Too often perfumers just splash some synthetic coconut or citrus essence into a bottle, slap a brightly colored label on it and call the noxious result a “Caribbean” scent. So it’s nice to know that fine island fragrances really do exist, some of the best of which come from The Bermuda Perfumery.
Founded in the 1920s, the factory is housed in an 18th-century coral stone-and-cedar house in the historic town of St. George’s (think colonial Williamsburg, island style) and run by French Canadian perfumer Isabelle Braxtone.
You can take a free tour of the perfumery (Mon to Sat, 9am to 5pm), during which you’ll see the hand-bottled perfume bases, made from natural ingredients which macerate for one to six months in essential oils.
The Perfumery is most famous for its Lili Bermuda collection of fragrances, which are sold exclusively on island and also featured in the rooms of swanky Tucker’s Point resort. You can choose from 17 scents, including the unisex Fresh Water and the perfumery’s original scent, Easter Lily, made from lilies grown in nearby Bailey’s Bay.
But I’m particularly partial to South Water, a light and refreshing unisex blend spiked with tangy sea salt, essence of guava and yes, that ubiquitous coconut.