My bottle of this fragrance was given to me by a rather profligate friend who had blind-bought it under the misapprehension that the "amber" of Eau des Merveilles was that sweet, warm, almost edible-smelling accord made from labdanum and vanilla and benzoin and other sticky resinous things. This is not that kind of amber. The 'amber' here is an attempt to replicate the smell of "grey amber," ambergris, which is salty and animalic and excreted by sperm whales. It's a rather important distinction, so let my friend's error serve as a cautionary tale: if you're looking for a sweet vanillic 'amber,' this isn't what you want. There's nothing very sweet in here at all. Even the orange is bitter and pithy and dry, dry, dry. Bone dry.
Dryness, in fact, is pretty much what this fragrance is all about. I've seen beach imagery used to describe this scent, and I find that apt enough so long as one understands that the aspects of "beach" being invoked here are mainly the salty, parched, and even somewhat uncomfortable aspects: the hot hot sand, the sharp-edged dune grasses, salt-encrusted skin feeling increasingly taut and stretched as it begins to sunburn. An orange peel left out in the merciless sun long enough for it to dry to the texture of a tough curl of pebble-grained leather. The bleached white, twisted forms that when seen from a distance could be either driftwood or bones.
But there's life here, too, beside this strange sea. I've never smelled real ambergris, but many who have claim that the ambergris note in this fragrance is remarkably realistic. And I believe it, because there is a strange undercurrent here that feels positively primeval, just as one would expect of ancient, sea-aged whale excreta. It is a warm and animalic smell, one that is immensely welcoming, yet which also suggests saliva-licked skin, or the milky spit-up of a still-unweaned infant. It's a weirdly intimate smell, simultaneously oceanic and mammalian, and whether it registers as appealing or as disgusting to me seems to depend entirely on my mood. The overall effect, however, is to add the sea to this otherwise dry beach -- and yet also to suggest it as a somewhat strange and alien sea, perhaps an ancient one, perhaps even one of those shallow warm primeval seas that predate our existence as a species altogether.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this fragrance. While I find it both fascinating and immensely sophisticated, I also--as already mentioned--sometimes find its animalic ambergris note more icky than inviting. Then there are also some days when I find this stuff to be an instant migraine, and others when it clogs my sinuses. Don't wear this one around people with allergies or people who are in any way environmentally sensitive! There's something extremely allergenic about it -- it's not the oakmoss, I don't think, but one or more other things that combine with the throat-tickling oakmoss to form a kind of perfect storm of immune response triggering.
Many people seem to like this as a summer fragrance, but for me, high heat and humidity make it far more likely that I'll find myself not enjoying its more animalic facets. I prefer this fragrance for the transitional periods bracketing high summer: late spring to early summer, and late summer to early fall.
It is not easy to find a Lovely svent Like EAU DES MERVEILLES In perfumery. Everytime i smelled it,i want breathe in slowly and Deeply.it is Definitely a Interesting scent. Woody,Modern,Subtle, Fresh,Clean,Heavenly and at the same time Sophisticated and Elegant.
A bright,Luminous departure.At the beginning this scent seems to melt into your skin and surround You in a Soft cloud of Orange scent.Definitely Citrusy scent with a Touch of sharp. The middle is Feminine and The base is Woody.
This HERMES EDT is the Perfect Touch to start an Unforgettable Day and makes a Delicious Feeling of Freedom and Independence for the Elegance Lady Especially if she is around 30/35 Years old. This scent also is Light Enough for Everyday Use But still Special Enough for Evening Intimate Occasions in SPRING/AUTUMN.
Longevity?Good on my skin.
The upside-down fragrance...
Eau des Merveilles by Hermès is a lovely fragrance, if not slightly unusual in that it has an upside-down note pyramid! You start out with the woody notes, which Hermès calls the "The Spirit of Wood", consisting of resins, balsams, woods (cedar and oak) and vetiver. Then comes the heart of the fragrance (which Hermès calls "The Memory of the Ocean") consisting of Ambergirs... that wonderful material which comes from the belly of a whale and which smells salty, musky and sweet all at the same time! the perfumer here, Ralf Schwieger, wanted to create a fragrance which centred around this note... and I must admit it smells beautiful! It smells of the sea, with the salty air and also has a musky quality which blends really well on skin, almost like a "second-skin" type of scent. Then finally the dry-down (called "The Sparkle of a Constellation"), a sweet pairing of lemon and orange, followed by a spicy mixture of cardamom, black & pink pepper. This is a very unusual ending for a fragrance, but it somehow lasts a long time on skin, blending really well.
My impression is almost like someone sitting on a beach eating an orange. I really like it actually. it's also very unisex (no flowers are involved in the composition), but it is also quite feminine at the same time! Apparently this was the last fragrance made before Jean-Claude Ellena arrived at Hermès (although he later made the flankers to this one, including the Eau de Parfum).
I would say that anyone could wear this one, it's a very "happy" fragrance (the name means "Water of Wonders"), and there is something quite happy and magical about it, like fireworks in a bottle. I would say this version (the Eau de Toilette) is perfect for summer and the warmer months, although it could probably be worn at any time of year, but just sitting closer to the skin. Pure sunshine and fireworks in a bottle! If you like casual, happy, but unique or "different" smelling perfumes... then give this one a try!
Starts as the most interesting fragrance I've sampled so far. Struggling to identify any of the notes except perhaps pepper and some light sweet orange. A half hour later there's a note that I don't care for - somewhat cheap. Still hours later, that's disappeared, and I'm detecting some floral, though I can't identify which. Testing this was a very thought-provoking experience!
Overall though, it seemed to work very nicely on my skin and I'm looking forward to trying this one again.
Eau de Merveilles...
In my mind, this is the zenith, epitome of a fragrance for women.
It reminds me of the great James Bond femmes- Vesper, Holly Goodhead from Moonraker, Octopussy, Kristina Wayborn also from Octopussy, Natalya Simonova in Goldeneye played by Izabella Scorupco (woman with a capital W!) and above all...XXX aka Barbara Bach from The Spy who Loved Me.
It is the face and body of Barbara Bach that soars through my mind when I smell Merveilles...strong, feminine, luxurious, gorgeous...
there is a scent of sea, warmth, spice and very faint tobacco...
anything that will remind me of Kristina Wayborn and Barbara Bach gets a
10/10, the perfect scent
It's hard to resist Eau des Merveilles' top notes: a juicy, yet peculiarly briny tangerine that's spiked with pink peppercorn and warmed by a subtle animalic accent. As the salt and citrus subside they cede the olfactory stage to a more conventional blend of woody notes and dry vetiver, with some light incense (elemi) contributing a slightly astringent, medicinal dimension. It's all very bright and sheer, but the central accord makes an increasingly chemical impression as it develops.
I sense kinship with The Different Company's Sel de Vétiver and Miller Harris's Fleurs de Sel here, but I find both of those scents more coherent, sharper in profile, and more enduringly compelling than Eau des Merveilles. Like both of the others, Eau des Merveilles strikes me as entirely gender-neutral.
At no point is Eau des Merveilles a potent fragrance, and it does not endure more than two or three hours on my skin. If the opening movement were extended to cover a couple of hours I'd be more excited by this scent, but I don't feel that Eau des Merveilles lives up to its initial promise as it is.