One Thousand Scents

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Making Waves: Creed Virgin Island Water

Coconut, as I have noted before, tends to have one of two characteristics in perfumery--to my nose, at least. Either it's warm, sweet, and edible (think coconut cream pie, or a pina colada), or it's biting, greenish, and raw. If I had to wear a coconut scent, it would be the former and not the latter, which I find disagreeable but which some people obviously love.

When I first put on Creed's new Virgin Island Water, I smelled bright, sparkly citrus notes (lime, mostly, with a little mandarin and bergamot, all thoroughly delightful), with a baffling, rather industrial undercurrent that, I realized with a shock, smelled remarkably like Play-Doh. This may be a valid commercial scent, since a lot of people have fond memories of the smell of the stuff, but it seems like an odd note for a high-end scent of the sort that Creed produces.

The Play-Doh scent welled up and became stronger and stronger, and soon resolved itself into coconut, the harsh green sort I detest. Of course, I thought, fresh coconut: it's meant to smell like someone's holiday in the Virgin Islands.

It's not just coconut. There are the obvious island flowers (ylang-ylang and hibiscus) wrapped around it, too. The scent does eventually warm up and smell a little more like the coconut I prefer--not quite toasted, but creamy-sugary--which may be attributable to the sugar-cane note.

Once it's past that hideous raw coconut smell, Virgin Island Water isn't a terrible scent. Whether it's worth the stratospheric prices that Creed charges ($185 for a 75-mL bottle) is a matter of personal opinion, but it's not something I would ever consider investing in: it just isn't worth waiting though that baleful opening to get to the good stuff. There are lots of nicer tropical-island scents out there, if one must have one.

It's worth noting that Virgin Island Water is enormously popular at the moment; you can find many positive reviews of the scent all over the Internet. I'm just paddling my boat against the tide.


  • After I saw the ingredients on Basenotes, I bought a sample decant of Virgin Island Water on a whim. Add me to the list of people who'd give it a positive review! It's one of the best scents I've ever tried.

    I didn't smell any Play-Doh notes. The top notes smell like coconut and pineapple on me. The whole drydown retains the same tropical / piƱa colada feel.

    On the other hand, I'm one of those guys on which Millesime Imperial has that strange watermelon-ish note that smells slightly sour. Not bad, but Virgin Island Water certainly sits much better on my skin.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:43 AM  

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