Many moons ago, I used (and even still have) a little gadget called an SRB Monovue Eyepiece
viewer that enabled you to look through it and 'see' a scene in black and white. It was basically a little eyecup on a stick that had a couple of filters you could insert into it - a 'mono' one and a 'colour' one. It didn't work perfectly, of course, but what it did do was enable you to view the tonal range of a scene without the distraction of colour, in order to previsualise how it might look in black and white. (This was back in the film days, by the way, when nothing was certain until you got the film/slides developed; and were then either really happy or really depressed ...
Anyway, I digress ... Of your two images, I'm firmly in the mono camp. I completely agree about the bright visual impact of the colour version, but the mono one is a piece of art first and a picture second to my eyes.
Having said that, though, I wanted to see where I could take the colour image in my mod and do something somewhere between colour popping and pure mono. I like your idea of olde-worldy and for me, in either image, it's the droplets that are the stars of the show. So I've done the following in my mod:
1) I added a Color Lookup adjustment layer, set to the FoggyNight.3DL preset (I love that one - it's a Photoshop CS6 onwards feature, though, so you may not have it?)
2) On top of that I added a Levels adjustment layer, and pushed the midtones a fraction to the right.
3) I made a stamped image of the underlying layers and used the Image/Adjustments/Shadows&Highlights feature to push back and bring forward various elements in the scene - I was basically trying to give more prominence to the droplets themselves.
4) Another Levels adjustment layer just tweaked things a touch.
5) Finally, some smart sharpening to give some clarity to the water.
Don't know what you'll think, but it does give you other options and looks to consider