12 Best Aquatic Colognes for Men

Updated November 2021

Premium

Tom Ford Oud Minerale ​

Editor's Pick

Calvin Klein Eternity Aqua

Best Value

English Laundry Royal Aqua

How We Found the Best Aquatic Colognes

5 Experts Interviewed

25 Fragrances Tested

Top 12 Picks

Liam Carson

Liam Carson

Aquatic colognes first hit the spot in the late ’80s/early ’90s, when front runners including Cool Water splashed (literally) onto the scene.  Consisting of fresh and marine-like aromas, these were initially targeted at the sporty, outdoorsy male, but quickly gained mass appeal.  Today, aquatics are one of the most popular additions to men’s colognes collections due to their versatility.

Today, we run down the 10 best aquatic colognes for 2020.

Summary List

Aquatic Fragrances Ranked by Cologne Critic

Editor's Pick

Best Overall Aquatic Cologne - Calvin Klein Eternity Aqua

Why we chose it

Eternity Aqua should never be overlooked – truly our top choice as a Spring/Summer aquatic fragrance.

We adore the top herbal notes of water lotus, cucumber, citrus and watery green leaves. Through the middle, you are hit with sichuan peppers, lavander, plum and cedar, while occupying the base is sandalwood and patchouli.

This popular scent lasts solidly for more than 4 hours and sits very close to the skin so you may have to spray this a couple of times during the day.

We think this fragrance is truly versatile and in short bursts, suitable for office or casual environments.

Given the pricing, definitely a must for the younger, novice, or amateur collector.

Main Accords

  • Citrus
  • Woody
  • Aquatic

Premium

Best Premium - Tom Ford Oud Minerale ​

Our Take

A timeless, niche fragrance, Oud Minerale from the house of Tom Ford is one of our top picks when it comes to best men’s aquatic colognes. Classed as another woody aquatic like the offering from Paco Rabanne, its notes are sea salt, oud, pink pepper and seaweed.

Oud really features heavily in this cologne. In case you are not familiar, oud is a rather unique fragrance made from the resin of an agar tree infected with a parasite. A frightening description, but oud really produces one of the most beautiful, woody scents.

Other central aromas coming through present a true juxtaposition. The scents of sea notes, sea salt and seaweed, are synonymous with lazy beach days, while the heavier elements, oud and pink pepper, really remind us of a wintery evening.

If you’re looking for a long-lasting aquatic fragrance, this is an excellent choice.  Longevity is fantastic at 8-10 hours, and the range of projection of this scent also makes it a top performer.

Perfect for spring, summer or even fall, like most aquatics we would advise against use in the winter due to its overall summer feel

Main Accords

  • Salty
  • Marine
  • Aromatic

Best Value

Best Value for Money - English Laundry Royal Aqua

Our Take

Royal Aqua has a fresh, clean aquatic scent.

With a clean, refreshing scent that suggests a feeling of class, Royal Aqua features a premium panache sprayer bottle in a matte box with silver embossed accents. Opening up with the notes of watermint, basil leaf, ginger and sandalwood. Middle notes of coriander, cedar leaf, lotus flower, and incense. Base notes of sandalwood, violet leaf, musk, and iris. Thus this fragrance is appreciated buy many guys and the ladies as well.

This is worth having in a collection as great for casual wear or at the office.

Main Accords

  • Woody
  • Marine
  • Aromatic

Bvlgari Aqva Atlantiqve

Our Take

Inspired by the scent of the Atlantic Ocean, this aquatic offering from Bvlgari is another standout on our list of top men’s aquatic colognes.

This unique offering presents bergamot swirled with the salty freshness of the ocean for a real signature scent.  The fruity notes really sell this as a crowd-pleaser due to its unmistakable punch of freshness and masculinity.  Based on the original Agva fragrance, Aqva Atlantique is a much sweeter and fresher option.

Performance-wise, this is one of the strongest contenders we have tested.  Longevity comes in at an impressive 9-10 hours, keeping you smelling fresh for the entire day.

We genuinely adore this fragrance and believe it makes a killer addition to any man’s collection, one of our top choices when it comes to the best ocean smelling perfumes.

Main Accords

  • Marine
  • Aquatic
  • Amber

Davidoff's Cool Water

Our Take

Davidoff’s Cool Water, the embodiment of aquatic fragrances, forever changed the perfume landscape with its introduction. The continued success, even today, is a testimony to the consistency of the formulation and remains one of the best fresh aquatic perfumes on the market.

The scent immediately makes us think of roaring waves and blue sky that goes on far into the horizon, a true summer fragrance. Woody at first, a subtle floral aroma creeps in to give an added depth that simply cannot be replicated.

We would be astonished if you haven’t heard of this iconic fragrance before, and would even expect most of you to have at least owned a bottle at some point. A great scent which is comfortable to wear on most occasions, a reliable addition to any man’s collection.

Main Accords

  • Fresh
  • Aquatic
  • Fruity

Creed Virgin Island Water

Our Take

Creed is a niche fragrance house with an impressive history, having been in the business since 1760.  Creed is renowned for creating fragrances for royalty, and Virgin Island Water was inspired by a trip to the Virgin Islands, where a warm sea breeze carried the smell of exotic spices mixed with salty sea spray – a pure aquatic fragrance.

Virgin Island Water is very appropriate for the summer season and an extremely versatile fragrance.  In the top notes, the scent of lime and coconut really shine through, with a hint of mandarin orange contributing to the sweetness.  The mid is occupied by a burst of florals including ylang-ylang, jasmine and hibiscus, but most what truly sets this apart is the sweet smell of rum.  The base notes finish with a very tropical, fresh and invigorating scent which is a real mood booster.

An undeniably unique, yet simple fragrance, the longevity on this fragrance is pretty good considering the density of citrus notes, lasting 8-9 hours.

If you’re looking for a true signature scent, Virgin Island Water could be for you. Still, at the price point, you would need to be absolutely sure before committing.

You may also want check out our list of Creed clones and cheaper alternatives.

Main Accords

  • Citrus
  • Coconut
  • Sweet

Salvatore Ferragamo Acqua Essenziale

Our Take

Released in 2015, Salvatore Ferragamo’s Acqua Essenziale is classified as an aromatic Fougere, due to its herbal notes such as sage and lavender.

The initial blast of this scent will quite literally knock you off your feet.  Fresh and citrusy, some beautiful bergamot and vetiver notes come through, creating a stimulating wall of aromas.

Overall this is a great scent to use as an everyday cologne, perfect for running errands or lounging around the house.  One of the most significant selling points is the price – an inexpensive way to leave you smelling great.

This isn’t a truly unique fragrance and is comparable to other citrusy, fresh aquatics.  If you’re looking for a signature scent, this probably isn’t it.  Longevity is average at about 5 hours, but for the price point, it’s precisely as can be expected.

Main Accords

  • Woody
  • Aromatic
  • Fresh Spicy

Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio

Our Take

Giorgio Armani created this scent inspired by the ancient Pantelleria, an Italian Island to the southwest of Sicily.  Armani spends many a summer tucked away on the volcanic island where he owns a vacation home.  A rocky terrain covered in hit springs full with mineral-rich mud, it’s easy to see where Armani drew inspiration for one of their most famous aquatics.

This scent truly packs a punch, and it takes you on an incredible scent journey, from citrus at the top, through to nutmeg, seafoam and peach in the mid, settling with oakmoss and white musk in the base.

A truly non-offensive fresh aquatic fragrance makes it a perfect gift for a young man, perhaps as their adventure into the world of colognes.

Main Accords

  • Aromatic
  • Marine
  • Fresh Spicy

Fan di Fendi pour Homme Acqua

FENDI Fan Di Fendi Acqua Eau de Toilette Aquatic Perfume

Our Take

Initially launched in 2013, Fan di Fendi pour Homme Acqua is a fresh and summery scent.  It has an undeniably unique but non-offensive smell consisting of a blend of summer citrus fruits, aromatic herbs with a slight spicy kick from the pink pepper, making a very honourable choice.

Fan di Fendi pour Homme Acqua has top notes of lavender, bergamot and Italian lemon, followed by a heart consisting of sage, basil and pink pepper.  To finish, the scent rounds off with base notes of cedarwood, leather and musk.

Homme Acqua is surprisingly long-lasting for an aquatic, which are notorious for their short longevity, and represents good value at the lower end of the market.

We recommend this as an excellent casual cologne for spring through to fall, but also perfect for a date in the warmer seasons.

Main Accords

  • Aromatic
  • Citrus
  • Marine

Nautica Voyage

Our Take

The name for this fragrance is a literal embodiment of an aquatic – adventures on the open sea immediately spring to mind. Nautica Voyage opens with a fresh citrus aroma with notes of green apple resulting in a beautiful and clean aquatic. For us, it reminds us of the cool sea breeze blowing over rough sand dunes.

Make no mistake, you’re not going to smell this and immediately be reminded of a high-end fragrance.  This is essentially a mass-market cologne, but one that does mass-market exceptionally well.

One of the best things about Nautica Voyage is its price. At such an incredibly low price, there is no excuse not to have a bottle of this tucked away in your office desk or in your gym bag for those warm summer days. This is a real hard cologne not to like and a solid addition to any collection.

Main Accords

  • Fresh
  • Floral
  • Fruity

Paco Rabanne Invictus Aqua

Our Take

Paco Rabanne Invictus Aqua is a woody aquatic fragrance, bursting with salty yet sweet aromas.

Invictus Aqua opens up with a yuzu, citrus fragrance that is very light and effervescent. Yet, you experience a sweetness on the drying of the cologne which really pulls your attention.  As you may have guessed, this is the aquatic version of the original Invictus Cologne by Paco Rabanne, and it is definitely not as strong as its parent.  Many fans liken this to the scent of bubblegum.

The violet leaf coming through in this cologne adds extra freshness to the fragrance, which makes it perfect for the summer months.  This fragrance has the ability to gain you many compliments as it is a true mass-appeal scent.  Longevity is relatively good, coming in at around 6-7 hours.

We love the stylized bottle, likened to an ancient Olympic trophy, oozing strength and dependability.

Main Accords

  • Citrus
  • Amber
  • Marine

Creed Millesime Imperial

Our Take

Millesime Imperial by Creed was developed in 1995 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the perfume house by royal decree of Emperor Napoleon III.  There’s no doubt about it that this is a romantic fragrance and can be worn by either men or women.

This regal scent is simple yet addictively nuanced. The top is covered by a fruity, salty accent. The centre is made up of rose, bergamot, iris and orange mandarin. The base features musk and other marine notes, synonymous with aquatics.

Millesime Imperial is a beautifully built smooth and polished cologne. It reminds us of a summer day along the coast, watching the tumbling waves as the hot sun beats down.

In terms of strength, this is definitely more on the milder side.  The good thing about that is it’s more suited to intimate occasions where it can be appreciated in close proximity.  For some, this isn’t appreciated in a cologne at this price point, and state longevity is the biggest reason they choose not to buy.

Main Accords

  • Marine
  • Salty
  • Citrus

Every man should have at least one aquatic in their collection for use in the warmer months of the year, and we definitely think you can’t go wrong with any of the choices in our collection.

Whatever budget you are working with, large or small, we believe you can find something unique, fresh and invigorating.

If you’re looking for a cologne for a different occasion, perhaps for use in the gym or on a first date, why not check out some of our other top guides?

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Researched by a team of fragrance experts.