The sea covers 71 per cent of the earth's surface.  Did you know that? Seawater: It's everywhere, isn't it? 

Kind of like Armani's Acqua di Giò, really.

But let's not be harsh on Acqua di Giò.  Ubiquity doesn't equal bad. McDonald's and Starbucks are everywhere, but we're big fans of those places.

 

Sure, Acqua di Giò is terribly common.  When you commute home from the office, the lemony odour you're smelling on the guy next to you on the train is probably the stale end of his morning splash of Acqua di Giò.

 You're wearing my waters

You're wearing my waters

 

It doesn't help that the literal translation of the name is something like 'Georgie's water' - which makes it sound like Signore Armani has taken a leak on you.

But we have to confess: we like it a lot.  The popularity of Acqua di Giò for men is well-justified. 

Armani themselves make it sound very complex and tell us that: 'This aquatic, aromatic fragrance opens with a splash of fresh, calabrian bergamot, neroli and green tangerine. Light, aquatic nuances mix with jasmine petal, crisp rock rose, rosemary, fruity persimmon and warm Indonesian patchouli to create a masculine scent that is both fresh and sensual'. 

On first spraying, we definitely smell strong lemon with tart Granny Smith apple playing second string. This recalls the sour, unripe tangerines that Armani refer to.

After a minute or two, the aquatic references start to make sense - in fact, they dominate.  It reeks of the seaside: we don't mean the sewage-encrusted shores of a drizzle-soaked British beach like Penzance, say, but there are distinct, bracing hints of sun-kissed Mediterranean sea-surf ozone and a whiff of brine.  Taking a really deep breath of Acqua di Giò gives you that chemical sensation of accidentally inhaling a dribble of seawater.  Not that it is unpleasant.  In fact, it feels very clean.

The seawater scent is not the only one in there, of course.  There is arguably a bit of jasmine, but we don't get anything as distinct as rosemary or bergamot.  That said, it does turn mildly herby after some time, a plant smell something akin to walking into a greenhouse.

 

However much of a cliché Acqua di Giò might be, it really does smell fresh and certainly not unsophisticated.  Apparently, most people detect the 'aquatic' scents above all else: we wonder if that is a result of the suggestive promotional videos.  Sort of a splashback effect, so to speak.

 

Acqua di Giò promotional video

So let's talk about that promotional video.  Well, appropriately for a cologne that seems to please everyone, the marketing vid attached here feels fairly mainstream in some ways.  

What we mean is, it's a straightforward, undisguisedly homoerotic men's cologne advertising video.

You've got the good-looking fellah, Lars Burmeister; he's got a great body; he's getting all wet, with all that that word implies; he's got a shiny face that looks greased or sweaty - not actually glistening with seawater, as such; as the camera focuses on his tensed abs, he's leaning back in a manner that - let's be blunt - might imply that he is being fellated right now - and maybe that's why he's sweating with excitement? (Just check out the Italian version with the stubby phallic flacon in the surf and Simon Nessman apparently sighing with pleasure if you don't believe us...)

And then again, we can't work out - no matter how many times we play it back - which body crevice is being caressed at 21-22 seconds; before that, there is the penetration of the water at 20 seconds; and finally, there is the climactic, massive foamy wave (read: colossal orgasm) at 31-32 seconds...

There's more of the same on the Armani website itself: water shattering rocks, Luca Dotto's chiselled (geddit?) naked body, then the sight of him diving into a hole of light. You don't need to be Sigmund Freud to de-code the meaning of naked, glistening, hard-bodied male musclemen diving into holes...

 The Big Mac of men's colognes...

The Big Mac of men's colognes...

Anyway, the message is the usual one: if you wear the cologne, we're told, you will look hot and athletic and muscular and live an awesome beach lifestyle.  So much for the propaganda.  Acqua di Giò is like a Big Mac: you won't get any marks for originality for choosing such a well-known and popular option, but you will be satisfied with the end-result.  And there are actually a lot more interesting flavours packed in there than you might think...  Main difference is a Big Mac might make you fat. And you wouldn't want to swallow Georgie's waters...

Overall rating: a gushing, aquatic 9 out of 10.

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