Perfume Review: Guiding Water by The Harmonist


Harmony is balance, and balance is something we often look for in perfumery. After all, perfumery is the harmony of individual ingredients – separate elements made into a harmonious whole. It is through the idea of harmony and balance, through proportion and nuance that the art of perfumery presents odours that smell beautiful, interesting and new.

Niche brand The Harmonist is all about harmony. Following ancient Asian philosophies they present fragrances based on the elements (Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, Water and Metal) in two versions: a Yin and a Yang. The idea is that an individual can be guided to their fragrance using the date, time and place of their birth – through this the dominant element is defined. It’s certainly an interesting way on taking a person on an olfactory journey – one that no other brand is doing.

My fragrance of destiny was Guiding Water – a fragrance defined as “a peaceful and natural source of vitality”.


The Notes

Top: Watermelon, Aquatic Notes and Ozonic Accord
Heart: Lotus Flower, Jasmine and Cyclamen
Base: Lys Flower, Pink peppercorn and White Musk

How Does it Smell?

Guiding Water starts out aquatic and ozonic. It’s immediately fresh and clean, with a soft, fuzzy nature that is reminiscent of white cottons and perfect blooms. The floral bouquet is abstract in an Estée Lauder sort of way, with the main theme being going white petals soaked in crystalline drops of dew. For me, it brings to mind the calming image of a flower photographed at dawn – the air around it still cool and filled with moisture. Underneath all that is a bright, fluffy cloud of white musk. It’s almost as if the top notes present the landscape image of a flower in the meadow and the base is the endless sky filled with ginormous cottony clouds.  A serene image if there ever was one.


Guiding Water is a clean, ozonic floral hidden by a veil of silky musk. It feels as expected to me – in the sense that it matches the paired down, purity of the brand. I went in to sniffing it expecting a calm, attractive fragrance that smelled good but not challenging – and that’s exactly what I got, which, if I’m honest, is a little bit functional for the £195 price tag.

That said, the aesthetic of The Harmonist as a brand is very handsome – I love the sleek, black bottle and the ceramic waves on the lid. It’s tactile and elegant. The concept however, feels a little bit restrictive and whilst the idea of using your info to find your perfect fragrance is a good way of directing you to something you might like, my suggestion would be just to sniff through and find the one that fits. Because when a fragrance fits – you just know!


Guiding Water is available from Harrods in 50ml Eau de Parfum for £195.


Sample, notes and quotes via The Harmonist. Images are my own.