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  1. #1

    Default Cool Water review

    Hello friends Up here now is the review for Cool Water by Davidoff, hopefully you guys like it and can offer me some more feedback. Thanks to all of you who have stuck with the reviews I've been writing, and providing feedback! I've read all of them and taken them into consideration as I'm writing my reviews, so there's not a tendency on personal bias. Let me know what you think!

    ===

    Playing off of Hugh Parson's Blue cologne, I felt it would be proper to review Cool Water, since they're both aquatics and can be compared nicely... and, I guess you could make the pun of it being a "fresh" comparison, since it's back to back

    Speaking of fresh, Cool Water was introduced in 1988 in an attempt to literally be fresh and crisp amid the leathery, spicy, manly colognes of its time. The effect it had on the fragrance world was colossal; left and right perfumers were cooking up scents to match Cool Water... but they failed. People simply loved Cool Water, and everywhere, everyone was wearing it -- and everyone loved it. Thusly, as it skyrocketed in popularity to one of the most famous colognes in the world, it was clearly one of the most attractive and easily worn. However, we all know time takes its toll on things of the past, and Cool Water is no different, so the prevalent question here is: How does Cool Water stack up to the aquatics today?

    Fast-forward to today, close to twenty years after Cool Water was debuted, and take a look around. How many aquatics can you name just off the top of your head? How many can you discover after five minutes of googling? How about ten minutes? Twenty? An hour? You see, the problem with Cool Water does not lie in the formula -- it's a vintage formula, as beautiful now as it ever was; the problem lies in the perception people have of it. There always has to be a comparison to another (99% of the time it's a newer fragrance than Cool Water) cologne, and unfortunately enough, Davidoff's brilliance is often mocked.

    People are often pessimistic, saying that it's too synthetic, or it smells too bland, but take a close look at the top, heart, and base notes of any aquatic scent post 2000. Heck, even go back to '98 if you want, or before that... and notice how most, if not all, aquatic fragrances in that era have bitter fruit/citrus top notes with herbal hearts and mossy/light woodsy bases (Those of you who read my Hugh Parson's review know a little more in-depth what I mean)... and now take a look at Cool Water. Lavender and Rosemary stare you right in the face as your top notes, with Oakmoss and Sandalwood as their heart notes, followed by Amber and Cedar as the base notes. Reading over these notes, in a fragrance introduced in 1988, leaves me speechless. For something that was a first of it's kind (Sorry GIT I'm completely ignoring you, this is Davidoff's moment!) the formula is near perfect. It's bewildering to think that people can say "bah well there's better scents out there". Yes, there are, just like a 2000 Porsche 911 is better than a 1988 Porsche 911, and a computer built in 2000 is going to spank some 1988 computer.

    The point is, the world of aquatics has had a full twenty years to develop, so there are undoubtedly going to be fresher fragrances. If Cool Water is obsolete, then so is your Yatagan, Heritage, and Grey Flannel. But they're not; and Cool Water is an epic fragrance of immense beauty, representing the pinnacle of fragrant achievements in the 80s. Let's start by proving it.

    First, let's dissuade disbelievers that Cool Water is "synthetic", by pointing out that since the top notes consist heavily of lavender and rosemary, they will blush out what little citrus/fruit influence there is -- which is just a touch of orange blossom. The peppermint and coriander, also subtle, fuse together to add a sparkle of herbal freshness to the lavender/rosemary combination, rather than levitating the orange blossom with a spicy sweetness. Had a bitter orange/strong peppermint combination been used, the scent would have been dominantly citrusy, and the lavender/rosemary combination would have to be softer. In turn, it would have been responsible for the blemishing of the severely bitter notes of the orange, and the suppressing of the extreme sharpness of the peppermint. Different quantities of ingredients, and setting priorities for notes, play a crucial role in how a fragrance is going to smell. Lavender and rosemary, of course, are not deep scents with character and zest; they are fresh, clean, and semi-transparent to the notes that lie underneath.

    The result, then, is an incredibly smooth and neutral open, with herbal notation as opposed to a present-day standard of citrus/fruit, which is soft and mellow on the nose. The sequence proceeds to a soft-wood heart, which counters the fresh top-note herbal concoction slightly, and allows some depth to develop in the fragrance. Keep in mind there were no prior aquatic fragrances (I'm going to get slain for not mentioning GIT at this point, but oh well!) that Davidoff could base his aquatic scent off of, so the addition of sandalwood and oakmoss was clever. The herb-friendly oakmoss catches the fading top notes and accentuates them, while the soft sandalwood responsibly sets the base up for a proper woodsy transition; and this is where most people derive that Cool Water is synthetic. The fact that a transition is done so seamlessly gives the illusion that there is no change; while, in fact, the change is so subtle that it is not apparent until the base notes kick in. Cedar and amber, stronger woods with their own scent to carry, are prominent here in the base, as the oakmoss and sandalwood (transparently fused with top notes) fade away. However, to keep the smoothness, a friendly musk (remember, musk can be used to enhance the smell and life of other aromas) was used to provide the heart/top notes with a final breath, before fading away and leaving the scent dry, but not bitter, due to the relevant addition of yet another sandalwood note. From top to bottom, Cool Water transitions consistently, but does so in the shadows; where the effects will not be seen until the life of the notes dwindle to their vanishing points.

    All in all, Cool Water is mathematically precise with ingredients, inspirationally diverse with composition, and logical as an entire fragrance. Assume the year was 1990, and the aquatic burst had not begun: would Cool Water not be a staple of the basenotes community? The amount of respect it would command would be IMMENSE. What's changed if the year is 2007? Why are there those who dislike the scent; claiming it to be synthetic, sub-par, obsolete, unoriginal, uncreative, uninspirational, cheap, and not worth the money? That kind of negativity demolishes a beautiful fragrance. Has the smell changed? Has the formula changed? Has anything of Cool Water changed? No, it hasn't. What's changed is the world around it, now brimming with other aquatics that are literally the children of Cool Water. Comparing the formula of any two colognes is ridiculous, because they both have their beauties, and they both have their flaws, but Cool Water is disregarded of any great characteristics, because somehow, the tendency in thinking is to assume that since there's newer aquatics out, it must be old and not worth the attention anymore. Following that logic, every scent is terrible, because five years down the road, something just a little bit better will come out and trump today's scent -- which will also be terrible, because in ANOTHER five years...

    Cool Water, then, IS one of the best fragrances in the world, and it IS something that is unique, creative, and literally an artifact of change -- but, for that very reason, it has a major downfall. It's so popular and common, that people buying their first bottle of cologne buy Cool Water (Hell, it was my second bottle, and I blind bought it because it was famous) without taking the time to appreciate it as a fragrance. Because of the popularity it carries, the weight of the uneducated reviews pumped out by people who don't know which notes are which, and what notes add what effect, really tugs the perception of the scent down, and drags it through the mud. Cool Water deserves a 10/10, because it was impeccably made in a time where it was one of the first, and twenty years later, it still remains one of the most recognized and famous colognes. However, this is not a perfect world, and the grade must come from more than just a vintage factor. Still, I have no problem whatsoever giving this cologne a solid 8/10 -- only missing two points because it's lack of depth, even as one of the first aquatics. Let's face it, having a mainstream-defying scent in the 1980's doesn't give Davidoff an excuse to ignore crucial aspects of a cologne. In a time of spice and musk, the importance of having noticeable transitions was absolutely necessary, but done short-handedly in this scent.

    Strengths:
    Truly one of a kind, and the first of it's kind
    Exquisite lavender and rosemary combination
    Remains neutral and aquatic, even with herbal influences
    Solid base
    Meticulously drawn out without overloading ingredients

    Weaknesses:
    Too smooth, even for an aquatic
    Too subtle of a shift between top to heart notes
    Overly popular and misrepresented in derogatory terms

    ---
    Sillage: 6/10 -- a nice, even projection, not too sudden or strong. Aquatics tend to lack sharp and heavy ingredients, which project much more efficiently.
    Longevity: 9/10 -- the denser woods tend to hold stronger on the skin; and for an aquatic, Cool Water makes fine use of its cedar and amber
    Complexity: 7/10 -- the subtle progression through the top, heart, and base notes is favored to the softer notes, which ruins some of the potential change that the scent could have
    Development: 1/5 -- the point of Cool Water was to be fresh and crisp all day, and simply that. There was no playing "20 Questions" for "what ingredient is coming out in your cologne now?" with this fragrance.
    Raw scent: 10/10 -- For 1988, this was monumental. Stunning scent.

    Overall rating: 8/10 -- It was the original with no path to follow, so it carved its own. I hold a tremendous amount of respect for such a solid fragrance that spawned an entire genre that still lives today as extremely popular, lovable, and evergrowing.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Cool Water review

    That was quite an epic review, and a very nice one at that. I too am a fan of Cool Water and thought that your review did justice to its appearance on the fragrance scene. It was the AdG of its generation, ubiquitous and somewhat groundbreaking, taking into account what was available on the mainstream market at the time. However, there is one item in the Davidoff's closet that mainstream fans might not pick up on, but "those in the know" might find issue with (and I use the word "issue" in the lightest terms possible), and that is the existence of a gent named "Green Irish Tweed". His being eliminates the "uniqueness" of Cool Water, taking into account that the latter was heavily influenced by the former, much like Unforgivable was (ahem) influenced by Millesime Imperial.

    Other than that, I found your review quite thorough and very enjoyable. (And it makes me want to wear Cool Water again.) Nice job!
    You are not your perfume.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Cool Water review

    Haha, I purposely ignored GIT for the sake of being able to actually write this review. Hopefully nobody is too mad at me, or thinks I'm not aware of the three-year margin between the two scents (with GIT being 1985). I'm not trying to say that Cool Water was the absolute first of it's kind, because it's simply not true... it was, however, the first big aquatic hit.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Cool Water review

    I for one am glad you ignored the GIT comparison! Great review; the most thorogh I have seen!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Cool Water review

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas V View Post
    However, there is one item in the Davidoff's closet that mainstream fans might not pick up on, but "those in the know" might find issue with (and I use the word "issue" in the lightest terms possible), and that is the existence of a gent named "Green Irish Tweed". His being eliminates the "uniqueness" of Cool Water, taking into account that the latter was heavily influenced by the former, much like Unforgivable was (ahem) influenced by Millesime Imperial.
    I'm new, so I'm really not "in the know", but does Davidoff go to Pierre B. and say "make a frag similar GIT , please." Do noses like Bourdon sign on to projects like this? I've smelled GIT, but not CW, so I'm not familiar with how close they are. They appear to have dissimilar note trees, but maybe what's contained in the review pages is incomplete. Dunno. I like to think of noses like Bourdon, JCE, Maurice Roucel and other big names as being artists with their own vision, and therefore no desire to imitate. Perhaps I'm romanticizing though. (?) Have Davidoff or Bourdon said as much?


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    zztopp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cool Water review

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    I'm new, so I'm really not "in the know", but does Davidoff go to Pierre B. and say "make a frag similar GIT , please." Do noses like Bourdon sign on to projects like this? I've smelled GIT, but not CW, so I'm not familiar with how close they are. They appear to have dissimilar note trees, but maybe what's contained in the review pages is incomplete. Dunno. I like to think of noses like Bourdon, JCE, Maurice Roucel and other big names as being artists with their own vision, and therefore no desire to imitate. Perhaps I'm romanticizing though. (?) Have Davidoff or Bourdon said as much?


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    Most of these popular industy noses work on 10 maybe 20 fragrances per year. All of these can't be visionary or groundbreaking. Some are there to pad the wallet.
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    Default Re: Cool Water review

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    I'm new, so I'm really not "in the know", but does Davidoff go to Pierre B. and say "make a frag similar GIT , please." Do noses like Bourdon sign on to projects like this? I've smelled GIT, but not CW, so I'm not familiar with how close they are. They appear to have dissimilar note trees, but maybe what's contained in the review pages is incomplete. Dunno. I like to think of noses like Bourdon, JCE, Maurice Roucel and other big names as being artists with their own vision, and therefore no desire to imitate. Perhaps I'm romanticizing though. (?) Have Davidoff or Bourdon said as much?


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    I would like to note that my use of the term "in the know" was not to elevate myself to a level unearned; I used the quotations semi-jokingly. What I did mean was that those who are more familiar with non-mainstream fragrances (like Creed) can see very striking similarities between GIT and CW. And while I cannot say with 100% certainty, if I were a betting man I would put my money on the fact that Bourdon had heard of Creed and Green Irish Tweed long before he set out to make Cool Water (the Kouros/Orange Spice phenom is good enough proof of this). Are the two fragrances identical? Of course not. However, are they similar enough to conclude correctly or incorrectly that one was inspired from the other? I would say yes.

    My main point in my initial post was only to note that due to the mere existence of Green Irish Tweed, Cool Water could not be considered unique. I could be completely wrong in this assumption, but that's just how I see it.
    You are not your perfume.

  8. #8
    Renato's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cool Water review

    Your review and subsequent comments prompted me to spray some Cool Water on one hand and GIT on the other. Yes, there is some vague similarity between them, and I must admit to once thinking they were very similar.

    But no one says that GIT is an aquatic scent.
    Is Cool Water really an aquatic scent?
    The H&R Chart and OsMoz list it as a fresh fougere and aromatic fougere respectively. The H&R Charts group most aquatics in with fresh chypres, while OsMoz have a separate aquatic category.

    If you check OsMoz's entries against Cool Water and New West, they certainly mention one "Marine Note", but they apparently don't feel that's enough to qualify them as aquatics.
    Renato

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Cool Water review

    Cool water is not aquatic imho.
    It is classic.

    But GIT is obviously what inspired Cool Water.
    GIT is also classic.

    And yes, GIT is a better, smoother Cool Water.
    But Cool water is still incredible & 100% Classic.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Cool Water review

    I still love CW, it was my signature scent from when I was 15 to 23'ish, but since that time it has become way too commercial and now that I am rounding 30 I need something a little more "refined" and gentleman like. Much like ADG I can't pull off teeny bopper anymore.

    As for the comparison between GIT and CW, yes it is obvious CW is a clone of GIT but with a little more oomph to it. GIT is a little more mellow and the lemon pulls through more, however CW is still 85&#37; of GIT at <20% of the price. Too close for the normal person to tell the difference, everytime I wear GIT I will hear "Is that Cool Water you are wearing?"

  11. #11

    Default Re: Cool Water review

    Quote Originally Posted by Leifer View Post
    Haha, I purposely ignored GIT for the sake of being able to actually write this review. Hopefully nobody is too mad at me, or thinks I'm not aware of the three-year margin between the two scents (with GIT being 1985). I'm not trying to say that Cool Water was the absolute first of it's kind, because it's simply not true... it was, however, the first big aquatic hit.
    I've never think of CW as being fresh or aquatic. To me it is a nuisance overly aromatic fougere. I'm glad its much less popular today than when it was first released. If you want to smell really bad, try layering CW with Drakkar Noir as you enter fougere overdrive.


    Just look at the Coolwater pyramid, its full of heavy not-fresh not-aquatic ingredients.

    Top notes of

    Lavender/Rosemary/Corriander which are all heavy aromatic ingredients.

    The middle notes/drydown is full of heavy things such as Oakmoss, sandalwood, and cedar.

    To me the presence of rosemary skews CW towards an unpleasant herbal/chemical harshness that gets in the way of any fresh elements. After CW dries down, I get some camphoraecious notes (quick and sensitive test for this. Hold your eye about 1cm above a skin patch where you've sprayed cool water, after the alcohol has dried off and the top notes are mostly over. If you feel some prickling/cooling sensations, your dealing with menthol/camphor type compounds. The eye is much more sensitive to this than the nose.) CW continues to be aromatic (but not spicy) untill it finally fades away a few hours later.

    There is some "lift" after the top notes come off, but its nothing compared to a real aquatic fragrance which would have calone and other ozonic compounds running wild. Compare CW to AdG, or Nautica's Lattitude Longitude, or Lanvin's Oxygene PH (highly recomended), and it is pretty obvious that CW is a grumpy and hostile fougere.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Cool Water review

    Quote Originally Posted by Nitromusk View Post
    Compare CW to AdG, or Nautica's Lattitude Longitude, or Lanvin's Oxygene PH (highly recomended), and it is pretty obvious that CW is a grumpy and hostile fougere.

    I hate AdG Nautica's lat/long is a bit too mellow, but I liked Oxygene. It's a bit on the spicy side

    The reason I tend to think of CW as an aquatic fragrance is because that was the intention, and that's what it was back then. Remember, this isn't a review relative to the scents of the present-day.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Cool Water review

    i just rediscover cool water and yeas it s a hell of a fragrance. 9/10

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    Default Re: Cool Water review

    Seriously, the reviewer deserves twenty lashes with a wet noodle for not mentioning GIT.

    My Cool Water review:

    Synthetic cousin to GIT thrice removed.

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