By Nadia Hall

“Soap on a rope is a fabulous thing!” perfumer Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone exclaims, mirroring my excitement as I handle the sweet-smelling merchandise. The soaps are very big, voluptuous stones, made with generous helpings of natural, high quality ingredients like avocado butter and honey. “And have you seen our advertising?” The smart Front Street store, in keeping with The Perfumery’s whimsical decor, boasts another beautiful window display – a freestanding, ivory tub sat under pristine, white, shuttered windows with a hand-painted beach scene. The new look is to promote their refreshing Water Collection after the successful launch of the floral Legacy Collection earlier this year. “There are two facets to Bermuda,” she continues. “There’s la côté jardin and la côté mer. These are very much the two sides that are behind my fragrances and the waters are very much la côté mer.”

The collection of three distinct fragrances, Fresh Water, South Water and Calypso, is touted as unisex with the popular colognes now available in soaps, shower gels and silky body lotions. “They really are meant to be casual, refreshing and fruity as opposed to floral and spicy and woodsy. I don’t use a lot of spice because Bermuda’s such a hot climate, especially in the summer and you want something that’s a bit fresh, more marine and oceanic. That said, they do last on the skin,” she offers. The texture of the body lotion is really good, silky, the right amount of rich, and easily absorbed. “All our body lotions are very natural, they’re all organic and they’re vegan. They have absolutely no artificial stabilisers or-”

I interrupt before she can finish, noticing gold-toned flecks on my now smooth forearm. “And they shimmer!” she echoes. “To show your tan. Yes!”

“As everything we do, it’s made with love and there’s a lot of thinking that goes into it. In the summer what do you want? You want to show off your tan, so we make sure it shimmers.” The creams are well scented with a luxurious shea butter base. Scanning the new ocean-blue packaging, the list is refreshingly shorter than most cosmetics and populated with words I can pronounce. It’s a real comfort. “I did a lot of research,” Isabelle explains. “We took out everything that freaks people out, all those preservatives like parabens and phthalates, all those petrochemicals, sulfates, the BHA, BHT, and of course no artificial colour or animal testing. They’re all vegan and they’re all natural.”

As for the scents, Fresh Water is probably the most unisex of them, with South water leaning toward the feminine and Calypso the more masculine. “It’s because of the nuances that are in them,” Isabelle reveals, Fresh Water was the first . We created that in 2009 and it was made exclusively for Tucker’s Point. It was a fragrance that had to be your greatest companion on the golf course or at the tennis club. And we scented everything at Tucker’s Point from all their hotel amenities, all the toiletries. We even scented the towels at the beach club and we also diffused perfume in the lobby of the hotel. When Rosewood became the manager of the property, of course they brought in their own stuff. That being said, it gave us ideas to make little brothers and sisters to Fresh Water and South Water came along as the beach fragrance “par excellence” – coconut milk, guava, sea salt. It’s very sexy, it’s sweet. It tastes like a Pina Colada. It’s just delicious!” As she says this she ends with “mmm…” as if savouring the flavour. “I say South Water feminine, yet my father used to wear South Water all the time and he loved it.” She laughs, “and he was not a young chicken!”

She then followed with Calypso, which has since been an incredible success. “We smell Calypso everywhere, it’s just a very fresh scent. And, ingredient wise, it’s probably my most Bermudian because it has Bermuda loquat, it has seagrass as well as neroli, the orange flower. Oh, I love Neroli. I’ve been on a Neroli adventure for quite a while.

I have to find another favourite note. Because when you love something you keep on always turning around.”

The Bermuda Perfumery
Stewart Hall, 5 Queen Street, St. George’s