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.