Nearly all Caribbean vacations feature stops at pristine beaches, lounging beside the crystal clear waters. The more adventuresome may take in a little hiking or climbing, perhaps a bareback ride along the water’s edge, and admittedly many come solely for the crazy rum concoctions du jour. But if you want a truly unusual Caribbean experience, we’ve got the perfect suggestion to consider.
Tucked away into a quiet corner of Grand Case, St. Martin, is Tijon Parfumerie and Design Studio . I read a recent review where the customer described that owners John and Cyndi have “created a real oasis in paradise”. I couldn’t agree more. As soon as you enter the studio, your mind and spirit are transformed by the calming aromas, and colors, and the soothing music of this beautiful boutique. The vision of owners John and Cyndi Berglund, Tijon is the refreshing combination of spa, boutique, and laboratory.
During a recent visit to St. Martin, Island Art & Treasures enrolled in the class designed to learn more about the history of perfumes, and eventually to create our own custom scent. Class began with brief histories of our sense of smell and of Perfume. For example, did you know that 90% of our taste is actually caused by smell? This is why food tastes flat when you have a cold. Or, do you know which perfume was the first to be sold worldwide?
Perfumes are created from base oils, which are extracted from raw materials. Raw materials include flowers, leaves, roots, fruits, seeds, herbs, etc. There are over 3,000 possible ingredients in the plant world, and Tijon has a significant collection of over 300 base oil ingredients on hand!
Allow me to interject at this point, that I’m quite confident about ‘creating’ in the kitchen. Throw open the refrigerator door, grab the leftover roast and potatoes, toss in some carrots and peas, add a sprinkle of this, a dash of that and voile’. You now have a tasty stew for supper. The process of creating a scent however is the complete opposite. It is an exact science. As excited as I was to begin the process of creating my perfume, I’m not too proud to admit, I was also a little intimidated. But John is the perfect combination of knowledgeable teacher, and patient instructor. We donned our lab coats and he walked us through the procedure step by step. The nervous butterflies left my stomach as the process became amazing, a truly rare and unique experience. And what a payoff, my very own creation, my scent, my baby, my accomplishment, my perfume. I named it, and I love it! As an added benefit, Tijon keeps my custom ‘formula’ on file for me so I may re-order the exact scent again in the future.
Classes range from 2 – 3 hours in length, and are a perfect way to take a break away from the tropical sun. Curious what others may think of this experience? We suggest you check out the reviews on TripAdvisor . The glowing reviews here are typical of the experience you are likely to encounter too, and it’s what helped them earn the 2011 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
In addition to the class offerings, Tijon produces their own line of wonderful scents and colognes, as well as lotions, soaps, deodorants, and powders. The Tijon boutique also offers the Caribe Baie Sun Care line, Candles, and other related gift items. Since all of this clearly can’t keep John busy enough, he is now a published author as well. His new book “A Beach Less Traveled”, which details the story of their transition to life on a small Caribbean island, will soon be available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and may yet come to a bookseller near you.
A stop at Tijon Parfumerie and Design Studio is one of those once in a lifetime experiences, every minute well spent. And in case you’re curious, the first perfume sold worldwide was Chanel No.5, introduced by (Coco) Chanel in 1921.
Live the Life,