Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lily Bermuda Petals, Somers, South Water: fragrance reviews

The brand with the little crest is called Lily Bermuda and is (not so predictably these days) a Bermuda-based perfume house established in 1928. The people there are quite proud of the heritage, since they have been producing scents based on the essences that aromatize the air of the isles for a long time. The latest trio, reviewed here today, was conceived to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Bermuda: "Each fragrance was created to evoke a different time in the Island’s history since it’s beginning". I admit at least one of them had me murmuring tunes to myself under my breath with much gusto all day, so I am going to start with that and work onwards.

Petals is a feminine fragrance encased in pink packaging. If by "pink" you're left with the impression you'll be dealing with a Barbie-esque tutti-frutti cocktail from which is there is no escaping, think again. Surprisingly, upon sampling Petals, I realised we're dealing with exactly what the official information is promising: "a luminous fragrance, an alluring white floral bouquet, elegant and truly feminine".
Petals is feminine, no question about it, and although quite sweet, its tour de force isn't the sugar-tooth of bonbons, but the nectarous quality hiding in the heart of its white blossoms. Its appeal is like that of Natalie Wood at the time she was dating Warren Beatty. On me the citrusy fruit disappears almost immediately giving way to the rich flowers and the diaphanous base notes. In Lily Bermuda Petals the orange blossom is honeyed and layed on thick instead of fresh (think of the treatment in Fleurs d'Oranger by Lutens), the honeysuckle and oriental jasmine take on heady directions, yet the scent is not at all heavy although it wafts satisfactorily and lasts exceptionally well (all through the night on me and discernable upon waking up). Despite its "timeless" promotion, I feel it is instantly identified as modern, as it doesn't possess the dirtier (costus, real musk...) or earthier (moss, patchouli...) aspects upon which several classics were built decades ago. But it makes you want to break out a prom-like 60s dress and sing in front of the mirror "I feel pretty, oh so pretty; I feel pretty and witty and gay!" , which is rather priceless in its way, won't you agree?
Petals encompasses notes of: clementine, mandarin, night blooming honeysuckle, sparkling seringa, watery orange blossom, ylang ylang, jasmine sambac, white musk, white amber. Available in many sizes starting with 15ml/1oz (how utterly cute!)

Somers is a masculine fragrance in dark blue packaging. The name derives from a visit a long-time ago: "Sir George Somers taking his first step onto our fragrant Island and being enveloped in the natural odors of this picturesque paradise". Somers accordingly opens with refreshing notes of bergamot, Bermuda cedar and cardamon, wandering into delicious notes of licorice, black tea, nutmeg, coriander, geranium and sage. The finale is warm with gaiac wood, olivewood bark, incense, blonde suede and amber. Additional notes include grapefruit, orange blossom, ginger and vetiver. Cedar and licorice/aniseed form the main impression, which is interesting in its way, one contrasting with the other their austere and more sensuous aspects; nevertheless I was pining for that olivewood bark promised, which I so love due to my cultural heritage. It's a quite wearable and likeable scent and could be confiscated by women too as it has a cozy Lolita Lempicka vibe with a tad more woods and what smells like benzoin, but (perhaps because of that familiarity) not as distinctive as I would have personally liked. Somers is available in 100ml of Eau de Toilette.

South Water is a unisex fragrance in light blue packaging. Meant as a shared fragrance available in 100ml of Eau de Toilette to be splashed on for freshening up, it accomplishes that on the humid days we're facing still with the familiar, almost Pavlovian relaxing reflex of "suntan lotion smell"; that memory redolent of Coppertone, coconut rum and Cherry Cola with a spattering of sea salt right out of an ocean-dip clinging on skin still (Salty accents have formed quite a trend as we discussed previously). It's a bit more coconutty than I am comfortable with on a regular basis, but not to the point of it being sickening which is always a concern with that type of scent. I don't really smell fruits, nor is it too powdery as it would have been incured by the notes and I am sure it will be included in "beachy scents" lists in the future, I predict it will be popular.
South Water lists sun-drenched tangerine with ozone breeze, coconut milk, juicy guava, gardenia petals, cactus sap, sea salt and white musk. Additional notes include blackcurrant, aniseed, violet, orris, coumarine, vanilla and tonka bean.

The rest of the Lily Bermuda line includes~
For the ladies: Pink, Coral, Lily, Oleander, Jasmine, Passion Flower, Frangipani, Paradise, and Fresh Water (unisex), and
For the Gents: 32°N, 64°W (the topography of Bermuda obviously), Cedar, and Navy.

The fragrances (with some exceptions) come in various sizes starting with 15ml/1oz, making them especially handy to choose from! A Library sample box (samples are generously sized, I might add, allowing about three wearings easily) will set you back 25$.

You can see the selection on the official Lily Bermuda site which is very nicely designed and shop online.

If interested in sampling all three scents, drop a line in the comments and I will pick a winner!

In the interests of full disclosure, I was introduced to the line through a promotion. Natalie Wood pic via The art of staying up all night blog


  1. Anonymous04:48

    You made these sounds right off the island without hitting 8.7 on the cheese-o-meter. These actually sound complex and wearable. Please put me in for the drawing!

  2. Each one sounds intriguing. I'd love to be added to the draw.

  3. After reading the notes for Somers, that one sounds right up my alley. :) Although the others sound interesting as well.
    Please enter me for the draw. :)

  4. Chris G08:20

    Sounds intriguing! Please enter me in the draw. Thanks!

  5. Q,

    thanks!! :-)
    They're rather good; I can see myself wearing Petals often and I wouldn't say no to the other two if gifted with them.
    You're in!

  6. how lovely, my family used to live in Bermuda and I just adore everything about it. I love the Lily scents I know and sometimes wear Coral. It would be lovely to be entered in the draw- if I can't be there I can at least smell their new offerings!

  7. BT,

    I have included you, hope you get to explore!

  8. I,

    I think you might like it! It's got that LL touch of anise/licorice with discernable cedar, it dries down quite snuggly.
    Good luck!

  9. C,

    I did, didn't I? Well, hope you will find for yourself: Best of luck! :-)

  10. K,

    amazing! I had no knowledge of their scents whatsoever prior to this, but I am taking you up on your rec, had been eyeing the Lily anyway.

    Best of luck!

    Weather fine where you are? We have early throes of humidity here.

  11. Anonymous12:04

    Long time I haven't commented and thought I should, as you might forget me otherwise, lol, but seriously, do enter me in the draw because your wonderful writing attracts me into unknown to me lines such as this one.


  12. Anonymous14:37

    Dear E,

    I am just back from vacation and have been trying to catch up on all your wonderful posts.

    Somers sounds like my dream, all that wood and spice and the licorice note makes me go hmm... Strange and possibly not my cup of tea but intriguing none the less.

    Although there was no coconut oil in my suntan lotion, South Water might take me back to my two wonderful, salty weeks by the ocean.

    I would love to try these.


  13. A,

    LOL, thanks I guess, you were missed too and you're included. Good luck!

  14. N,

    hello and welcome back! :-)) Hope you had a wonderful time and you enjoy catching up with the reading. (I went a little overboard these days, so many things I tackled at once, I'm afraid).
    They're quite nice, which I didn't quite expect, so hope you win and get to try out for yourself!

  15. OOoooh. I've never seen these! I'd love to try them.

    South Water-- so this is similar to Bronze Goddess (as a beach scent)? I love Bronze Goddess, though on me, I don't really find it that beachy after the first hour. The drydown is just a comfy, cuddly frag. I've been loving my decant of it later.

    Please do enter me in the draw!

  16. Anonymous17:07

    I would like a sample

  17. gautami20:53

    I think I am going to like Petals; its jasmin, honeysuckle, seringa combo. Please add me to the drawing.

  18. Anonymous21:59

    I remember visiting Bermuda years ago and picking up a small bottle of Bermuda lily perfume for my mom - wonder if one of these is similar. Please enter me in the drawing!

  19. Margot22:34

    Please add me to the draw. Petals sounds lovely, and I have such fond memories of Bermuda - tres jolie!

  20. Anonymous06:10

    I would be glad to be entered in the drawing for these three samples! Thx, Alica -

  21. I want! I'm greedy!
    South Water reminds me of Acqua di Elba, the ladies' (allegedly) version. Nothing else but the blue-green colour of the box and the idea of beach holiday and splashing some refreshing and uncomplicated cologne around. (Gotta get it somewhere, it's not a bad summer scent.)

  22. maitreyi197814:50

    I've never heard of this brand before! Please enter me in the draw.

  23. Gator,

    I think BG is a bit woodier, a bit more skin-like, while SW is more suntan lotion with more coconut. It's in that vein, but more traditional suntan lotion + sea spray.
    You're in!

  24. G,

    I was surprised at myself that I found it so pretty. You're in!

  25. P,

    don't say, that Lily has been haunting me, I hear it's one of their oldest and it had always impressed me how they had that lilyesque shaped bottle for it. (they have changed now)
    Good luck!

  26. M,

    lucky you! Good luck!

  27. Alica,

    hope you get lucky! Thanks for stopping by :-)

  28. L,

    you're in! I find your view on that eerily enticing and sympathize with that feeling a lot.

  29. M,

    neither had I about a year ago (it was then that Lily was mentioned) and it was so good to discover they're not badly made at all.
    You're in!

  30. Roberto C.16:22

    Hi, I'd like to try them, especially somers and south water, I always read your reviews and this is the first time that I write a comment. Thank you!

  31. Heather B01:18

    Oh I love West Side Story, and now that song is playing in my head. Petals sounds gorgeous. I can never get enough honeysuckle. Somers sound nice as well, a masculine Lolita Lempicka. Please enter me in the draw. Thank you.

  32. Roberto.

    Thanks for commenting, much appreciated!! I am glad you like it here. Please free to voice your opinion whatever that may be.

    You're included and best of luck!

  33. H,

    it'an earworm isn't it, in the best possible sense of course. They were all pleasant, so I am sure they will find fans. I can see myself wearing Petals quite a bit!


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