Smelling Aqua Sextius I couldn't help being reminded of 4160 Tuesdays' What I did on my Holidays, which came out the year before in 2013. Both of these mint compositions have seaside themes with sweet, woody and aquatic notes but they approach the subject from completely opposite directions.
AS paints a rather low key portrait of mint couched among the driftwood and dune grass, while WID is a much louder and vivacious radish and stick-of-rock* mint in blaring primary colours. WID has much more wind in its sails and it gives the sense of an outdoor type - whereas the rather introverted AS has no free space and feels more like an enclosed interior.
* A stick of rock is a foot long baton of mint flavoured candy, usually white with a pink coating and having the name of the resort where it is sold running through it in pink lettering; a tooth rotting marvel of confectionary engineering.
WID is thus more legible than AS - in the way that a neon sign is more legible than a crabbed handwritten note on a buff coloured page.
Technically, the faults of these two compositions tend in the same direction as their characters, AS being overly compressed and WID feeling like it will fly apart at any moment. I think the technical differences between them give us a basis on which to make an objective judgement about which one of them functions better as a perfume. WID clearly gives the better performance; it has a clearer, more well defined structure and a more individual character; WID expresses itself distinctly, AS tends to mumble.
Having said that, any decision about which of these you might choose to wear will, in the end, be a matter of personal taste. As they both more or less explicitly belong to the subgenre of Beach Fragrances, the one you choose (or not) may well depend on your choice of holiday destination: AS if you like the windswept expanses of Finisterre for example, WID if you prefer the candy floss and bright lights of Blackpool.
I have been left indelibly scarred by too many strident yet ultimately banal aquatics that I must admit to a prejudice against this bossy family that screams at the top of its voice at the wearer (and usually poor suffering bystanders as well) to BE COOL. I dislike the overriding synthetic feel of such perfumes and the bad name they give to abstraction.
The opening of Aqua Sextius triggered this prejudice as it unleashed a wave of thin citrus carried on top of briny aquatic notes, but fortunately it receded quite a bit to reveal a much more interesting composition. As we move into the heart phase the saltiness of this fragrance combined with touches of fig bring faint echoes of Womanity but this not quite as sweet for one and has many dissimilar notes to the Mugler release for another. The citrus pickles nicely in the salt which sounds horrible except that the touch remains light throughout and the diffusive musks doing most of the work in this perfume bring their characteristic smoothness. Green fir-like notes of the earlier stages give way to a dry cedar note of the split-wood variety which brings a cool-warm feel to the base.
Having said all that, much of Aqua Sextius belongs squarely on the shelf marked designer man cologne and I cant picture myself parting with the bucks required for it.
Jul et Mad Aqua Sextius gives me a huge confirmation (despite not being it ulteriorly necessary) about the real talent and uncompromising craftsmanship abiding behind this niche french maison (deriving source in to a professional great work of research, experimentations and alchemy). Aqua Sextius (performed by the talented perfumer Cecile Zarokian and inspired by the famous town of Aix-en-Provence, the city of 100 fountains) is a vibrant and joyful green-aquatic with a surprising figgy/musky silky-fruity soul, a touch of balminess and a cedary-musky final trail. This new generation "fleshy" aquatic ransoms the previous infamous genre giving it definitely back its previously (and too much often yet currently) lost dignity. The beginning is Heaven, pure spacious and cloudy Paradise with a fizzy, fruity, green, ozonic and all at once almost creamy/fleshy combination of citrus (mostly luxurious bergamot, aromatic green-musky patterns and mandarine), green peels, probably seaweeds, grapefruit, vetiver and tea/mimosa, an aromatic opening playing the game of contrasts appearing contemporary salty-sweet, fluidy-fleshy and milky-tart.
Fig flesh and airy boise fir resins counteract marvellously zesty-sparkling citrus and grapefruit balancing the initial fizzy tartness with a softening white paint of silk. This delicate (fluidy and balmy/fleshy at once) central accord of fig, amber, soft musk and mimosa provides a perfectly measured silky olfactory core which is so irresistibly salty-sweet, visceral and fruity to appear almost edible. The fig is irresistible in its link with balmy mimosa and the accord is masterly combined with the previous effervescent citric/salty and green beginning. The dry down is still salty ozonic, musky ambery, vaguely cedary but still remotely fruity, figgy and balmy (the starring musk joins nicely fruity patterns, amber and mimosa in an extremely satisfactory smooth accord). Incredibly balanced, harmonic and velvety this exquisite fragrance is ideated to celebrate the joy of life in the sunny season of love.