St. Martin is well-known for its unique experiences. An island split between French and Dutch territories, today, travelers can experience a melting-pot of cuisines, cultures and a diverse mix of people. Conveniently located on the French side in Grand Case, the culinary capital of the Caribbean, the TIjon Parfumerie & Boutique is another one-of-a-kind experience. This time for the senses. More specifically: the nose.
At Tijon, guests can choose from over 300 ingredients, or oils, to concoct a fragrance from scratch. No experience is necessary. With assistance from a family of specialists, Tijon instructs first-time chemists through fun classes aimed at bringing out your creative side through your olfactory sense.
Founded in 2007 by John Berglund affectionately known as Le Nez, or “The Nose” — it is now one of only two places in the entire world where guests are invited into the laboratory to create their very own perfume, or cologne. After creating our very own fragrances, HudsonMOD sat down with Berglund to ask him how he came to deconstruct the essence of smells, what he likes most about the island and what he considers to be his favorite perfume.
Can you speak a little on your background as a chemist?
I had a chemistry background in college, but after college had a choice of graduate school or law school and chose the latter. I’m happy to have the opportunity to return to my first love, chemistry and fragrances. I was always that strange kid at the perfume counter at the department stores, not only intrigued by the smells but by the bottle designs and marketing. For ten years before we moved to the island, while I was doing unrelated corporate work, I had a lab in my house and was traveling the world meeting with perfumers and chemists in preparation for my business venture in St. Martin.
What is your favorite part of St. Martin?
I believe that people, including us, first come to St. Martin because of the beaches and sun. If they return, it’s often because of the delicious food. And if they move here, it’s because of the friendly people. My single favorite thing to do in St. Martin is to go to Fort St. Louis, in Marigot, with my wife at sunset with a bottle of wine.
Do you have a favorite perfume? Ingredient?
My favorite women’s perfume that I’ve designed is Eclectique, because it combines French traditionalism with the tropics, offering an elegant floral, citrus scent with a touch of vanilla for warmth. My favorite men’s cologne is SXM (named after our airport code) and is probably the only fragrance in the world aged a few days in an oak barrel. However, my wife prefers the men’s 2.0, so guess what I typically wear? My grown daughter’s favorite cologne is Tres Beau, with the key ingredient a touch of Frasier Fir, which imparts a fresh, clean scent.
Eating fine foods, drinking nice wines and coffees, while comfortable and content in the simplicity of my surroundings.