Waking in winter: EAU D’HIVER by EDITIONS DE PARFUMS (2003)








If you like your perfume to be subtle; preferably cold, and wistful – but not old-fashioned – then you might want to try L’Eau d’Hiver, a gentle and melancholy scent authored by that most minimalist of perfumers, Jean Claude Ellena.  A chill of winter:  bergamot, angelica, and a delicately ozonic note of ice-blanketed fields, as you gaze, incuriously, from the upstairs window, cradling tea.


The watery, woodish heart of the perfume – floral touches of iris, hawthorn, carnation and white heliotrope – lend touches of reassuringly honeyed reminiscence with their soothing notes of vanillic caramel.   They are notes, however, that are attenuated: sad, muted watercolours, as if seen from memory or frosted glass.


The delicate, soft transparency to L’Eau D’Hiver, this beautiful, wan smile of  pale, sugar-dusted almonds, is appealing initially as a comforting touchstone.   Eventually, all this fades, however, to nothing more than a sweet, featureless note of self-effacing colourlessness.


For the timid, and those who steadfastly plough their quiet and steely self assurance yet want a marker,  this scent has a place, though.  For the poetic. Shy, bookish girls in love with Sylvia Plath.


Filed under Almond, Ozone, Perfume Reviews

27 responses to “Waking in winter: EAU D’HIVER by EDITIONS DE PARFUMS (2003)

  1. wonderful! Enjoy your rejuvenaissance.

  2. Marina

    What lovely and sad imagery.

  3. I think I tried this perfume a year ago. I think somewhere I have a tiny sample, which I bought two years ago among other Malle’s samples. And if I did try this perfume (and I’m not confusing it with some other perfume), I liked it and was surprised that I didn’t remember liking (or even trying) it two years ago when it was bought. And I planned to test it again… I’m positive it should be somewhere among my not that poorly organized samples. But somehow it managed to escape my database catalog. I definitely need to rectify that!
    Thank you for the nudge with that very poetic review.

    • ginzaintherain

      Thanks for reading it. I think I should retry it myself actually as I do love almondy scents….It’s just that there is something so nihilistic about its subtlety….

  4. alabasterwrists

    I am unusually late to this party ! This perfume sounds like a great one for this “shy booking girl” to wear on Winter Solstice (given that Avalon Juniper, a simple blend of grapefruit, juniper berries and heliotrope, which I save specifically for Winter Solstice and have worn on this day for the past 5 years, has sadly been discontinued).
    And as an avid tea consumer (literally 8-10 cups per day) I adore that phrase “cradling tea”- may I use it?

    PS… and why am I not surprised that you are a Sagittarius? ( I believe a “happy birthday” is in order!). You are the same sign as my middle child, whose gross motor skills were a bit delayed but began talking at the age of eight months. She was so petite and fragile looking that it seemed odd to hear so many words coming out of her tiny mouth! She would sit in the middle of the room like a Buddha, barking out orders to all those in close proximity! Were she not the spitting image of me one would never guess that she is the offspring of a reticent, demure, reserved mother!

    • alabasterwrists

      Oops! Meant to say “shy bookish girl” My middle aged fingers are no longer typing so well!

    • ginzaintherain

      Hilarious! Are crap motor skills a notorious Sagittarian trait?!

      I adore the idea of her sitting like a Buddha in the middle of the room, barking orders!

    • ginzaintherain

      As for this perfume, I don’t know… if you like sugared almonds with a touch of ozone then go for it…somehow I instinctively feel you wouldn’t like it

      • alabasterwrists

        I trust your judgement as you know my tastes…I guess I will just have to nurse that bottle of Avalon Juniper!

  5. serafinarose

    ‘Lost Echo sits amid the voiceless mountains
    And feeds her grief with his remembered lay,
    And will no more reply to winds or fountains,
    Or amorous birds perched on the young green spray…
    Peace, peace! He is not dead, he doth not sleep –
    He hath awakened from the dream of life –
    Tis we who lost in stormy visions, keep
    With phantoms an unprofitable strife…’
    Percy Bisshy Shelley

    • ginzaintherain

      Sadly, this perfume is no way near as beautiful……

      • You are right I’m sure! I’ve never smelt the perfume, and was responding to your beautiful prose and the wistful picture, which reminded me of that WW1 generation of women whose true loves went off to the trenches and never returned (hence the Adonis verse). I feel compelled to meet beauty with beauty when I read your writing (but it would help if I had actually smelled the perfume of course). The first phrase I actually thought of when I read your review and comments – I think it was the phrase ‘something nihilistic in its subtlety’, also the grey grain of the photo – was one by Edith Sitwell called Aubade and it opens with the lines:
        ‘Jane, Jane
        Tall as a crane,
        The morning light creaks down again;

        Comb your cockscomb ragged hair,
        Jane, Jane, come down the stair.’

        Love it! But it is very wistful, melancholic verse and has a certain aristocratic cashmere cool to it.

        Anyway, I will have to try this perfume as with so many others x

  6. I have never been in love with Sylvia Plath and in fact am not interested in her depressing poetry (even though I have read some of it) but this Jean Claude Elena perfume is one I have always thought of as being “office friendly”. Unfortunately, I sometimes forget I even own it and have a tendancy to wear it in the Spring rather than in the winter.

  7. Tora

    “a sweet, featureless note of self-effacing colourlessness”

    Again, you just touch my heart with your words. I can conjure up the person for whom this perfume beckons. I knew her in high school, in college, in grad school, at work, and in life. When I run across this girl again, I can offer this as a fragrant touchstone for her.

  8. Dearest Ginza
    Now I must have this and play the tortured heroine of a Henry James novel in art house film adaptation drawing mainly on the scent for inspiration.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  9. emmawoolf

    Rather behind the times, I tried this in the Liberty boutique today. It is rather delicately lovely, (and I do get its melony, watery, almondiness). Of the editions de parfums series though, (and I could only try a handful) I loved le parfum de Therese the most: just utterly gorgeous (Eau de magnolia was surprisingly good too – again I could only weep at the three figure price, so came away empty-handed). A review one day perhaps, please? x

  10. MrsDalloway

    I do love this one (being formerly a shy bookish girl!). It’s like the lightest of cream coloured almondy cashmere shawls. I don’t wear it often but sometimes it’s just right.

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