Aqua Manda was the scent that scented the masses in the late sixties and early seventies, brining a tear of nostalgia to many a woman (and man) of a certain age. Although discontinued in the mid seventies after the brand was bought by ICI, it was brought back by popular demand in 2013, with the consent and co-operation of Christopher Collins , son of Douglas, Aqua Manda’s creator.
Over on Fragrantica, the response is mixed, with several very cheesed off people alongside several misty eyed fans who are happy to have it back.
As for me, I was born in 1970 so only have vague olfactory memories of this pocket money favourite ( NB it’s not pocket money prices anymore!) but I can say that this orangey scent most definitely has a whiff of nostalgia and a distinct seventies vibe about it.
Smelling more grown up than I would have expected, Aqua Manda opens in the morning, stays open all day, and closes at night with many bitter oranges. There is a hint of Refresher sweets in the middle, and some grown up flowers, before the base notes bed down into a spicy musk, with a hint of 1970s Duck A L’Orange (without the duck). There are patchouli and herbs in there too, which smells unlike anything mainstream over-the-counter these days and for which I am grateful. i.e no vanilla, and no caramel or chocolate.
By the way, although this has oranges and flowers on the box, it is not orange flower, orange blossom or neroli. It is citrus, herbs and spice wrapped up in a milky musk. It also reminds me of the smell of suntanned skin, although that might be the Seventies rearing their head in all their “sun cream is for sissies” glory. Lasting power is terrific at around seven hours, and it has a definite feel-good factor. I’m guessing this is because I always feel happy when I hark back to the Health and Safety dodging, brown wallpapered, tech free decade into which I was born.
Purists complain that this is not authentic and they may well be right- after all, my memory would struggle to go back 40 years to get it absolutely correct in my head. However, I like it and I am happy to say welcome back Aqua Manda, it’s good to see you.
My sample was very kindly supplied by Aqua Manda, for which I thank them, but I should point out that it was not conditional on a good review. Opinions are my own, and are genuine.