Creed’s Aventus is a phenomenon in the fragrance world. It is undoubtedly one of the biggest niche fragrances ever created and its release and subsequent popularity has had a huge impact on the world of niche perfumes as a whole. It is in part responsible for the boom of clone-houses and it introduces a lot of, mostly men, into the realm beyond high street perfumery.
What more can be said about this fragrance anno 2023? I only properly wore this in 2021, from a Creed Aventus trilogy discovery set (which I think was released in 2018, when the Aventus Cologne was newly released). That’s to say, with all the stories of how different batches wear differently; I have no idea what version of Aventus I have recollections of. I’ve smelled it in stores several times since and sprayed it on skin twice there and had similar reactions to my sample wearings.
I’m not going to delve deep into the scent; when I do, it will be after wearing it again. It’s a beautiful fragrance and it’s easy to see why it became so popular. The fruity smokiness, while having a watery and ambergris tinge, is a style that’s instantly recognizable as Aventus DNA, but also stands out from most other types of perfumes on the market (I know perfumer Jean-Christophe Herault worked on several pineapple fragrances, like Canali dal 1934 a year prior to Aventus, so I would like to smell that one day to see the progression leading up to his masterpiece. Unfortunately, prices for that have skyrocketed).
Aventus is masculine in an (at the time) non-traditional way, it’s a crowd-pleaser and an overall versatile fragrance that wouldn’t be out of the norm for either an office meeting or a date night.
It is probably my favorite Creed fragrance that I’ve tried, alongside Wood & Spice. I don’t get the hype for it 100% as far as my personal taste goes (it always surprises me how a few fragrances snowball so far ahead of the rest and towards household names), but I absolutely recognize it for its accomplishments. It’s arguably the biggest of its class alongside Baccarat Rouge 540. Followed by the likes of Le Labo Santal 33, Kilian Love Don’t Be Shy, Parfums de Marly Layton & Delina, Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille & Tuscan Leather. Creed as a brand has several very popular fragrances, like Green Irish Tweed, but I don’t think they’ve come remotely close to Aventus’ magnitude. And frankly, I think Aventus could be deserving of its praise.
Personally, I arrived at the Aventus hype-train-station too late. While still immensely popular, its glory days within the core of the niche community already started to fade. I am not one to condone, buy or review clone houses, but it’s hard to get around clones when something becomes as popular as Aventus. I’m not just talking about the full-on clone houses like Dua, Pineapple Vintage, Alexandria or Armaf, but a good percentage of (respectable?) perfume houses have an Aventus-‘inspired’ fragrance in their collection nowadays as well.
By the time I got my hands on the real deal, I had already smelled a dozen plus iterations of its DNA. Of course, this shouldn’t throw shade on Creed, especially given my feelings towards clones, but in reality, it’s hard to get excited about a very expensive fragrance, that everyone has in their collection, when you have smelled countless similar, sometimes better performing fragrances and often at a much cheaper price point. As much as I appreciate Aventus, its ‘need’ was never there anymore in my journey.
I think Aventus was one of the best versions I’ve smelled of its own DNA, but apparently you can’t count on bottles smelling the same, depending on what batch you land on, so that’s something to keep in mind. Also, for the price, I’m not sure have considered a purchase even if there were no other options like it available.
Instead, at one time I opted for the closest fragrance that I encountered to the version of Aventus that I smelled and that was Tiziana Terenzi Orion. It came closest to the DNA for me, performed better and I got it at a fraction of the price. Yet I ended up selling it eventually either way.
Another nice, softer version is Io-Ko I.Mirage, but that’s also pricey. Frapin Orchid Man might be one of my favorite options for the DNA at its price; although it’s not spot on Aventus, if that’s what you’re looking for. The same goes for Vilhelm Morning Chess. A lesser known clone that I think was really good is Spirit Of Kings Matar.
I have never tried the super popular Club de Nuit. I hear it’s harsher at first, but ultimately a great option. Nor have I tried the Afnan, Rasasi or Al Haramain versions.
I found other cheaper alternatives to be lacking and their comparisons overstated. Fragrances like Montblanc Explorer and Zara Vibrant Leather clearly mimic the DNA, but don’t have the depth of the ambergris and tend to lean more fruity and orange instead of the fresher, greener side of Aventus. Explorer especially feels like it’s lacking basenotes in general. They’re solid ‘beginners’ options in my opinion, but I wouldn’t consider them great Aventus alternatives.
Mancera Cedrat Boise is my favorite, but I wouldn’t call that an Aventus clone. I personally prefer Cedrat Boise over Aventus and while obviously highly likely inspired, is not as similar to Aventus as many people seem to state. Cedrat Boise is mostly sweeter, more ‘orange’ and less green. It’s drydown is also smokier than the Aventus’ that I smelled, so presumably closer to older batches. Then again, my Cedrat Boise bottles are from 2019 with the screw caps and I hear people complain about newer batches of those as well. There is a Cedrat Boise Intense, that to me smelled nearly identical to my bottles, so perhaps that’s worth looking into. But as said, I don’t think it’s that close to Aventus and having both wouldn’t necessarily feel redundant either.
On the other hand, Nishane Havicat, leans to the other side, with a sharper, greener composition, that’s less to my taste. For performance, you should be good with Hacivat however.
Where the Aventus DNA potentially shines in today’s climate, is in the fragrances where you get a part of the DNA, but where it’s not the whole thing (nobody needs more versions at this point right?). There are several fragrances on the market that use the DNA as part of the composition. Kajal Lamar seems to pair Aventus with Baccarat Rouge 540, whereas Electimuss Imperium smells spot-on like Aventus mixed with Nishane Ani. Even Xerjoff Elle reminded me of Aventus as some point during the wear, while by no means being a clone.
Aventus is likely to remain a staple for beginners and established collectors alike, even though the real hype seems to be fading. Many have capitalized on its succes and it will be interesting to see if and how Creed themselves can continue doing so (I don’t think the Cologne flanker did the trick, but with Royal Oud they seem to have a pretty nice successor on their hands, albeit it not in the same realm of popularity). Either way, Aventus is one for the ages and I’ll come back to give it more wears throughout the years.
Sidenote: I highly recommend people to read the book The Ghost Perfumer by Gabe Oppenheim. Gabe did some investigative journalism into the perfume world and specifically into the history of Creed as a brand. To many of us that dove deep in the world of (niche) perfumery, it was no secret that Creed’s history as portrayed didn’t fully add up and it was pretty much known that the owners were taking credit for the work of ‘ghost’ perfumers. In the book, part of those suspicions are confirmed, through interviews with perfumers and industry people. One reveal is the actual perfumer beind Aventus; Jean-Christophe Herault (Balenciaga Florabotanica, Mugler Alien Man, Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme are among his achievements).