Skip to main content

Cool Water and Kouros – Double Header – June 14, 2013 New Fragrance Listing

Photo - Wikipedia - Fenway Park, Boston

Before we start, how about you get comfy, grab a beer, some peanuts, and settle into your seat. Not a baseball fan? Not familiar with doubleheaders?  No, not group sex….a doubleheader is a set of two games played between the same two teams on the same day in front of the same crowd. For die-hard baseball fans a doubleheader is nirvana, especially if the sun is shining, the beer is cheap and cold, and your team wins both games.

Today, we’ve got a perfume doubleheader in the Niche – two classic scents on the same day just for the MENS crowd, and they are both five-star winners, according to Luca Turin in Perfumes, the A-Z Guide. Here’s the line-up: Cool Water and Kouros.

Cool Water created by Pierre Bourdon for Davidoff

Luca says:

“This beautiful 1988 composition made Pierre Bourdon famous and was imitated more times…than any other fragrance in history save Chypre….CW belongs to the category of things done right the first time, like the Windsurfer and the Boeing 707. Countless imitations, extensions, variations, and complications failed to improve on it or add a jot of interest to this cheerful, abstract, cheap, and lethally effective formula…now let women wear it for a decade or two.” Page 187.

Davidoff website says:

“Power of Cool – often imitated never equaled …the essence of a man in nature…for men who forge their masculinity on the waves of action…This iconic composition bursts to the surface in swells of peppermint and lavender providing intense freshness to then move out with force and intensity in heart notes of spicy coriander, jasmine, oak moss, geranium and sandalwood, finally gliding and swirling into a long, warm, sensual flow of amber and musk.”

Kay says:

It IS iconic. Cool Water was the first of the modern masculine “fresh” scents, really inventing this category, and Luca Turin is right – it’s still the best of the bunch.

What does it smell like? A single spritz on the back of my hand is very 4711-ish in the first moments, a traditional cologne with citrus and lavender, then hints of mint. No doubt about it, this feels fresh, and full of energy! The heart notes begin to roll in bringing the aromatics – green coriander, geranium with its slightly pungent pissy note, white jasmine to sweeten, oakmoss and sandalwood to enrich and warm up the accord.

The fresh feeling maintains, but is transforming into a sensation of perfectly groomed elegance. Over the next half hour or so, the musk and amber basenotes add muscle and heft to Cool Water, but the scent never crosses the line into aggression territory – it smells warm and faintly sexy, with woody notes floating on fresh lavender.

This fragrance brings to mind a crisp expensive perfect white shirt on a good-looking guy – understated, refined, quietly confident and powerful. Fortunately, Davidoff doesn’t seem to have changed the formula over the years, so it still smells exactly as it should – fresh and good. I think every guy should have Cool Water in his fragrance wardrobe, for white-shirt kind of days.


Kouroscreated by Pierre Bourdon for Yves St. Laurent

Luca says:

“Twenty-seven years after its release, the structure of Kouros is still so novel, so immediately recognizable, and so impossible to imitate …It has that faintly repellant clean-dirty feel of other people’s bathrooms, and manages to smell at once scrubbed and promissory of an unmade bed. The fact that all these images are conjured up by a fragrance itself so consummately abstract is  testimony to the brilliance of its creator, Pierre Bourdon. Such things happen not by accident but only as the work of genius.” Page 345

Yves St. Laurent website says:

"A timeless scent of triumphant masculinity, inspired by iconic Greek sculpture of ideal young manhood. First notes of chypre, coriander and clove exhibit an impetuous spirit yet reserved nature. Manly grace and maturity arrive with refined oakmoss and ambergris… for a warm, inviting presence and classic character."

Kay says:

Warning: Kouros is a powerhouse, therefore a single modest spritz is all that’s required. More than one spritz could be considered grounds for assault. But oh, that single spritz is pure genius…in fact, Kouros won a FIFI award in 1982 for Best Men’s fragrance.

Kouros is one of those love-it-or-hate-it scents because of its whomping dose of animalic civet and aromatic herbs, such as artemisia and clary sage, which results in a pissy urinous accord up top that some find downright repulsive. My gardener’s nose has no problem with this urine note since it’s soon subdued by intense floral and spice notes, carnation and jasmine sprinkled with clove, cinnamon, cumin, patchouli, making the heart of Kouros a pungent pot-pourri, a feast for the nose. But I can detect the infamous sex-cat note, the civet, peeking through the vetiver grass and geranium, purring in the background.

As Kouros dries down into the base, this intense accord becomes more flowery and powdery, then creamy and slightly vanilla-honeyed, then warm, musky, leathery and incensey. This is no pretty-boy scent, this is definitely a man-scent, a fabulous hefty man-scent, with a little grey in the temples and hair on the chest. I fantasize that Kouros would be an ideal mate for strong sexy femme-scents like Habanita or Bal à Versailles, and it’s older brother could well be the classic mens’ leather, Knize Ten.

Kouros is an old-school men’s fragrance, with a big animated voice that may seem too loud for our peck-to-the-cheek-3X sensibilities of the 2010’s. And for that, I love it. It's just so NOT the freshly-showered and shaved, politically-correct, androgynous fashion-trendy fragrance. Worn with discretion, Kouros delivers a warm sensuous embrace rather than a tentative uncommitted cuddle. Is it still as good as the 1981 original version? I can’t say – the formula may have been given a haircut, but my bottle of Kouros smells like genius to me.

Cool Water and Kouros to our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 each for 1 ml.