From the very first moment I spray Eau Fraiche I recognise it as an Edmond Roudnitska composition.
Many cite Eau Sauvage (1967) as the forerunner to Diorella (1972), however Roudnitska stated that its antecedent was actually Eau Fraiche (1953).
This lesser known creation is more pared down and yes, fresher, than Diorella, but it is sunnier and less bone dry than the more masculine Eau Sauvage. It occupies the middle ground between the two.
This ongoing chypre theme found its most full-bodied interpretation in Roudnitska’s beautiful Le Parfum de Therese. He created this during the 1950s solely for his wife, but it was eventually released by Frederic Malle Editions de Parfum in 2000.
Eau Fraiche was re-released (and no doubt reformulated) in around 2010. Its notes include mandarin orange, lemon, petitgrain, rosewood, patchouli, vanilla and oakmoss.
It bursts open with lots of juicy, zesty lemon and accents of bitter orange. Get up close and you soon sense the shady base underneath. A layer of herbs, patchouli and moss give the fragrance some weight.
Over a couple of hours the citrus rolls back, increasingly exposing the chypre-lite base, similar to a retreating tide exposing the seabed.
One of the best things about Eau Fraiche is that it’s a citrus scent with a degree of sophistication and this is no doubt thanks to its basic chypre structure.
I usually have trouble with lemon-heavy fragrances but the resemblance to Diorella and that familiar Roudnitska signature, make it attractive to me. It’s not too sour and resembles the flesh of the fruit rather than the artificial lemony scent of detergent or furniture polish.
Unfortunately, over time, the variety of heady white musk I just cannot tolerate comes to the fore and this eventually becomes a deal-breaker for me. I can’t get past it; however, as is often the case with clean musks, it’s entirely possible that you may not be bothered by its presence or even register it.
Eau Fraiche is classed as a feminine but it is completely unisex and would be a great shared fragrance for the warmer months. In fact there is an advertisement from 1957 that markets it as such: CK One, eat your heart out!
I didn’t expect much in the way of lasting power and it’s certainly no sillage bomb, however I was surprised when someone (albeit in close proximity) commented on it at around 10 hours after application. They remarked on its freshness so it clearly retains this defining characteristic well into the drydown.
Eau Fraiche is refreshing and uplifting, possessing a relaxed kind of stylishness. It would be a good choice on balmy days when you want something which will help get you going in the morning but still has a bit of class.
Apply it liberally and feel instantly invigorated.
Have you tried Eau Fraiche? Do you have a favourite Roudnitska creation?