4/14/13

Aqua Quorum (Antonio Puig)




Twelve years after the release of Quorum, the folks at Puig made a predictable move and conformed to the "fresh-aquatic" trend of the nineties by releasing its first flanker, Aqua Quorum. I have read a few things about this fragrance over the years, with most of the impressions positive, so recently decided to grab a bottle in preparation for the warmer months ahead. I'm glad I did, because Aqua Quorum is one of the loveliest fresh fougères I have ever had the pleasure of smelling.

Aqua Quorum's structure is fairly simple and direct, but the quality of ingredients is surprisingly high for a budget scent, and their integration is seamless. Its opening accord is one of the most beautiful openings I have encountered in many years, a fizzy combination of lavender, bitter grapefruit, and pine needles, with a healthy shot of freesia, clary sage, and salt. It transports me to a beach on a northeastern coastal state, perhaps Massachusetts or Maine, where cold ocean waters caress gritty sands on salinated breezes, and send shocks of blue air through patches of Eastern Hemlock and Atlantic White Cedar. It's a wild, free, outdoorsy aroma, blended to perfection.


The effect is citric, aromatic, and green, and is so bracing and clean-smelling that it nearly makes my knees buckle. Yeah, it's that good. I don't often come across such well-wrought "fresh" accords, and expected Aqua Quorum's top to possess its progenitor's gummier, less-pleasant grapefruit note, along with dihydromyrcenol-fueled ozonics via Guy Laroche's Horizon, but I was pleasantly surprised. My cynicism was totally unwarranted here. As it dries down, the saltiness comes forward, the lavender and grapefruit dissipate, and the breezy evergreen notes waft across a light array of blond woods and musk. I smell the melon-like sweetness of Calone in here, but it balances the bitter greens, and never gets overbearing. Couched in the beachiness is a pleasantly aromatic cedar note, Puig's precursor to Quorum Silver, to come eleven years later.

This fresh fougère version of Quorum has been compared on basenotes and Fragrantica to Cool Water and Polo Sport. I smell almost no similarity to Cool Water, beyond perhaps a similar usage of lavender (Aqua Quorum's might be a bit more natural), but there's definitely a family resemblance to Polo Sport. There's no pineapple and it's not as loud, but Aqua Quorum is just as peppy and fresh, if not a little cleaner. The only downside is longevity - expect two hours of reasonable sillage and projection, and not much else after that. It becomes a salty skin scent, albeit a nice one. I can't believe how underrated and underappreciated Aqua Quorum is, but I'm thankful that Puig still makes it, and makes it well. It's truly one of the greats in the "fresh" and "sporty" genres, proof that not everything in those categories smells boring and crassly synthetic.





7 comments:

  1. I'll have to give this a shot as Shamu1 seems to like it as well. They we're selling big bottles for $19 around Christmas at my local mall but I always steer clear of anything aquatic. I do like the original Quorum and most things I've smelled from this house. Calone is often so overpowering to my nose and I like nothing about it.

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    1. It's a "proceed with caution" situation if you dislike Calone, but if you can find it cheap enough there's no great loss if you dislike it. I will say, I dislike aquatics also, but this fragrance is a stunner imo. I just love how the piney element of the original was shaved off and inserted into this beachy-clean composition. It's awful to admit, but I have little doubt that women love this type of thing and it would garner a slew of compliments with judicious use. The outdoorsy aspect makes it palatable for chaps, so I imagine its broad audience is what has kept it in production for nineteen years.

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  2. The longevity issue with this one is disappointing. If it weren't for that I'd be on the hunt for a big bottle of this stuff.

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    1. I think with any aquatic longevity is an issue, except with the more chemical ones. I'm actually getting anywhere from two to five hours out of AQ, so I may have to amend my post.

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  3. If that's the case then I may have to add this one to my growing collection - thanks a lot!

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    1. It's cheap enough to take the plunge without much risk.

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  4. Saw my friend with it and i love it. Need about 10 bottles that should serve me a while. I so love it

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