L'Eau Froide fragrance notes

    • somalian incense, marine notes, musk, mint, vetiver

Where to buy

Latest Reviews of L'Eau Froide

L'Eau Froide by Serge Lutens (2012) is the odd fresh fragrance among the usual dark and thick house style, which started to appear with more frequency into the 2010's. In this case, L'Eau Froide was first a part of the L'Eau Collection, released in a tall version of the standard rectangular bottle, then re-issued in 2019 as part of the L'eaux de Politesse (polite water), both collections now retired as Lutens so often does. What L"Eau Froide really does is give birth to a then-rare but now more-common aquatic incense combination, that we'd see exploited through Blue Encens by Comme des Garçons (2013) the following year, then Acqua Di Giò Profumo by Giorgio Armani (2014) after that. Most recently, Eau de Citron Noir by Hermès (2018) and This is Not a Blue Bottle 1.6 by Histoires de Parfums (2020) have further explored the theme that I feel first prominently appeared here in L'Eau Froide.

The smell of L'Eau Froide is best described as "peppery cool soap" for those who don't want long breakdowns. The extended version of this description is aquatic notes opening over nondescript citrus and white musk notes, which is very soapy for most, followed by mint and ginger contrasting cool and warm, then pops of black pepper and an incense note most likely coming from norlimbanol, as the execution is super similar to other later fragrance that use it. There is a light touch of vetiver for some smokiness, but the effect is still very much clean cool soap. I find L'Eau Froide nice, but like a lot of people, very sort of out-of-character for the house that released it; not that I'm insinuating Lutens or his favorite perfumer Christopher Sheldrake should be boxed in by any means. Performance is also good for something so deliberately light, meaning you can use this as a bit of a daily driver for office or casual wear if you like, in pretty much all indoor situations and some outdoor ones too if it's hot.

For me personally, I don't know how into buying a bottle of this I would be considering it is an early front-runner in a style that is now sorta all over the place, coupled with the obvious niche price point of Serge Lutens these days. I find that when this brand was priced the way it originally was, you could perhaps consider L'Eau Froide as a slightly upmarket take on a DNA that is a bit common now; but at the current retail going rate, L'Eau Froide is a bit of a hard sell to people wandering into niche looking for true alternatives to mainstream composition styles. Clearly this type of thing will never be the next Dior Sauvage (2015), so I'm not accusing L'Eau Froide of being ubiquitous, although it is a bit too common-smelling for its own good at the price points it last sold at before once again being marched off to the vaults, until Serge Lutens decides to maybe issue it again as a part of another light and lively collection, since it's done it twice now. Neutral
22nd January 2023
This review is for the new L'eau froide as part of the "Les eaux de politesse" line.
Side note: I am a huge fan of dry, resinous frankincense and resins.

Now to the scent itself: The combination of cold stony frankincense with supporting laundry musks has been attractive to me since it was launched, and I've owned two bottles of the original in the tall bottle. This being said, I find the new one somehow better and stronger than the original. It's more peppery and arid, definitely more diffusive. It has that pulsating quality that makes you feel surrounded by clouds of scented goodness the whole day. It's clean but naughty and it's suitable for any circumstance and weather. It's a beautiful chameleon that can be comforting and calming or uplifting and invigorating depending on the weather, mood or situation. A full thumbs up for me. One of my most treasured beauties.
26th April 2021

Edvard Munch: “Bathing girls” 1897-99
18th October 2016
This seemed remniscent upon first application of our favorite floor scrubbing detergent. It did get better, but not by much.

Pepper, Ginger, Frankincense, Musk, Mint, Vetiver.

Yes, they are all here. All present and accounted for. Once again, I ask the question that no one has ever answered: Why would I want to smell like this? I have never wished to ingratiate myself among folks who consider a clean, washed floor to be someone they would invest their millions for, or marry their eldest daughter or son for, or leave their wealth and many homes on the continent for.

Servants might smell like this, if we still had servants. And they couldn't help it. I suppose there are people out there who wish someday they could smell like floor detergent.

I haven't met any, nor do I wish to. Quite stupid scent.
20th June 2016
When I read Sanchez/Turin The Guide I was taken by the idea mentioned in the review of Equipage. It was said to be fashioned after the scent of cold pipe. My mind went to plumbing. The image stuck with me long after I put the review down. Over the course of time, it dawned on me that Turin had meant the kind of pipe you smoke. Not too bright, I know, but it did make me seek out Hermès Equipage, a fragrance I loved from first sniff.

But Serge Lutens has redeemed me! He has made a fragrance that smells like condensation on cold metal pipes. L'Eau Froide smells like cold metal, it smells like a stony brook in autumn, it smells like drinking melted water from a metal camping cup in winter. It's made of frankincense, but it smells like snow.

We use the expression 'skin scent' as a placeholder for a perfume's later stages of coziness, quiet and low sillage. It's when the scent has faded to the point that you must jam your nose to your wrist to make it out, at which time you're actually smelling your own skin far more than the perfume applied 12 hours prior. 'Skin scent' coziness can be applied to almost any perfume, but it will never be used to refer to l'Eau Froide. L'Eau Froide points out that the scent of live warmth is the true olfactory association with skin, as if we can smell the blood within the flesh.

L'Eau Froide might pass as the scent of a marble bust, but that is as close as it comes to flesh. You'll never mistake it for a skin scent.

from scenthurdle.com
18th May 2015
A beautiful scent, clean and fresh. It is the smell of fresh cotton sheets, and powdery laundry. Slightly starchy, slightly floral and zingy. This smell represents I am clean and a few MPs should invest in it! Or a lot of it, they would probably placed on their MPs expense sheet! All of Serge Lutens fragrances are quality items, they are pricey but when considers the price of Creed Fragrances, they do seem remarkable value.
11th April 2015
Genre: Woods

L'Eau Froide's mentholated frankincense top note is an interesting play on the name ("Cold Water") and on the "chilly" facet of the incense note. Unfortunately, the construct collapses almost immediately into a very ordinary mild white musk drydown that feels more like laundry detergent than a personal fragrance. The clever incense-on-ice idea is executed with far greater flair and conviction in Comme des Garçons' excellent Zagorsk. L'Eau Froide is an intriguing concept that falls short on delivery.
21st June 2014
Menthol-balsamic opening, with cedar-incense notes (Iso E), subtle white musks, and a rather generic, pale floral accord. Lutens does Helmut Lang, or Costume National. The menthol-balsamic note is not bad, it has a nice, sharp medicinal vein, a kind of "medical-invigorating-balmy" vibe. A rarefied, thin, white-grey opalescent mood, fascinating itself, and quite thermal too – I think of those ultra-modern trendy pools with Jacuzzis and spa areas. Linalool drydown. Astutely and completely synthetic, not even comparable to "real" Lutens' golden age, but making the effort to judge it as-is, it's – barely – not bad.

27th May 2014
unique'ishsmells like rusted metal submerged in icy waterPros: Cons: should've been more complex"
17th September 2013
Tiger Balm Incense SoapL'eau Froide opens up distinctly herbally minty fresh - a cross between toothpaste and chinese metholated oil -rub- tiger balm . Thankfully this only lasts a few minutes at most..... before a mild, clean incense comes into play and pushes out the chinese medicine image . Unfortunately for L'eau Froide ,the incense is fleeting and then it becomes a near copy of the original L'eau with a tiny sour edge to it. Practically identical in the dry down of clean soapy mild musks. L'eau is just a smidgen sweeter, that is all . Unless you huff your arm skin endlessly I doubt anyone would notice.Dare you smell of chinese headache oil ? Dare you ? I dare not. Pros: Clean and fresh * zing !! *Cons: Chinese medicine Vibe in the start"
17th September 2013
Fresh-marine with substanceMint, and vetiver is mainly what I get initially; later a sea-salt aquatic note breaks through, with white musk added a bit later. Little development on my skin, but surprisingly decent projection. Longevity is about three hours of what is a fresh but unexpectedly substantial fragrance. Nice.
29th July 2013
L'Eau Froide opens with peppery lemon notes (I believe the lemon comes via olibanum) over light, refreshing spearmint. The result is a kind of cold, breezy fragrance with a prickly, resinous edge. I believe this is the "sea water" accord that everyone is recognizing. As it dries down, vetiver emerges along with a light-to-medium-bodied incense which brings with it some smokiness and a bit of a change in the overall scent-impression. This occurs around the 4 hour mark and remains for the rest of its life, which all but fades completely after about 6 hours.

L'eau Froide seems well suited for the summer as it is very cooling and not the least bit heavy. However, that does not mean it is weak. It projects well and has a sturdy, solid construction. In other words, the notes aren't thin, fleeting, or flat despite their levity.

I commend Serge Lutens for taking a risk and creating something atypical of the house. This time it was done well and ultimately adds some variety to the Lutens lineup.

This is a comfortable and easy wear.

Consider L'eau Froide if you are looking for a cool, refreshing summer fragrance built around mint, resins, and incense.
25th February 2013