Italia does Sauvage
Perhaps it was a coincidence that both Acqua Essenziale Colonia and Dior’s Sauvage edt were released in the same year, because I can’t help but think that if Dior was an Italian brand, this is what Sauvage would smell like (notice the similarity in notes??)
To me, the opening is extremely reminiscent of an herbal green soap - definitely along the lines of AdP’s Colonia but nowhere near the authenticity. There’s no blast of alcohol (a surprise to be sure from a relatively cheap fragrance), but a sharp bergamot comes out in full force with clary sage and perhaps a tinge of orange blossom to give it an almost petitgrain quality. I absolutely love the opening and wish it would stick around for longer, but within 2 minutes, the fragrance begins to make some weighty turns.
As the greenness quickly overtakes the citrus, it brings in a slight minty affair (along the lines of a lavender leaf) and combines with the emerging aquatic notes to produce an interesting aroma that to me, is reminiscent of bad breath. You read correctly. There’s something in the blend on skin (definitely a product of lavender and something else) that gives it a weird funk during the transition at about the 5 minute mark. Fortunately, it only lasts for about 8-10 minutes before the sweet tonka breaks through and produces that ever-so-contemporary contrast between citrus and heady sweet notes.
Fifteen minutes in, the contrast peaks with a sharp, orangey bergamot and clary sage on one end, and a sweet tonka and amboxan (aka sugar water) on the other. And now for the coolest part - amidst the eye of the hurricane, a smooth lavender note lovingly bisects the two ends and squeezes them all together into a single blend. The end result is a sweet, quasi-barbershop combination of lavender and tonka, lying on a bed of powdery greenery and ambroxan. Whew. What a ride.
Of course, there are a few tiny hints of that bad-breath odour that peek through at about the 30-40 minute mark but they dissipate rather quickly (never to return) to be replaced by that soapy vibe once again. Total longevity is about 4-5 hours on me, but that's to be expected from a freshie.
Overall though, the general vibe I get is of a traditional Italian green-lavender soap made “modern” by immersing it in ambroxany sugar water. I know, I know. It is even worth mentioning anymore? I suppose the traditional nature of the fragrance could remind some people of grandma’s bathroom, toilet cleaner, or the disinfected tiles of a european barbershop, but to me, it’s far more understated and perhaps even a little too much so.
Personally, as far as Italian-leaning inexpensive fragrances go, I slighlty prefer Ferrari’s Bright Neroli, and for just a little more – Intenso by D&G. At the very least, both will give you better projection and despite preferring the smell of both Acqua Essenziale Blu and the original, neither will give you that soapy vibe that Colonia has in spades. A simple fragrance, sure, maybe even a little boring, but I’m keeping my bottle just so I can continue experiencing that awesome introduction – an opening…..I can’t refuse.