Green Water 
Jacques Fath (1947)

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Green Water by Jacques Fath

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About Green Water by Jacques Fath

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Jacques Fath
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Green Water is a men's fragrance launched in 1947 by Jacques Fath

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Green Water by Jacques Fath

There are 32 reviews of Green Water by Jacques Fath.

Jacques Fath Green Water (1947) seems hugely controversial among the online fragrance cognoscenti that know about it, the people who spend much of their free time researching and ruminating about their favorite vintage or historical fragrances. The kind of people who love evaluating or re-evaluating the quality or relevance of fragrances made in by-gone eras but in the context of the greater "Panacea of Fragdom" or something. I imagine these folks sit with glasses lowered onto nose, brandy snifter or whiskey glass in hand, some kind of jazz floating in the background, with upper lip at maximum stiffness while hunched over a dozen web browser tabs of research writing their version of War & Peace on a blog about some chypre their grandpa used to wear (I'm close to doing that myself). Meanwhile, the rest of the online community is rolling in designers looking for compliments or scraping animal gland goo out of an attar bottle they bought for $1000 from an artisanal perfumer in Russia. Getting back to the cognoscenti, opinions seem divided about whether this is some fundamental inspiration for the entire citrus aromatic chypre genre men seemed to favor for much of the 20th century, or just nasty toothpaste mint and lemon swilled up with oakmoss. I mean, Vincent Roubert composed this alongside Iris Gris (1946) for Fath and was one half of the team (alongside Francois Coty) who made Knize Ten (1924), so it must be important right? Well, maybe. Fath as a house originally had a very truncated lifespan thanks to the untimely death of Jacques himself, so the name lived on as an accessories label run by his widow until L'Oreal (destroyer of perfumes) picked them up in 1967, re-launching Green Water with greater emphasis on the men due to the increasing interest men had in fragrance at the time. I think this is one of the few good things L'Oreal has likely done for any brand acquisition, as I'm sure Fath perfumes would have died in the mid 20th century without their corporate life support.

Since Green Water focuses on mint, citrus, and green notes, this seemed like a no-brainer as guys by 1967 had already come to love such fresh aromatic smells as part of their daily grooming rituals, even if Green Water was originally seen more with women in mind upon launch (see for yourself with the old adverts). The opening is what you might expect with a name like this, as a mixture of spearmint and wild peppermint greets you, buoyed by a heavy dose of natural neroli which is an expensive ingredient to be sure, dosed at 5% of the total oil compound by Roubert plus in subsequent reformulations. The neroli/mint combo make up much of the character in Green Water, so trying to compromise that with cost-cutting literally destroys the scent. From there, things feel more conventional for the period with lemon verbena and petitgrain, basil, then eventually a floral chypre heart of rose, jasmine, and a light geranium/sage aromatic touch. The soapiness of the neroli mixes well with the rose and jasmine here, and the mint combo is ever-present, so you better enjoy that note if you expect to enjoy this. the geranium also sticks around into the chypre base, which displays oakmoss, labdanum, and vetiver in a very obvious way, smoothed by a bit of tonka and a musk which will vary depending on the vintage you have. Older bottles tend to veer more towards the chypre aspect while the musk becomes more evident in later bottles, coming across like a white musk. I can only say that as the alleged first mint fragrance, Green Water definitely feels "niche" compared to the way mint is usually sweetened and thickened when found in more-conventional treatments of the note. On the whole, I can see how this was revived by L'Oreal just after the release of Dior Eau Sauvage (1966) in order to compete with it, following suit with a host of scented grooming products. Wear time is long but this one becomes quite transparent after about 3 hours, being discrete like many "gentlemanly" scents of the time, with low projection. Best use for me is spring through fall unless indoors all day, for office and casual use. Green Water wears pretty unisex to me, since most of its materials seem loved by all, and no it doesn't smell like toothpaste.

Green Water lived a long life as a high-end "clean and groomed" option for men in the know that were above wearing Aqua Velva Ice Blue (1935) but was clearly overshadowed by designer brands, that unlike Jacques Fath, were able to remain relevant as couture houses since they had designers that lived into their twilight years producing for their namesake labels. Panouge Group stepped into the picture in 1993 and relaunched Green Water yet again (frosted then clear bottles), this time banking on the legacy of the scent's by-then long history and dropping the male-focused marketing for more of a fresh unisex ad campaign, with prints showing forests and bubbling brooks. Eventually Green Water was joined by Pour L'Homme (1998) in the Fath stables and got some renewed buzz into the early 2000's as the niche boom began. Meanwhile, the scent profile gradually grew more synthetic over time as prices for natural raw materials became untenable, jasmine being replaced by jasmine hedione (bringing Green Water ironically closer to it's 60's competitor Eau Sauvage), the mint being dialed back some to make Green Water feel more gender-neutral, then finally the oakmoss chypre base being chipped away at after IFRA restrictions came hammering down. The last vestige of the original Green Water ended in 2015, when the scent was re-orchestrated from the ground up by Cécile Zarokian for a 2016 re-release under the "Fath's Essentials" range of niche-priced eau de parfums; that one is considered a different scent so I won't speak of it here. Original bottles of Green Water also went through the roof on price after this move, as expected. I love both mint and neroli plus chypres too, so this checks my boxes all the way but I admit it's a bit of a weird one for those expecting something more complex or opaque, especially from such an old fragrance. Odd but enjoyable (at least for me), testing is recommended, and the online perfumista high society still has a hung jury on whether this stuff is good or important. Thumbs up.

The new Green water is a big disappointment for those who remember the old formula in the dark green bottle. This (the 2016 rendition in the cylindrical bottle, not the one illustrated above) is a very light cologne, with a significant chunk of neroli, it is said. But it's an insipid cologne: thin, banal, insubstantial and does no justice to its heritage. The essential rich mintiness of the classic Green Water is gone, and in its place is nothing much at all.

One suspects that this is yet another casualty of IFRA with their aggressive mission to ban everything in sight. As Tania Sanchez says, if one in ten thousand people gets a skin reaction to a perfume, why do they have to permanently deprive the whole world of it? Why can't they use something else?

Not surprising that the various previous versions are now fetching premium prices on ebay.

This review il is of the original 1947 version:

The opening blast is gorgeous: a mix of lemon, bergamot and peppermint, with a touch of verbena - refreshing and bright. Not purely bright for long though, as the freshness is counterbalanced by a herbal component in the drydown; I get clary sage and basil mainly.

After several hours the citrus side is fading, and floral notes develop; I get lavender and a gentle and richly somber rose impression that remain present throughout the base.

From the top notes it is the peppermint that is most persistent; it becomes a bit patchier with time but retains a distinct present until the end, when a musky touch is present. At times I get whiffs of a soft notes of a mossy character towards the end.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin - excellent for such a citrus/bergamot-based composition.

This is a beautiful scent for early summer days and evenings, which is blended well from ingredient of very high quality. Less crisp freshness but more depth and development than Monsieur Balmain. Traditional in its approach, it is expressing supreme craftsmanship, and the performance is beyond expectations. 4/5.

Frosted bottle -- Spearmint gum & moss. Very nice old school warm weather scent. Comparatively, did not care much for the newer bottle, w/silver bottle label, less moss and more citrus.

I've got a deep vintage mini that is oddly different... no mint and more of a brut / fougere with a slight edge to it (up close). Odd. Then again, I can't vouch for authenticity so it might just be brut for all I know... and I don't have a problem with brut.

A period piece in classic Italianate style.

Straight forward; a refreshing and spare combination of citrus and herbs
with some underlying complexity.
Very masculine in tone.

The citrus quickly fades away leaving an unbalanced residue
of ginger, hydroxy and moss.

This is a review of the '93 formulation in the square column bottle,
where lime pops up like a signpost
on Green Water's rapid journey to nowhere.

Not worth the kind of prices being demanded on the web.

An excellent and refreshing citrus/herbal fragrance from the forties.

The bright citrus combination of bergamot, lemon, orange, and petitgrain is classic, here supported with an herbal array of clary sage, basil, lavender and peppermint. Dazzling in and of itself, but given some weight and warmth with the tonka bean and musk.

Simple, elegant, très sophisticated.

The closest thing to it in my experience is Borsari's Acqua Classica, which came much later in time.

Deserving of its niche in the history of men's fragrances.

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