Aquamarine Vintage Eau de Toilette (Revlon)

The gemstone known as aquamarine is actually a variant of the mineral beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate-- 'beryl' for short. If a beryl is goldfinch-yellow, it's called heliodor; if tawny pink, it's morganite. Is yours bright green? Congratulations, proud owner of an emerald. Deep blue? Watch out-- that's no sapphire, but a maxixe, like the famous dance from Rio de Janiero. The pale blue version is aquamarine, and for good reason: as its name suggests, its heavenly vitreous color evokes a wave undulating against a white sand beach somewhere in paradise.

Unfortunately, to my nose, Revlon's Aquamarine does not smell like ocean surf OR heaven. It smells like a 1960's hospital ward-- lemon disinfectant and nicotine layered upon walls painted barium green, that chilly, chalky, impersonal hue meant to suggest strict standards of institutional cleanliness. The fact that all of these unsettling elements perch atop the same lickable civet base used in Revlon's smash hit Intimate does not make me like Aquamarine much more. No: the disconnect between clean and dirty is too jarring here, whereas the lascivious Intimate simply slides from dirty to dirtier. She's a glamorous brunette, alluring and unalterably nocturnal-- and Aquamarine is her less interesting blonde sister, if you like.

On the very first page of her Booker Prize-shortlisted novel The Clothes On Their Backs, Linda Grant calls Revlon Aquamarine "the scent of eau de nil and gold". I'm positive Grant didn't literally mean Nile water, which I'm given to understand smells like brackish garbage even on a good day. I agree that the color eau de nil -- a lovely tint of green, warmer than seafoam and paler than sage -- looks particularly beautiful next to tarnished gilt, and I appreciate the hint of synaesthesia Grant embedded into this literary snippet.

Too bad it's fiction, all fiction.

Scent Elements: Aquatic, ozonic, and floral notes of an unspecified identity, laid like a dainty white crochet-work coverlet over a bedrock of pure-D skank. Sound strange? You bet. Does it work? Not hardly. Nice try at shoehorning Intimate into a frumpy mother-of-the-bride outfit, though. To quote Elaine Stritch: "Does ANYONE... STILL WEAR... a HAT?" (I'll drink to that.)