Cool Water Coral Reef (Davidoff)

I'd say that I don't understand Davidoff's need to issue annual Cool Water "summer" flankers, but it's not really true, because I know exactly why they do it: Cool Water, like other classic eighties masculines, has a fan club. A very LARGE fan club. Fragrances like Cool Water, Eternity for Men, Joop! Homme, all have yearly reissues in some new style to cater to the hundreds of thousands of hardcore, sales statistically verifiable fans, those guys and girls who repurchase the namesake again and again. This stands in stark contrast to those perfumes that are discontinued after just one release, yet appear on Ebay at wildly inflated prices. Fan clubs, like any buying demographic, should inject the commercial shelf-life of a product with numerous spin-offs and continued success.

This is the second Cool Water flanker I've put my good money down on, and I don't regret it. The first was Cool Water Into The Ocean, which is a very pleasant, somewhat briny, Calone-infused aquatic variant of the original. I won't get into purchasing all the summer flankers, nor will I adopt the mindset of a "Cool Water completist" who must have every single bottle ever made, but I thought it would be interesting to delve a little further into this seemingly endless commercial phenomenon. Cool Water Coral Reef is an odd one, not because of how it smells, but because it continues to perpetuate the false notion that this fragrance is first and foremost an aquatic. It's really a green and somewhat woody fresh fougère, with a few clever aromatics in play, dihydromyrcenol and Calone among them.

Coral Reef is in no way representative of an aquatic, but is actually a near exact replica of Coty Aspen for Men, itself a bit of a Cool Water clone, although lately it's more often compared to Green Irish Tweed. I respect the collective opinion of those who smell GIT in Aspen, but I've never been one to see the connection, mainly because Aspen is far woodier than its Creed and Davidoff progenitors, boasting a sizable wintergreen mint note, a brusque pine sap effect, and a warm, cedary amber that is more reminiscent of lumberjacking in the woods than drinking martinis on a gorgeous woman's veranda. Coral Reef possesses the exact same mint-heavy top, charmingly fresh pine notes, and a slightly more textured woody amber drydown, with strong hits of lavender, jasmine, and violet. Other than those extra florals, it's Aspen through and through.

Why own Coral Reef when you can own Aspen for fifteen dollars less? There's no great reason, except that Davidoff's scent uses slightly higher quality synthetics that don't fuzz out after thirty minutes on skin, which helps it retain its complexity and minty nuances for an extra ninety minutes or so. Also, Coral Reef has some of the original Cool Water's lavender and neroli lurking under all the mint and pine. To smell it is to experience the cold mountain air freshness of a postmodern fougère, filtered through a Russian forest. Ironically, it's also a good choice for the autumn and winter seasons, thanks to its evergreen elements. Nothing original, not going to turn heads, but timeless, very masculine, and very nice.

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