Acqua di Giò (Giorgio Armani)

Just to summarize things, the prior posts are about Millésime Impérial by Creed and Unbound for Men by Halston, both of which lead up to Acqua di Giò, and all to illustrate one point: AdG is to Millésime Impérial what Cool Water is to Green Irish Tweed. Each are sets of popular designer clones and their niche originals. The difference between them is in spirit; Cool Water was the fresh fougère that defined the late 1980s, while Acqua di Giò was the fresh aquatic that defined the 1990s. Neither scent should have eclipsed their predecessors in the minds of perfume critics, but they have. Both scents are very good and likable on their own terms.

Smelling AdG is like smelling the fragrance arc of perfumery from 1990 to 1996, a period defined by this fragrance. But the nineties were stylistically divisible, with everything from 1996 to 1999 reflected by Chanel's Allure Homme, which is oddly a variant of none other than Cool Water. Allure's tonka-rich pegging point in the decade was 1995's super-sweet Le Male by Gaultier, a scent with resonance among its contemporaries. But sniffing AdG, one is pressed to find another match. Sniffing MI next to AdG yields an equally-bracing eau de cologne melon-citrus effect, with one flushing the sweetness of ambergris against a salty iris, and the other tempering cruder citruses and sweet jasmine against a base of cedar and musk. The use of fruits and white flowers in AdG is brilliant, and perfectly captures a feeling of warm Mediterranean sunshine. 

One can credit Armani with not intentionally over-exposing the AdG brand by strictly limiting its number of flankers. But really, how much more can one do with this theme? Successful aquatics inevitably spawn artless combinations of sweet fruits and flowers against salty and musky bases, with gallons of calone and Iso E Super carelessly employed to repeatedly deliver the same olfactory message. They wind up smelling generic, like soap and shampoo, and jade fans of the original into buying something else instead. Sometimes they even lead fans to blame the original for so many countless sub-par releases. It's a bad cycle to get into. I'm looking at you, Ck One.