Saturday, May 4, 2013

Launch-Frederic Malle's L'eau D'Hiver

After hoarding my perfume reviews for a couple of years and posting them on perfume forums, I'm ready to launch a blog that isn't quite as serious as my other writing (that can be found at

This blog will be Possets heavy since that is where I get the bulk of my perfume oil, but it will also include Solstice Scents, Alkemia, Arcana, Blooddrop, Sara Wen, Sweet Anthem, and whatever else I stumble across. I also have niche "regular" perfumes that I hoard and review occasionally (such as from L'Artisan, Frederic Malle, Serge Lutens) and I will include those as well.

To celebrate this launch, I'm adding a review I wrote a few years ago of one of my favorite scents: L'eau D'Hiver by Frederic Malle.

Description from the Frederic Malle website: "A fragrance entirely one's own - clean, crisp, but also warm, an endless source of reassurance. The transparence of water binds with the softness of white heliotrope, iris and honey for the gentlest composition imaginable. Jean-Claude Ellena set out to create the first "Eau Chaude," pushing his understated, minimalist style beyond traditional boundaries. Here he fuses the two extremes of the olfactory spectrum into a mellow, fragile fragrance of a new kind."

From the Now Smell This website, the notes that make up this scent are: "bergamot, angelica, iris, hawthorn, jasmine, honey, carnation, heliotrope, caramel and musk."

This goes on with a very spicy powdery iris note. On my left arm, I get a green spicy note threading through. On my right, there's more of a peppered powder. Within a few minutes, my left arm is bringing up bergamot and almost immediately threading it down to a low hum as the green swims through. I think the green is the hawthorn, and I may be getting a touch of jasmine. On my right, it's firmly in the heliotrope (I love heliotrope and can seem to pick it out of anything), iris, and musk.

As it dries down: the left arm is starting to bring up the heliotrope. This is a very sheer fragrance. I dabbed and dabbed from my sample before I felt like I truly had an amount I could sniff. I could see this (so far) being a great scent for any season. It feels very feminine, and that heliotrope is definitely in my "love" category. My left arm makes this a very powdery heliotrope, my right makes it a much more in-depth (rounded, slightly flowered, rich in almond) heliotrope. So far, I'm not getting much honey or caramel, but I think the carnation is kicking up the powder of the iris.

I dabbed again (I'm afraid of overdoing it, but I doubt that's possible with this scent) and immediately got a strong bergamot note on both hands but it falls almost immediately to the powder, although it stays a little more bergamoty on my left hand. Comparing it to the older dabs, the older dabs are bringing in more of the sweetness of the honey and caramel, but definitely not a pronounced honey as in Tea for Two from L'Artisan or the caramel in Madera from Omnia. This is very soft and pretty. It's not a scent that demands attention, but there's something so compellingly comforting about this that I can't stop huffing my wrists. Per research, angelica is part of the parsley family and I think that was the first green note I was picking up, and as it goes along there is an interesting “fresh” note that I think is the angelica keeping the notes really light and not falling down into heavy iris like it could. Interestingly enough, the small dot I put on my shirt is much more hawthorny and I'm assuming I'm getting the angelica a lot there as well, and the bergamot hasn't dried down.

Final verdict: this is sweet without being sugared, high on the powdered softness of iris, slightly vanillic/almond due to the heliotrope. It comes across as cool, but also snuggly and comforting, and it's that contrast that keeps me intrigued.

Years later, this still remains one of my favorite perfumes. I can only afford samples here and there, but whenever I wear it I feel both confident and soft, pretty, calm and collected, and ready for snuggles. It's such a great perfume.


  1. I love reading perfume reviews, and I love that yours are informative but not pretentious. Now if only I can figure out how to follow your blog since my beloved Google reader is leaving this earth. :-/

    1. I think you just said the nicest thing that could have ever been said to me! "Informative but not pretentious" is exactly what I'm going for. Your comment just made my day. I'm glad you are enjoying the reviews. I think perfume should be like food, wine, books, movies: fun--without needing to be "an elite" to be enjoyed. :)

      I know a lot of people are struggling with what to do without Google reader. I haven't seen a "best" fit to fill in the gap yet. :(