How would you describe the fragrance of Greece? To our mind, it's notes of sweet honey, jasmine-scented sea breezes and wild herbs, all laced with fresh fig and zesty citrus. A Greek island that has always moved to its own sensory beat, Hydra has long lured artists and musicians with its intoxicating blend of salty air, floral excess and the reassuring clip-clop of donkeys' hooves and the gentle rhythm of lapping waves. Among them is French perfumer Emilie Bouge, who was drawn to the island's wild beauty as the inspiration for her latest fragrance with couture British fragrance house Miller Harris.
Photo credit: Louis AW Sheridan
An ode to the island's enchanting nature and free spirit, Hydra Figue by Miller Harris combines fig, sea salt, Greek saffron and upcycled oakwood to encapsulate Hydriot slow living at its finest. Opening with fresh citrus notes of cedrat and lemon, the fragrance is intended to transport you straight to the island, glass of ouzo in hand. Just breathe in its scent and you'll be lifted across to the fresh fig trees of Hydra, before an afternoon breeze lands you gently into the salty azure waves of the Aegean.
Ready to be whisked away? Apply a liberal spritz of Miller Harris' Hydra Figue and plan a summer escape to the bohemian island paradise with our tips on what not to miss.
Three reasons why we love Hydra
Bountiful natural beauty
Framing natural botanical ingredients with bold colour has always been part of Miller Harris' creative process, so it's no surprise that Hydra's natural splendour and rainbow-like palette was the perfect canvas for the perfumer's latest fragrance.
To experience the island's multi-hued beauty up close, begin by meandering between the centuries-old whitewashed houses that line its cobbled streets, pausing to appreciate the shocking pink bougainvillaeas that bloom above blue-painted doorways as you go.
After a restorative night's sleep, wake at sunrise and watch as the waves shimmer like azure sequins in the morning light. Whether you visit in April or October, you'll find the waters that lap Hydra's shores sparkle in a particular Pantone shade of blue that's only ever seen on the Greek isles. Grab a warm pastry from a seafront bakery, then scramble down to a rocky cove for a refreshing dip.
Photo credit: Louis AW Sheridan
Creativity is the bedrock of all Miller Harris formulations, and is also evident in the perfumer's forward-looking approach to sustainability. Through its use of upcycled materials (such as oakwood harvested from pre-used wine barrels) and ingredients (including hydrolat sage, a byproduct of sage oil extraction), the house makes every effort to minimise its impact on the planet.
Yet long before the perfumers of Miller Harris ever set eyes on Hydra, there was another Miller finding quiet inspiration on the island. American novelist Henry Miller, who described Hydra's beauty as "wild and naked perfection", lived on the Greek isle in the 30s, alongside many other writers who flocked here in search of creative refuge.
Since then, artists including Allen Ginsberg, Leonard Cohen and John Lennon have all retreated to Hydra's timeless shores for inspiration. Fancy walking in Cohen's footsteps? To visit his former home, climb the steep steps that lead away from the centre of town until you reach the Four Corners grocery shop, then turn right. Look ahead and you'll find the musician's former front door, replete with a fittingly artistic door-knocker in the shape of a hand.
Photo credit: Louise AW Sheridan
The slow life
Hydra is a car-free island - a move that seems to have suspended the pocket of land in time and sees it standing in beautiful defiance against the frenetic pace of our modern world. As a result, slow living is what it's all about. There's no rush hour; only the call of church bells and the gentle daily chorus of fishing boats as they chug their way into the harbour after a day at sea.
Just like the perfumers of Miller Harris, who seek beauty in the everyday, the people of Hydra find inspiration in the leisurely rhythm of daily ritual. Join them in the slow lane by taking a long lazy walk along the seafront, before dropping into a taverna to savour a well-oiled lunch. Come sunset, amble through the island's rugged hills, stopping to pick saffron, mountain thyme and oregano to enhance a home-cooked Hydriot dinner.
Find out more about Hydra Figue and the full Miller Harris range at millerharris.com