Acqua 330 (Emilio Pucci)

Acqua 330 came in a set of Pucci samplers that my ex-girlfriend had sitting among several million other forgotten things. She had a prodigious collection of junk, mostly leftover items from a life long gone. It was a little sad, for the two of us were surrounded by her material, haplessly misguided attempts to cling to her youth, in the lonely aftermath of her parents dying young and leaving her with their house. Picture an acre of land, eight-tenths of which was grass, and a temporarily unemployed man cutting it with a small push mower in 90° heat, until the abused machine literally shakes apart on him. Then picture a perpetually annoyed 31 year-old woman returning home from work, passing the newly-mown yard without noticing it, and stepping into the two-tenths of her acre that isn't overgrown scrub with a freshly-minted rant about her co-workers prepared and ready to go. This was our dynamic for six months.

Throw into that unhappy little equation an unhappy little aquatic by the Italian fashion brand of Emilio Pucci, and you really have Paradise Lost. Ostensibly a modern floral in the aquatic style, Acqua 330 should, by all rights, smell nice. After all, Tommy Girl works pretty well. Why shouldn't this have equal success with the same basic formula (floral aroma chemicals, plus Calone, and a dash of white musk)? It's hard to say, and I'll concede that it isn't the worst thing I've ever smelled, but it's hard to like. 330 opens with a confident burst of marine notes, very salty, briny, fresh. It's a synthetic accord that seems to be a clever mixture of old and new Calone variants, which produce an off-key Atlantic-aquatic vibe. This hums along nicely, and I mentally compare 330 with the smell of the salty crust that forms on my skin whenever I get splashed by sea water.

Then the fragrance gets ambitious, and things take a turn for the worse. Jasmine makes an appearance, smelling very sweet and synthetic, followed by a soapy musk that threatens my senses with its overbearing strength. They egregiously mis-calibrated that musk. Eventually the synthetics become the only perceptible element, forming an unpleasant soap-lye drydown of no particular interest. This astoundingly disappointing ending is compounded by the realization that everything else about the fragrance is interesting, from its beautiful bottle, to its uncharacteristically corporate title. If only they'd focused on jasmine's indoles, instead of its freshness, Acqua 330 might have been worth the trouble. Bvlgari Aqva is a good example to follow. In the meantime, Acqua 330 is perfect for bitchy thirty-somethings who treat the important people in their lives like numbers, and amass incomprehensible piles of crap in inherited houses they can't afford. Thanks for filling that niche, Emilio!


  1. Great post, this is why we read about perfume. Thanks for that.


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