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.
Citrus, vanilla, violet, sandal wood, a lavender accord, some metallic aldehydes feel, nice fruity notes (a hint of freshly-cut pimiento) and quite a recognisable load of Iso E Super plus hedione. Which smell great – I'm a big fan. A bit later you get more clearly the amber-vetiver base. I don't get the balsamic aroma which should be there, actually the more minutes pass the more I get only the aromachems and the other notes vanish – what you get then for hours is a salty, pleasant, synthetic "good feeling", like a cozy, clean, opalescent airport lounge where *someone* with a good scent and just a hint of sweat has just left leaving you there alone (hedione and Iso E - if you know Odeur 53, that's it, and I quite like that kind of subtle, weird salty/woody/milky accord). Unisex, slightly floral, slightly salty-skin, pleasant and with a hell of persistence. More "eau" than "merveille", but still nice - more "avantgarde" than it may look like.
Eau Des Merveilles by Hermes is a beautiful and sophisticated fragrance. After many positive reviews on this site I ordered a bottle for me. I sprayed it on and it made my senses feel wonderful. The orange comes out at first and dried down into a sweet, woody scent. The next morning I still smelled it on my clothes. I am glad I ordered it and I am male. I think this fragrance should really be unisex. It will on top of my list from now on.