Jacques Fath Green Water fragrance review

Jacques Fath Green Water cologne

Scorching weather has arrived — even in the usually temperate Northwest. Last week, the temperature in downtown Seattle hovered around 100 degrees Fahrenheit! During that heat spell I wore an old favorite fragrance: Jacques Fath’s Green Water.

French fashion designer Jacques Fath has been dead for over 50 years and few people recognize his name, but in his heyday in the 1940s and early 1950s, he was considered an innovative designer (and marketer) of women’s clothes. His designs were featured in films and his clientele included Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner. Fath died of leukemia at the peak of his fame at age 42 and his fashion house never really recovered from his loss — no matter who owned it or designed for it. Jacques Fath perfumes were kept in production.

Green Water, the famous Fath cologne for men, was released in 1947 and created by Vincent Roubert. I first wore Green Water when I was in college and that version of the fragrance (pre-1993) contained: petitgrain, lemon, orange, bergamot, mint, lavender, basil, rose, sage, musk and tonka bean. Since I only have my memory to guide me, I’ll say “old” Green Water was a tad darker, more vital, longer-lasting, and “rougher” than today’s formulation (issued in 1993) that contains: petitgrain, tangerine, cumin, basil, ginger, orange blossom, jasmine, muguet, musk, oak moss and ambergris. The old Green Water was like an Eau de Parfum compared to today’s more subdued and lighter Green Water Eau de Toilette.

Green Water (1993) begins with a burst of green notes (petitgrain, basil) that are slightly mentholated. After the “minty” opening (which reminds me of the scent of Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum) begins to subside, a lovely ‘unripe lemon’ aroma appears; as it develops, this citrus note smells more like lime than tangerine to my nose. There is only the slightest hint of (well-blended) flowers in Green Water’s mid-development; for those of you who hate muguet and cumin I can truthfully state I don’t smell them. The final phase of Green Water is soft citrus mixed with light musk (think sweet crystallized musk) and faintest ambergris. Green Water’s ingredients seem of the highest quality. I find Green Water refreshing, refined and absolutely perfect for summer wear.

Green Water stays close to the body and has good lasting power for a summery citrus scent; if you spray it on liberally it will last for four hours, or longer, and remain fresh smelling. The Jacques Fath company got new owners in 2006 and the fate of the perfume division is uncertain, so now may be a good time to sample (and buy) Green Water. The Green Water fragrance also comes in a variety of personal grooming products for men.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The heat is unbearable, so this sounds So Good.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Weather here is better than last week…but still too hot for me!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Green Water sounds lovely, especially at this time of year when all you need is a refreshing pick-me-up.

    To answer your question about Parure (better late than never, right? ha) – I haven't a clue if it is popular and/or widely available in Europe, although I imagine it must be. I got my decant from the wonderful March of Perfume Posse and am eking it out since Belgrade is a Guerlain Desert (yep, no one carries the world-famous brand around here). Don't get me started on how I procured my precious three bottles of the men's Gs…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dusan! I hope you didn't sell yourself to the highest bidder to get the men's Guerlains! “I'll give you 50 ml!' “Here! I'll give you ONE HUNDRED ml!” “A vintage bottle…unopened!” “A 200 ml tester!”


    How strange about Belgrade and Guerlain. So you probably won't find any Green Water either?


  5. Anonymous says:

    Hehe! Thankfully it was nothing like that though I did have to beg a couple of friends who were going abroad to PLEASE look for Habit Rouge and L'Instant. Héritage, amazingly, I found a stray bottle of at a perfume store in Belgrade. The box didn't come cellophane-wrapped and plus it had a tear at the top which was sloppily taped over (!). The jus was intact, however. The price – 60$! Mind you, it's worth every cent.

    Green Water in Belgrade? Yeah, right. Maybe if by that you mean the Danube (no, I'm afraid it isn't blue). :-)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Kevin, are you going to post a “Top 10 of Summer” list as well?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Kevin will be along to answer, I'm sure, but I have to admit (shamefaced) that I didn't even think to ask him.

  8. Anonymous says:

    E: at this point I'd feel pretty 'late to the party'…esp. since Robin posted her list today and other blogs have had their top 10s out for awhile! Maybe I'll do a Best of Fall list…since it's starting to feel cool in Seattle already! K

  9. Anonymous says:

    Kevin – I meant to respond last month and say that I hope you are able to write a “Best of Fall” list, and that I'm looking forward to reading it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I'll do it…and thanks! K

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