Winter wonderland, Frederic Malle L’Eau d’Hiver

Since I was a child winter has always been my favourite season. Not only because my birthday is in winter. I always liked watching snow falling from the sky, covering trees and buildings with white fluffy caps. Did you know that every petal of snow is different? Mother nature is an amazing artist.

In 2003 famous perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena created a fragrance for Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle called L’Eau d’Hiver (Winter Water) which is supposed to be a fragrant sketch of winter. And though all nature goes to sleep when winter is about to come Jean-Claude Ellena managed to bottle a scent that brings true association with winter, expressing its cold, captivating charm.

L’Eau d’Hiver starts off as a scent with intensive note of powder. It’s sourced from heliotrope which was used in quite generous amount. Shortly it is followed by delicious, smooth and sensual white musk. Its presence gives a feeling of interlacing warm and cold sensation. It’s like a chilly snow petal that fell behind the collar and makes you shiver. In L’Eau d’Hiver Jean-Claude Ellena also found a place for some iris. It’s delicate and translucent – delicately floral and powdery. Just pretty.

After some time when the scent disspates note of angelica becomes available to smell. It gives a feeling of mixed aroma of something minimally green, spicy, maybe even woody. Bergamot in Frederic Malle L’Eau d’Hiver plays an important role in this fragrance. Its smell is light, citrusy and it’s decorated with powder. It’s probably the coldest element of this perfume, making me think of icy mountain stream – the water is rapidly flowing and the banks are in ice. The remaining notes are jasmine and honey which give a slightly sweet, kind of waxy feeling.

The most noticeable thing about L’Eau d’Hiver is that this perfume is extremely light. Jean-Claude Ellena is known for creating perfume that are light and ethereal and this scent is exactly like that. When I smell it I think of adjectives such as airy, feathery, weightless. It creates a scented veil close to the skin as it’s projection is very minimal while longevity is good. It’s a well made perfume that is simple yet not boring. It’s also very wearable. L’Eau d’Hiver is available in 50 and 100ml bottles as well as in travel size of 3 x 10ml.

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60 thoughts on “Winter wonderland, Frederic Malle L’Eau d’Hiver

  1. Kafkaesque says:

    What a lovely, evocative review. I loved the imagery. And you’re right about Ellena’s signature being light airiness. I would like to try this but I suspect that the powdery musk is not for me as “powder” can be a tricky thing for me. When you said it was “waxy” with the florals, did you mean that it had the feel of aldehydes?

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you Kafka! Glad you liked my picturesque comparison!
      You already told few times that powdery notes are usually not for you so I understand you might not become a fan of L’Eau d’Hiver.
      By saying waxy I meant to say it smelled like a candle, floral candle.

  2. shellyw says:

    It is a tie between l’eau d’hiver transparent type scent and en passant floral lilac (also from Malle) for my next purchase. I actually wish the sillage was bigger because I think it would convert people who think they don’t like perfume. They will never know though because it is so close to the skin.

    • lucasai says:

      Haven’t tried En Passant yet. Great you’ll be getting one of those two soon.
      I agree, the sillage coul’ve been stronger so that other would notice this transparent veil

  3. sanna says:

    I’m wearing EdH right now! It worked perfect during a walk in the park today.

    pozdrowienia z warszawy!

  4. Dionne says:

    L’Eau d’Hiver is my favorite of the Malle’s I’ve tried so far, and after working my way through the heliotrope note, I found that this one sits in the “middle,” and I consider it the definitive heliotrope perfume. Après l’Ondée is the prime example of “heliotrope plus”, but far the straight-up heliotrope, it’s l’Ed’H.

    • lucasai says:

      It’s my favourite from Malle as well, but I didn’t try many FMs yet, so maybe I would find something better there but L’Eau d’Hiver is well balanced perfume

  5. Madeleine says:

    Hi lucasai!

    Beautiful review! I loved the lines about each petal of snow and mother nature. I did not know that.

    Hiver does paint exquisite pictures in my mind too. Whilst its not FB worthy for me, I love wearing it both in a Sydney summer and winter, the former to cool me down and latter when its not cold enough and I want snow. Doesn’t snow here, so it brings back good memories of nothern hemisphere winters.



    • lucasai says:

      Hi Madelaine! Glad you enjoyed reading it!
      It’s good you find it appearing both in summer to cool down and in winter to get into the season mood, even though you don’t find it FB worthy.

  6. Christos says:

    I loved reading your review even though there is something about this house that ends up annoying me. All their perfumes reach a point on my skin where they smell unbelievably cold and artificial (and I do not use this term to pretend identifying artificial ingredients, just a vibe that brings to mind man made landscapes). As much as I think I like them them for a few minutes, those creepy cold notes catch up with me and I cannot stand them, Even Bigarade Concentré ended up smelling cold and detached.

    • lucasai says:

      Thanks Christos. I think I know what you’re talking about since I experienced a similar feeling with 4 Malles I tried so far but it wasn’t so annoying on my skin.
      Now that you mentioned Bigarade Concentree to me it was a total disaster. It didn’t smell of citrus on my skin, actually it didn’t smell of anything on my skin. Almost like plain perfumers alcohol.

    • Kafkaesque says:

      I relate to your feelings, Christos. I haven’t had much success with the line myself. I’m currently testing out Lipstick Rose, and feel both queasy and headachy. I really wish I could scrub this off me. In fact, I’m not sure I will be able to resist much longer…. *sigh*

      • Christos says:

        With this house I am at that cynical point where I just wait for samples to fall out of the sky to try their new stuff. Stay away from Carnal Flower….

        • Kafkaesque says:

          Heh, that’s the only one thus far that I can tolerate. And it’s solely because I love tuberose, not because of Frederic Malle. I actually think Carnal Flower is enormously over-hyped. I’d take Fracas over that ANY day! Meanwhile, I just scrubbed off Lipstick Rose. I truly couldn’t bear it a moment longer. I didn’t even last 2 hours. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to take about 4 aspirins for my migraine. 😉

          • lucasai says:

            Kafka, honestly speaking I think Frederic Malle is generally over-hyped. Last weekend there was a poll at Now Smell This where some people commented on the bottles. They mostly liked the juice but the packaging is just so-so while the price is super high.
            Kafka, don’t worry. On Monday you’ll read about my ultimate scrubber!
            Go get some fresh air!

        • lucasai says:

          So you no longer have a special interest in the brand, huh?

      • lucasai says:

        Lipstic Rose is very synthetic. If you wish for a fragrance that smells like makeup, go get a sample of 1889 by Histoires de Parfums, fun and burlesque in the bottle.

      • Kafkaesque says:

        Lucas, no, I do have a special interest in finding one that suits me. I have a stubbornness about things like this and hate to let a line defeat me, though there are limits, eventually, as my numerous adventures with Montale have demonstrated. I have a large decant of Parfum de Therese to try next, though I may need a while to get over Lipstick Rose. Perhaps that one will be the one for me? 🙂

        • lucasai says:

          sheesh, our comments got so mixed. I was reffering to what Christos said. He wrote he’s only waiting for samples to fall from the sky which to me is a hidden message he’s no longer willing to look for FM samples himself. He’s ok with it when he gets one

      • Kafkaesque says:

        Oh my heavens, Lucas, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you use the term “scrubber”! You’re always so diplomatic, well-mannered and tactful. Now I absolutely can’t wait for Monday! 😀 😀 😀

      • Kafkaesque says:

        Ah, okay. Got it. Yes, they got mixed up. But you know, there has to be a line after which even perfume bloggers aren’t going to go out of their way to test things, unless they fall from the sky. I have a brand or two which are hovering on the cusp of no return for me where — unless what I already own ends up smelling amazing (which I doubt for most of them) — it’s going to be hard to get over my reluctance to spend money on more samples. Do you have one of those?

        • lucasai says:

          I don’t remember saying it here but I said it numerous times – I hate spending money on samples! I just don’t like doing it. I prefer to swap, ask if someone could make me a tiny sample or so. I buy only when there’s no other option. You ask if I have a brand I have absolutely no interest? Oh yes, I DO!

      • Kafkaesque says:

        Dammit, now I want a Coromandel review, Lucas!!! *grin* What can I do and how much can I beg before you consider it? You know, there is value in bad reviews, so that people don’t get a distorted idea that a scent is universally beloved and nothing but joy. Consider the value of your opinion….. 😉

        • lucasai says:

          A sample of 1932 and a few more will bribe me to write a full size review of coromandel.
          You know it’s often easier to write about a perfume that you hate than about one you love.

      • Kafkaesque says:

        Lucas, I will get my act together and do it! 1932 and a few others, it shall be. It may be a while, but I will get over my massive anxiety over the U.S. post offices (you have no idea what a nightmare they are) and send it. When you get it, then you will give me my reward: a thoroughly snarling review of Coromandel. LOL. As someone who does like it, I think I’d get a huge kick out of seeing the exact opposite side. 🙂

        • lucasai says:

          Well then I’m looking forward to it, seriously! There are many ways to overcome problems with US customs. I’ve heard of so many when friends were sending me packages from the States.
          And yes, then you’ll get your review. I hope it won’t cause Perfume World War I or that Coromandel’s lovers won’t hunt me.

      • lucasai says:

        Understood Christos

  7. Bertt says:


    First of all, i’d like to thank for the nice reviews – and the interesting discussions to which they result – I happen to follow on this website since a few weeks (I think I discovered this place on the web just before last new year).

    I already thought to react on reviews/discussions before, but until now I never managed to take the time to do so.

    When it comes to Frederic Male, I can tell about my experience with this line till now (since the FM-line is quiet big, my ‘knowledge’ till now is little): after testing, I bought the travel-size sprayers of Portrait of a Lady, which I happen to like quiet often. In general, I like perfumes with rose-scent(s) in or around them. For instance, today I’m wearing Midnight Oud, which is also a delight to my nose at this moment. Back to FM’s PoaL, next to the ‘dark’ rose(petals), I’m also quiet fond of the patchouli which is used in a – in my opinion – not so usual way. I think I can best describe it as ‘wet, freshy patchouli’, as opposite of ‘dry, dusty patchouli’. Hope things get a little bit clear here… Another advantage to me personally, is that the perfumes stays long enough on my skin. When it comes to parfumes, I have a difficult skin ánd nose: many of the perfumes I try, leave me much to fast…

    So, it may be clear that I can like FM perfume.

    On the other side, there is Carnal Flower. However intriguing this scent may be and how fond I may be of the tuberose (which on itself I find already not very easy to wear being a man, but which I nevertheless will keep trying), I tried it last week on my skin and a bit on my clothes and I couldn’t stand it very long. When I arrived at home, I had to scrub the most of it off… On my skin and to my nose, this perfume is at first very nice, but after a while (say one hour), it becomes a very ‘sour’ scent, which I don’t like anymore in that stage and which I really had to try to remove.

    In fact, I find it intriguing that perfumes of the same line can revoke such different reactions on my olfactory-system.

    So, till here my first words on the web about perfumes.

  8. Kevin says:

    I’ve had a sample of this one for a while. I wore it once, and didn’t think much of it – but your review inspired me to try it again. L’Eau d’Hiver is not bad by any means, and I think the name is apropos. There is something that really evokes the blank slate of a snow-covered field – just pure innocence, nothingness, etc. In fact, call me crazy, but there is a period of time where this smells like the head of a newborn baby. I don’t know how to describe that smell, but that is exactly it for me.

    My main problem with “Hiver” is it lacks the power/”wow” factor I typically desire in a perfume. It’s nice for what it is, but I am not gripped by it and I find it pretty unmemorable, unfortunately. It seems contradictory to say it evokes something as warm as a newborn baby and as cold as a winter’s day, but it really does. This is one of the few instances where I think the name given really is quite fitting, but unfortunately, it leaves me pretty ambivalent as a whole. I absolutely love the cold, so I envisioned myself falling in love with this one. Alas, it did not happen! 🙂

    • lucasai says:

      Hi Kevin!
      It definitely isn’t a bad perfume and it really evokes the feeling of white and cold winter season. Just as you mentioned it’s not a wowing fragrance because it’s sillage is very minimal. Funny that you say about a newborn baby smell in it!
      I understand it’s boring for those perfume lovers that like intensive smells. The name really fits the scent

  9. Well, I for one AM an FM fan and pretty much love the entire line. L’Eau d’hiver is always so beautiful, but I always think for winter, it’s too light for me. I want something thicker and heavier. So bring on the Coromandel, the Musc Ravageur, and the Tubereuse Criminelle (which I have been rocking for a straight week) 🙂

  10. hajusuuri says:

    Great review, Lucas! I got one of the 10mL travel sprays from a swap and as is usually the case with me, i have not tried it yet. Since it is so cold in NY that my eyeballs hurt despite being wrapped up like a mummy on my 20-minute walk from the train station to the office, it will be my SOTD on Friday. In addition to the cold weather appropriateness, I like that it has minimal projection as I am participating in 2 panel interviews (I am one of the 3 interviewers) and the room were using is quite small.

    Regarding the 20-minute walk, it is by choice so I only have myself to blame — I HATE taking the subway and the bus just takes so darn long as it stops at every other street!

    I’ll report back this weekend.

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you sweetie! Oh, I know you have it, you took it straight from my hand almost, it would’ve been mine if that girl didn’t decline to internation swapping.
      Wonderful, I’m looking forward to read your report! Walking is good, at least you’re not as lazy as everyone else. This scent will be very appropriate for your interviews. Good luck

      • hajusuuri says:

        I wore this today, a cold sparkly snowy day, and it was perfect. It has a very sheer powdery vibe. I also agree with Kevin that it smells like the head of a newborn baby. A cousin’s wife is having a baby in March so I have to remember to do a comparison then!

  11. Scent Bound says:

    That’s a beautiful review, Lucas. I think winter in general is an underrated season. Like you, I find some calming charm about it, which makes Eau d’Hiver something I want to try. It sounds like a typical Ellena fragrance – faint and transparent. What longevity do you get?

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you my friend! I find a lot of beauty in this cold season, glad my review made you want to try it.
      It is a typical Ellena fragrance, sheer ad transparent. On me it smells for like 4-5 hours, but very faint.

  12. […] reading: Chemist in the Bottle and Olfactoria’s Travels Mecca Cosmetica starts at $124/3 x 10ml Surrender to Chance has samples […]

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