Cologne Review: 2.0 by TIJON

     In the 2011 OWN documentary “Tom Ford: Roots of a Perfectionist”, one of the models interviewed says of the now-famous designer, “He was the king of fashion; so bold and brave to turn your back on that1.” She’s talking, of course, about how Mr. Ford left Gucci at the peak of his success to pursue his film-making interests and start his own designer line (which, we all know, now includes some great beauty items). I was reminded of this quote when I began to research the founder of Tijon Fragrance Lab & Boutique. Tijon’s founding story begins with John Berglund, a Wisconsin businessman with a successful career in law2, who in 2007 dropped this path to realize his childhood dream of living on the beach and opening a perfume business3. How many of us can relate to having a dream and chasing it like that? Not many, unfortunately. That’s why Berglund’s story, which takes place on the French-Dutch island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean, is summarized so nicely in the plaque that hangs in his store: “Tijon, an experience worth waiting for4.” These are words to live by, indeed.

     Modern-day Tijon is a perfumery unlike most others because it offers a unique bespoke service – a Build a Bear Workshop of scent, if you will. Trained perfumers/instructors at their St. Martin or California locations guide novices and experts alike in a process that begins with over 300 oils5 and ends with a custom fine fragrance, body cream, lotion, or massage oil6. One client described it like this: “As unforgettable as your first kiss5.” Better yet, the individual recipes are kept on file and can be reordered easily from their website. I think it is just extraordinary that with the proper guidance of professionals individuals from all walks of life can create something as personal and as special as an individual signature scent in a few hours – remarkable!

© Gil Segev 2015

© Gil Segev 2015

     Although I’ve yet to book a cruise to the island to test the service for myself (working on it!) I got to try two of John’s hand-blended, original creations for my summer beauty recommendations segment on Daytime York Region. 2.0 was the masculine option of the two (although technically unisex), and Éclectique made up the feminine portion – review to follow. As soon as I opened the parcel I got a whiff of 2.0, and was instantly drawn to its outdoorsy vibes.

© Gil Segev 2015

© Gil Segev 2015

     When I went looking for the inspiration behind this scent I found that it was named 2.0 because John and wife Cyndi were simply running out of more creative name ideas! I like this honest frankness, explored in John’s book “A Beach Less Traveled.” It is a candid look into the company’s story and I consulted it often for this review. There are autographed copies available on their website, and you can bet it’s on my summer to-be-read list as well. It is the type of story that would inspire me to pursue my passion, just as John did his.

© Gil Segev 2015

© Gil Segev 2015

     2.0 comes in a thin grey cardboard box and a bottle that brings to mind Marc Jacobs’ Bang, if its caved-in metallic flacon turned into glass and was punched outwards. (A bit farfetched, but work with me) There is a very tight-gripping plastic cap on top, and the juice inside is the color of white wine. The spray has a good distribution. I should point out that both this bottle and every other one from Tijon are custom – you will not find the design anywhere else. 2.0 seems to form an X in its middle, catching the light in different angles and looking like a gem on the shelf.

     I had a difficult time assessing this cologne on paper as it evaporated too quickly, and had to wear it on my skin for several weeks before really understanding how it works and coming up with a story for it. Deep, feral woods, bitter bergamot and sweet lemon hard candy make up the opening of this composition, meant to be romantic and deeply evocative. (Think dark, menacing fairy tale forest – but nice) The great thing about this combination is that citrus can often smell rather ‘cold’ on its own or partnered with fruity notes, so woodsy notes are a great ‘warm’ alternative; it brings to mind the same effect that the now-discontinued Hollister Break Line had. In the heart and dry down this becomes outright nutmeg and ginger, which further heat up the citrus, creating a perfume that practically cooks on the skin and feels like a never-ending treadmill: smooth, ongoing, unbroken. With a hint of something herbal thrown in the heart – maybe rosemary? – it mellows itself out to emerge into more forested zones of perhaps ever-greens. There is a general air of the outdoors in 2.0, and it is rather adventurous despite a conservative composition. The dry down is a very peppery and gingery, but still evocative of the great outdoors.

     Verdict: 2.0 is classic and easy enough to wear to the office, with a secret fun side that entices the wearer to head into the open world. It reminds me of John’s very story of corporate life turned inside out, and I appreciate this transformation greatly. It does have a relatively short lifespan (3-4 hours on my skin) but good silage and a smell you’ll be dreaming of in your sleep. This would make an excellent Father’s Day gift for a warm, adventurous man.


1Oprah: Tom Ford: Roots of a Perfectionist

2Amazon: A Beach Less Traveled

3Tijon: About Us

4“A Beach Less Traveled” by John Berglund

5Tijon: La Jolla Fragrance Creation Experiences

6Tijon: Custom Fragrance


You can check out Tijon Fragrance Lab & Boutique at or follow them on Twitter at

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