Move over, Calvin Klein.  You and your CK One.   Move your little Italian butt over too, Giorgio Armani.  You and your Acqua Di Gio!  Whatever.  There's a new men's fragrance designer in town and his name is Chadwick Jerame!  Okay, so maybe I'm no Calvin Klein.  Maybe I'm no Giorgio Armani.  Heck, maybe I'm not even Aqua Velva, but I did design my own cologne recently at Tijon in St. Martin and it smells unbelievable.  Check this out!

This is Tijon!

My friends and I visited Tijon when we cruised the South Caribbean in December.  Our cruise ship ported in St. Maarten, the Dutch side of the island, but we took a cab to Tijon, which sits in Grand Case, St. Martin (the French side of the island).

The shop is owned by John and Cyndi Berglund, who offer courses in fragrance making.  My friends and I read about this on Trip Advisor and thought it sounded like a really unique way of spending our morning on the island and an experience we really couldn't get anywhere else.  So, we were ready to suit up, learn all we could, and see if we could make something that smelled a little more exotic than Old Spice!

Well, the store smelled unbelievable.  At home here in the Midwest, I can never smell anything.  I have the world's most unfortunate sinus cavity and it usually takes something as drastic as a meth lab explosion or port a-potty to wake my nostrils up!  But not in St. Martin and, most certainly, not in Tijon, which smelled like heaven.  See, my friends just couldn't stop sniffing all the amazing scents designed by John and Cyndi . . .

(Craig, Mike, Kevin and Lori . . . who all immediately turned into bloodhounds and started sniffing everything they could get there hands on!)

They even started sniffing each other.

(Anywhere else this sort of behavior would be highly inappropriate)

After a brief, yet informative, discussion and tutorial about the biology of fragrances, my friends and I ventured into the Tijon lab to begin designing our own colognes and perfumes.

(Naturally, while my friends are working hard and studying, I am goofing off and taking pictures of myself!)

We each had our own workspace outfitted with workbooks, beakers, test tubes, notepads and funnels.  This was mine . . .

(My workspace . . . where I will create the next trendsetting fragrance or cause a potentially hazard chemical reaction like I did in high school chemistry. I still feel terrible about that day. I know Mr. Duke's lab room smelled, but evacuating the entire school was a little overboard!)

After reading about and smelling examples of base notes, middle notes and top notes, it was time to start selecting oils for our fragrances and experimenting with them.  And, at Tijon, there were literally hundreds to choose from.  Look at this . . .

How cool is that?  It's Tijon's Perfume Organ, where you'll find roughly 300 different kinds of oils, ranging from lemon to lime to sandalwood, musk, vanilla, frankincense, myrrh, peppermint, pine, rosemary, ginger, jasmine and more.  The possibilities and combinations are truly endless and my friends are I were ready to go to work!

(Here we are in the Tijon lab! A fragrance recipe away from being featured in the world's trendiest fashion magazines or a lightning strike away from having bolts in our necks!)

Now, I know we look like mad scientists on a mission.  And in a sense (pardon the pun), we were.  This was really challenging . . . but it was also incredibly fun.  Personally,  I had a general idea of what I was looking for.  I was in search of something that smelled really clean and had hints of scents that I love . . . vanilla, coconut and other tropical flavors.  Yes, I know.  You're thinking I could have saved myself time and just smeared a Boston Cream Pie on my face.  But that wouldn't have been nearly as fun.

(Sing along with me and Toucan Sam . . . "Follow your nose. It always knows!")

After about 45 minutes or so, I was chugging right along.  I had three beakers working simultaneously.  It was very Dr. Jekyll!  Each had its own formula and flavor.  Each was unique and full of potential.  But I finally zoned in on this one . . .

(My secret formula. It's what Passion is to Elizabeth Taylor. What Instinct is to David Beckham. What Fantasy is to Britney Spears!)

While I cannot give you my complete formula without driving you into the woods and burying you alive, you can see some of the ingredients in the photo.  There's some coconut, some lime, Frasier fir (which smells like a Christmas tree exploded), some vanilla, cinnamon and more.  There's even a healthy dose of musk, which you have to be very careful with.  It's a proven fact that the scent of musk drives the ladies and, oddly enough, the male deer wild.  Don't ask.  Please.  Suffice it to say it involved a petting zoo, a little too much Jovan Musk for Men and a frisky 5-point buck.  Okay, done with the flashback!

As you can see by the label in the photo above . . . my new fragrance was about to be born and delivered unto the world!  And the fragrance would be known as CHADWICK. A fragrance inspired by all my favorite sights and smells of the Caribbean.  A "masculine mix of food, fun and surf!"


We all designed scents that day and had a blast doing it.  Well, everyone except my friend Craig, who was overwhelmed by it all to the point he nearly had a mental meltdown.  See!

(This is Craig smiling to keep the veins in his forehead from rupturing!)

The rest of us had an absolute ball and were ready to celebrate our new formulas and creations.  So, Cyndi and John pulled out a bottle of champagne and we had a celebratory toast!

(I would like to say that, as a group, we smelled terrific!)

In all seriousness, this experience was unbelievable.  It was absolutely terrific.  If you are ever in the Caribbean and you end up on the gorgeous island of St. Martin, go by and visit Tijon and take the Perfumer's Class 101.  (Or, as they say in French, La Classe de Parfumeur 101).  It is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and should be something you put on your bucket list.  Seriously.  It truly is that much fun!

I didn't know if I could design my own cologne.  Like I said, I usually can't smell a thing.  But, I am very proud of my bottle of Chadwick and have actually gotten a lot of compliments on it back here in the States.  And, knowing that I smell darn good, I have been asking virtually everyone I know to sniff me.  I have even asked a few strangers to take a whiff.  Some have.  Some have run the opposite direction.  One tried to mace me.  And that's okay too.  I'm sure when Giorgio Armani first asked people to smell him he got strange looks and restraining orders as well.  I'm fine with it.  I'm comfortable with Chadwick and how he smells.  So, there . . .

To find out more about Tijon, you can visit their website by CLICKING HERE!  And Tijon is pleased to announce they have recently opened a location here in the United States.  It's situated in beautiful La Jolla, California just north of San Diego!