Cool Water Woman (Davidoff)

Cool Water has never been successfully flanked, which is a bit of a surprise, given the talent behind it. In the early '90s Davidoff greenlit Pierre Bourdon as the creator of the gender flanker for their megahit - Davidoff and Pierre Bourdon's megahit, that is - and it was eventually released in 1996. Although he had created several successful perfumes prior to Cool Water, it was Davidoff that really put Bourdon on the map, and probably made him richer than most movie stars. If I had to guess, I'd say the deal to make Cool Water Woman was probably where the money really washed ashore for this man. One also has to wonder if his contractors were pleased with the results.

Cool Water Woman is odd because it boasts the usual feminine trappings - sweet fruits, flowers, sheer musks - yet bucks expectations with its balance. Everything is muted, toned down, and literally submersed in salty water. The opening is a light citrus scent, somewhere between lemon and orange, with hints of bergamot keeping things sharp. It pierces the nose for all of ten seconds before vanishing completely behind a particularly vivid salt note. The mineral is clean, filtered, like someone dumped Morton salt in a swimming pool. Five minutes after the citrus vanishes beneath this shimmery surface, darker fruits resurface; the original Cool Water's sweet lavender appears and guides blackcurrant, raspberry, and blackberry back up to the surface. The air-freshened lavender mixed with fruit creates the olfactory illusion of melon, but the fruits are so watercolored and abstract that they never smell "girly" or trite.

As the scent dries further, more fragments of the original fragrance float by. Touches of cedar, jasmine, and tobacco, all minimized, lend beautiful depth to the watery effects. It's at this stage that Cool Water Woman smells like holy water, a stale pond subtly radiating the sweetness of everyone else's perfume. It's nice, it's quite strange, and it's totally unisex. If Tommy Girl is considered unisex, then this scent could be sold in the men's section of the store, no problem. It's far more ambiguous than Calice Becker's potion, and easier to wear in high heat.

There's no reason to trade regular Cool Water in for its feminine counterpart, but if you're in search of a watery summer scent that doesn't smell like candyfloss, this might be different enough to make the cut. Bourdon has done better, but his worst fragrance is still infinitely more compelling than the best offerings of other perfumers. Not to say this scent is his worst, but of all the Bourdon scents I've tried, it's my least favorite. Still, Cool Water Woman crushes Nautica Voyage like a grape.

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