If there is one example of the musical arts that to me encapsulates the full majesty of the sea, in all its splendor and glory, it can be found in the opening bars of Ralf Vaughn Williams’ first symphony – his ‘Sea Symphony’ (you can hear those initial magnificent bars asking us to ‘Behold – the Sea’ at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT0BlZK7lgA). But what about the olfactory arts that we have come to love and admire – how do perfumers fare in their quest to evoke the sea, in all its variations and magnificence? Let’s take a walk down to the beach (or harbor) and see what fragrances are available to envelop us in the oceanic world and assess how they perform in terms of their ability to replicate our seaside perceptions.
Heeley Sel Marin
In the initial seconds of spraying, there is a definite lemon element, which quickly dissipates. Then one can start to smell the salt. This is definitely more a ‘harbor’ scent than a ‘beach’ scent. In addition to the pronounced saline element, one can also smell the brine and barnacles on the moored ships, with seaweed and various flotsam and jetsam bobbing about. No waves in this harbor. There is a tinge of iodine in the air with this one, and even a vetiver tainted breeze blowing about, and I also note a slight ‘umami’ element in the mix. Projection is minimal with this and don’t expect this visit to last more than a few hours. All in all a very well blended and transparent evocation of the local harbor.
We leave all harbors behind us with this one. This is definitely a very clean and elegant fragrance, which places us on board a luxury yacht. There is only a hint of salt in Erofla, as this boat has been scrubbed down to perfection by the crew with a very clean musk and is spick and span. I enjoy the very subtle blending of citrus in this fragrance, which is like a Tom Collins being served to me by a crew member. I definitely can smell the same classic high quality Creed ambergris that I detect in a great many Creed fragrances (they must have a boatload of this rare ingredient stored away somewhere on the docks). Unfortunately, the voyage is over too soon, and the dry-down is characterised by a very subtle mélange of ambergris, sandalwood and powder.
Creed Virgin Island Water
Our yacht has dropped us off like a beached whale (that must be the ambergris again!) on a remote island resort, to join a cocktail party. I lie down on the beach and am immediately enveloped by coconuts and lime. While this provides a quite pleasant ‘suntan’ lotion vibe, don’t expect this party to last long and after one half hour, I can’t smell these elements any more. Projection of your citrusy coconuts will be OK for that first half hour, and then fzzzzzzzzzzt, all is gone and only a subtle ambergris haze remains. This is actually a pleasant summer scent for an evening of frolicking but bring a travel atomizer with you to respray every hour or so.
Profumum Roma Acqua Viva
To my nose, one leaves the beach behind with this one, and enters a lemon grove. The ocean and its residual salt are not too far behind, but we forget about it entirely as we are enveloped by a lemon sea with cedarwood. Projection and longevity are incredible with this one, but this should be renamed ‘Lemon Viva’ instead of ‘Acqua Viva’. This is not what I bargained for when I bought my ticket. Please, take me back to the sea!
Comptoir Sud Pacifique Aqua Motu
After washing the lemons of my skin from my previous adventure, its back to the beach with this pleasant Eau de Toilette (apparently, it is also available in Eau de Parfum and Intense versions as well). This is a very nice, creamy mixture of sea breeze and fruit (Calone?), mixed with kelp, with a tinge of iodine in the air. There are some rubbery coconuts there too to liven things up. It all dries down to a subtle salt and sandalwood affair that is quite pleasant and clean. Longevity is poor, lasting only a few hours.
Profumum Roma Acqva di Sale
When I sprayed this onto my skin, I felt like I had just taken a 100 meter dive into the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Yes, this is it, my ‘BEHOLD…THE SEA’ scent! This is like being slapped silly by ocean waves, pounding away at your senses, causing your nostrils to curl. The salt in this is almost tactile….so salty that I could almost imagine myself spraying this on my fish and chips. Not only salt, after the initial blast has diminished, there is a definite balmy sea breeze, with a peppered iodine accent. This projection is considerably better than average for this type of scent and this will last longer than your summer vacation (ok, perhaps not that long, but at least 10 hours, if not more). This eventually dries down to a clean soapy sea breeze. Please get my travel agent to book me for a repeat passage with this one again!