There are more than a few reviews of Viking on the major fragrance sites at the moment, so I thought I’d write up some thoughts, as I am not likely to sample it any time soon (it may be another super-hype scent, like Aventus). The notes listed at Fragrantica.com are:
…bergamot, black currant and pink pepper; middle notes are driftwood, salt, rose and fruity notes; base notes are ambergris, oakmoss, sandalwood and sea salt.
With a name like Viking one might have guessed a Yatagan-like scent (at least before seeing the notes), but so far the reviews suggest it’s more like a Pasha type scent, with the anise/mint taken out and the salty element added. I could go on a tirade about how ridiculous it is for a company that prides itself on “royal” affiliations to name a scent after those who slaughtered anyone who got in their way, including royalty, women, children, monks, etc., but one can just go to the Wikipedia page and decide for himself/herself.
My guess is that it has a dry/woody element that is not too strong, because that is much of what I get from Pasha (vintage formulation). Here are the notes for it:
…lavender, mandarin orange, mint, caraway and anise; middle notes are coriander and brazilian rosewood; base notes are labdanum, sandalwood, patchouli and oakmoss.
I don’t get any of these notes with strength, unlike an “old school” scent with many of the same notes, such as Azzaro Pour Homme, where the lavender/fougere and anise are quite “in your face.” Pasha is closer to Safari for Men, though I’d guess there’s a bit of dihydromyrcenol in Pasha (I don’t remember if I ever thought it was present in Safari). Obviously, Creed’s perfumers don’t mind the use of this aroma chemical, because it’s clearly present in Green Irish Tweed. And while I don’t get a specific salt aspect to Pasha, there is something about it that does suggest at least a hint of it.
Some who have sampled it say it is a “safe” and “all around” scent, and one wonders if the idea was to create a more interesting and less “chemical” version of a designer offering like Sauvage. The main point I wanted to make in this blog post is that unless you are wealthy you might want to ask yourself if you can simulate Viking fairly well with a layering combination. Now if you only own a few bottles then no, you probably aren’t going to get particularly close. In my case, not only do I have a lot of bottles to choose from (and quite a variety too, including a whole lot of “feminines”), but I tend to dislike “salty” scents, so it might work out better for me, assuming I like the idea of a salty (or saltier) Pasha, more or less.
Thinking about the reviews of Viking (in terms of it being safe/”all purpose”) and my experiences with Pasha, I have to conclude that these kinds of scents are just not for me, and I really like the way Pasha smells! The problem for me is that I lose interest in it quickly. However, I realize this sort of perception can vary greatly from one person to another. For example, Luca Turin said something similar about Jaipur Homme, yet to me that is a scent that I find to be quite interesting, in terms of the strong spice contrasting with the other notes. I’d rather have a scent like JH, which I have to be in the mood to wear, than one like Pasha, which I doubt I’d ever have an issue with wearing, but almost always prefer another scent when deciding what to spray on in the morning. It’s also not great for layering because it’s already rather complex, so I’d likely try a different scent to use if I wanted a layering combination with a salty element.
Viking doesn’t sound too complex, by contrast, and I wouldn’t mind sampling it (I’d likely wait for a “clone” if I enjoyed it, though, considering the prices), but lately I’ve found myself more interested in what I already have. Over the last couple of years I’ve rarely found myself intrigued by a note list of a scent I’ve yet to sample, and that’s often in “super cheapos” anyway. The notes for Playboy’s King of the Game, for example, include black coffee and an alcoholic drink accord (known as “Jager Bomb”); it’s certainly worth the $7 for 100 ml that I paid, as I enjoy it and do think about reaching for it, unlike Pasha.
Anyway, I went ahead and wore vintage Pasha, got bored with it (as expected) within the first couple of hours, then sprayed Red Sea by Micallef once just above the navel (below where I sprayed Pasha). Sure enough, I was thinking, “yes, Viking sort of makes sense, but it’s more like the shore right before the vikings came to invade!” Now I doubt I would have thought that if I didn’t have that name on my mind, but the important thing (for me) is that both scents were improved by this combination (IMO). The notes for Red Sea are:
Top notes are neroli and cinnamon; middle notes are rose and iris; base notes are sandalwood and musk.
So, I’m glad Creed and the “fanboys” gave me the idea to try this! If and when I sample Viking I’ll be sure to update this post or create a new one about it. If you have tried it, please let us know what you think.
NOTE: For those who want to talk about the name/design, it’s interesting that a significant area of the bottle is covered in orange – that doesn’t seem to make sense, for example:
In heraldry, orange is a rarely used tincture except in South Africa and in the heraldry of the United States Army. A more accurate picture of its use is at tenné.
And in the West, orange would seem to be the exact opposite of what the name Viking suggests:
In Europe and America orange and yellow are the colours most associated with amusement, frivolity and entertainment.
By contrast, purple is the royal color, at least in European history. What about real vikings?
“Blue and red were popular colours throughout the Viking Age. In general, they all wore colourful clothes with patterns and sewn-on ribbons,” says Mannering, adding that archaeologists have come across examples of colours covering the entire colour palette.
Some Basenotes.net members seem to be thinking along the same lines, for example:
…This new Creed release just looks rediculous, in terms of perfume pyramid matching the theme of the scent.
What a blasphemic step…
…that [bottle] is hideous.
And the color simply doesn’t match at all with the concept or notes.
…the discordance is very jarring, if Creed were creating a fragrance called Silk Road and were to switch the logo to something more appropriate the vivid red/orange colour would work but for Viking I was expecting a much darker shade and around cobalt blue with gold trimmings, maybe even switch it up to a wooden cap to keep with the theme…
I liked the name Aventus – why not come up with an original name so that will only be associated with your scent? For me, though, it’s the scent that matters – I’d buy a scent called Royal Turd if I really liked it, even if there was a pile of you-know-what pictured on the bottle!