Island Breeze: Review – Creed Virgin Island Water

By Tara

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.

creed viw

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.

lisa tortola 001

My sister Lisa on a Tortola beach

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?

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28 Responses to Island Breeze: Review – Creed Virgin Island Water

  1. Undina says:

    I always thought Creed wasn’t my brand as well. Then I found “my” Creed – Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie and bought it. But that’s it. I tried several other perfumes and thought that some of them were lovely – just not special enough for the price. And, of course, all that unhealthy commotion with bottles, caps, batches, etc. of Aventus doesn’t improve my impression about the brand.

    I suspect that even if I like what I smell (of course now I’ll have to try Virgin Island Water !), it won’t warrant the price – provided the size of my current collection. But after your description I got curious.

    EL Bronze Goddess, Byredo Pulp and OJ Tiare are my tropical vacation perfumes. I rarely wear them under other circumstances but when I do I always think of Hawaii.

    • Tara says:

      Oh the whole Aventus batch numbers thing really tickles me for some reason. I asked Nick Gilbert what it smells like and he said “No one knows because it keeps changing” 🙂

      I’m curious about “your” Creed now; Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie. Particularly as I’m yet to find a jasmine that works for me.

      Thanks for sharing your tropical vacation perfumes. A reminder of Hawaii is always a good thing. I only wear mine when the temp gets into the high 20s celsius, which as you can imagine, doesn’t happen very often in the UK.

    • skyonfire17 says:

      I first used this VIW whilst crossing the Atlantic by ship, and ever since then, when I spray it, my daughter says “OOh, I feel like we are on the Queen Mary II!” It reminds her of me, and that is reason enough to love it, but I cherish it for its own sake because of that lime. I’ve tried other, cheaper, lime and coconut, but nothing comes close to Creed. I only wish for a better sillage.

      • Tara says:

        Two fantastic reasons why VIW is special to you, skyonfire17. Lime doesn’t get much better than it is here.
        I agree though that for a breezy scent it could do with a bit more throw.

  2. Sabine says:

    I’m with Undina on Creed. I don’t think I have ever tried one, but I like the sound of this one. And I love the picture! My tropical holiday perfume is Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone. Not because of any particular notes, but simply by association. Bought at the airport before boarding a flight to Bangkok it will now forever transport me to my favourite holiday destination. But I have recently purchased PG’s Long Courrier – a great tropical scent that will be going with me to Thailand in winter.

    • Tara says:

      Those fragrance holiday associations can really stick, can’t they? How great that you can be back in Thailand with just a sniff of Pomegranate Noir. I’d love to visit there one day.

      I think we met up for tapas the day you bought your Long Courrier. I hope you’ve enjoyed wearing it this summer or perhaps you’re saving it for Thailand so you get that association again.

  3. Asali says:

    Wow, that sounds like a dream vacation, I’m sure I enjoy reading your holiday memories much more than I’d enjoy the fragrance 🙂 although it does sound wonderfully tropical. I had to smirk at the ‘copra’- note, I mean what else is there to simulate than the White of the coconut? The brown hairy bit 😉 I know they probably mean the milk, but still…
    I would love to go on a tropical holiday right now actually, with bounty beaches and all, I truly wouldn’t mind even if my shorts flew away as long as I got to swim on those bounty beaches and drink drinks. Ah, I do understand why you want something to remind you of that.

    • Tara says:

      Asali, when I was looking through the photos to find one for this post, it felt so good to recall that holiday. I haven’t had a tropical beach vacation in a long time but I do have the memories.
      Luckily, Lisa had had a few beers on the catamaran so wasn’t at all bothered when her shorts were carried off 🙂
      Copra was a new one on me!

  4. Esperessence says:

    I am with Undina, Sabine and you, Tara. Creed has never been a brand I have been attracted to although I do like Sublime Vanille. But do not own a bottle as I find it too expensive and do not need such a large bottle of it. Atelier Cologne Grand Neroli reminds me of hot Southern Spain near the Costa del Sol coast during summer. Wish they sold Grand Neroli in large bottles containing 1 litre as they do with Spanish colognes.

    Loved your photographs, it must have been a wonderful experience and it is very Nice to have a fragrant reminder !

    • Tara says:

      Esperessence, Creed has always struck me as a “Bro Brand” if you know what I mean. I think it’s all that guy chatter about Aventus in the fragrance groups.
      A friend of my mother’s brought her back a huge bottle of cologne from Spain and I’m going to decant it for her. I can imagine Grand Neroli being a nice reminder of the region.
      As much as it makes me wistful, I do feel lucky to have been somewhere so paradisal.

  5. Vanessa says:

    I’ve been having a bit of a torrid week what with one technical malfunction or another, but your phrase ‘Creed could meet your need’ cheered me right up!

    I haven’t tried this scent since I was starting out in my hobby but I do remember liking it. Lisa Jones is a big fan as I recall, and may have been the introducer. I am going to see if I still have a sample, as I shan’t be going near the British Virgin Islands any time soon, sadly. But it sounds like the perfect holiday spot! I’m impressed that you’ve been somewhere with part of the perfume name in it…;)

    • Vanessa says:

      Found my sample! It’s lovely stuff. I also like that Cocobello which you gave me a sample of. It is in similar vein perhaps.

      • Tara says:

        Good going! It is very nice, if expensive for what it is. Yes, it’s very much in the vein of Coccobello. Both are coconut water scents, despite the specific reference to the copra ‘meat’.

    • Tara says:

      Vanessa, you know I feel so happy when I come up with a phrase like that because I know how much you’ll appreciate it 🙂
      Lisa Jones is indeed still a fan as she commented on my FB post about it today.
      It does feel good to actually have been to the place the perfume is named after. May not happen again!

  6. Sandra says:

    Lovely review Tara. Your vacation sounds like it was marvelous and oh so beautiful. I too have not really smelled the Creeds. Their Sublime Vanilla is one of the few I have smelled and is nice. Chanel’s Gardenia always takes me back to my vacation in Brazil.

    • Tara says:

      Thanks, Sandra. It was very special, especially because it’s the only trip my sister and I ever took together, just the two of us.
      It must be great to have a scent reminder of vacation in Brazil.

  7. flevey says:

    Yay a Creed review! I am actually quite a big fan of creed. Original Vetiver is my fave followed by their newer Geranium and Vetiver (I know) and then Green Irish Tweed. However it’s not like I can begin to afford a bottle since they put their prices up. I haven’t sampled Island Breeze and usually tropical are really not my thing but I will have to sniff it out for a try!

    • Tara says:

      Nice to hear from a Creed fan, flevey. I know Original Vetiver and Green Irish Tweed get a lot of love. I didn’t know they’d put their prices up. That’s too bad but it seems to be what everyone is doing.
      I hope you like Virgin Island Water if and when you try it.

  8. Hey there Tara,
    What a holiday! Though I’m way too scared to swim in the ocean. Jin is a rescue diver on top of his other merits so he would LOVE to go do that stuff.
    I only have one bottle of CREED and it’s the Fantasia de Fleurs, made for Empress Sisi (by all accounts) who you know I adore. It’s one of my favourite bedtime scents.
    As for tropical frags? MILLIONS! I seem to crave them.
    Portia xx

    • Tara says:

      Portia, you must swim in the ocean one day, especially as Jin can come to your rescue. Your guy is so multi-talented.
      I didn’t know Creed had a fragrance reputably made for Sisi but then they do have all those royal connections, don’t they? I did however know that you are a big tropical frag fan and can imagine how well they suit you.

      • No, can’t swim in the ocean. I’m terrified of sharks, and I am a really good meal for the poor starving sharks whose normal diet of seafood has all been fished clean by humans. Yes, he is talented beyond expectation, what a super later life find Jin has turned out to be: I am living proof it can happen.
        Oh yes, they say it was created for Sisi, and I think her such a vain and glorious creature that It suits my dreams of her to a T.
        By The Way, are going to come home with us in Feb and see Sydney?
        Portia xx

        • Tara says:

          Well, sharks are a real threat in Austrailia so I don’t blame you. I’m pretty fearful of them myself when swimmiing somewhere tropical.
          It is wonderful how Jin and you found each other.

          How cool that you have a Sisi fragrance. She fascincates me too, since learning about her this year for the first time.

          I’d love to come back with you in Feb but it depends on whether Natalie is still self-employed at that time so she’s around to do stuff with me. We are going to see nearer the time.

          • I had lunch with Natalie today and we were talking about how freaking amazing it would be.
            I know you’ll be staying with her but we want you for a couple of nights too.
            We are stopping in Dubai for a couple of nights on the way home. It will be our first visit.
            Portia xx

          • Tara says:

            It would be amazing (especially with mini stays at Dubai and Turbo Towers) but I’m not getting my hopes up in case it doesn’t work out. Quietly keeping my fingers crossed though xx

  9. Suzanne says:

    Tara, there are a few Creed perfumes I really like a lot, and Virgin Island Water is one of them. Your review of it is lovely, and matches up to my own impression of it – i.e., how natural and refreshing the lime and the coconut are in it. I also really like Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie, Acqua Fiorentina, and Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie.

    Loved the story about your sister’s shorts! Sounds like a scene from a movie. 😀

    • Tara says:

      Thanks, Suzanne. Lisa was totally chilled out about the disappearing shorts (alcohol helped), whereas I would have been completely mortified 🙂

      Great to hear we agree on Virgin Island Water. I’m glad Creed captured the place and did it jusitce. It could have been such a let-down as B.V.I. has a special place in my heart.

      Thanks for sharing your Creed faves. Very interested to see you are also a fan of the jasmine one Undina has.

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