Fragrance of the Bahamas, Ltd. was founded in 1969 by Albert Whisnant, a semi-retired New Yorker. Although Whisnant had been quite successful in the clothing manufacturing business he is credited with the development of seersucker- he had been a perfume buff since childhood and had amassed a sizable collection of international fragrances. His life long dream had been to found his own perfume factory.
During a weekend visit to Freeport in 1968, he learned that, although perfumes from around the world were major sellers in the gift shops, there was no fragrance manufacturing facility on the island. A year later, he returned to Grand Bahama, acquired two abandoned buildings- a 100 year old one room schoolhouse and an old church on the beach in the tiny native settlement of Hepburn Town, just outside of Freeport, and established Fragrance of the Bahamas Limited.
To develop his first fragrances Whisnant enlisted the help of his long-time friend, Ernest Shiftan. Shiftan, a world renown expert in the creation of perfumes, was vice-president of an international fragrance firm with factories and sales offices in 26 countries. He had been instrumental in the creation of a number of notable fragrances, including Norelle, generally considered to be the first classic American fragrance.
The first Fragrance of the Bahamas Limited products were delivered to the island gift shops in the winter of 1970. The name of those first fragrances were inspired by playwright Neil Simon, a close friend of both Whisnant and Shiftan. When Simon learned that they were planning to introduce a new fragrance, he suggested that they call it “Promises, Promises,” after his hit Broadway play. Whisnant and Shiftan liked the idea, but wanted to give the new products more of an island image. The result was “Island Promises.”
The manufacturing operation of Fragrance of the Bahamas Limited was moved from Hepburn Town to the new building in the International Bazaar in 1989.
Whisnant retired in 1976. The company was then owned & run by Peter and Patricia Aston, who worked closely with Whisnant in the early years. Peter Aston passed away in 1993 but the company is still owned & run by Mrs. Aston with the help of her daughter Chrisanne Aston.