Aquatic scents get a bad rap for many reasons, but perhaps the most common is that they smell artificial. The main reason for this is obvious: water doesn’t have a smell.
This leaves perfumers to create water scents by grasping at smells we associate with water. While some gorgeous aquatic scents pull from sun-kissed citrus notes and salty woods, many pull from our day to day experience with water. That would be cleaning ourselves, our dishes, and our living spaces. Hence, the classic ‘amplified generic shampoo’ effect of so many colognes.
After smelling enough of these fragrances, I had begun to associate ‘artificial’ with ‘bad.’ It is a massive testament to Histoires de Parfums that their “This Is Not a Blue Bottle” series destroyed this association almost immediately. Crafted entirely with artificial aroma chemicals, the entries in “This Is Not a Blue Bottle” celebrate the uncanny valley they inhabit.
1.2 is both the crown jewel of the series and a serious case-maker for a re-investigation of unnatural scents. Immaculately blended, this weightless white floral scent evokes a bright, sweet scent with a daytime neon brightness. The cohesion of the fragrance makes it difficult to associate with any given scent, but for me, there’s a clear vibe of sunscreen that transports me straight to the water. There’s no other scent I could praise for being an artificial aquatic fragrance, and for that, 1.2 will forever have my love.
As if its gorgeous top and mid notes weren’t enough to earn it a spot on the shelf, 1.2 performs exceedingly well. Its gradual dry down reveals an elegant base that’s a bit more identifiable than the opening, with white musk, vanilla, and sandalwood forming a very pleasant core.
1.2 is the sort of fragrance that gives the illusion of the wearer, not the wearer’s fragrance, smell beautiful. Perhaps that’s because we associate the smell of ‘clean people’ with artificial soaps that carry hints of natural smells without actually emulating them. What’s clear is that Histoires de Parfums is onto something with their “This Is Not a Blue Bottle” series and that something just might be the closest thing to water that you can actually smell.
You can buy This Is Not a Bottle 1.2 from Histoires de Parfums’ website in three different sizes. The cheapest is a 15 ml bottle starting at $35 or if you have your heart set on this as a signature scent you can get a 120 mL bottle for $185. If you prefer to sample first (which is highly suggested by my fellow “fragdomental” writer, Kori), you can pick one up for $4.
This Is Not a Blue Bottle 1.2 Notes
Head: Ivy leaves, pink pepper
Heart: Lilac, lily of the valley, ylang-ylang
Base: Sandalwood, vanilla, white musk
The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.