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L’Eau Froide – Tell me something different (February 17, 2012 New Fragrance Listing)

Photo - Wikipedia - Ice and Icicles on a bush - by en:User Barfooz

 I’m writing about something different today.

Gwen brought me Serge Lutens L’Eau Froide from Paris. I asked her to. There was such a hoo-hah last year over the launch of his self-described “anti-perfume”, L’Eau, the blogs were pulsing with controversy, rumour and gossip – “Serge Lutens was retiring, he’d lost his mojo, he’d died (metaphorically speaking)” - and I loved every word of it. Such outraged anger that the Master of Exotic scent would change his creative direction, and dare to give his adoring fans something DIFFERENT!

I made certain I got a sample of L’Eau and after wearing it I thought “Hmmm. It smells clean – just like he said it would.” Did I like it? Yes, I did, but it didn’t interest me. I love his saturated scents that are a perfume-lover’s feast. L’Eau made me feel like I was on a diet.

I’ve read more about Serge Lutens since then. Osmoz featured an interview with him in which he talks about change, how an artist has to change, or their creative spirit will become petrified.... he embraces “the concept of breaking with the past, changing. I like the sensation of breaking with the past. If you don’t want to turn into an antique, sometimes you have to change everything. In order to continue to exist.” I thought of Picasso, the guy who truly made art “modern”, whose artistic vision embraced change – how many times did his style morph into something new, and produce another masterpiece?

Serge Lutens is a similar genius, an artist creating in the most difficult of mediums. So I was intrigued when I read that he was launching another “L’Eau” in early 2012 – this one called L’Eau Froide (Cold Water). I was more intrigued when I read some excellent reviews, and learned that the scent was based on incense. Incense is one of my perfume hot buttons.

Denyse Beaulieu at Grain de Musc writes: “For all its beauty, incense is a bitch of a material, with mineral and old-coin facets that can veer on blood or butcher’s stall. Ripped out of the oriental formulas in which it is most commonly featured, it is rather cold than warm...” and Bois de Jasmin writes: “The main ingredient of L’Eau Froide is frankincense, and although incense conjures smoldering, burning images, the raw material possesses a chilly, crisp scent reminiscent of crushed peppercorns and bitter lemon peel.”

L’Eau Froide smells exactly like cold incense. There’s other notes, of course, but the notes don’t matter because I can’t identify them, except for mint in the first 30 seconds. The first few sniffs compare to leaving the house on a bitter cold day, and breathing air that freezes your sinuses and burns your face. The effect is sharp, bitter like citrus, peppery-hot but not aromatic. A few minutes into the drydown, the scent becomes cold incense, like the air in a vast stone church, which it remains, softening and sweetening after a few hours into a skin scent with a hint of musk.

L’Eau Froide does not smell like water, or ice, it doesn’t smell clean, nor is it an “anti-perfume”. It smells pure. And cold. It is extraordinary, and so very different. Serge Lutens most certainly broke with his past, stepped outside and poured a little cold water on me, restoring my inner artist - and I’m loving it. I can’t wait to wear L’Eau Froide in July.

Today, we’re adding L’Eau Froide to our decant sample offering. Decants are $5.00.