Diptyque – Eau Lente

Posted on April 23rd, by What Men Should Smell Like in A - F, Oriental. 2 comments

Diptyque Eau Lente

Diptyque’s slow water is an ode to fragrances of centuries past. It is inspired by a perfume formula used during the times of Alexander the Great who requested his clothes be perfumed with the steam from this mixture. One can imagine the great conqueror returning from battle to bath in distilled waters of opopanax and spices. Eau Lente has been credited to two artists by different sources. Perfumer Serge Kalouguine and painter Desmond Knox-Leet, co-founder of the Diptyque brand. Kalouguine created a small number of early Diptyque fragrances before moving on to other projects associating with names such as Laura Tonatto and Fragonard. Launched in 1986, Eau Lente shares many similarities with the house’s first fragrance L’Eau. Created by Knox-Leet in 1968, L’Eau is a bouquet of spices and florals. Eau Lente has a masculine edge playing down the geranium notes found in L’Eau in favour of an austere mix of resins, spices and vanilla. Eau Lente’s star ingredient is opopanax. This pungent resin was often burnt in the temples of ancient Greece and used in Egyptian beauty formulas.

Olfactory impressions:

Diptyque’s website lists Eau Lente’s ingredients as cinnamon, Indian spices and opopanax. This simple description does not do the formula justice for what is a beautifully complex scent. I love it’s beginning as each ingredient battles to take control. The spicy top notes, black pepper, cinnamon and clove play out against a backdrop of a green floral accord that blends into rose geranium and jasmine. During the top note phase the fragrance is dynamic and full of life. As the fragrance settles and vanilla becomes more dominant, Eau Lente becomes sweeter, more lethargic like a child stuffed with candy. This is such a relevant fragrance for 2011. It amazes me fragrances like Eau Lente existed in 1986. It’s a testimony to Diptyque’s creative vision.

Suggested wearing:

Although I love the scent, I prefer to use it in small amounts or as a living scent creating an earthy atmosphere in the house. The Eau Lente wearer will be confident and have an attitude that they can do anything. Not limited by age this is a fragrance for men who favour oriental or spicy eau de toilettes. If you are not a fan of vanilla try Diptyque’s L’Eau. It is suitable for both men and women who are out to conquer the world.


Diptyque L’Eau, Carthusia Ligea, Miller Harris Fleur Oriental, Gucci Rush Pour Homme, Frederic Malle French Lover, Miller Harris Feuilles De Tabac. Guerlain Shamilar, Comme Des Carcons  CDG 2. Guerlain Shalimar

Perfumer: Serge Kalouguine (Fragonard)

Bottle designer: Brosse, adapted by Desmond Knox-Leet

Release date: 1986

Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Oriental

2 responses to “Diptyque – Eau Lente”

  1. Leah says:

    Knox-Leet did NOT create L’Eau. He was not a perfumier and he created the iconic label. Bullens, a graduate of the famous Versailles school, created L’Eau.

    • Hi Leah, Thank you for contributing to my blog. I understand Jean Claude Bullens was the nose behind Diptyque’s first candles Auberpine, The and Cannelle in 1963 however I find no information online or otherwise linking him to L’Eau. Although, this would not surprise me as I am sure the young entrepreneurs would have had a lot of creative input from their artistic set of friends during these early years. ELisabeth de Feydeau, an author who researched the brand extensively for her book, Diptyque describes Knox-Leet as a self taught perfumer who was the official house ‘nose’ until 1993. If you have other information, please let me know. I’d like the information I am sharing on my blog to be correct. Both Basenotes and Fragrantica also list Knot-Leet as the perfumer of L’Eau.

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