In what resulted in a slew of (half joking) "I hate you" messages, I left icy New York City for Puerto Rico last week for the launch of Escada's Born in Paradise fragrance. I was joined on the trip by a handful of other online editors including ones from Byrdie, Rouge 18, Total Beauty, Beauty Blitz and Glam and we spent three days touring San Juan, drinking cocktails (well, I stick to tea, no matter how uncool it is), and, of course, talking beauty.
San Juan, I learned, is the birth place of the pina colada — though locals argue as to who and where in Puerto Rico it was actually originally conceived — and the tropical drink was the inspiration for Escada's latest limited-edition scent. Fittingly, our first sit down meal was at Barrachina, where one of the three bartenders who claims he invented the island's national drink, worked. It's at the Puerto Rican restaurant that we learned that a real pina colada is never served with ice and that one must be careful when adding in the cream of coconut as it can easily overpower the drink.
Tying into the inspiration, Born in Paradise's heart notes are a mix of coconut milk and pineapple. To balance the fruitiness out (because as much as people might want to drink them, few people would really want to smell like a pina colada…), Escada opted for my two favorite fragrance notes as their base notes: musk and sandalwood. The base notes add a warm element to the scent. Fragrances are highly personal, but I almost always find that musk and sandalwood make for an alluring fragrance. The fragrance's top notes are in keeping with Escada's penchant for the fruity and include green apple, watermelon and guava.
To keep it cost-effective (the scent ranges in price from $43 for 30 ml to $74 for 100 ml) and eco-friendly, the scent was made with artificially synthesized aromatics. Born in Paradise is the brand's 22nd limited-edition fragrance and comes bottled in Escada's signature summer flagon. Fittingly, this season's bottle is a blue green ombre to represent the ocean and it's topped with a pink hibiscus flower that doubles as a hair accessory or ring. I imagine that anyone that likes Malin + Goetz rum line would be a fan of this scent…and the bottle does put you in a summery mood…though it's questionable how much that actually helps when you're faced with the prospect of two more months of blisteringly cold weather!
After learning about the scent, we toured the Bacardi distillery, the largest rum distillery in the world (and impressively still family owned). As I mentioned, I'm not a fan of liquor, but it's still an interesting experience. It's also free and caps off with two tickets to taste some of their world-famous rums. It was at the distillery that we learned the parallels between rum-making and fragrance. Namely, that there's a complex blending technique involved in both and many layers of flavor/smell. Along the way we were told some fun facts including that the brand's first distillery was located in Cuba, home to fruit bats — hence the company's logo — and that the Cuba Libre was named after a toast in Cuba and should only be made with Coke (no Pepsi, sorry), and that the original daiquiri was not frozen, but rather a simple mix of lime juice, light rum, sugar and ice.
While we didn't get too much time to lounge at the beach, anyone who gets the chance to return should spend most of their time waterside. The weather in San Juan is a perfect 80 degrees nearly every day this time of year…it truly does feel like paradise. Beach and pool time aside, a trip to Old San Juan is also certainly worth an afternoon. In addition to touring some of the island's old forts, there are a number of outlets including Coach and Custo Barcelona.