Virgin Island Water by Creed (2007) {Perfume Short (Review)}

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Virgin Island Water is the latest perfume creation by the house of Creed, one of the oldest fashion houses and perfumeries in the world, established in 1760 in London then transplanted to Paris in 1854 under the patronage of Empress Eugénie of France, consort to Napoléon III. Creed have begun to prepare for their 250th anniversary and this fall there will be a traveling exhibition, which will include historical documents such as correspondence with crowned heads of states and perfume artifacts. They will also produce leather goods to reconnect with their roots as tailors. This distinguished and venerable house is remarkably so still family-owned. Olivier Creed has recently let more media attention focus on his son Erwin Creed who will represent the seventh generation of Creed perfumiers. The latter was involved in the creation of Virgin Island Water about which he has said that he was responsible for 20% of the formulation. This is a philanthropic project as well, "A portion of the proceeds from sales will be donated to the Natural Resources Defense Council, a charity that protects the world's oceans".......
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On a stylistic plane, the new scent is more representative of the modern style than of the period and vintage styles of Creed. It is a deliberate attempt to reach a younger audience, as they did with Love in White, and which also happened with Spring Flower, while adhering to the same standards of refinement and quality that are the hallmarks of the brand. At times we think that in a world where the house of Guerlain has become less like its sumptuous former self, more like other brands, and is less able to embody a gold standard of quality due to reasons that the brand even if they wanted to, could not entirely control, Creed is able to convey better the sense of an enduring assurance of quality, thanks to its greater independence as a niche perfume house and strict standards of quality control. On a nostalgic note, let us comment that there was a time when saying "It is a Guerlain" was like ringing a golden bell and listening to musical syllables that perfectly evoked and prefigured the richness of the golden liquids found in their flacons. It pains us to write these words.

Each batch of Creed fragrances offers slightly different nuances due to the selection of fresh new raw materials each time anew. A Creed fragrance is like a vintage wine and for example, 1998 is considered to be a very good year for Green Irish Tweed. This is the reason why one should buy a bottle from the very batch that one tried in a store if it worked well on you.

Virgin Island Water is a sophisticated tropical coconut-y scent, which was inspired by "....the tropical essence carried in the trade winds of Sir Francis Drake Channel" in the British Virgin Islands during a sailboat voyage made in the company of a royal couple. It is marketed as a unisex scent with a leaning towards the feminine category in order to attract more women in their 20s and 30s to a house that despite its famous women patrons has a bit of a masculine English chic image to shed.

The new scent has obvious natural qualities pertaining to the ingredients themselves and a clean, fresh feel despite the a priori rich gourmand coconut motif. Ingredients and facets used for the coconut accord were essence of copra, the white fleshy part of the coconut, and coconut toddy. "Toddy is obtained by tapping the young flowers of the coconut palm. Yeast present in the sweet sap ferments the sugar into ethyl alcohol [6.8%]." There is some sweetness to the fragrance, but it is balanced out by drier notes like citruses, especially the lime, (lime, bergamot, mandarin), ginger, and white rum, which also contribute to an aqueous, juicy, transparent quality. The coconut has both a woodsy undertone, perhaps derived from the ginger and sugar cane, and more or less creamy texture and smell. It also offers welcome savory and spicy accents as present in Thai coconut curry. Depending on external factors, the perfume can lean more on the creamy, powdery side or on the fresh side in the initial stages. When its pendulum swings in the direction of the vanillic powder, it is a tad candy-like and less subtle. It seems also that there is a discreet undercurrent of pepper to enliven the nonchalant mood of the perfume. There is a woodsy, herbal-y accord at the core that reminds us of vintage perfumes despite the general modern feel of the perfume. As Virgin Island Water develops, it becomes more unambiguously a refreshing "water" with an exquisite elegant long-lasting musky dry-down that seems to be able to last overnight and which turns it into a sexy skin scent. Despite the mention of "Tonkin musk", we perceive the musk to be a clean white musk due to the overall effect of the composition, which is white like the sail of a boat.

Virgin Island Water is like a refined, well-bred exotic coconut eau de cologne, in a sense. It evokes a Caribbean atmosphere without fail and in particular a glass of chilly white rum with coconut juice from a young green coconut, rinds of lime, and a little salt on a background of oceanic breeze, thanks to the imagination.

Here are the notes according to Neiman Marcus: Top Notes: Essence of copra (the white inner portion of the coconut); coconut today (a liquid derived from the sweet sap of the palm tree); lime of the Antilles; white bergamot, and mandarin orange from Sicily. Middle Notes: Hibiscus, ginger, ylang-ylang, and Indian jasmine. Bottom Notes: Sugar cane and white rum of the Antilles, musk from Tonkin.

(Sources: Women's Wear Daily, Elle Quebec via the Creed USA site; Photo of Trunk Bay by realadventuresstjohn's photos)

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5 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. i have contemplated ordering this but i pause when they say it leans more so towards femininity than masculinity. but as beautiful as it sounds, i really want a bottle and i'll probably get it soon!

  2. Kennyken,

    If you're tempted by it, you should definitely give it a try. It's tropical, but it has enough classical features like elegance and sophistication to make it work for a number of people. If you check a post below on bestsellers at Parfums Raffy, you'll see that it's been so far their #1 bestseller for both men and women.

  3. I had this bought me for my birthday and never usually spend this much on a fragrance.
    I am a 40 something male and have had various good comments from friends when I am wearing this scent.
    Dont find it too sickly or feminine and at first you can really smell the freshness ot the lime,and yes it is true you can still smell it on your skin the next morning.
    Hope when I wear this in the cold of our British winter it will remind me of a tropical island!!

    Mark Whitney
  4. Wear it in good health Mark! I also tend to crave citrus scents in the dead of winter, more so than during the summer.

  5. I bought a bottle of VIW for myself to wear on my wedding day - I was the groom. Everyone loved it; really sophisticated, it makes you feel really alive. It went perfectly with the sunny day and almost creates it own cooling breeze. I love imperial Santal and I wasn't disappointed with this. Creed are the best house I've come across, any others anyone could suggest would be great. The bride wore Narcisso rodriguez for her. Which I absolutely adore.


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