Code of Conduct
Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1

    Default My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    Here it is, and if anyone can provide more information, I'll edit my blog post to reflect it, if it's useful of course:

    On basenotes.net, there are many threads about Cool Water (1988), especially ones that ask about how it compares to Green Irish Tweed. I sampled GIT a long time ago, and all I remember is a vicious violet leaf note that led me to “scrub” it, so I can’t speak to that “issue.” However, one thing is undeniable: CW had a major impact on the fragrance industry, especially in terms of “masculine” fragrances, while GIT has had very little, beyond the niche crowd, even to this day. Nobody I know outside of the online fragrance community has heard of Creed (as a fragrance company, that is).

    For the purposes of this post, that is very good, actually, because it allows me to focus on CW. And whether or not CW is similar to GIT but better is irrelevant. I have only sampled a small number of fragrances that were introduced right before CW was, so I have no idea how unique it was at that time. However, I have sampled quite a few from that period of what I call the Baroque masculine (roughly 1976 to 1993), and if CW was unique, I think I can speak to why. First of all, it’s lighter, from top to bottom, than the typical Baroque fougere of that period, or even the fragrances that seem to have led to the Baroque fougere (I’d guess they were Yatagan, Z-14, and the original Gucci Pour Homme, all introduced in 1976).

    Secondly, there are no aldehydes, which were especially prominent in some masculines of that period, especially orientals (such as KL Homme, or the fruity/floral chypre, Iquitos). There is no chypre base, nor complex base, which were most common, other than what one could find in some of the orientals (spicy, ambery, vanillic, etc.). Of course the simpler masculine fragrances were still being produced, such as simple fougeres and traditional cologne types. One of the simple fougeres that were very popular is Brut, by Faberge, though I think it was reformulated into something very cheap since then. I have an old 1970s one like this, Play it Again… Sixty Strength, Woodard for Men Cologne. It’s quite strong, with lots of oakmoss, and it’s musky. The lavender is quite herbal and it’s not an especially sweet fragrance (like Brut, last time I tried it a few years back).

    So, armed with this knowledge (which I hope is accurate!), what can be said of Cool Water? At first, I detect the tobacco note very clearly. It is listed as a base note, but for me it is strong at first and then gets weaker over the next few hours. There is a mild fougere quality, as well as a “sour” neroli, and it’s a bit sweet. The listed notes are: “mint and green nuances, lavender, coriander and rosemary; …geranium, neroli, jasmine and sandalwood; …cedarwood, musk, amber and tobacco” (from fragrantica.com).

    I don’t find it minty or green, but perhaps those are very fleeting top notes. Instead, it quickly goes into a drydown where the notes seem “stuck together.” It has a non-aldehydic “brightness,” with more complexity than the earlier simple masculines, yet it is on the light side, relative to those Baroque fougeres. I’ve become a fan of this kind of fragrance, though not of CW itself (due to the “stuck together” quality), and often wear Molto Smalto, which has a strong base and excellent note separation. I think the reason why I like the Smalto is that it seems to have just enough complexity and note contrast, while also possessing naturalness, balance, and note separation. Any more notes, and things can get “heavy,” with muddled note contrast. While I do think there are some excellent fragrances of that period that are more complex, none have the “light” feeling that the CW type fragrance does.

    Note that I have no idea why CW is sometimes called an aquatic fragrance. An “old” note, neroli, was given prominence in it, and placed in a fougere context (which may not have been an innovation, but it’s certainly not common), though the fougere accord was toned down significantly. The clear tobacco note is hardly ever discussed, in my experience, and it may have been blended to deliberately achieve that “stuck together” quality. Perhaps Mr Bourdon would be so kind as to leave a comment and tell us !
    Last edited by Bigsly; 11th January 2012 at 03:30 AM.

  2. #2
    hednic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    McLean, NYC, & Búzios
    Posts
    77,404

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    Very interesting perspective and well written.

  3. #3

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    Great read. I learned quite a bit. Thanks for this.

  4. #4

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    I have noticed that you have quite a dislike for the notes of a fragrance being blended together - 'stuck together' and 'blob-like' (as you have said of another fragrance) strikes me as somewhat loaded language, as the first suggests unpleasant stickiness, and the second a horror out of space and time. What is the difference between 'stuck together' and an intended accord? Well, just an observation; close attention to clarity of olfactory presentation is something I've noticed in your reviews for a while. I also appreciate particulate fragrances; and 'muddled' combinations do often indicate unskillful handling (or, of course, application in inappropriate weather).

    An interesting review. Perhaps I shall try Cool Water when I next see it somewhere, to compare.

  5. #5

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    It turned the "masculine" fragrance world on its head...

  6. #6

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Merely View Post
    I have noticed that you have quite a dislike for the notes of a fragrance being blended together - 'stuck together' and 'blob-like' (as you have said of another fragrance) strikes me as somewhat loaded language, as the first suggests unpleasant stickiness, and the second a horror out of space and time. What is the difference between 'stuck together' and an intended accord? Well, just an observation; close attention to clarity of olfactory presentation is something I've noticed in your reviews for a while. I also appreciate particulate fragrances; and 'muddled' combinations do often indicate unskillful handling (or, of course, application in inappropriate weather).

    An interesting review. Perhaps I shall try Cool Water when I next see it somewhere, to compare.
    The thing to do would be to try CW and MS, perhaps a dab to each arm, and then decide for yourself if MS has better note separation. As I said, Bourdon may have intended this, and perhaps it would have been like a "breath of fresh air" at that time. I didn't come to this "hobby" chronologically, though. I sampled a bunch of frags from different time periods, which is one reason why I'm trying to make sense of it. LOL.

    Also, CW may have been reformulated badly, so until I can get original CW (which I may have, for all I know), I don't even know if it was like this. It's very unlikely, however, that MS was reformulated, which is why I decided to get some when I had that chance to do so at a reasonable price. I have tried sampling from my CW bottle a few times now, and it never gets to where MS does, so I don't think there is bias or an "off day" for the nose. In fact, I wish CW had "done the job" for me, because then it would have been superior to MS, due to my enjoyment of tobacco notes, which MS doesn't have.
    Last edited by Bigsly; 11th January 2012 at 04:56 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    Well done Bigsley !

  8. #8
    Banned
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    6,676

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    excellently explained and written ...

  9. #9

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    very nice read...

  10. #10

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    Very interesting. I'm no historian, and can't speak to how unique it was, but I think it's a classic

  11. #11
    Dependent
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    3,629

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    From a perfumer's perspective, what made CW so different than anything before was its massive overdose of dihydromyrcenol, an aromachemical borrowed from the industrial fragrance field, lending a very potent metallic jasmine note. Drakkar Noir had flirted with this material but CW really slammed a huge slug of it in the recipe. It marked a real break from the past (other than GIT which was the harbinger, where the dihydro was blended with naturals.) That metallic floral tone caught on and was imitated literally hundreds of times over the following 15 years.

    I actually can't stand dihydromyrcenol unless it's very subtly used.

  12. #12

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyBars View Post
    From a perfumer's perspective, what made CW so different than anything before was its massive overdose of dihydromyrcenol, an aromachemical borrowed from the industrial fragrance field, lending a very potent metallic jasmine note. Drakkar Noir had flirted with this material but CW really slammed a huge slug of it in the recipe. It marked a real break from the past (other than GIT which was the harbinger, where the dihydro was blended with naturals.) That metallic floral tone caught on and was imitated literally hundreds of times over the following 15 years.

    I actually can't stand dihydromyrcenol unless it's very subtly used.
    Dihydromyrcenol is just one ingredient among many. It is described as a non-soapy, lemony lavender ("Dihydromyrcenol – Clean as a whistle lemony lavender without any soapiness." from http://www.basenotes.net/threads/232...ihydromyrcenol). Lemon is not listed as a note in CW, nor do I smell any lemon. Also, I don't get any metallic quality from CW, nor is the jasmine strong (and I have Ophelie so I know what strong jasmine smells like). One thing that does seem to make a lot of sense is that the non-soapy lavender was significant. A fragrance of that same period, Ferre for Men (1986), comes close to doing something like what CW did, but it still possesses a soapy kind of lavender. And so I suggest thinking of the frag in Gestalt terms: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts in CW. Simply adding dihydromyrcenol to perfumer's alcohol is not the same thing. And while dihydromyrcenol may have allowed Bourdon to get rid of the soapy lavender, he also omitted the heavy base notes that had become common in masculine frags of that era.

    This is something I mostly agree with:

    "When dihydromyrcenol was added to materials, formerly in the Fougere family, a new fragrance emerged, soapy clean and smelling of the salt ocean. Another aroma molecule, ambroxan was added to the compound, contributing a Pineapple, Apple, and Woody note."

    http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthr...y-Gary-Sargent

    However, the idea of "soapy" here is nothing like "soapy lavender," but rather a generic "clean" quality (to Westerners, presumably). Ambroxan may have been used to create a sense of substance to the base without heaviness. Molto Smalto, by contrast, seems to have been made with the idea of adding a substantial sandalwood note to that type of a base.
    Last edited by Bigsly; 11th January 2012 at 10:09 PM.

  13. #13
    Dependent
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    3,629

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    I disagree with you about the metallic quality of Cool Water; I definitely get it. I agree though that dihydro is nothing like real jasmine though it probably resembles one or more of its constituents. In fact, I'd call it a clean, metallic, sweet generic floral smell. I agree that the base accord concept was also new. However, I argue that it was built to accompany the long-lasting overdose of dihydro note being used, rather than being a separate concept in itself. (Splitting hairs)

    A similar thing could be said of the light transparent base accords of 90s aquatics, built to accompany the long-lasting Calone overdoses being used. Calone is even more annoying than dihydro. In addition, it's horribly outré. (Not that that's a consideration in my cologne choices...)

  14. #14

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    But the key question, at least for me, is what the impression was. Why did CW become popular rather quickly and stay that way for so long? The perfumer must have had some idea in mind, and he used these two chemicals to achieve a goal, though he may have tried other chemical/naturals combinations first. So what was the goal? My thought is that it was to get rid of the lavender/soapy quality and the heavy base. I find the execution to be sorely lacking (perhaps due to reformulation), but the idea must have been to create something with "mass appeal," so the aficionado opinion may not mean anything to someone seeking a commercial success (and at the time there was no aficionado opinion of consequence anyway, even if there is one now).
    Last edited by Bigsly; 11th January 2012 at 11:24 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    Cool Water was groundbreaking because in the eyes of the general marketplace for fragrance it was the first with this kind of scent. There was no real competition between Creed and Davidoff, especially in the early 90's when Cool Water was eventually launched in the USA. Creed had almost no presence in the US market in 1990. No question Creed had this scent profile with Green Irish Tweed first, but the niche market for Creed was very small and quite limited while Cool Water took the lions share of the business by selling to the masses. CW may not have been first to create this fragrance idea, but to the customer they were first, "groundbreaking."

  16. #16
    Dependent
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    3,629

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    But the key question, at least for me, is what the impression was. Why did CW become popular rather quickly and stay that way for so long? The perfumer must have had some idea in mind, and he used these two chemicals to achieve a goal, though he may have tried other chemical/naturals combinations first. So what was the goal? My thought is that it was to get rid of the lavender/soapy quality and the heavy base. I find the execution to be sorely lacking (perhaps due to reformulation), but the idea must have been to create something with "mass appeal," so the aficionado opinion may not mean anything to someone seeking a commercial success (and at the time there was no aficionado opinion of consequence anyway, even if there is one now).
    Yes I agree that the strong, intense "Baroque" (nice term!) period was at a close and perfumers were looking for a new way forward. CW happened to point the way to a light, synthetic, transparent future for the common man. Some of my very favorite fragrances, though completely different from CW, also come from this transition era (1987-1993):

    Esencia Loewe
    Boss Sport
    Carven Vetiver Dry
    Ungaro I
    Basala / Basara
    Lomani pH
    Vendetta pH
    Witness

  17. #17

    Default Re: My latest blog post: Why was Cool Water such a "groundbreaking" fragrance?

    I notice that on the H&R Chart, Cool Water is the first scent at the most left side of the Fresh Fougere category, and it's followed by Eternity, Joop Nightflight, Boss Elements, Platinum Egoiste and Polo Sport directly underneath it in that far left column. I guess that would indicate that they thought Cool Water started a fougere sub-category by itself.
    Regards,
    Renato

Similar Threads

  1. What makes a fragrance "cool" or "warm"?
    By tonghpafu in forum Just Starting Out
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 5th December 2011, 08:45 AM
  2. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 30th January 2011, 10:00 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •