Mary Celestia, the legendary perfume….

This perfume was found in 2011 in the shipwreck of the Mary Celestia which sank over 150 years ago off the south shore of Bermuda on its way to Charleston SC. What a great story and what a great fragrance! This is a fragrance Queen Victoria would have worn and all the nobles from the English Court back in the 1900’s century.

Bring yourself back to 1864, when the Mary Celestia blockade runner sank….only Queens and Kings wore perfumes, and the few very nobles who could afford such extravagant luxury. This is before Paris even knew about the existence of fragrances. That’s right! Back then, perfumes were almost exclusively found in London UK. And fragrances had a very different vocation than they do today: people wore perfumes on their gloves, scarves and capes, in order to cover the stench while they were walking on the busy streets of London. There was no such thing as fragrances for women and men either.  

It is believed that the captain of the Mary Celestia was carrying some contraband goods, such as perfumes, wines and medicines, to bring to his loved one. After being submerged for almost 150 years, in 2011 an international team of Marine Archeologists discovered two intact bottles of perfume embossed Piesse and Lubin London, hidden away in the bow of the shipwreck. Piesse and Lubin was a prominent perfume house on Bond Street in London sought after by the world's elite in the 1800's, but unfortunately did not survive the death of its creator.

Soon after its finding, the Lili Bermuda Perfumery became the official custodian of the bottle and decided to research its content to recreate this fragrance that had disappeared for over 150 years. The formula was published in “Perfumer & Flavorist” in 2014. You can now smell and purchase this historical fragrance at the Perfumery in St. George and at fine retailers in Bermuda. 

What does it smell like? It is definitely a unisex fragrance. The fresh citrusy Mary Celestia fragrance opens with the smell of sparkling grapefruit and zesty citrus. The scent of rosewood is complimented by warm amber tones. Finally, the soft notes of rose and orange flower impart the timeless elegance of the original fragrance. The artistic design of artwork decorating the box was inspired by a three-dollar coin depicting the shipwreck Mary Celestia, issued in 2006 by the Bermuda Monetary Authority.

This fragrance captures all the elements of this legendary adventure. It is fresh, yet woodsy and ambery. It has the elegance of the English Court of 1864, but also reflects the modernity of Bermuda’s way of life.

Mary Celestia is now part of our permanent collection at Lili Bermuda! Purchase your piece of history here.


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