nuances from the crunchy green really maintain the requisite masculine ruggedness; it’s as if one is meeting a true aristocrat, but instead of in the drawing room of his ancestral home it’s a chance meeting right before his polo match, brimming with confidence and vigor. Somehow I suspect geranium is in the mix, having picked up its presence among other similarly structured colognes, yet it’s not listed in the official notes: instead we have an interesting bunch consisting of violet leaves and vetiver making rounds before settling on the aforementioned fougère base along with sandalwood, ambergris and modern musk. Iris is in the mix too, although truth be told I still cannot decide its place: Creed lists it as a top note, whereas it's more of a heart note to my nose.
Now at this point readers with a modern olfactory palette would need some contexts before smelling this fragrance for the first time, for its idioms have been widely utilized ever since. The bookends of this fragrance, the green and the fougère, was to me referenced in Chanel Platinum Egoiste (1993), albeit in an arguably more acrid, slightly more high-pitched incarnation. Of course, Bourdon would also famously reprise the structural integrity of GIT by plugging in Calone into the mix, producing the watershed Cool Water for Men in 1988, just three short years after the release of the Creed.
Comparing Green Irish Tweed with Cool Water for Men is indeed a gentlemen pursuit worth partaking, for the differences are quite interesting. To me GIT is gentler in character, less intrusive than its marine sibling. Both perform quite well in diffusion and sillage, although Cool Water for Men balances out the freshness from Calone with a more assertive base in my humble opinion. Now much has been said about the use of Calone, the synthetic chemical first discovered by Pfizer in 1966 but left on the shelves for decades due to its bizarre slant: in high concentration its scent has been described as oyster like! Yet at a lower pitch it gives off a fresh marine impression with, depending on the context, melon or cucumber with a slightly saline dent. Yet Calone isn’t the magic pill within Cool Water for Men, as its similarities with the Creed imply. Of course, the Davidoff is more budget conscious, done with broader brush brushstrokes, but Bourdon’s signature touches are decidedly present in both. After all, the instrument alone doesn’t make a concert: neither in perfumery does the overdose of a novel ingredient take away from the thought process. We also pay for the perfumer’s time, not just for the sum of the bottled ingredients.
One notable difference, however: GIT layers very well with other masculine scents, not only with eaux de colognes but also quite interestingly with MUMAs. Because it doesn’t come in deodorants I tend to combine it with Terre d'Hermès deodorant stick. Mind you, I have even layered it beautifully with Chergui by Serge Lutens, with Chergui at the base and GIT right above, though looking back the combination is a tad assertive for my taste, fortifying the amber of the Lutens to an opulent, diffusive place I don’t normally venture—but then again conventional rules are out of the door at Lutens; I just dare not go that far.
For more information please refer to Creed’s official website.