Sunwater (Lancaster)

Here's a good question for you: if you've sniffed Yatagan, Caron's bone-dry woody chypre, what do you think would make an appropriate feminine flanker for it?

My answer - Sunwater by Lancaster. Although it's reputedly discontinued, this bracing floral from 1997 can be had for a song from merchants online, and I'm surprised it hasn't gained more traction with the ladies. All things considered, Sunwater doesn't really work, at least not entirely. Its formula has balance issues. Still, I think it deserves more attention than it gets.

I have to admit, I don't have much of a back-story on this scent. I recently happened across a mini of it, and gave it a try. Sunwater starts off with a ridiculously wet celery top note. Even Yatagan's celery is staid by comparison. I suspect it's the herbs intermingling with juicy citrus that produces such a distinct olfactory illusion, but my nose is pretty adamant here - it just smells like celery. Eventually a pretty jasmine wells up from beneath the bitter vegetal accord. The jasmine infuses the lush heart notes with hints of sweetness. I suspect the sugary heathen that lurks in the shade is the ylang-ylang, or maybe even the thin amber in the base. The effect is a little awkward, but at least it tries to be green, woody, and clean. Most perfumers just throw a drop of cis-3-Hexanal in a gallon of dihydromyrcenol and call it a day. Sunwater offers precious, blooming flowers (hedione?) in the drydown of what has to be the weirdest bitter-green opening I've ever encountered. It gets points for trying to end on a positive, after what can only be described as a truly fugly opening.

Yatagan, in all honesty, doesn't really possess such a massive celery note after all. It's more of a touch of celery seed against a ginormous artemisia accord. Sunwater, however, takes the vegetal note directly, and plasters it against a cool aquatic ambience. It's actually akin to how the produce fridge at the grocery store smells after the mister hits the raw veggies in the display. My take is that this is a fascinating scent impression, fleeting as it may be. It's not the sort of thing I expect from a feminine '90s aquatic. It gets points for originality, but demerits for, well, smelling a little too weird. Unfortunately, the beauty of the florals is meek in comparison to that strident off-green top, and I'm not sure the composition holds up against the pantheon of other feminine aquatics currently on the market. However, skin chemistry probably plays a role here. My coarse male skin definitely didn't take to Sunwater. That doesn't mean the finer skin of a woman wouldn't treat it better. If you happen across a bottle of this, and you're in a position to try it, I say go ahead and try. See what your nose does with it. If you happen to like Sunwater, then congratulations. You found a crisp aquatic that no other woman wears.

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