Davidoff Cool Water & Rock BackgroundIntroduced in 1988, Davidoff Cool Water is an established albeit recent classic fragrance for men. It has enjoyed considerable success over the 30 years since its release and continues to be worn by the young and old alike.

In the following review, you will discover the fragrance and learn about its composition, life-cycle and seasonality. Will Davidoff Cool Water stand up to Bespoke Unit’s Fragrance Formula? Read on to find out!


  • Brand: Davidoff
  • Fragrance: Cool Water
  • Concentration: Eau de Toilette
  • Introduction: 1988
  • Olfactive Fragrance Family: Aquatic Fougère

Cool Water graced drugstore shelves back in 1988 as another affordable men’s cologne. However, instead of riding the long-established wave of aromatics in the market, it set a new standard in aquatic fragrances.

Fresh fragrances for men experienced a long overdue renaissance thanks to Cool Water and it is still considered a reference for aquatics today. Although its sheer popularity has waned more recently, it is still widely available and enjoyed by a lot of men spanning several generations.

Download the Davidoff Cool Water Fragrance Formula as a PDF

fragrance formula davidoff cool water review

Learn More About The Bespoke Unit Fragrance Formula (BUFF)

Davidoff Cool Water’s Composition

Davidoff Cool Water Bottle In SkyAs mentioned above, Cool Water was something of a game changer in men’s fragrance fashion. Even in name, it’s a thematically aquatic cologne wish sharp sea breeze notes.

However, its structure is an otherwise conventional fougère in that it consists of a lavender head, floral heart and woody oak moss base.

Head Notes

  • Marine (Calone)
  • Lavender
  • Pine
  • Rosemary

The immediate hit of Calone is Cool Water’s trademark. This is what creates the overarching aquatic scent. However, it is accompanied by a discernable lavender bouquet and other cool aromatics. Although pine is a fitting description for this overall fresh sensation, there are underlying hints of peppermint and coriander.

As the volatile aromatics begin to evaporate, refreshing notes of rosemary emerge from the woodwork and draw us towards the fragrance’s heart.

Heart Notes

  • Jasmine
  • Carnation
  • Peppermint
  • Sandalwood

The rosemary cooks off leaving only the mint and aquatic scents from the head. The heart emerges with a flora bouquet of jasmine and carnations. Deep notes of sandalwood are present as a reminder that we’re dealing with a rich, masculine fragrance.

Base Notes

  • Oak Moss
  • Cedar Wood
  • Musk

The oak moss freshness maintains the cool texture as we delve into the base. This is reinforced by sharp notes of cedar wood, which contrast with a warm musky presence. The musk is undeniably aldehydic with a fatty finish, which ensures that is stays more animal than amber.

Throughout, the aquatic notes are not only present but overarching. However, it does evolve with the dry down starting with a cleanliness that evokes shaving foam and finishing with a deep creaminess closer to suntan lotion.

David Cool Water Bottle & Box

The Life-Cycle Of Davidoff Cool Water

The aforementioned aquatic notes ensure that there is a certain consistency to Cool Water’s life-cycle that is bordering on linear. However, this shouldn’t be considered as a shortcoming as the theme is certainly appealing.

The head is not brief but certainly short-lived. However, it’s the heart that’s particularly fleeting. If you don’t remind yourself to smell it in time, you’ve likely already missed it.

The base is remarkably long-lasting partly thanks to the aldehydic musk. That said, it is not without changes that are not necessarily positive.

The previously mentioned fatty creaminess can turn rancid on some skins towards the end of its life. If smelt too closely to the skin, this has the unfortunate likeness of a deep fat fryer. Although the Calone does ensure that there is a freshness, it can be somewhat nose curling.

Wake & Strength

Cool Water’s durability doesn’t win awards but it doesn’t disappoint either. Both the sillage and projection as average for so-called “power frags” that aim to endure the wear and tear of a hardworking day.

The nose does have a tendency to become accustomed to this particular fragrance. However, rest assured that the longevity performs very well and can survive an entire day.

Similarly, the fragrance tends to rub off a little too easily on textiles, which is not always desirable. If the wearer sprays their neck, it can easily transfer onto their jacket. Stale Cool Water isn’t particularly pleasant when the jacket is worn some days later and doesn’t contrast well with over fragrances.

When Should You Wear Davidoff Cool Water?

Davidoff Cool Water With Oak BackgroundCool Water receives acclaim from some yet is criticised by others. As a general rule, it’s favoured by men but some women do enjoy its freshness.

The chief criticism it receives is the notable synthetic composition, which is not to everyone’s palate. This is likely due to the Calone followed by the aldehydic musk.

Similarly, the fragrance’s structure is particularly emblematic of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

This has caused the fragrance to age somewhat compared even to older aromatic fougères from the 1970s. Some may find this composition relatively dated next to current designer colognes.

Furthermore, the base notes towards the end of the fragrance’s life-cycle cause particular divide as the fragrance becomes bitter due to its fattiness. However, it is overall received positively and enjoyed by a large age range.

Despite being an iconic fragrance from nearly 30 years ago, it is still a cologne best worn by younger men. Its sprightly properties tend to work best with men in their early 20s or even having just entered adulthood.

In terms of seasonality, Cool Water is a quintessential summer fragrance. Its ocean breeze notes exude coastal nightclubs, summer cocktails and the sand between your toes at sunset. For this reason, it’s an ideal fragrance to wear in the evening rather during than the day. That said, the scent wouldn’t feel out of place when at the wheel of a convertible under the beating sun.

Consequently, it’s more of a casual fragrance that would struggle in the workplace or during more formal occasions. Instead, reserve it for nights out or evening social gatherings.

Despite being a decidedly virile fragrance, its masculinity is not overwhelming and remains surprisingly moderate.

Presentation and Value For Money

Davidoff Cool Water Bottle Close UpThe bottle and packaging have barely changed since its release back in 1988. Both still come in their iconic blue tones and the bottle hasn’t moved on from the jagged, rounded rectangular shape. Davidoff is written in a stately but modest serif font whilst “Cool Water” sprawls underneath in cursive text.

The bottle comfortable to hold and the atomiser performs particularly well, giving douses of thick spray.

The value for money is relatively good overall but sits somewhere in the middle of the road. As an affordable fragrance, it sits in the higher price range. However, as a premium fragrance, it’s a very economical choice.

Furthermore, you can get it in modest 2.5 Oz (75 ml) bottles for just over $10 on Amazon, which is ideal as a gift or for sampling. This comes to about $15 per 100 ml but can be found cheaper in larger quantities.

Closing Thoughts

When spraying Cool Water onto your neck, you can almost hear the waves crashing against against the rocks. It’s an undeniably iconic fragrance of the late 1980s that is evocative of imagery like Corvettes speeding into the sunset to synth music. It pairs well with summer nights out and wouldn’t be out of place on vacation.

Nevertheless, the vivid imagery that it provokes can make it a little dated compared to its contemporaries. A discernibly synthetic build and aldehydic character can be off-putting for some.

Still curious to learn more about Davidoff Cool Water? Watch our video to see our first impressions:

Davidoff Cool Water
Reviewed by Charles-Philippe Bowles, on .
"Sea, sun & synthetics. A refreshing ocean breeze at overall good value, Davidoff Cool Water is an iconic men's fragrance that set a standard in 1988. However, it may be a little too reminiscent of the era for some."
Rating: 3.0 ★★★


About the Author:

Charles-Philippe is a Franco-Briton who, in forgetting where he parked his time machine, settled down somewhere between Paris and Champagne during the early 21st Century. A cheese, wine, spirits and cigar enthusiast with a penchant for all things vintage, you can find him loitering on Instagram when he isn’t writing for Bespoke Unit.


  1. Kin John November 29, 2017 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    Regular users of Cool Water tend to retain a note somewhat like cigars which is not altogether pleasant but may perhaps be a nod to Davidoff’s prominence with cigars. The cause is an overdose of ambroxan, which accumulates over time.

    • Charles-Philippe December 1, 2017 at 2:32 am - Reply

      Hi again King John! Your comment has actually prompted me to test Cool Water again. I’m down at the base and I can more-or-less see where you’re coming from. Could you be referring to that fatty musky note at the end, which is reminiscent of ambergris? I can see the connection but I wouldn’t personally link it to cigars as it feels too waxy. Maybe burning oil instead? I could be wrong but fragrances can be so subjective at times!

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.