Guest Post by Dionne
Hello frag heads!
It’s been my plan for a while now to write a review of the fabulous Frederic Malle scent L’Eau d’Hiver, created by Jean-Claude Ellena. Part of my trifecta of season-less scents, which also includes Lumière Blanche and Art Collection #08 by Jacomo, this is one of the few perfumes I can wear year-round, no matter what the season.
“No matter what the season.” I’ll admit to a knowing chuckle as I type out that phrase, because March is the craziest month of the entire year where I live. Here in southern Alberta just west of the Canadian Rockies, spring doesn’t really arrive until late April, but it doesn’t feel like winter anymore either. Which is strange to say because we get more snow in March than any other month; it’s just that we also regularly get an interesting phenomenon called a Chinook, a warm wind that blows from the west and can raise temperatures 30 degrees in a matter of hours. So you never quite know what you’re going to get.
Photo Stolen HolidayVelvet
What does this all have to do with L’Eau d’Hiver? It’s that no matter what the day is like, it’s been a great fit. I’ve worn it a lot this last month, when it’s plus 15, clear blues skies and I’m lifting my face to the sun while my little ones happily jump in all the puddles and rivers that are everywhere. It’s the perfect accompaniment for a sunny, joyful day. It’s also worked when it’s minus 20, there’s been a 25cm snow dump and whiteout conditions and I can barely get out of my driveway without getting stuck. Since staying home and declaring a snow day isn’t going to happen, (Albertans just lace up the Sorels and dig ourselves out, we’re kinda Boss that way) spraying L’Eau d’Hiver and enjoying its snuggly comfort while Getting Stuff Done is an enjoyable second option.
Back and forth, back and forth, that’s what March is like. How Jean-Claude Ellena managed to create a perfume that works on such different days, I’m not quite sure. All I know is that I’m impressed.
L’Eau D’Hiver by Jean Claude Ellena for Frederic Malle 2003
Notes according to Fragrantica:
Bergamot, heliotrope, jasmine, iris, honey, angelica, white musk.
L’Eau d’Hiver is JCE’s tribute to Après l’Ondée, and I tried them both shortly after falling down the rabbit hole. For some strange reason, I had this idea in my head at the time that I needed to choose which one to own, as if there was some sort of contest. Fortunately I eventually realized how silly that was, and now have both.
If you ever want to try a fascinating experiment, do a wrist-to-wrist of the two and see what happens – just make sure the Al’O is the pre-2011 formulation. I love doing wrist-to-wrist comparisons as it helps me get better at this whole smelling thing, and in the three years I’ve done comparisons, I’ve never encountered anything quite as interesting as these two together. They seem to dance around each other, smelling alike for a moment, than different 5 minutes later, than alike again ten minutes later, then different again, back and forth, back and forth. To expand that particular image, it’s like a dance couple where the male, L’Eau d’Hiver, moves within a tight circle and the female, Après l’Ondée, twirls and leaps and runs off all pointy-toes before flitting back and smiling and then twirling off again. This is a very fancy way of saying that JCE has made L’Eau d’Hiver streamlined and modern, the essence of heliotrope, and its beauty lies in that simplicity.
Photo Stolen Amazon
It’s a frothy almond milk with a sprinkling of sugar on top. If that sounds really gourmand to you, surprisingly, it’s not; the iris in here adds a cool, elegant vibe that keeps L’Eau d’Hiver from getting cutesy. The perfume is full of these kinds of contrasts: warm and cool, cuddly and elegant, close to the skin but distinctive, straightforward but with a lot to say.
I’m in the mood for a dance. L’Eau d’Hiver, shall we?