Deep Aqua is Bath & Body Works' latest addition to its Signature Collection. It's an aquatic floral scent, described as "the pure and refreshing fragrance of ocean drenched flowers inspired by a beautiful world underwater." Its composition includes top notes of crisp melon, daffodil, violet leaves, and water blossoms; mid notes of spring daisy, cyclamen, dewy gardenia, and white hydrangeas; and base notes of musk captives and white woods.
Looking at that list of floral notes, you may not imagine anything oceanic at all, and you may wonder which seashore we're talking about. Violets at the beach? That being said, the fragrance itself is appropriately watery and breezy, with light hints of white flower petals. It also seems to "bloom" differently in each of the products I've sampled. The Skin Smoothing Shower Gelée, a limited-edition formula for summer, is a gently exfoliating, sudsy gel. (And doesn't the word "gelée" deserve to be brought back into wider circulation?). It smells as fresh and blue as it looks, but it also releases a more complex, musky note or two when it foams and mixes with the water and steam of a warm shower.
The Body Lotion was my least favorite of the three variations I tried; its fragrance develops a sharp ozonic note that bothers my nose slightly. That note flattens after a while, leaving fainter airy-watery traces behind, but the whole thing feels a bit cheap. (I also wish the Body Lotion formula didn't include so much petrolatum, but that's another issue.) On the other hand, I enjoyed the Cooling Body Soufflé, a pale green gel-cream that's fun to apply and actually does feel cool and tingly on the skin afterwards. In the Soufflé, the sea-breeze effect is softened with a floral note that reminds me of lilies. It's a very spring-like fragrance overall, and it lingers for a few hours. Fortunately, the melon note never materialized for me in any of these three products.
I don't own many aquatic-floral fragrances these days, having discovered my true scent-self in roses and carnations, so my reaction to Deep Aqua was primarily nostalgic: it reminded me of the mid-1990s. Looking back, I'm intrigued by the contrast between 90s fashion — the surly love child of grunge and heroin chic, plaid flannel and brownish lipstick, Kate Moss and Johnny Depp — versus the popular perfumes of the decade, which tended towards the clean and transparent. Calvin Klein's slouching, androgynous models were promoting the citrusy CK One; I, personally, was wearing Kenzo Parfum d'Ete and L'Eau d'Issey with my Doc Martens. Bath & Body Works probably isn't making a conscious gesture towards the emerging 1990s revival (a trend confirmed by a stylish younger friend of mine), but Deep Aqua does hark back to the iconic "fresh" scents of that decade. Nowadays, I'd pair these products with Creative Universe's Mare, the most oceanic fragrance in my current collection.
Lastly, there's the frequent situation of the not-quite-right name; just as Midnight Pomegranate and Black Amethyst weren't as dark and foreboding as their names suggested, Deep Aqua just isn't that, well, deep. It's more of a leisurely ride in a glass-bottomed boat than a scuba-diving adventure. It's scenic and refreshing, just not very mysterious. For hot weather, in my opinion, that's just fine. If you really despise ozone or water notes or dewy white florals, this line won't convert you, but if you're looking for something to cleanse and cool your summer skin, Deep Aqua is a worthwhile seasonal addition to your bathroom.
Bath & Body Works Deep Aqua Skin Smoothing Shower Gelée sells for $13 (8 oz); the Body Lotion is $10.50 (8 oz), and the Cooling Body Soufflé is $14 (6 oz). Deep Aqua is also available as a Shower Gel, Fragrance Mist, and Invigorating Cooling Mist.