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Insensé Ultramarine by Givenchy

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Fruity aquatics don't do anything for me. I'm always trying to avoid them, but every time I step into a Marshalls or Walgreens, or a real brick and mortar perfume merchant, I inevitably find myself scanning shelf after shelf of blue boxes and bottles. Thank you Cool Water, for, as Off-Scenter put it on Basenotes, "spawning so many inane progeny." It makes my life easier; I can disregard an entire swath of any store's stock, and have an easier time narrowing in on chypres, florals, and classic fougeres.

Unless I'm curious to find something brashly maritime, full-throated in its abuse of fruits and flowers, and so obviously feminine that the words POUR HOMME are arguably an in-house joke. I've heard BVLGARI BLV invests in this kind of perverse behavior on male skin. Creed's EROLFA, while not exactly tossing fruit salad over a garden of sea greens, has the brash, hyper-salinated marine stuff going for it. And then I read about Insensé Ultramarine, an odd early '90s release by Givenchy, the flanker to the critically-received Insensé. A flanker that apparently spawned another nine or ten flankers in its wake. I stopped into Marshalls today and saw a bottle of the stuff sitting there, tried to think of the last time I saw a bottle of Insensé Ultramarine anywhere (and couldn't), and promptly grabbed it.

I have to say, given what I was expecting, this is interesting juice. The top is sparkly, saccharine, melony, salty, briny, and a little minty, which makes for an arresting amalgam of sweet and sour. The roiling salt note churns rapidly into the background, and after five minutes, the melons and mint give way to pollinated spring flowers. I get peachy rose, faint jasmine, and a watery, white-noisy floral - perhaps magnolia - that wells up from the blue to fill the air. These notes persist in a linear fashion, until gradually fading into the ever-present saline base. The base itself has fruity pipe tobacco in its undertow. The whole thing is big, sacchariferous, grossly synthetic, and dense. Insensé Ultramarine is the buxom epitome of the classic French 1990s aquatic aromatic perfume for men. Hell, they even dyed the liquid blue.

Since the birth of this genre, its been done and redone to death. Everything from Chrome, to BLV, to Unbound, to Acqua di Gio, and all the millions of Cool Water flankers, Polo variations, and sport colognes in between. However, it should be noted that Insensé Ultramarine is a 1994 release, and came before all that stuff. It is so unapologetic in how bad it is, how very thick and sweet and sticky and wet it is, that it does the rare turn into being so bad, it's good. It's superbly blended, all heavy-handed ingredients smoothed out to create this shimmery halo of scent, heavy but ephemeral in outdoor conditions, and very feminine in character. That this is supposedly a men's fragrance kicks it into the must-have stratosphere for me. It's perverse enough on its own merits, but the gender bait and switch Givenchy pulls is too impressive to pass up. The florals behave as though they're in a high class French hooker's boudoir perfume. The only thing missing is the Baby Phat lipstick note - I'm glad it's not here, but Ultramarine's aspirational hairspray accord livens its performance, and bumps it up from circus, to Cirque du Soleil. As it stands, Insensé Ultramarine wades into the kind of hairspray abstraction better smelled in Gucci's Rush and Fendi's now defunct original perfume for women. Even if it doesn't get there, the nod is appreciable.

Many say this is for summer - I say sure, if you're at the beach with almost nothing else on your body. I'm inclined to see it as a solid French stinker that is impossible not to love in all weather, especially frigid cold winter days. Note that I said love, and not wear. I'm glad that I found an aquatic with this much panache. It's a blast from the past. It's a blast of fresh air. It's something nobody wears anymore. There's quality to Insensé Ultramarine, and more than a little touch of Grasse.

You can get this for $40 (down from $70) at Marshalls or TJMaxx. The packaging is nice, with a well-made, hefty glass bottle, and a nicely designed box. Expect 7 hours longevity, plenty of silage, and the atomizer works fine, although it sprays in broad strokes, so beware if you're looking to do fine spritzing instead. Recommended.





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Fruity aquatics don't do anything for me. I'm always trying to avoid them, but every time I step into a Marshalls or Walgreens, or a real brick and mortar perfume merchant, I inevitably find myself scanning shelf after shelf of blue boxes and bottles. Thank you Cool Water, for, as Off-Scenter put it on Basenotes, "spawning so many inane progeny." It makes my life easier; I can disregard an entire swath of any store's stock, and have an easier time narrowing in on chypres, florals, and classic fougeres.

Unless I'm curious to find something brashly maritime, full-throated in its abuse of fruits and flowers, and so obviously feminine that the words POUR HOMME are arguably an in-house joke. I've heard BVLGARI BLV invests in this kind of perverse behavior on male skin. Creed's EROLFA, while not exactly tossing fruit salad over a garden of sea greens, has the brash, hyper-salinated marine stuff going for it. And then I read about Insensé Ultramarine, an odd early '90s release by Givenchy, the flanker to the critically-received Insensé. A flanker that apparently spawned another nine or ten flankers in its wake. I stopped into Marshalls today and saw a bottle of the stuff sitting there, tried to think of the last time I saw a bottle of Insensé Ultramarine anywhere (and couldn't), and promptly grabbed it.

I have to say, given what I was expecting, this is interesting juice. The top is sparkly, saccharine, melony, salty, briny, and a little minty, which makes for an arresting amalgam of sweet and sour. The roiling salt note churns rapidly into the background, and after five minutes, the melons and mint give way to pollinated spring flowers. I get peachy rose, faint jasmine, and a watery, white-noisy floral - perhaps magnolia - that wells up from the blue to fill the air. These notes persist in a linear fashion, until gradually fading into the ever-present saline base. The base itself has fruity pipe tobacco in its undertow. The whole thing is big, sacchariferous, grossly synthetic, and dense. Insensé Ultramarine is the buxom epitome of the classic French 1990s aquatic aromatic perfume for men. Hell, they even dyed the liquid blue.

Since the birth of this genre, its been done and redone to death. Everything from Chrome, to BLV, to Unbound, to Acqua di Gio, and all the millions of Cool Water flankers, Polo variations, and sport colognes in between. However, it should be noted that Insensé Ultramarine is a 1994 release, and came before all that stuff. It is so unapologetic in how bad it is, how very thick and sweet and sticky and wet it is, that it does the rare turn into being so bad, it's good. It's superbly blended, all heavy-handed ingredients smoothed out to create this shimmery halo of scent, heavy but ephemeral in outdoor conditions, and very feminine in character. That this is supposedly a men's fragrance kicks it into the must-have stratosphere for me. It's perverse enough on its own merits, but the gender bait and switch Givenchy pulls is too impressive to pass up. The florals behave as though they're in a high class French hooker's boudoir perfume. The only thing missing is the Baby Phat lipstick note - I'm glad it's not here, but Ultramarine's aspirational hairspray accord livens its performance, and bumps it up from circus, to Cirque du Soleil. As it stands, Insensé Ultramarine wades into the kind of hairspray abstraction better smelled in Gucci's Rush and Fendi's now defunct original perfume for women. Even if it doesn't get there, the nod is appreciable.

Many say this is for summer - I say sure, if you're at the beach with almost nothing else on your body. I'm inclined to see it as a solid French stinker that is impossible not to love in all weather, especially frigid cold winter days. Note that I said love, and not wear. I'm glad that I found an aquatic with this much panache. It's a blast from the past. It's a blast of fresh air. It's something nobody wears anymore. There's quality to Insensé Ultramarine, and more than a little touch of Grasse.

You can get this for $40 (down from $70) at Marshalls or TJMaxx. The packaging is nice, with a well-made, hefty glass bottle, and a nicely designed box. Expect 7 hours longevity, plenty of silage, and the atomizer works fine, although it sprays in broad strokes, so beware if you're looking to do fine spritzing instead. Recommended.





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Price
2.00 star(s)
Scent
4.00 star(s)
Quality
4.00 star(s)
Packaging
4.00 star(s)
Complexity
4.00 star(s)
Staying Power
5.00 star(s)
Quality of Atomizer
4.00 star(s)

Item information

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Featherweight
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