French niche line Jul et Mad recently released its fourth fragrance, a "green chypre/citrus amber" scent called Aqua Sextius. It was developed for Jul et Mad by perfumer Cécile Zarokian, and it includes top notes of bergamot, lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit and green notes; heart notes of eucalyptus, mint, marine notes, mimosa, white flowers and fig; and base notes of labdanum, ambergris, cedarwood, guaiac wood, oakmoss and musk.
"Aquae Sextiae" was the ancient name of the French city Aix-en-Provence, founded by the Roman consul Sextius and famed for its thermal springs. Jul et Mad's Aqua Sextius is designed to evoke a summer evening in this "City of a Thousand Fountains," complete with cool breezes, sun-warmed stone and garden greenery as well as distant forests and the Provençal countryside. The official description reads in part, "Only the crisp sound of ice cubes in the glasses and the burst of joyous laughter mark the soft melody of the running water that slowly fills the sculpted basin, coupled with the murmuring of the [plane tree leaves] all around us…"
That mention of the "ice cubes in the glasses" is key for me, because Aqua Sextius' opening phase reminds me of some ideal summer cocktail concocted from lime, mint, gin and very cold tonic water; if I smell it with my eyes closed, I can believe that freshly sliced limes and other mouth-watering citrus fruits are right there in front of me. However, as far as fruit goes, I'm really not a fig fan, so I was relieved to find that this fig note is light and delicate. The white florals are very subtle. Aqua Sextius is primarily a hesperidic and herbaceous fragrance, with a touch of wateriness. Its wood-y base is a bit more shadowy, with a hint of saltiness (perhaps from the ambergris).
Lastly, this fragrance lasts much longer than I would have expected. Although the citrus notes gradually darken and dim, becoming less cologne-like, they don't completely vanish; and the sheer oakmoss and warm cedar and guaiac have excellent endurance. Aqua Sextius tilts a bit more masculine than feminine, but overall, it's like a crisp white shirt that can be pulled off by either gender.
Aqua Sextius isn't an uncanny match for my personal taste the way Stilettos on Lex was, but I'm finding it perfectly refreshing and suitable for hot July days. Once again, Jul et Mad has created a fragrance that updates a classic genre without sacrificing adult sophistication. Try it, if you're in the mood for something green and cool. Cheers!
Jul et Mad Aqua Sextius is available in 50 ml plus 7 ml travel atomizer ($280), 20 ml (€95), and 5 ml (€12) Extrait de Parfum through the Jul et Mad website.