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Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia Eau de Parfum — Is It Water Of Life Or A Water Board Moment?

 

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This fall, Giorgio Armani was poised to regale ladies with a new aquatic fragrance billed as the female counterpart of the best-selling Acqua di Gio men’s scent introduced in 1996. This groundbreaking scent was one of the pioneers of the “clean”  fragrance category, with  dewy jasmine petals, refreshing rock rose, green rosemary and fruity persimmon blended with earthy Indonesian patchouli and citrus-y notes of green tangerine and bergamot. Calvin Klein’s Escape eau de parfum and Davidoff’s Cool Water eau de toilette also ushered in the fascination with watery floral scents that distinguished the early ’90s. But unlike Escape and Cool Water, which come in both female and male iterations, there was no female answer to Acqua di Gio for 14 years. Finally, aromatic gender equality was achieved in September with the launch of the Armani Acqua di Gioia eau de parfum.

Since then, everyone has been singing Acqua di Gioa’s praises, practically building a chariot for the new perfume and crowning it one of the year’s best. So, with all the hubbub, I had to find out whether Gioia lived up to the hype. And sadly, she fell short of my admittedly high expectations. Every single time I wore the fragrance, I wound up with a painful sinus headache, the kind that makes you want to turn off all the lights and just lay under the covers until it subsides. Strike one.

But the real problem lies in the constitution of the scent itself. Though Acqua di Gioia also includes a citrus note (in this case, lemon) and the lushness of jasmine and peony blooms, the mint used to create an invigorating freshness, the brown sugar used to give it warmth and sweetness, and the pink pepper to give it a kick don’t quite harmonize together. The woody cedar wood and labdanum notes, meanwhile, aren’t quite heady enough to ground the scent and imbue it with the necessary sensuality and carnality. In truth, the scent smelled a bit too much like alcohol, like a few petals drowning in an overly strong mojito.

Not only does the scent pale in comparison to its male counterpart, but it hardly pushes the boundaries of aromatic innovation, making it a much less noteworthy launch than, say, L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Traversée du Bosphore scent or Thierry Mugler’s Womanity EDP Spray, both of which do deserve a place in the year’s top fragrance list.

Giorgio Armani Aqua di Gioia 1.7 pz. EDP Spray, $62, and 3.4 oz EDP Spray, $80. Available at Sephora.com

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