L'eau Froide by Serge Lutens
The wait is officially over and it was a very long winter anticipating more "cool" to come from Serge Lutens, but well worth the wait. I just went the whole day wearing the new eau de parfum release from Serge Lutens called L'eau Froide. Directly translated, L'eau Froide means "Cold Water". L'eau Froide is the second in Lutens' thematic "water" series, the first being L'eau Serge Lutens. It appears that Lutens wanted L'eau Serge Lutens, released in 2010, to be an "anti-perfume" and as fresh as a laundered shirt. Lutens made the following statement about L'eau Serge Lutens
"When I presented L'eau to my team, I felt like Saint-Just informing the nobles they were going to lose their privileges"
Prior to laying my hands on this hot new property from the king of spice, I was trying to conjure up an image in my mind of this fragrance's note structure. L'eau Froide was kept well under wraps and very little information was released, except for only a single note discussed, and that note was frankincense. Not surprising for the spice and incense master, but how will this frankincense note translate into a "cool" fragrance?
When we hear the word frankincense, we usually associate it with the burnt variety, but Lutens' L'eau Froide is incense in its resinous state with base notes dabbling in the white musk range. This "cool" fragrance is not one of icebergs and glaciers, but the sense of coolness that can be evident in Somalian incense blended with aromatics or mineral note. When we think of "cool" in the abstract form, it might also suggest aldehyde or crisp eucalyptus notes or even mint.
The opening is reminiscent of smell of pure cool water that is laced with a light herbal or perhaps mineral quality and a small bit of citrus. This freshness is aquatic and interestingly refreshing. The opening continues to metamorphose with slightly peppery notes and traces of frankincense, which makes L'eau Froide an interesting sensory experience. The heart presents a cool refreshing mint note that appears to have been rescued from a blazing forest fire just before being engulfed in flames. L'eau Froide is by no means a complex fragrance. The base notes tread dangerously close to the soapy arena but the resinous frankincense seems to keep them in check. A fresh aromatic pine or even a green woody note blends softly with the smoky mint, giving a strangely clean sensibility. A few have complained about the longevity of L'eau Froide but my wearings have got me a hefty 8-10 hours of longevity.
Few people have been accepting of this new philosophy from someone who build a reputation for deep, dark and spicy scents. This series seems to be the direct opposite of Lutens' previous fragrances, and maybe that's his intention. L'eau Froide is quiet and somewhat reserved and has a subtle cleanness about it. It is easily wearable in an office environment without offending even the most delicate of senses. The consensus is that Serge Lutens created his two "Water" fragrances to appeal to the ever-popular "clean scent" customer, and to cash in on the demand. Perhaps he did, but L'eau Froide carries Serge Lutens' heavy-handed and very unusual signature. Anyone who knows his fragrances well enough would recognize L'eau Froide to be Serge Lutens' creation.