What do Aquatic Fragrances Actually Smell Like?

What do Aquatic Fragrances Actually Smell Like?

“Thomas, AKA The Candy Perfume Boy, is explaining everything you need to know about fragrance families. From chypre to fougere, after reading this blog series, you’ll be an expert in the different types of olfactive groups.”

Aquatic fragrances are those that take inspiration from water, most usually the ocean. They are sometimes called “oceanic” or “marine” fragrances because of this. Aquatic scents rose to prominence in the ‘90s, acting as an olfactory reset, a fragrant wet wipe, if you will, to wash away all the stinky white flowers, spice bombs and excessive perfumes of the 1980s. This group of fragrances rely heavily on a material called Calone, which brings the impression of a sea breeze, of crystalline waters and supreme freshness. As they’ve developed throughout the decades, aquatic scents have showcased us many different perspectives of water from raging oceans to placid pools.

To help you navigate this fragrant waterworld, I’ve put together a list of four essential aquatic fragrances that showcase just how brilliant and refreshing the aquatics can be. So, excuse the upcoming pun, but let’s take a deep dive into the world of the oceanic, the aquatic and the marine, cleansing ourselves with the restorative power of water!


#1 Fresh Aquatic

Aquatic Fragrance: Davidoff Cool Water Man
Cool Water is the reference aquatic. All others cannot compete and frankly, should go home (I joke). There are many wonderful aquatic fragrances out there, but Cool Water is the pinnacle, and while it may not feel as natural as others on this list, it set the trend for what marine fragrances can be. With a herbal, masculine edge, Cool Water creates a sense of heavy waves crashing against sharp, rugged rocks. It’s so fresh and so marine, but also underpinned by a soft base of woods and musk, making it one of the easiest fragrances to wear. It lives up to its name: the scent of cold water.

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#2 Floral Aquatic

Aquatic Fragrance: Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey
L’Eau d’Issey is technically a floral, but it’s not without its aquatic tones, and it’s an excellent example of how the idea of “aquatic” can be used as one facet in a fragrance. With notes of lily and lotus, L’Eau d’Issey creates the striking image of white flowers floating on a clear, placid body of water. It’s entirely abstract and man-made, leading one to think of it as an art installation that shows the fragility of nature. It is very beautiful and the perfect example of a dewy floral.

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#3 Woody Aquatic

Aquatic Fragrance: Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey Pour Homme

Now, L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme is more of an obvious aquatic, but it’s also quite abstract, pairing clear waters with warm wood notes, almost as if its point of inspiration was pieces of driftwood gently floating down a Japanese stream. It’s a fragrance of contrasts, where the cool, fresh quality of aquatic notes are juxtaposed with the rich warmth of woods. It’s refreshing and calm but also loud, with an impressive trail. L’Eau d’Issey may have been the scent of every boy in the ‘90s, but isn’t that the fashion these days? 1990s everything?

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#4 Niche Aquatic

Aquatic Fragramce: Miller Harris Editions L'Eau Magentic

Aquatic fragrances suffer from the illusion that they are cheap. Perhaps because they were so successful that every brand was doing them at some point, but actually, an oceanic fragrance can be incredibly luxurious. L’Eau Magnetic by Miller Harris is one such luxe-aquatic. Taking inspiration from the “unmitigated chaos” of the ocean with high-quality materials, L’Eau Magnetic captures the intense energy of the sea with sparkling citrus, petitgrain and cedarwood. It has a salty, briny quality that is caught in a rushing breeze of white musk, creating a vivid sense of the stormy air whipped up by a kinetic ocean.

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We take a look at aquatic fragrances – what they are and which ones we love.

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Discover More:

There’s more! Read the previous instalments of the series below…

• What is a Citrus Perfume?

• What is a Chypre Perfume?

•  What is a Floral Perfume?

•  What is a Fougere Fragrance?

• What is a Fruity Perfume?

• What is a Solar Perfume?

What is a Gourmand Perfume?

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