Heaven Scent: The Bermuda Perfumery

One of our must-see destinations last week in Bermuda was the Bermuda Perfumery. Apparently, it’s been quite a tourist destination since it’s opening in 1928, when the first owner used to pay tourist operators to bring their groups. My mother recalls visiting the Perfumery in 1938 when she was a little girl.

Today’s location is not the original space. In 2004, the Brackstone family acquired the Bermuda Perfumery and moved its operations
to historic Stewart Hall in St. George’s in the heart of UNESCO’s World Heritage
Site. However, the methods of making the perfume are still the same and are under the guidance of the perfumer who has been there for 43 years. What was amazing to me is how hand-made the process really is.

The Bermuda Perfumery Owner, Isabel Brackstone. (Photo by Akil Simmons) July 30,2012 via Royal Gazette
While they do create men’s colognes, the Perfumery is distinctly feminine with it’s pink striped front hall and pink packaging. Too many people were coming and going for me to get a decent shot of the front hall.
They offer a tour of the facility, which starts in this gathering hall/museum that features a colonial chandelier and original beamed ceiling. You will see that the ceiling itself is limestone “bricks” made in the traditional Bermudian manner. The tour included a brief historical movie and some samplers to test your “nose”. I failed. I didn’t detect vanilla, rose or cinnamon. Sad…
Some of the accoutrement of the perfume making business.
Our tour lead us out the back of the shop and museum building to a gorgeous back yard filled with flowering plants and herbs. 

The “factory” was surprisingly a small, cool room filled with these large glass bottles where the various eau de colognes and perfumes were distilling. Each bottle is dedicated to a single scent. It’s used brand new and never washed between uses, as washing or detergents could adulterate the purity of each cologne. The bottles are hand blown in Italy and when a scent is discontinued, so is the bottle. The cloudy liquid in the bottle mid-row far right contains a citrus essential oil, which they say starts out cloudy and then clears up before bottling. I just loved all the colors – which look like the ocean.

These smaller dark amber bottles are distilling perfumes, which are much more condensed than eau de cologne or eau de toilette. There is a description of the three strengths of perfume here.

Some perfume making items…

A wild rosemary bush – the scent was amazing.

I brought home the Lily Bermuda Library of Scents – it was so hard to select just one! Their scent Pink (Pink Mimosa, Grapefruit & Peonies) is quickly becoming a favorite, however.

All photos by Linda Merrill, unless otherwise noted or look like product shots.

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