Is this Creed Green Irish Tweed sample card a fake?

This one's real...

This one's real...

It's a sort of time-honoured tradition among cologne afficionados, it seems, to have an opinion on fake Creed Green Irish Tweed. We'll just pick one example here to illustrate the point, but it's just one of many across blogs and discussion boards all over the net.

The experts will discuss labelling, atomisers, flask design, the embossed packaging, and the scent itself.  It's not a new topic.

But what's the story with these sample cards?  They seem to be offered everywhere: we can find them on eBay, and even in far-flung China on TaoBao.  Just look at this:

Creed Green Irish Tweed fake sample card
From TaoBao...and yes, we know it's been turned through 90 degrees...

From TaoBao...and yes, we know it's been turned through 90 degrees...

We cannot comment on the fragrance samples themselves: they may well be genuine.  But the ubiquitous accompanying cards? They are very odd indeed...


Why do we say that? Well, the wording looks like a load of old hogwash. Creed may now be a French company, but to judge from their English-language affiliate websites (here and here), and given what an exclusive brand Creed now is, you wouldn't expect them to produce a Franglais text like this.

Let's go through the details on the card:

fortune teller crystal ball

- 'Queen of England Victoria' - yes, Victoria was indeed Queen of England but nobody ever refers to her as 'Queen of England Victoria'.  She's just 'Queen Victoria'.  If you don't believe us, try Googling that exact phrase ("Queen of England Victoria") in inverted commas: when we try it, all we get are a series of dubious links to astrology websites.

- 'King Georges IV' - OK, so 'George' becomes 'Georges' in French, and Creed are a French company, so that's why they refer to the Prince Regent as 'Georges IV', right? Wrong!  Just check the French Wikipedia entry for him: even in French, he's mostly referred to as 'George IV', except in about four places in what is a very long article. 

They, at least, know what 'Austria-Hungaria' is...

They, at least, know what 'Austria-Hungaria' is...

- 'Austria-Hungaria' - where's that? I mean, we've heard of Austria-Hungary (or Autriche-Hongrie if we're still meant to be talking French), or even the Austro-Hungarian Empire... but never 'Austria-Hungaria'.  Again, try Googling that and you'll find it's the way you say 'Austria-Hungary' in... Swahili.

So that's weird for a start: why would a high-end concern like Creed be unable to write a proper text in English and then not bother to get it proof-read? It's not exactly a fly-by-night operation being run by Messieurs Creed over there...

George IV: Not popular... but apparently he smelt great...

George IV: Not popular... but apparently he smelt great...

And then there is the curious choice of historical figureheads listed on the card: 

Nothing wrong with mentioning Queen Victoria, of course: she's generally highly thought of.   But George IV, the Prince Regent? A dissolute, womanizing man who diminished the prestige of the British monarchy, a spendthrift who wasted extravagant sums satisfying his own desires? Maybe whoever wrote the card meant George III (Creed themselves refer to him as a customer on their own websites), but got his son instead by mistake. 

And then again, Nicholas II of Russia? The Tsar oversaw the decline of imperial Russia from great power to total collapse and the takeover by the Bolsheviks.  He lost the Russo-Japanese War, and presided over anti-Semitic pogroms, the murder of his political enemies and Russia's disastrous involvement in World War I, before dying in a hail of Bolshevik bullets along with his family. (He's not mentioned on the Creed websites, we might add.)

Franz-Josef and Eugenie: An undeniably well-groomed couple but cursed with tragedy

Franz-Josef and Eugenie: An undeniably well-groomed couple but cursed with tragedy

How about Napoleon III? He was the loser of the Franco-Prussian War.  Emperor Franz-Josef and Empress Eugenie? The Empress was murdered by an anarchist, and Franz-Josef of course was the uncle of Franz-Ferdinand, whose murder in Sarajevo triggered World War I.  Quite apart from the tragedy of leading his Empire into a war that they would ultimately lose, Franz-Josef also faced the personal tragedies of his brother Maximilian being executed in Mexico, and his son committing suicide.

OK, in fairness, Creed themselves also refer to Napoleon III and Emperor Franz-Josef in their potted histories (and also, curiously enough, Edward VIII, who scandalously abdicated the British throne in order to marry a divorcée, Wallis Simpson).  

Anyway, while questioning the authenticity of the sample cards (and by the way, one does wonder why anyone is selling 4 year old cologne (1760 plus 250 years = 2010), but each to his own...), we suppose we're also making a comment about Creed's choice of historical celebrities to boost their brand: the point of this potted history lesson is to show that a lot of them were brutes, wasters, failures, mad, bad or just plain cursed.

Finally, of course, there is some irony here: after all, the very origins of the House of Creed are supposedly shrouded in mystery, and some have even cast aspersions on the official statements made about the company's history (see just one example here).

If the allegations about Creed's fake history are valid, they can't complain about fake sample cards, can they, really? 

To shop for real, non-fake Green Irish Tweed, check out the latest price on Amazon here!

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