L’Eau D’Hiver by Jean Claude Ellena for Frederic Malle- Winter Wonderland

Picture 308 L’Eau D’Hiver was created by the legendary Jean Claude Ellena for Frederic Malle. It’s kind of a response to Après L’Ondée. Imagine Jean-Claude and Guerlain having some kind of sniff off in a dark car park after hours. Who wins? Well, I’d say Jean Claude struts off with the trophy in this battle of the heliotropes, but leaves Guerlain with only a slight graze to its pride.

Luca Turin rates Après L’Ondée as one of the twenty best perfumes ever made. That’s quite a compliment when you think there are over 17,000 perfumes listed on Fragrantica alone, and the site by no means covers every scent ever made. It seems only appropriate to review the two scents consecutively since they are both heavyweight heliotropes, and this ingredient is getting harder to find and use today. Somehow, Jean-Claude Ellena managed it, but then Jean-Claude has clout.

So what’s the verdict on Eau d’Hiver? Well it’s primarily heliotrope, but where it differs from the cold shouldered Après L’Ondée is that JCE added a touch of musk, and am I imagining it? MINT.  It’s an unusual mixture that makes me think of frost and snow and silvery frozen raindrops on a cobweb. The mint keeps it sharp, but the musk softens it at the same time.

It wasn’t love at first sniff though, it was more “Mmm, that’s interesting” followed by  “rather nice, but I wouldn’t buy a large bottle” and after a while, I kind of needed to open a window. It’s like longing for a cosy log fire on an icy day, but then getting too cosy and wanting a blast of fresh air again.

The jury’s out, but it’s much friendlier than Après L’Ondée and her haughty froideur.

5 thoughts on “L’Eau D’Hiver by Jean Claude Ellena for Frederic Malle- Winter Wonderland”

    1. Thank you! I had to borrow my sample from a friend who used to live in Switzerland. I’m in the UK but I find only bigger stores in bigger towns stock it. EBay is also pretty good.

  1. Also ask for swapsies or buy trial vials from fellow perfumistas you meet online in forums like Basenotes and Fragrantica.

  2. LOL – you’ve seen the number of samples I’ve amassed over the last 7 years! I have wonderful kind friends who share my obsession and their fragrances with me. 🙂

    L’Eau d’Hiver is one of my favourite fragrances. Ellena called it an ‘eau chaud’ – a warm water and it’s definitely Apres l’Ondee’s happier and more friendly niece.

    To me this smells like hope – that thing with wings that Emily Dickinson describes.

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