What Is an Eau Fraîche?

We’ve all been exposed to a great number of perfumes, usually made from complicated formulas, and often consisting of chemicals alone. While some of these perfumes can be fantastic, pure naturals can inspire us even more. A whiff of authentic vanilla, the scent of herbs and spices, of truffles, of ambergris, move us with their sensory beauty.

The notion occurred to me, a couple of years ago, of celebrating single natural fragrance ingredients without altering them in the lab. The perfect medium seemed to be an eau fraîche.

Eau fraîche is French for “cool water.” There are many ways of interpreting this, but I took it literally and decided to create a line of natural sprays that have the cooling effect of water sprayed on the face and elsewhere.

To do this, I include water in the formula, creating the effect of a splash from a fresh stream and not the burning heat of pure alcohol

The sprays are intense, cleansing, and evanescent. For three, I chose the greenest ingredients I know—vetiver, galbanum, and violet leaf to create an olfactory tang. Vetiver smells like fresh grass, galbanum a bit like gin, and violet leaf a tad like cucumber. Because these aromas are unfamiliar, most people become fascinated. There are those who buy the whole set and experiment with various combinations.

The fourth ingredient stands out because it’s not green at all. It’s orange, but not orange juice or orange rind, rather, orange flowers. It is neroli, distilled from orange blossoms, with a scent that’s floral and citrus at the same time.

The sprays wash over us, each its own natural aromas. They leave us fresh.

Eaux fraîches are great for getting out of the shower, for men who shave, and for a splash of cool water near the end of a tiring day.

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