L’Eau d’Hiver is one of my oldest perfume favorites, beloved and cherished over the years, and trusted whenever I need something to wear that is comfortable, light but still recognizably different.
In my mind I link every perfume I smell with some descriptor, that helps me to place it, like dark vanilla, or woody incense. It can also be more of an insider description that has only significance for me, like funny blackmail (don’t ask!).
But curiously, L’Eau d’Hiver has eluded its descriptor from the beginning.
Normally I don’t have to think much about it, it suggests itself pretty instantly, but not with Hiver. That is the reason it was hard for me to write about it. I didn´t know where to start, struggling to find an angle.
What do I know then? Facts first:
It was composed by one of my favorite noses Jean-Claude Ellena for Frederic Malle in 2003, notes include bergamot, angelica, iris, hawthorn, jasmine, honey, carnation, heliotrope, caramel and musk.
It is a very elegant, understated and muted perfume, that never screams at you, but isn’t easily silenced either, it keeps close to the skin and has a wear time of about five hours.
I racked my brain to describe what it smells like: it is so well blended nothing stands out, there is no one clear note I can make out, it smells round and smooth like a snowball. It is not cold, but not hot either, it has warmth, but not overwhelmingly so, it is flowery and sweet and fresh, everything in moderation and everything perfectly balanced. You see my dilemma?
But one phrase sticks: like a snowball. That could be my inner descriptor. Cool, smooth, round, white. But with the sun shining on it, starting it to melt just a little, warming it and immersing it in golden light.
To end with an incredibly unhelpful phrase (but one that is undeniably true):
It smells just lovely.