When I was regularly attending New York Fashion Week there was one show I always looked forward to, Nautica. The reason was they almost always had a bottle of perfume to give away. Nautica is known for its sportswear inspired by the water. When it comes to fashionable American beachwear Nautica is one of the leading brands. Once they began producing fragrance in 1992 you will not be surprised to know the original Nautica perfume was a classic aquatic. Unlike the clothing, it didn’t stand out from the other aquatics on the shelf in the department store. They would sort of stumble along for years imitating whatever was popular in competent but uninspiring ways. That would change in 2005.
When I attended a Nautica show around that time I was given a bottle of Nautica Blue as a giveaway. By this time, I can say I wasn’t excited to receive it. It took weeks, maybe months, before my curiosity got me to give it a try. I received quite a surprise as Blue did something completely different than the other mainstream aquatics. Perfumers Maurice Roucel and Patricia Bilodeau added in a watery violet at the heart of the aquatic bracketed by pineapple and basil. It was an evolution of the boring to something invigorating. Consumers seemed to also enjoy the change and Blue has become the evergreen tentpole for the brand. I admire Blue so much when my press sample of the new Blue Sail arrived I wondered whether it would be as innovative for 2017 as Blue was for 2005.
Laurent Le Guernec
Perfumer Laurent Le Guernec wasn’t looking for innovation it seems like he was more intent on working within the classic fougere architecture with a few contemporary flourishes. While not boundary pushing, Blue Sail is a good mainstream aquatic fougere.
Blue Sail opens with an orange rind in place of the typical orange pulp. Paired with the very typical rosemary the rind has more pronounced green facets which allow the rosemary to intersect with it more smoothly than if it was just the fruit. The heart is lavender supported by the light woody cypress and the acerbic juniper berry. The juniper gives a transparent gin vibe to the citrus herbal lavender traditional core. Sandalwood and vetiver finish Blue Sail off where many fougeres find their base.
Blue Sail has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Blue Sail does feel a bit like a throwback to the early days of the fragrance part of Nautica except I like the modern twist M. Le Guernec adds to the fougere more than I liked any of those. If you’re looking for a good fougere to throw into your beach bag Blue Sail is a good choice.
Disclosure: this review is based on a press sample provided by Nautica.