Acqua di Giò Essenza by Giorgio Armani (2012) was the first and notoriously failed attempt to make a stronger, more mature, and modernized take on Acqua di Giò pour Homme (1996). It was really a couple of things that kept this fragrance from shining with the general public, although even before it was discontinued, it had amassed a cult following with the online fragrance community; since that discontinuation, this cult has doubled-down on its worship and foresight in backing up bottles, and the fragrance is now a unicorn that attracts collectors who buy blind based on the legend of it alone. That last little bit is a shame, because while I think this fragrance is good, I don't think it is anywhere near good enough to command the kind of veneration it gets; but the same can often be said about any discontinued fragrance that has the unfortunate burden of being labelled a "masterpiece" by the talking heads of the online community. Alberto Morillas came back to produce this first new serious non-seasonal flanker in the Acqua di Giò pour Homme range, coming alone rather than with Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud, who was half the brain-trust behind the smell of the original 1996 eau de toilette. Acqua di Giò Essenza is presented as an eau de parfum, and smells every bit of it, with a lot of similarities between it and the original Acqua di Giò pour Homme, but also some clear differences, one such difference can be perceived as extremely unpleasant depending on what kind of sniffer you got attached to your face. I'll expand more on that tidbit below, but first we need to know what we're dealing with here; and no, this is nowhere near close the godhead people in the online community are making it out to be now that the average bloke can't have it.
The basic theme of Acqua di Giò Essenza is to be a stronger and slightly greener take on Acqua di Giò pour Homme, as it was logically deemed that more mature guys like greener smells; just look at all the aromatic chypres and fougères from the 1970's and 1980's that boomers and gen-x guys still wear. This bit of green edge was achieved with Styrallyl acetate and cascalone, a new version of calone-1951 that is more watery and transparent, replacing the latter found prominently in the original Acqua di Giò pour Homme. The opening is much less melon-focused for this reason, with bergamot and a twist of grapefruit over this green watery introduction. The heart has paradisone in place of hedione high-cis, which is basically an even further concentration of hedione that removes many of the fluffy floral jasmine-like bits from hedione to be purely dry transparent freshness. This only adds to the sharpness provided by the basil and clary sage which comes from sclarene, a note that in the next decade would become the big "it" aromachem to replace ambroxan (itself from clary sage too). No persimmon notes to be found this time, but the base brings in a patchouli note that would be familiar to those who have smelled the later Acqua di Giò Profumo (2015), ostensibly this scent's replacement. Ambroxan and vetiver form the final approach for Acqua di Giò Essenza, with no oakmoss or anything like the vague white musks of the original either. This is a hard and sharp Acqua di Giò pour Homme experience, with a sulfuric twang that hits some people the wrong way. Wear time is eight hours, and no complaints on sillage, just that unsuspecting egg twang. I'd call this a spring-centric fragrance on account of that green edge it has, but really the performance and versatility suggest year-round signature scent use, just like Acqua di Giò Profumo.
The point of Acqua di Giò Essenza is to be the "essence" of what Acqua di Giò pour Homme is, and I guess it does that well enough. You get the clean ocean vibes and then the sharp mineralic edge of the base coming in. The green aromatic notes feel a bit tacked on if I am to be perfectly honest, like they wanted to make this more "age appropriate" by looking at what mature guys in the past liked. The problem with this approach is the men coming into their 30's or 40's from the previous decade were -never- those men who wore Polo by Ralph Lauren (1977), Quorum by Antonio Puig (1982), or even Armani's own Armani Eau pour Homme (1984), so they would not have an adequate appreciation of maturity as focused through the lens of a past they didn't experience. It's almost as if the marketing egg-heads thought that all guys age into the same taste regardless of generation. Instead, they made a fragrance that to some folks reminds them of blood and eggs in the base from the combined metallic and sulfuric vibes created unintentionally by the specific mixing of aromachemicals in this scent. As for me, I would not have even paid retail for this (and I haven't for any of the line), let alone what is being asked for it now; but I do understand the appeal behind those who it clicked with more than me, even if I don't agree with the worship. Simply put, I find this objectively inferior to the later Acqua di Giò Profumo that replaced it, both in performance and in execution, since Profumo is both a parfum at the same price and delivers something closer to what people wanted in a more potent, more grown-up Acqua di Giò pour Homme. The occasionally off-putting base elements aside, Acqua di Giò Essenza was actually at least a pretty good release while it lasted. Thumbs up
This is mostly a brighter, sharper, longer-lasting version of Acqua di Gio with some of the musky notes removed and replaced by woody notes. There is an increased focus on the salty/mineral elements, but at no point does it become something like Acqua di Sale or Sel Marin. In this style, I find Acqua di Gio Profumo to be a much better adaptation of Acqua di Gio.
Seems to me like an EDP thick AdG. I own the original, Profumo, and bought 10 ml of this. Something here, sometimes gives me a sort of egg smell, or rotting garbage can scent. It is not all the time, just every now and again. It is stomach turning when I smell it though. I don't know if the profile of this, the AdG dna without a woody or incense modifier really lends well to this strength. I prefer the original.
Summer in a bottle.
Glad I got this.... especially in the hot weather.
Know I know why ADG is one of the best selling Frags of all time, and this is the edp version.... and quite hard to find.
Lasts all through the work day.
So glad I got my hands on this.