Suzanne's Perfume Journal

Next weekend I will be headed to the beach to meet up with my family—a vacation not about excitement but about falling into the balmy embrace of sun-kissed sand and ocean breezes, my mother’s voice (I haven’t seen her in a year), the constant laughter and occasional bickering of sisters (that of my two nieces, though I suppose I might find some things to laugh and bicker about with my own sister) and a lazy non-schedule of thoroughly beachy things to do. It lasts for only a week, which is just the right amount of time for me; I am too much of a solitary soul to want it to continue for longer than that, but if the weather is right, then that one week will be bliss, as it usually is. The beach is the perfect place to people-watch, to read to your heart’s content, to feel your health restored each night as you fall into bed at a decent hour, played out by sun and surf and the cocktail hour (my mom is a firm believer in having cocktails before supper).

Though I wasn’t looking for a beach perfume this year, one recently found me. A sample of Creed Perfumes Virgin Island Water was tucked in with a recent purchase, and it is oh-so-sexy and good, but in an understated way. If this perfume could speak, it would wink and remind me, “We’re talking the British Virgin Islands, love!”—which is to say that it’s a less crowded, built-up and commercial-smelling composition than many fragrances in the beach-scent oeuvre. Its combination of lime, coconut and white flowers possesses that breezy air of delight and refreshment one expects of beach scents, but it’s the subdued and very natural smell of all three of these key components—their almost cologne-like treatment—which ensures that my smile stays easy. Virgin Island Water smells both sparkling and lightly creamy—and as it dries down it never reminds one of suntan lotion but does evoke an image of the most delicious, sun-kissed skin you can imagine. As low-key and tasteful as this fragrance is, it’s good that my dab sample will be used up by the time I’m heading for the shore, because wearing this puts me in a sensuous mood that does not exactly say “Family vacation, who’s got the Frisbee?” Its nuzzly drydown both hugs the skin and makes me think of skin, stirring fantasies of holing up with someone in a hammock and never making it down to the ocean at all.

The list of notes for Virgin Island Water includes lime, coconut, Sicilian mandarin, white bergamot, ginger, Indian jasmine, hibiscus, ylang-ylang, musk, sugar cane and white rum. For the first twenty minutes of wear, Virgin Island Water puts the lime and the coconut together in a way that makes me think of an island cocktail, albeit one that is not sticky or sweet, but just the perfect spot of citrus-and-coconut refreshment. (Does such a drink exist? Because I’m not talking Piña Colada here, much as I enjoy one of those from time to time). Although I hate to see the gorgeous dry lime note disappear, it is a very authentic lime, so it does take its leave, but when the scent of jasmine and ylang-ylang rise up to take its place, the fragrance becomes sensuous while staying on an even keel. In other words, Virgin Island Water is a fragrance which recognizes that, when it comes to the combination of coconut and white floral notes, less may be more, as both of those beauties can get a bit loco when they’re paired up. Not that that’s always a bad thing, but the fact that they are rather laid-back here makes this the kind of beach scent that a man might wear just as easily as a woman, so long as he doesn’t mind entertaining a hint of creamy, white-floral sweetness.

There is also a lick of the salty about the scent as it begins its drydown, which it does rather quickly, and I’m not sure how it’s achieved but it smells like a facet of the coconut. Sometimes it verges on a bit of a palm-oil smell, but overall I like it and find it a subdued aspect of the fragrance that segues nicely with the projection of the scent and its intimation of sun-warmed flesh. It also seems to hold the perfume’s sweetness in check. From this point forward, Virgin Island Water gets very quiet as it settles on its base of white rum and musk—and while I can’t say I smell the rum note, what I’m thinking it might impart is a hint of warmth to the cuddly base accord.

Like its sillage, the longevity for Virgin Island Water is minimal: on well-moisturized skin it lasts about three hours tops and I do find moisturizer essential as a means for making this fragrance stick around. Considering the normal retail price of Creed fragrances, this is a drawback and probably the only reason why I wouldn’t purchase a bottle; however, it should be noted that, as the “water” in its name hints at, this is essentially the equivalent of a summery cologne, and for those who enjoy the airy nature of colognes and might even be looking for one with a sexier and more interesting twist, I think Virgin Island Water very much fits the bill. If you’re a faithful reader here, you know that I’m not the cologne-wearing type, yet I’m fully smitten with this one, and knowing that Virgin Island Water can often be found at the online perfume discounters for a price that is, if not exactly cheap, then at least much more reasonable than its boutique price, I wouldn’t necessarily rule out a purchase either.

This scent is a reminder to me of what I often forget: that freshness and minimalism can make for a very comely combination indeed.

Creed Virgin Island Water can be purchased at a number of upscale boutiques, in a number of sizes and prices (at, it ranges from a 30-ml bottle for $185 to a 120-ml bottle for $370). Personally, I’d be tempted to scoop up a bottle at trusted perfume discounter, where a 75-ml bottle is currently $139.95

Photo of the babe with the delicious booty is, oddly enough, from; bottle image is from the Creed Perfumes website.

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Creed Virgin Island Water: Essentially, Cologne Gone Native

July 23, 2012: