Winter is in full swing in the Western hemisphere, so Frederic Malle‘s L’Eau d’Hiver by Jean-Claude Ellena seemed like a suitably symbolic choice for today’s review. It is described as a watercolour that intertwines water and coolness with softness and warmth. What struck me was the exquisitely delicate opening that felt like an olfactory visual that captured intangible senses of atmospheric light and quiet moods, and turned them into concrete form.
Painted in translucent colours, the opening somehow manages to encapsulate Zen-like serenity, silence, and elegance in a way that makes the perfume as a whole far more than a mere collection of notes, far more than the sum of its parts. Again and again, the words which came to mind were “hushed breaths” and “translucent light.” The overall effect is more of a feeling than just a perfume. I’m not one of Jean-Claude Ellena’s fans and his minimalism usually leaves me cold, but the opening of L’Eau d’Hiver truly impressed me and leaves no doubt as to his technical mastery or brilliance. If only it had lasted….