The Glorious 90s Aquatic Perfume Genre Is Back & I’m Loving It

clockwise from far left: Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Eau Intense, Alien Eau Sublime, Simons Coton, Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia, Serge Lutens Eau de Paille, Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pure, Inis Energy of the Sea

The aquatic genre of perfume is contentious. Aquatic, marine and oceanic scents are often have love it or hate it kind of scent. Perfumes like Davidoff Cool Water and Aqua di Gio took over at the counters, along with Polo Sport For Women, and Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey. They spawned an entire generation of watery clean and fresh perfumes for men and women and eventually we got tired of smelling fresh and we wandered into woodsy and contemplative. More on that another time. I noticed a return to the aquatic genre last year, slowly sneaking up on us in some men’s fragrances. It was Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia that opened my eyes to the return of the oceanic. And I’m pretty happy about it.



Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Eau Intense is different than the original, and the blue perfume and cap show us – it’s a little different. Of course it’s obvious right away that it is Light Bleu but as the scent progresses you really feel an intense freshness. The opening is and intense crisp and clean citrus, then sparkles with bright marigold and jasmine. The musk is ultra clean and fresh, managing to convey ocean waves while also being cuddly and sexy. Eau Intense is fresh and fruity aquatic that is always squeaky clean. Astounding, really. If you love original Light Blue, you must try this one. And if you didn’t like the original, you should also try Light Blue Eau Intense. I must prefer it to the original.



Thiery Mugler Alien Eau Sublime is this season’s limited edition Alien flanker. It is gorgeous – for lovers of Alien and for lovers of the scent of jasmine on skin, near the ocean, in the hot sun. Alien Eau Sublime is sweet floral aquatic that is not shy about being gorgeous. The sweetly addictive base of Alien is still in Eau Sublime, but with an oceanic sunshine note. Perhaps it’s the “solar flowers” listed in the notes. It is a gorgeous and bright summer scent that makes me happy.



Simons Eau Contemporaire Coton is part of a series of perfumes launched by the Simons department stores. It’s a “clean cotton” type of fragrance with fresh aquatic floral notes. There is a super fresh violet leaf note that has a cool cucumber vibe sometimes associated with that note. It’s almost like cucumber spa water, with a clean lingering musk. It’s a unique and super aquatic and is definitely worth a sniff!



Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia  “forms a seamless bond between the blue of the sky and the blue of the sea, forging a path toward absolute serenity. A heavenly freshness tinted with lime, cool mint and blackcurrant, softened by the generous fullness of mimosa blossoms from Provence. A celestial, musk-scented escape.” I quote the Kurkdjian website because it is a perfect description. This became a fav route on first sniff. My very first thought was “an aquatic? we’re doing this again? nope” only to become “omg this is addictive and delicious” and could not stop sniffing my arm. I wear this a lot and spritz it head to toe. This soft and clean water and fruit delight is the prettiest aquatic I’ve ever sniffed, but it’s also decidedly unisex. Delicious ocean and sky for both of you!


Serge Lutens Eau de Paille is another offering in the Serge Lutens L’Eau range of fresh, clean and watery aquatic scents as only Serge Lutens can do. Eau de Paile loosely translates to hay or straw water, which is unique from the get go. They describe the scent as a “dry wet” one. Eau de Paille is inspired by a “hot summer day of harvesting wheat in the fields”, and a passionate glance with someone working in them. The hay note is so gorgeous, and it starts to glow after the “dry water” note starts to warm up on skin. Ea de Paille is almost aggressively fresh and watery when first applied and I recall thinking that while it was beautiful, I’d be scrubbing it off if it continued at this volume. As soon as the thought went through my head, the watery note was drying on my skin, giving way to sun warmed hay. Hay can smell a bit like a sweet tobacco, giving Eau de Paille a dry sweet sexy vibe that is irresistible. A must try.



Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pure is a flanker to the one and only original water perfume to rule them all, L’Eau d’Issey, which was the wateriest scent at the time it was launched in 1992. It was sold as a perfume that was “as clear as spring water”, which indeed it was. It eventually became ubiquitous and it almost felt like every other person was wearing L’Eau d’Issey. I liked and respected it, but never wore it. So imagine my surprise when I fell head over heels in love with L’Eau d’Issey Pure. Pure is less citrus and more water and clean musks – like fresh spring water on warm skin. The oceanic notes are tempered with an irresistible ambergris which gives a softly salty sexy scent. I cannot get enough of Pure and on the hottest days it feels like a cool shower. It is very soft and does not project as much as original Issey. A must try for lovers of sexy clean musk scents.


Inis Energy of the Sea is an Irish fragrance line that is famous for it’s incredible oceanic perfume, Inis. I’d not heard of it until someone posted about it on a fragrance board and I was so intrigued. We had a lovely Irish shop in my city and I was able to try it there. I’ve never smelled anything like it, and it truly is amazing how it evokes the ocean. “A sparkling, clean unisex fragrance that captures the coolness, clarity and purity of the ocean, Inis the Energy of the Sea is inspired by the beauty and energy of the wild western coast of Ireland, Inis (the word means ‘island’ in Irish)”. And that is exactly what it does. Top notes are sparking citrus, with soapy clean lily of the valley, and sandalwood with a touch of clove that almost evoke sand and driftwood. It is a giant compliment getter, and one people want to sniff more of. And if it’s stunning oceanic beauty isn’t enough, Inis the Energy of the sea helps protect dolphins and whales. Since 2001, Inis the Energy of the Sea and Fragrances of Ireland is honored to be a core funder of the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group – helping towards the protection. conservation and better understanding of whales and dolphins in Irish waters and around the world.


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