A Wave of Aquatic Perfume
Updated: Jul 8, 2022
Throw your nose into a wave of fruity, citrus, and salty airy minerals when you smell the July perfume, Prussian Blue. This month's perfume is an indie-spin on the modern aquatic genre of fragrance. Prussian Blue unites a sophisticated citrus aquatic with a smokey vintage cologne. Find out what unique materials drive the salty freshness of this perfume.
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Pools of Inspiration:
The inspiration behind this perfume can be summed up in two words: Sea Brine. It seems expected for an a aquatic, and yet I have always found that most perfumes labeled "Aquatic" completely skip this note. Instead you will often find an ultra fresh light citrus with some musk, a white floral and some woody amber. Perhaps this interpretation of the ocean makes sense for those who keep their nose out of rotting piles of seaweed and warm tide pools full of strange creatures, but that is where the ocean is for me.
The ocean is not a tropical, sun screen citrus party for me, instead it is a deeper connection to what my nose remembers as home. For this reason, I could not settle for the typical citrus fresh thing and instead I had to have something deep green, dirty and briny. It's all about the tide pools really. As someone who spent their entire childhood in San Diego, the La Jolla Beach tide pools were synonymous with a playground. Countless hours were spent with my head down, peering into deep sandy pools lined with sea grass, coral and various sea creatures. I was always searching for my favorite: The Sea Cucumber. This creature looks like its name, basically a swimming pickle.
While formulating this fragrance I recalled the interesting, almost fishy aroma of this rocky landscape. I imagined the sea spray hitting my face and bringing a mossy, dry salinity with it and over all this, drifted the sweet hammy smoke from barbeques further down the beach. The aroma, while open, had and opaque quality to it. Like looking through The Great Wave off Kanagawa, a woodblock print by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai, made during the Edo period of Japanese history. This artist’s use of Prussian blue ink revolutionized Japanese prints, and is the name inspiration for this fragrance. I could smell the ocean air all day and still never quite grasp a perfect description to share with you. My best attempt is bottled for my subscribers.
Prussian Blue Notes:
Lemon, Pineapple, Lavender, Rosemary, Zest, Kelp, Smoke, Sea Brine, Vetiver, Olibanum, Patchouli, Clean Musk, Ambroxan
This fragrance opens with an herbal bouquet of lavender, rosemary, lemon verbena, sweet citrus and pineapple. Then it quickly transitions into smokey resinous notes of vetiver, guaiac wood and frankincense carried on a cloud of clean blue smelling dihydromyrcenol and salty cucumber. The base notes leave you with a faint citrus, sweet smoke and mossy brine. Old barber shop cologne inspiration can be seen in my use of lavender, rosemary and vetiver while a large dose of dihydromyrcenol, citrus, musk and aldehydes brings in the more familiar aquatic element.
When I first met this synthetic I thought it was very familiar, and I imagine that my subscribers will feel the same. As it turns out this material is often used in many common household items such as detergents, soaps and other cleaning products. A 2004 report by IFRA shows its use in industry >1000 metric tons per year, so odds are you smell it on the daily. Aside from the obvious laundry detergent quality, I find dihydromyrcenol has shades of lavender and lime. It is often used to support herbal and citrus notes, and I have found that it can provide some lift in a formula that uses a lot of heavy or resinous materials. Dihydromyrcenol is easy to perceive at low doses, but is still quite pleasant in it's pure form. When evaluating the (+) perfume, you will find that dihydromyrcenol sticks around for an hour or two in the top and middle notes before disappearing completely, revealing the sea brine base notes.
Compare the (+) and (-)...
This months fragrance is built around a heavy dose of dihydromyrcenol at 10% of the formula. In the (+) fragrance, the fresh smelling synthetic pushes lavender top notes while adding a clean fougere quality to the heavy base accord of vetiver, olibanum and patchouli.
You may notice a textural shift between the (+) perfume and the (-) perfume, as dihydromyrcenol tends to exalt the salty blue mineral qualities of ambroxan. Often, dihydromyrcenol is seen as blue, and is used in most fragrances described as "aquatic", "blue" or "clean". I am by no means the first to use a heavy dose of the material in an aquatic. For example, Fierce Abercrombie and Fitch uses dihydromyrcenol around 10%. I am also not the first to use it in a fougere, Drakkar Noir Guy Laroche and many others have me beat there too! However, I thought I was being creative by combining a classic aromatic fougere with a youthful aquatic.
So now that you have trained your nose to identify dihydromyrcenol and its effect(s) in perfumery, what do you think? Do you perceive it as blue? Do you prefer the (+) or (-) perfume?
Feel free to share any questions or comments you have! I would love to hear your thoughts! As always, thank you for subscribing. I work very hard to make this subscription as fun, engaging, and educational as possible, but I am always seeking suggestions for improvement.
If you like what this perfume has to offer, I do suggest sniffing the perfumes listed below: