The Scented Hound

Perfume blog with abbreviated perfume reviews & fragrance reviews.

L’Ombre dans l’Eau by Diptyque


L'Ombre dans L'eauWHAT I SMELL:  L’Ombre dans l’Eau opens sweet, light and pretty with black current and an emergent rose.  It has a bit of a waxy finish like that of a scented candle.  After a minute or so, a green emerges, its leafy and round.  After around 5 minutes, the fragrance starts to really blossom and at this stage I feel like I have a small bouquet of flowers in hand which are a little wild and a little fruity. The composition doesn’t really change  from the rose and the green, but it seems to grow and expand off of my skin.   After about 15 minutes L’Ombre dans l’Eau starts to become sweeter… so much so that it borders on obnoxious.   For an eau de toilette this has some turbo projection and power.   Uggghhh, this just keeps expanding and growing and I feel there is no turning back.

From Fragrantica:  L’Ombre Dans L’Eau (“Shadow in the water”) is a female fragrance from 1983, based on the unusual and beautiful harmony of black currant leaf and Bulgarian rose, which blend perfectly together. 

childbeautypageant2WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Artificially pretty and over the top like a child beauty pageant contestant.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE L’OMBRE DANS L’EAU:  toxic, overbearing, nauseating

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT L’OMBRE DANS L’EAU: Perfume-Smellin’ Things, Bois de Jasmin, peredepierre

BOTTOM LINE:  L’Ombre dans l’Eau is a total scrubber to me that others seem to like.  I don’t get it.  To me, L’Ombre dans l’Eau smells so artificial as if its made from a chemistry set.  Adding that artificiality to a whopping projection makes my head feel like I’m being struck with a rose sledgehammer!  I see this better suited for a home fragrance than a personal fragrance, but even as a scented candle, this would make me want to leave the room.  I’m not really familiar with the Diptyque line, but this does not make me want to explore any more.

  • Bone Rating: 1 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent:  Floral
  • Classification:  Feminine
  • Expense:  $88 for 50ml EdT from the Diptyque website

Author: The Scented Hound

Just a normal guy with the nose of a beagle!

20 thoughts on “L’Ombre dans l’Eau by Diptyque

  1. Thank you for not adding to my list of things I need to try. Sorry you had to experience that.


  2. Sounds terrible, but then, the notes don’t appeal me to me to begin with. Given the artificiality you describe and its projection (not to mention the price), I’d bet it’s loaded up with synthetics. Oddly enough, I skimmed L’Ombre d’Eau’s entry in the Luca Turin/Tania Sanchez book this morning. Went back to quote a bit for you. She references a “vegetal top note” and an “high-pitched blast” and says that it ends up “sweet-and-savory” in a way that smells “at certain distances plasticky, like a vinyl table-cloth.” She calls it “blunt” for all-day wear and says she enjoyed it as a shower gel.

    In short, yes, clearly synthetic up the wazoo. I have nothing but disdain for fragrances like that, no matter how much others may clamor over them.

    BTW, that photo is even more horrific than your description of the fragrance. There is something deeply terrifying about beauty pageant kids or, to be precise, the parents who make the poor things look like that. Revolting and so damn disturbing!


    • K – I have not had such a negative experience in such a long time. It really had some promise at the beginning and then it just kept growing like The Blob until I felt totally consumed by it. Nothing natural in the least. But I am finding that people really like it. I can’t imagine that its just me. Horrible. I may have nightmares tonight. As for the “Toddlers and Tiaras” aspects of this.. it’s funny, I did not have to really search deep for that connection… it’s just too over the top like those pageants…and just as scary! xoxoxoxox


  3. Dearest Hound
    Just out of interest, any idea if you tried the recent reformulated version or the original.
    I have a feeling that you might not have liked either, but what you’re describing certainly sounds more like the current inferior iteration.
    I’m interested that so few readers seem to know the Diptyque line, is it something of an oddity in the US? One can’t move for it over here.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy


    • My dear Dandy –

      I’m sure this was the reformulation. I got this as a sample when I purchased something else…probably about a year ago as it’s been hidden in the mess of unopened samples that I have. As for the Diptyque line, what you see over here is more of the home fragrance line, specifically candles. I don’t actually recall seeing any of the personal fragrances in the stores.


  4. Oh, you made me giggle with this child pegeant ! I get another challenge here, Mr Hound! This Shadow is neither a scrubber, nor a love for me, but I found it quite intriguing how it turned like tomatoe leaves on me and a rose dipped in a metal lake – quite refreshing, indeed. But odd. Really odd and unwearable to me.
    However, it is an exception for me from the whole line of Diptyque I had the chance to sample, wear and adore. I love Phylosikos, Oyedo, Eau Lente, Tam Dao, Do Son, L’Eau de Tarocco, Olene, but I am pretty into 34 boulevard Saint Germain and last year’s Volutes. Do give it a try for each one of them – it’s like Jo Malone’s – one fragrance doesn’t speak for the whole line.


    • Interesting, tomato leaves and rose dipped in metal lake… that does not sound pleasurable at all. I know, I can’t put all of my eggs in one basket. BTW, I plan to hit the store today and try to get some J. Malone samples 🙂


  5. This sounds like a total disaster of a scent! I’ve been meaning to try this scent for the longest time via samples and decants, but somehow this scent, L’Ombre dans l’Eau, always gets bumped from the list. Hmmm….I wonder is there a higher power involved in this fragrance disappearing from my order to prevent my nose from being assaulted with the likes of this terrible aroma? That’s a good possibility! Thank you! Now I know I don’t think I will try this one. It sounds disastrous and will probably make me nauseous to even smell such a thing.


    • A lot of folks really like this fragrance…but unless you like artificial rose and plastic green, this is not for you. There are so many lovely fragrances out there… don’t worry about this one! I can’t speak of the other Diptyques though… although they do make nice home fragrance candles.


  6. I haven’t tried this houndy – from the blackcurrant, rose and green – I was going to ask how it compared to Damascena. But they sound pretty different! I haven’t really explored the Diptyque line, it doesn’t really appeal :S


  7. I like your visual aid (and agree completely with you and Kafka on the topic of children in beauty pageants). It’s interesting that you’ve got that association because when I tested this perfume it strongly reminded me of YSL’s Baby Doll.

    I can’t say that Diptyque is my favorite brand but I don’t think it’s fair to judge it by one perfume. 34 Boulevard Saint Germain and Volutes are very interesting; Tam Dao and Philosykos are definitely worth trying.


  8. What a mess! It is tremendous what reformulations, I liked that perfume has a currant leaf opening very real, very green and then a rose that is emerging, the EDT was powerful as EDP, actually received compliments when I wore and had her sexy point .. no plastic was a gardener!
    But they are doing! Yesterday I smelled the new version of Olene, yuck, you can not charge for something “natural” and sell synthetic .. Shame!!


  9. Actually, I adore this scent FOR the fact of what it is. I work with synthetic and mineral oils, diesel and tons of grease. I am used to the over bearing smell of hard hitting automotive liquids. This is one of the few I can wear to work and have it lift above all else for a full day. It’s qualities provide a juxtaposition to all the other environmental smells. We have a cake manufacturer next door (less than 50m away) and the smells from there make L’Ombre pale in comparison. I am all for L’Ombre.


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