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Bombay Duck London

Acqua di Gioia

The Scent Critic is never quite sure at what point to review the multitude of new fragrances that I get to sniff and spritz and spray my way through months before they hit the counters.  (Feedback always gratefully received:  maybe you’d like to hear about them the minute they’ve been launched at me;  maybe it’s just too frustrating not to be able to get your pulse-points on something for months to come…)  But Acqua di Gioia will be wafting through perfumeries from 1st July, and since it is a veritable breath of summer in a (softly aqua-tinted) bottle), this feels like the right time to be exploring this latest green, aquatic/woodsy addition to Armani’s so-successful scent portfolio.  I certainly like it – to the point where I had  wee tiff-ette with Roja Dove of Haute Parfumerie, who dismissed it as having a ‘washing-up liquid’ overture.  I utterly disagree.  First off, there’s a vibrant twist of Mojito-esque Moroccan mint – very fresh, very uplifting. Then it swiftly softens and sweetens – I get so-pretty hints of Estée Lauder’s petally Pleasures, at this point, with the same chiffon-esque sheerness.  (They share pink pepper and peony notes, FYI, and I own up to being a long-term Pleasures fan.)  It’s a waterfall.  It’s water lilies.  It’s a summer downpour.  Armani say there’s an ‘aquatic green accord’ and there really is something very deliciously ‘wet’ about this creation – which, incidentally, is the work of no less than three ‘noses’.  (Should that be six nostrils?)  They are:  the celebrated Dominique Ropion (Burberry London for Her, Frederic Malle Carnal Flower) , Loc Dong (Island Michael Kors, Calvin Klein Euphoria for Women) and Anne Flipo (Chloe Fleur de Narcisse, L’Artisan Pafumeur Ananas Fizz) – and no, too many cooks haven’t spoiled this broth.  The woodsiness of the finale – enough labdanum to keep me happy, with more than a touch of a specially warmed-up cedar – could become quite unisex, even masculine, if it wasn’t softened by a very edible brown sugar accord.  It’s as easy to wear as a favourite souvenir sarong that you’ve washed a hundred times and is a now the super-soft mainstay of your whole beach wardrobe.  And my money’s on this being one of the Duty Free hits of summer 2010, snapped up by the hordes heading beach-wards.  And thus becoming the signature scent of many a summer vacation which can be joyfully recaptured, come gloomy November, with each Proustian, memory-triggering spritz.

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