When looking for a perfume, many people say they want something “sexy” or something “fresh.” Perfume houses are hip to that, and tend to market their wares with smoldering starlets or oceans and dew-tipped garden flowers. (That is, unless they can play both sides and put the starlet on the beach.)
The popular sexy fragrance is easy to define. Start with a friendly fruit note, add amber, vanilla, and maybe patchouli, toss in a shot of jasmine and the obligatory rare jungle orchid, and presto: sexy perfume. A clean fragrance can take a few different approaches. It can be citrusy (many colognes), ocean-like (Issey Miyake Eau d’Issey), fizzing with steamy aldehydes (Narciso Rodriguez Essence), or soapy (take your pick of the Clean line). It can finish with cool wood or vetiver, or — more likely these days, it seems — a wave of laundry musk.
Giorgio Armani has raked in good money selling fresh fragrances. Acqua di Giò, both the feminine and masculine versions, have been best sellers since the mid-1990s. Acqua di Gioia is the brand's latest try for the “fresh” vote, and it plays up both the ocean and laundry musk angles of clean.
Acqua di Gioia Eau de Parfum launched in June of 2010 and was developed by perfumers Loc Dong, Anne Flipo and Dominique Ropion. Its notes feature crushed mint leaves, limone primo fiore, aquatic green accord, pink pepper, jasmine sambac, peony, cedar, labdanum and brown sugar accord. The fragrance was supposedly inspired by Armani’s visits to islands such as Pantelleria and Antigua, and is “rooted in nature and in water.”
If an island inspired Acqua di Gioia, then it must have been a stretch of beach adjoining an outdoor bar. To me, Acqua di Gioia smells like tart lemon zest twisted over a sweet mojito with a sprig of jasmine in it. In the background is the “ocean” scent of melon, cucumbers and ozone that you smelled all over the 1990s. The brown sugar accord burns nearly all the way to the end of the fragrance, after the lemon and jasmine are long gone and after the only bit of ocean left is what you get when you wring out a bikini. Just before Acqua di Gioia disappears, clean musk makes a soapy appearance.
The fragrance has solid presence for something marketed as an “acqua,” and those who love it will be rewarded with six hours on skin and about a three-foot sillage.
I’m not a huge fan of aquatic fragrances, and after another wearing, when my sample is drained, I probably won’t try it again. When I want something fresh, I’m more likely to reach for the pineapple-vetiver L’Artisan Parfumeur Ananas Fizz, the patchouli-inflected Rochas Eau de Rochas, or even the plastic-lemon-amber of Revlon Jean Naté. That said, there’s something intriguing about Acqua di Gioia’s mix of tingly jasmine and brown sugar, and people who don’t mind a little calone in their perfume will want to give it a try.
When you want a fresh fragrance, what kind of perfume do you tend to reach for?
Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia is available in 30 ml ($39.50), 50 ml ($62) and 100 ml ($80) Eau de Toilette and is easily found online and at department stores.