Frederic Malle L’Eau d’Hiver perfume review

Frederic Malle L'Eau d'Hiver

Today I am wearing a regular in my winter fragrance rotation, L'Eau d'Hiver. It was created for Frederic Malle by one of my favorite noses, Jean Claude Ellena. The notes are bergamot, angelica, iris, hawthorn, jasmine, honey, carnation, heliotrope, caramel and musk.

Other than a little blast of bergamot at the start, this is a sheer, understated perfume, very much in keeping with Ellena's style. As the notes suggest, it is sweet, but it does not have the feel of a gourmand fragrance. The floral notes, which include a touch of powder from the iris, seem to float over the honey, caramel, and musk. The entire composition does in fact suggest a cold, cloudy winter day, in a way that is difficult to put into words. Because of the sheerness, however, it can be worn in almost any season.

It has good lasting power.

Frederic Malle L'Eau d'Hiver is available in 50 and 100 ml, or in a travel set (3 x 10 ml). For purchasing information, see the listing for Frederic Malle under Perfume Houses.

See also Paul & Joe Blanc, another Jean Claude Ellena creation with similar notes. 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Just picking up this older thread, Robin, with great interest, as FM has just become available here in Vancouver. I love the line in principal; the fragrances are fascinating and very different from one another, as might be expected, spawned by a group of highly individualistic talents who have been given free reign in terms of artistic expression. To me, l'Eau d'Hiver is perhaps the most “intellectual” of the lot: cool, calm, confident, and not especially emotional. The ultimate office fragrance for busy executives? It may be! For me, it's a little too polite, too restrained: very brainy, but without much passion. For this price, for this woman, I want more va-va-voom excitement. But that's just me; for the right woman, this would be the perfect fit of a fragrance. I'm looking with great interest at the boxed set available sporadically — 14 frags, 10ml each, with a book included. . .

  2. Anonymous says:

    The set is lovely, although I liked the older set with 5 ml bottles better because it was cheaper :-)

    In general, I'd say Jean Claude Ellena, the perfumer, doesn't specialize in va-va-voom. Did you try Parfum de Therese? I find that one closer to va-va-voom.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Robin. I'm just varely, barely beginning to understand all these nuances, with great assistance from your site and your recommended links. I now have a greater sense of Jean Claude Ellena's work, and of course, he's anything BUT va-va-voom, and all the more intriguing for that. I really seem to get buffeted around by fragrance as I learn more about it; in one moment, with one fragrance, I'm searching out the subtlest subtleties, and the next moment, I'm reeling back with another's aggression. That's why I need YOU!!!! At least you allow me to approach a bottle with some kind of expectation, and that's great guidance. Thanks and please excuse any ignorant opinions I may voice in these next months. Still at the very bottom of a very steep learning curve!! — Robin from Vancouver

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey — your opinions aren't any more ignorant than mine. Seriously, I'm far from an expert, just been smelling maybe a bit longer than you have :-)

  5. Anonymous says:

    You are modest! You have had your nostrils wrapped around dozens and dozens more scents than I have. Living in Vancouver, B.C., our selection is sadly limited. The Frederic Malle line is new and easily the most exciting thing we've had since Serge Lutens. So frustrating to read about things like l'Artisan!!!! Oh, well. I guess we Canadian fragrance addicts save money this way. . .Robin

  6. Anonymous says:

    P.S. I tried Therese at your suggest and I AM IN LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you thank you THANK you!!!!!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    So glad you love it!

    I live basically in the middle of nowhere, and can't smell anything interesting unless I drive an hour or order samples online. Especially when I started, most everything I smelled came to me in the mail, either sample purchases or swaps. So if you've got an FM nearby, you're doing better than me :-)

  8. Anonymous says:

    For a woman in the middle of nowhere, your nose sure gets around!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    This fragrance smells like being a child in India. The warm bergamot burst at the beginning reminds me of herbal concoctions and spices my mother would use in home remedies in Bombay. AND it dries down to a soft, sweet flush without being gourmand or powdery at all. Brilliant, just brilliant.
    By the way, I obtained my sample just by commenting on the Frederic Malle website that I was dying to try their fragrances but lived too far from an existing counter. I left my address and a few weeks later, surprise! They had mailed me samples of Lipstick Rose, Une Rose, and l'Eau d'Hiver from Paris.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Lucky you! Getting samples that way seems to work for some, nor for others. And so glad Hiver brings up such nice memories for you; it's a great scent.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I received this yesterday at work and was very anxoius to see what it smelled like. My friend immediately wanted to test it out, and the first comments were “it smells kinda diapery” not dirty diaper, but that powdery talc smell. She works in a small office, an hour later I walked in to chat with her again and the fragrance had developed into a wonderful light summer day full of sunlit fields. Not really a fragrance I could wear, unless it's right after my nighttime shower and before bed.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Happily it does not remind me of diapers in any way…but it certainly does have a powdery finish :-)

  13. Anonymous says:

    Now that's interesting… I have this scent on tonight and for some reason was noticing a similarity to Apres La Mousson. I'm still trying to figure out what (other than the obvious JCE) the connection would be, since they don't appear to share a single note. Strange how a fragrance can smell so different at different times of day, different weather, and so on…I didn't get anything like Mousson last time around. All the same, I do like this one, and don't care for the Mousson. That comes across all peppery melon on me…it even makes me sneeze!

  14. Anonymous says:

    They may well share notes though — we just don't know what they are.

  15. Anonymous says:

    After reading the review of the Dans tes Bras in Perfume Posse, I read again all the available reviews of the FM line. I even did the quiz and waited for the reply from the FM office. Then I bought 6 samples ( French Love, L'Eau d'Hiver, En Passant, DTB Musc Ravageur & Angeliques sous la pluie, in which the staff recommended the first three to me based on the quiz) for 24 euro (shipping cost as the samples are free) regardless of the poor financial situation of the world and of myself! but i think it's still a bargain, after I saw the prices in ebay!

    Well, Impulse shopping is what I do when I am under stress of tight deadline – I spent hours researching for the perfume rather than on my article! Now it's time to go back!

    Which one is your favourite in the FM line? Will you review the DTB one too,? I look forward to hearing what you say about this one!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I don't know that I have 1 favorite. I love and wear En Passant, Therese, Vetiver Extraordinaire, Hiver, Une Rose & Carnal Flower. If forced to choose among those, I might pick the first 3, but it might depend on what day you asked.

    DTB is a great scent, but not sure I love it as much as Patty. But, have only worn it once so far, and haven't even decided if I'll review it.

  17. Anonymous says:

    JCE is also my fave!

    I love Hiver and Bigarade Concentree….have you tried BC, R?

    and will ya review it? :p

    oh btw, Im very new in niche frags persuasion…and I fell in love with Hiver since a very generous swapper gave me a decant and I knew I had to have it…lol

  18. Anonymous says:

    BC is a disaster on me, seriously. Just horrible — like rotting orange peels. It's a shame, but then again, good to have a few perfumes you DON'T need to buy :-)

  19. Anonymous says:

    i was dreading it after reading the reviews on MUA…

    surprise…surprise when i tried it on….fabulous!

    oh well….OTOH i was so excited to tried Le Parfum de Therese after all the nice reviews i read….

    but the result was quite disappointing for me….i didnt like it…not even a bit! :s

  20. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Therese didn't work for you, but sounds like you've probably got enough FM scents to buy!

  21. Anonymous says:

    My local shop has all Malles….lol

    Well, considering i live in a student's city then i'd say it's quite amazing indeed :O

    I wanna try Paul & Joe's Blanc coz people say that it's similar to Hiver… but it's so hard to find :(

    and I dunno where to buy it in Netherlands

  22. Anonymous says:

    It's hard to find here too…I can think of only 1 store in the US where I know I can find it in person (I'm sure others have it and I just don't know about it, but it isn't widely carried).

  23. Anonymous says:

    have your tried Blanc, R?

    how similar is it to Hiver?

    ohh, and a very sweet MUAer informed me a site where i can buy it…however the shipping cost is very steep ($27) while the bottle itself costs $ 55…hmmmm……

  24. Anonymous says:
  25. Pandora says:

    I’m sad no-one has posted on L’Eau d’Hiver in a while. I have this scent and love the fact that it is not va-va voom sexy. It is indeed brainy and odd and strange but curiously sensual as well. It requires an understated approach to the senses, rather than a brash personality. It is both warm and close to the skin without being spicy or sweet–it is both cool and warm at the same time–I can’t explain it. It reflects my moods perfectly, when in the right mood–somber, quiet and kind of sad with just a touch of resignation. But ultimately it comforts me in these darker moments–perhaps because it stays so close and is so personal. I would not describe this perfume as an office scent–it would get lost amidst the blast of Marc Jacob Daisy and Estee Lauder Sheer Pleasures….

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