If you get the chance to vacation at the Virgin Islands, or their western neighbors the Virgin Islands of the United States, you might be so distracted by the uninterrupted beauty of the place that you forget its dark history. The natives of the islands, including the Arawak, Carib, and Cermic peoples respectively, were entirely wiped out by European settlers by the 1600’s to grow sugar, cotton and tobacco, which were farmed by African slaves. The local economy was further developed by illegal pirates, who found the islands a safe haven thanks to questionable laws put in place by corrupt governors. The Virgin Islands continued to be a place of suffering and hard times until 1848, when the entire slave population was set free due to the abolishment of slavery. Today’s vacationers come for the scenery and relaxation, which feeds a booming tourism industry started around WWII, but we must not forget the past for we might repeat it.
Scent is one of the best and most accurate ways we can capture the essence of this Caribbean destination, and Creed did a fine job indeed of replicating the holiday atmosphere while paying tribute to the heritage of the islands. This family-owned company of over 250 years is perhaps more than anybody else the perfect choice for creating this liquid ode called Virgin Island Water, released in 2007. It is signed by sixth and seventh generation Creed perfumers Olivier and Erwin, and it is a game changer for the “tropical” fragrance category, which includes classics like Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess and Bobbi Brown’s Beach.
Now, a note on purchasing Creed products online. This company’s overall production is relatively small and therefore distribution is limited to only a handful of official boutiques in the world and few authorized retailers. The global demand for their products, however, created a black and grey market saturated with fake Creed fragrances, which sell for anywhere from $20-$200. I received my bottle of Virgin Island Water for review consideration from FragranceNet.com, which is not an official retailer but has a good selection and ships widely. The only red flag as far as consumers might be concerned is that the pictured bottle, for example, costs $370* on Creed’s official website and just $156.79* at FragranceNet.com. The fear of receiving fake goods due to significantly lower prices is legitimate, but I can assure you that according to the info provided by official Creed salespeople the bottle here is the real deal. The batch number coordinates to a 2015 production run, and everything about the packaging and juice leads me to confidently say that FragranceNet.com is selling true Creed perfumes for a fraction of the original price, which are definitely not expired or damaged in any discernible way.
The classic Creed bottle in this case holds one of the most conceptual, carefully thought out and certainly my favourite of summery perfumes. Upon initial application you are hit with a sugary lime that smells as though so freshly squeezed it’s practically flying at you in 3D. It’s tart and sweet and juicy. Then we get into the coconut, which actually comes in two waves. The first is a coconut milk concoction that is thick and creamy, like ice cream on a hot day. Mixed with the lime juice, it’s practically mouthwatering. Next the coconut turns into a true suntan lotion through and through, there’s no denying it and you will either hate it or love it. I’m not the biggest fan of coconut normally but this is an exception, it brings me back to being small and playing in the surf and sand. Finally, after 3 or so hours or wear, we reach the base note of white rum, which smells deep and warm and utterly relaxing, a little buttery and sharp. The perfume projects exceptionally well and is perfectly unisex, a line right down the middle. It also lasts for hours.
When I smell Virgin Island Water I think of the exotic flavours of the local cuisine, maybe fresh shrimp drizzled with citrus juice, the sugarcane which the slaves tended to, and the alcohol that the pirates must have brought with them from long voyages in the open sea. It envelopes me completely with only a few sprays, and I know that I will forever be a fan. It’s expensive, yes, even with FragranceNet.com’s generous discount, but so worth the splurge. There is something to be said about over spraying this, because of its strong silage it can quickly become a sticky spilled cocktail situation which can be avoided by tactful application. Thinking of heading out on a cruise? Pick up a bottle and a history book and get ready for the trip of a lifetime. Truly, hats off to Olivier and Erwin for such a fabulous creation, I can’t wait to test out the rest of the line and see if the legends, as they are spoken of in the fragrance community, are true. What shall I try next?
*Prices true at time of writing.
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