Marc Jacobs Curacao, Ginger and Cranberry Splash Cocktail : Perfume Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The newest splash trio from Marc Jacobs caught my attention for its interpretation of the classical cologne genre as inspired by fruity summer cocktails. Of course, light and fresh launches flood the summer market, yet it is always interesting to see how modern fresh and sheer ideas can give a new twist to a conventional theme. In the past, I have enjoyed Violet (2006,) Ivy (2006,) and Gardenia (2008) for their clean, transparent renditions with unusual twists, and while there was nothing particularly complex about these splashes, they had a cheerful, uplifting quality. Yet, as I was testing Curacao, Ginger and Cranberry, I found myself disappointed, because their fruity interpretations do not deviate from the norm. This kind of fresh, citrusy fruity-floral abounds in every area of the fragrance market today, and with some effort, one can even find something similar and less expensive in the Bath & Body Works range. While I understand that Marc Jacobs Splashes are not meant to be perfume art, I still long for at least a suggestion of originality. Moreover, while $68 is not an excessive price tag for a prestige brand, given the quality of these fragrances, I still find them overpriced.

Curacao, created by perfumer Yann Vasnier, is inspired by an orange-flavored liqueur from the Caribbean island of Curaçao. The composition includes notes of blood orange, bitter orange, lime, mandarin, violet, pear, apricot, white moss, amber, musk, and sandalwood. Of the three splashes, it is my favorite for its juicy orange note, which persists even into the drydown. The orange is accented with the creamy fruity notes of peach and apricot, which give a smooth quality to Curacao. As it dries down, it takes on a modern sheer ambery character, with the aquatic notes contrasting pleasantly with the crisp mossy accord. Although the orange is the main focus of Curacao, its character is closer to watery, fresh compositions like Marc Jacobs Splash Rain, Comptoir Sud Pacifique Aqua Motu and Demeter Rain. Very appealing and easy to wear.

My second favorite from the Splash Cocktail collection was Ginger, another Yann Vasnier composition of ginger, nutmeg, cognac oil, passion flower, geranium, rhubarb, sandalwood, amber crystals, and musks. The spicy top notes of ginger and rhubarb have an exhilarating character; however, after the bright and sparkling interlude, Ginger goes too much in the direction of Yves Saint Laurent’s In Love Again. A very competent, nicely crafted composition, but not one that would keep me engaged for long. For a similar rich citrus, less expensive idea, I would recommend Roger & Gallet Bois d’Orange and Demeter Gingerale, while for those who would love a luxury version, Bond No 9 Little Italy and Creed Zeste Mandarine Pamplemousse might be possible alternatives.

I am certain that I have smelled the idea of Cranberry in pretty much every brand for the past 10 years. This composition of citrus and tart red berries is one of those nice-and-easy themes that finds so much success on the market today. My problem with these intensely fruity compositions is that they never fail to remind me of shampoo–fruity ideas were originally used in functional products before being co-opted by fine fragrance. Cranberry was created by perfumer Richard Herpin and it includes notes of pink grapefruit, cranberry pulp, bergamot, tangerine, ginger flower, honeysuckle, ozonic accord, red currant, vetiver, icy musk, and woods. It opens up on a vibrant citrus and rhubarb note, with the richer red berry facets giving Cranberry a juicy, mouthwatering quality. Then it travels down a familiar road—fresh floral notes, white musks and soft woods. I would rather go with Bath & Body Works Cherry Blossom or even Demeter Jelly Belly Fruit Salad.

On a separate note, why on earth do the official listings for these fragrances contain so many spelling mistakes? ‘Gernaium Bourbon’ instead of Geranium Bourbon, ‘Orange Bigrade’ instead of Orange Bigarade, ‘Previous Woods’ instead of Precious Woods? The fact that the brand does not even bother to spellcheck their marketing materials before the fragrances land on perfume counters makes me wonder how much care they have put into this product.

Marc Jacobs Splash Cocktail Collection Curacao, Ginger and Cranberry EDT are sold in 300 ml splash bottles with spray attachments for $68 at Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy’s and other retailers. Like other splashes, the initial launch is a limited edition, but if any of these will have commercial success, they are likely to be added to the permanent line.

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Sample source: my own acquisition



  • Style Spy: First: Yech. My nose wrinkled just reading the title. Second: HAH! “Previous woods.” That’s hilarious. (Sad, but hilarious.) March 28, 2011 at 9:32am Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, very sad! There was at least one mistake per fragrance. March 28, 2011 at 9:55am Reply

  • Cristina: looking forward to these for 20 bucks at TJ Maxx… March 28, 2011 at 9:16pm Reply

  • Victoria: That's what I would be ready to pay for them. Curacao and Ginger are my favorites overall. March 28, 2011 at 9:22pm Reply

  • Natalia: oh, yes. i have tried them too.
    definitely nice for an unassuming summer day, but not worth more than $20. March 30, 2011 at 5:01am Reply

  • Victoria: I can definitely see how something like Curacao or Ginger can work on a hot day (Cranberry is a bit too sweet for my tastes.) March 30, 2011 at 8:53am Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Eeeeuw, cranberry is for urinary tract infections, not perfume! No wonder Marc Jacobs’ intern had a nervous breakdown on Twitter and quit! March 31, 2011 at 6:41pm Reply

  • Victoria: Lynn, you are a riot! I am laughing so hard, I am in tears. March 31, 2011 at 6:42pm Reply

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