Davidoff Cool Water, 1988

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cool water

Perfumer Pierre Bourdon

Somehow between 1988 and about 2004, a period of little perfume use for me, I managed not to notice Cool Water.  I have since smelled the generations of clones and wanna-be’s since, and was just waiting to hate Cool Water.  But you know what?  This stuff is copied for a reason.  It’s really spectacular.

I’m in the enviable position Luca Turin refers to in The Guide.  I don’t have to associate this with half the male population of the 80s-90s. Smelling CW in this context is a great lesson in perfume history. If a new aroma technology is introduced with intelligence and artistry, it changes the status quo. Compositionally Cool Water is a contemporary variation on the fougère, but qualitatively I think it’s something distinct. This, followed by a slew of copy-cats, means a whole new genre. And I guess like the original Chypre and Fougere Royale, the first can remain the best.

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[…] I suspect that some of this endurance can be attributed to the classic hetero binary of gender.  Men and women marry.  Baby boys wear blue, baby girls wear pink.  Homemaker, breadwinner.  Gatherer, Hunter.  You know, all the little stories we like to tell ourselves.  The fougère has been the masculine counterpart to many feminine fragrances. Most often, the chypre, but at times it was the counterpart to the Oriental, the leather, the tobacco. Even as recently as the past couple of decades, Angel is the feminine counterpart to the masculine Cool Water. […]

2 months 23 days ago

[…] is a a typical fresh/sport millennial  masculine, the latter is a fruity/metallic aquatic of the Cool Water/Salvador Dali Laguna school.  It can be argued that they are derivative and that comparable […]


[…] to do one of two things:  1) Brighten the composition and make it less brooding. (see YSL Jazz, Davidoff Cool Water and Penhaligon’s Sartorial)  2) Add complexity between the two defining pillars of the […]


[…] have that reference, how would it strike you at first sniff?  If you knew fougères from, say, Cool Water forward, what would you make of this?  I […]