I’ve been lucky to visit some wonderful places over the years but one of my most memorable holidays was a trip with my sister to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. This idyll in the Caribbean has stunning scenery and is a sailor’s paradise.
We spent a lot of time in the water, whether it was swimming in the secluded Smuggler’s Cove or snorkelling off Norman Island (supposedly the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island).
Up to now, I had zero interest in Creed, in the way that some brands just feel like they’re not for you. However, knowing Virgin Island Water was named after the British Virgin Islands and then reading that The Candy Perfume Boy believes it possesses one of the best lime notes in perfumery, I finally felt moved to try my first Creed.
Released in 2007, Virgin Island Water contains essence of copra (the white part of the coconut), lime, bergamot, mandarin orange, hibiscus, ginger, ylang-ylang, jasmine, sugar cane, white rum, woods and musk.
On my very first wearing, Virgin Island Water made me think of the Trade Winds that whip along the Sir Francis Drake Channel – before I had even found out this was its inspiration. Perfumer Olivier Creed wanted to capture the sailing trip he took around the Islands with his son and hats off to him for successfully recreating the sensation he was going for.
I know how brisk those Trade Winds can be because my sister’s shorts were whisked off our catamaran in the Channel, never to be seen again (she went back to our hotel wrapped in a towel).
The lime in the opening of Virgin Island Water is indeed fantastic. Sweet fruit notes usually turn me off but tart ones can be a joy. Here the lime is cool, juicy and amazingly realistic.
The lime juice is squeezed into coconut water and it’s this tropical concoction that makes up the body of the fragrance, along with accents of airy jasmine and sugar syrup (rather than boozy rum). The overall effect remains buoyant and hydrating, if not quite drinkable. The base is inoffensively musky.
I prefer it when coconut is used as it is here, in a refreshing, non-cloying way (Heeley’s Coccobello treats it in a similar fashion). If you like your coconut thick and suntan lotion-esque, this may not be for you. But if you fancy a summer fragrance that feels like sailing into a balmy wind while sea spray cools your hot skin, then Creed could meet your need.
It may be pricey for something so simple, but when taking in Virgin Island Water, I feel my tensed-up shoulders start to relax.
It’s good to be reminded of such a special time and place.
How do you feel about Creed?
Do you associate a fragrance with a particular holiday?