Some time ago I was looking for perfumes at Ebay. one headline captured my attention, "Rare, niche, Caldey Island lavendel, made by monks". I read the descrition and found a lot of interesting information. Luca Turin apperantly called Caldey island lavender "The best lavender soliflor on earth". Which of course, didn´t make me less curious, even though I haven´t read The Guide.
start searching on internet and soon realised that Caldey Island perfumes wasn´t that hard to get. Caldey Island is a small island situated off Pembrookeshire, Wales coast. The first monastery on the island was founded way back in the 6th century and since then several different monastic orders have had monasterys on the island. During some periods the island have been abandoned.
The recent monks are cistercians and arrived to Caldey Island in 1929. During the 50'ies the monks started selling lavender bunches to visitors. Some time later they start making their own lavender perfume as well, made of lavender and other herbs picked on the island. The perfume become very popular with visitors.
During the 70'ies the monk decided to outsource the perfume making. Today, the belgian perfume Ivo jacobs is the nose behind the present formulation of Island lavender. The island today have no actual perfume making, but the monks fill up the bottles on the island and make the outer packaging and so on. However, the monks have start growing lavender on the island again, and sell small bunches of it to the tourists...
I really find this story to be both touching and interesting, a bunch of monks on a far away island making a living of selling perfumes and chocolate(!). From Easter time and until autumn it´s possible to visit the island. Besides the monastery, Caldey Island also have the best sandy beach in Pembrookeshire, and the whole island is as a peaceful retreat. there is also a small village at the island. I would really enjoy visiting Caldey Island some day. You can read more about Caldey Island, the monks and a little this and that here: http://www.caldey-island.co.uk/
For about 10 € I got my very own small bottle of Island lavender, and of course the monks have a webshoip where you can buy it and other things such as soaps and chocolates as well.
But what about the fragrances it self? well, I´m not a big consumer of lavender scents, but occationally I just need to have a lavender soliflor to calm down and relax. At those moments Island lavender is just right. The opening is clear, fresh and yet not cold. During development, the lavender becomes dryer and softer and I also detect other herb, even though I can´t say exactly what other herbs. it has also an airy feeling.
Caldey Island lavender is mostly a lavender soliflor and smell as one shortly spekaing. If it´s the worlds best I can´t say. It´s good for what I want it to and that´s enough for me. Longevity is short, really, but at that time I´ve allready fallen in sleep. :P
I do recommend Caldey Island Lavender to everyone. Not because it´s the most amazing fragrance ever, but because "everyone" cab afford a bottle of their own, for about 10€ (comes in different sizes, very moderate prices and low shipping rates as well). And because it feel very pleasant to support a gang of hard working monks on a small island...
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