Perfume Directory

Invictus Aqua (2016)
by Paco Rabanne


Invictus Aqua information

Year of Launch2016
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 85 votes)

People and companies

HousePaco Rabanne
Parent CompanyPuig Beauty & Fashion Group > Puig Prestige Beauty Brands

About Invictus Aqua

Invictus Aqua is a masculine fragrance by Paco Rabanne. The scent was launched in 2016

Invictus Aqua fragrance notes

Reviews of Invictus Aqua

Invictus Aqua (2016/2018) is another fragrance that snobs love to hate, and compliment-obsessed Chads love to place on a pedestal, which is perhaps why the standard trophy cup bottle carried over from Paco Rabanne Invictus (2013) is so appropriate. Make no mistake, this is a freshie, and its DNA is most familiar, as if the name "Invictus" didn't already let you know from jump that you've smelled this before countless times. The stuff just smells good, at least in the way anything mass-appealing smells good, and doesn't feel particularly cheap, but all of the copy-cats do fall short of striking that same balance. In fact, many of the current "me too" also-ran fragrances made by other designers that copy the Invictus DNA typically take it from this flanker, which sits at the left hand of Amyris Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjan (2012) as a scent that gets you in the same fresh sweet casual chic neighborhood at a fraction of the cost. This makes you slightly regret doing so with the aquatic elements so blantly stapled on like you're wearing a second cousin of Nautica Blue (2005), but such is the result of taking the left hand path of trying to take a niche fragrance inspired by designers and make a designer take on its vibe, which is some reach chicken and the egg thinking there. Also, there is the elephant in the room concerning the original limited edition 2016 frosted glass bottles and the 2018 unlimited re-issue in the blue-based bottle, with a battle between the casuals and "true believers" over whether there is a significant difference, which I'll address in a bit, but first a general breakdown of what to expect regardless of version you buy. The last thing I want to do is lead anyone into the warm embrace of scalpers over community hype.

The biggest difference between Invictus and Invictus Aqua will be the way the ambergris note is treated, above all else and regardless of version you try. The opening of Invictus Aqua is otherwise very familiar to Invictus lovers, and has the ethyl maltol bubblegum sweetness, the grapefruit, the marine accord of various ozonic materials, etc. The deviation from Invictus here comes from juniper and yuzu mixed with a dihydromyrcenol aqautic note, making Invictus Aqua smoother, deeper, less punchy. A violet leaf note and fruity gamma seems to also replace the bay leaf accord in the heart, but the jasmine hedione and fruity/woody ionone notes set the transition to the base apart from the original with its more aromatic character. The base is going to be ambroxan as you might expect, but the patchouli is mostly absent and in its place is a larger dose of tonka to make that parallel to Amyris Homme that I mentioned. Guaiac wood is still present, but the IFF "amberwood" molecule does most of the heavy lifting on the woody side of things. On the whole, Invictus Aqua is less mineralic and musky than the finish of Invictus Aqua, missing some of that slight animal ambergris potency in place of smooth mass-appeal tonka slickness, which works better with the top and heart treatment anyway. When people talk about modern men's fragrances smelling like shower gel or deodorant, this is what they're talking about 100%, so make no mistakes about its commonality, it's just done better here than in most. Wear time is about the same as the original, so this is stuff potent stuff with hours of wear and good projection for at least half of that, it's just a far more general-purpose.

As an aquatic, Invictus Aqua is awful, as it isn't very aqueous or transparent past the first fifteen minutes, and still wears pretty heavy on skin. Being lighter, fresher, and smoother than Invictus really just makes Invictus Aqua a more civilized and "normal" scent for everyone not trying to be a sleazeball with their "cologne" of choice, which is probably why most designers that copy the DNA do so from this one instead of the OG variety. As for the differences between the 2016 and 2018 versions of Invictus Aqua, they are not vast like some influencers or their army of minions will lead you to believe, but there is a noticeable change in the opening moments. The 2016 version feels a bit more ozonic, and has a piquant pink pepper in place of the sweeter juniper berry. Both are still sweet with aquatic leanings and finish on the same tonka/ambrox base, but when perfumers Juliette Karagueuzoglou and Nicholas Beaulieuu revisited the composition after Paco Rabanne decided to bring it back as a permanent inclusion, they must have thought the pink pepper and ozone was too much, switching out for the fruitier juniper berry, which does slightly match the rest better. Of course, if you absolutely need noticeable raw materials, throwbacks to when "men were men", or have a gauntlet of animal musk strike your face when you use fragrance, this won't be for you. There's no mistaking that Invictus Aqua has made a splash (pun intended) as a "blue fragrance" that is built for cost without necessarily smelling like it, and is so well-rounded as a youth-oriented generalist that it could have been released as the original Invictus back in 2013 with little variance in reception. Thumbs up.
05th December, 2020
I wish I had more hands, so I could give this fragrance four thumbs down.

This has to be the worst frag I have smelled since sampling and collecting over the last few years. It is an insanely synthetic chemical sharp pungent mess. I've smelled this on a passing stranger before and thought 'what in the hell?' I thought it was The Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner with perfumers alcohol at the time. Then it had to be a month later, I ordered a sample and when this came I had to laugh a little. Somehow there's a small cult following of this release and trying to understand the justification for it is completely mystifying.

Smelling this, I can picture a 22-year-old trying way too hard with his man-bun and invictus aqua ready to conquer the loudest overpriced club in the suburbs.

An absolute 0/10.
11th October, 2018
I only put this on clothes I plan to wear hours later. The fragrance is too floral and obnoxious for me during it’s opening and for a few hours after that. However, after about 4-5 hours the scent becomes organic and quite amazing: soft, watery and sweet.
13th June, 2018
This is a great scent, albeit relatively simple. Take the heaviness out of Invictus, but keep its trademark sweet smell, bolster it with a nice aquatic note to give it a buoyant, aqueous feeling, and you have Invictus Aqua. It's a fragrance that's enjoyable and easy to wear and seems to spread cheer wherever it goes. Performance is solid, about 8 hours of longevity with good projection for the first four. Unfortunately the 2016 version was discontinued.
11th June, 2018
This is a very bold high seas typhoon force aquatic scent. The bitter green citrus opening washes into an off centered violet dark green then sprays outward into turquoise and lightning charged ozonic air. One of the aquatic characteristics of this scent derives from how expansive the fragrance is. It projects like an electrified burst into crisp ocean storm vapor. While clearly aquatic, Invictus Aqua holds hints of past great violet fragrances, but seen through an aquatic oceanic aesthetic. I like the work on this scent and prefer it over the other versions of Invictus, but it is a little too bold and assertive for me to pull off. It is nice bold statement.
23rd May, 2018
This is really quite fantastic as far as marine/oceanic fragrances go and reminds me both of Bvlgari Aqva pour Homme and Nautica Voyage. I can't really detect individual notes but I do get a very watery violet and violet leaf with a hint of ambergris, and a very dominant marine note that is similar to the one in Nautica Voyage (doesn't smell like saltwater but more like freshwater). Sillage is moderate leaning strong while longevity is strong. I haven't tried the 2016 Invictus Aqua, but even this is pretty fantastic. I've tried a lot of aquatic fragrances (one of my favourite genres) and this is one of the best I've tried. You have to get your nose on this.

14th May, 2018

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