Every art form has its underdog genres. Scroll through enough fragrances boards and you’ll soon find that, in perfume, that genre is the so-called ‘aquatic’ fragrance. We’ve discussed the bizarre name in the past – after all, if a perfume smells like water, what’s the point? And it’s true that there are a bunch of aquatic fragrances built on flat citrus notes and fresh accords that recall shampoo at their best and cleaning products at their worst.
However, there are plenty of perfumes that make something beautiful out of that limited idea. From marine fragrances to aquatic florals, fresh fragrances often make the most out of a few subtle accords to create the perfect perfume for a poolside reading session or a tropical throwdown. If you’re looking to smell absolutely incredible in the upcoming summer heat, look no further. Here are ten terrific fragrances to suit any watery wonderland.
Kingston Ferry – Olympic Orchids
It’s no surprise that driftwood shows up in more substantial marine fragrances. However, Kingston Ferry takes marine woods to the next level with a lush foundation of forest notes. This is a lumberjack’s seaside dream, recalling trees clinging to wave-battered cliffs and the herbs that grow among their roots. Fragrance fans searching for an aquatic fragrance that’s affordable, unique and high quality need look no further – take Kingston Ferry to the nearest island and revel in all it has to offer.
This Is Not A Blue Bottle 1.5 – Histoires de Parfums
You’d think that, after artificial-smelling aquatic fragrances gathered such a bad rap, houses would flee from chemical-smelling perfumes. And yet, Histoires de Parfums once again bucks the trend to great success with TINABB 1.5, which hones common aroma chemicals to perfection. This gorgeous concoction is akin to the lens flare in a seaside photograph – bright, beautiful and unabashedly otherworldly. If you’re looking to add a silvery glimmer to your beach fit, swipe 1.5 before the aliens take it away.
Beach Hut Woman – Amouage
Amouage’s gendered releases have long been a source of confusion for anyone who’s actually experienced their fragrances, and Beach Hut Woman is no exception. A bright driftwood floral, Beach Hut finds its grounding in patchouli and driftwood, but is lifted by a prominent ylang-ylang note. It brings to mind a pleasant walk on a deserted beach under warm sun. This is certainly a fragrance of solitude rather than social presentation, and anyone hoping for a meditative beach experience will likely find delight in its naturalistic simplicity.
Admiral – Chatillon Lux
Chatillon Lux is known for their dense, transportive scents, and Admiral is no exception. The perfume opens with a bombast of smoke and citrus, a bizarre combo that nonetheless summons impressions of a pirate ship’s hull. From there, it gracefully dries into a sweet lemongrass marine scent, one that recalls salt-soaked wood and cannon fire. It’s one of the best-performing aquatics on the market. If you’re looking for something distinctive and long lasting – and perhaps you have a tri-cornered hat in your closet – Admiral is sure to be a good fit.
Montale does its best work when it’s not trying too hard, and Aoud Lagoon is a picture-perfect success for the house. This perfume swirls around an elegant tiare note, using the tropical floral as a base of lightly-brushed citruses and woods. The result is a clean, yet lush, display of resort perfumery at it’s finest – bombastic yet safe, distant yet comforting. It’s the perfect vacation scent, and it’s certainly bewitching enough to bring the floral-hesitant into its circle.
Like Aoud Lagoon, we’ve talked about Nautica Voyage before, and similarly expounded its simple brilliance. It’s quite stunning what you get for this rock bottom price point – a lotus-apple creation that’s blatantly unisex, crafted by master perfumer Maurice Roucel. Rarely is a crowd pleaser so distinctive. Short on cash and high in standards? Grab Nautica Voyage and set sail.
Squid – Zoologist
Squid is a perfume that Kori and I go back and forth on constantly. Its gorgeous salt-ink-ambergris opening is undeniable, and it’s composition is fleshed-out so boldly as if to be an apology for all the shortcomings of the genre. It all hinges on whether or not you’ll find the drydown enchanting or over-sweet. As for all Zoologists, you’ve got to try this one before you buy. But certainly try it. Zoologist is one of those brands where every scent is an adventure worth the embarkment.
Costa Azzurra and Beach Hut Woman are perhaps the two most similar perfumes on this list. Whereas Beach Hut lives on the sun-beaten shores of the ocean, Costa Azzurra crouches back in the tree-shrouded resort. It’s a gorgeous balance of naturalistic and flamboyant, with vibrant citruses loaded cocktail-like over a plush bed of ambery driftwood and oak. If you’re the type who loves long walks by the beach, but also long nights in the pool, this is the perfume for you.
4711 – Muelhens
Yes, you caught me – it’s kind of hilarious how similar 4711 smells to Tom Ford’s other luxury aquatic, Neroli Portofino. 4711 can be bought by the gallon – not kidding – but it’s an utterly gorgeous concoction that can suit just about any moment of the day. The neroli-lead perfume may be fleeting, but it’s like a shock of sunshine to the system with its bright citruses and plush florals. Have twenty dollars? You can smell amazing all day for years. And why not?
Bleu de Chanel – Chanel
Last and not even close to least, we have the Bleu de Chanel line. This is one of those perfumes that utterly transcends its concentration gimmick. With EDT, EDP, and Parfum options to choose from, Bleu de Chanel manages to offer wearers equally gorgeous scents to choose from in every situation or temperature. Feeling beachy and sporty? Spray on the EDT. Looking for a perfect night-walk-on-the-sand fragrance? The parfum will be a wonderful accompaniment. You can’t go wrong with Bleu de Chanel, and sometimes it’s nice to know that failure is not an option.
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.
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