Today I’d like to do something a little different. I recently had the pleasure of trying Xerjoff’s Mefisto. As can easily be discovered through endless reviews on Fragrantica and Basenotes, it’s clear that some folks find Mefisto to be very similar (a clone even!) to Creed’s Silver Mountain Water. When testing it, I can certainly see the resemblance. But how exactly are these two fragrances similar? And are they different enough? Read on to find out!
Yes it is true: on a superficial level, Xerjoff’s Mefisto does resemble Creed’s Silver Mountain Water. They both open up with an aldehydic/citric blast mixed with a musky note. When smelled side by side, they are certainly different scents, though they do give off the same vibe. But where Silver Mountain Water opens with bergamot and a sweet berry note, Mefisto’s citruses are more Xerjoff (if you know what i mean). One can clearly smell the Italian influence in Mefisto, as the bergamot is blended with an even more prominent lemon and grapefruit.
In the transition to the early mid of the fragrance, the differences become much more clear. Silver Mountain Water smells… Well, silver. There is a metallic note that runs through the heart of the composition, rendering the fragrance modern and sporty. Along with the metal, one can discern a clear sweet tea note, which ensures the fragrance remains refreshing and never abrasive. The mix of these elements lend the impression of ink, which smells similar to (but not at all the same as) the “purple-smelling” florals in Mefisto.
In contrast to the sporty, edgy vibe of Silver Mountain Water, Xerjoff’s Mefisto displays a sartorial elegance that is reserved for the finest of Italian fragrance houses. In its own transition to the mid notes, a floral bouquet begins to bloom. The notes list a mix of iris, lavender, and rose, and this is precisely what I smell, and in equal parts. Like Silver Mountain Water, the mid is refreshing and a bit powdery, but Mefisto is much more elegant and refined.
The dry down phases of both fragrances are similarly constructed and based around the use of high quality musks. However, like with the earlier phases of these fragrances, each has its own twist. Silver Mountain Water has a musk that is mostly clean, buoyed by Creed’s signature ambergris, and mixed ever so slightly with some sort of animalic note. Perhaps this is the result of the blending with ambergris, but the base musk elements in Silver Mountain Water are extraordinarily complex.
Contrast this with Mefisto’s base, which, while pleasant, is much more simple. The base of Mefisto is a simple yet very high quality white musk that smells clean and plays well with the floral aspects that remain from the mid. Overall though, Mefisto’s base is more “common” in that it smells distinctly like white musk (albeit a white musk of exceptional quality).
So, the bottom line: which do I prefer? For me that’s an impossible question to answer. I find both fragrances equally interesting and equally meritorious. Both serve their purposes, and both are of impeccable quality.
In closing, if I were to highlight one significant distinction between the two fragrances, it would be in occasion of use and overall vibe. To me Silver Mountain Water is a sporty fragrance, reserved for more casual uses and for daytime wear. Mefisto is the opposite, smelling upright, elegant, and a bit formal. Nevertheless, despite these slight differences in feel, Mefisto and Silver Mountain Water can both be used for casual and formal wear.
Hopefully the readers will find this comparison helpful. Deciding between these two fragrances is difficult for many, judging by the many forum posts on the subject. But that’s your job.
Go forth fragrant minions. Choose. And choose wisely!