I love this fragrance! I already own Eau des Merveilles and I love that one too. This one is a softer and lighter version. It starts out fruity/citrus and the dry down is vanilla/spicy. Just perfect for hot summer days. It lasts a very long time on me. I think it should be unisex.
This smells like a lighter concentrate of Halston Limited minus the olibanum. It's really quite nice, and a refreshing surprise to see a sort of 'chypre in disguise' pop up like this.
One thing that can be very interesting and very frustrating at the same time on Ellena creations under Hermès Belt is that recurrence of aromas that makes you associate a scent with other previously launched. At the same time it seems to create an identity, a sense of a collection which is unveiled a little every year, it can also be frustrating if you expecting some entirely new and different. So, i see that at least I need some time to understand if i like an Ellena creation or not, because my first reaction lately with his scents is to feel bored or disappointed, and then learn to appreciate it on the next wearings. It's what happened to me with Eau Claire des Merveilles, that at first i found weak, weird, uncomfortable on skin. But those days i wore it and was fascinated by the second rendition that Ellena gives us of a natural vanilla pod aroma. Its pods seems to have something which is sweet but slightly flowery and animalic too and Ellena used this impression of vanilla but in intense form on his Vanille Galante, pairing it with a powdery, banana-like aroma of ylang-ylang. Here he tones down both vanilla and the ylang-ylang and it's wonderful to smell that comfortable, warm and sweet vanilla juxtaposed with something more woody, dry, a sparkling opening that makes me think of aldehydes and a totally abstract floral accord that last a good time before the fragrance goes to the vanilla impression. As the name says, it's not a heavy fragrance, it seems to remain light but noticeable if you spray it more liberally. Very interesting to me.
I guess Eau Claire Des Merveilles is the younger sister of Eau Des Merveilles .... as intensity and duration. So, a gorgeous perfume, for any time of year – but in my opinion. Hermes has a great success in "Des Merveilles". and there is the Eau Des Merveilles.
I remember a little buzz when this first came out, but everyone seems to have quickly forgotten Eau Claire. I suppose that's largely because it really doesn't make much sense as an Eau des Merveilles flanker. Honestly, if they had released it as an almond-themed Hermessence, I think it would have a bit of a cult following by now. Oh, and it kind of sucks sprayed on paper, sitting like a sullen lump (though it positively sings on my skin) which probably makes it a hard sell.
So what does it smell like? It's Ellena on a good day, so it's complex but uncluttered. It hits first with a big shot of aldehydic white musky soap that quickly overpowers the nostrils and ends up as a sillage cloud as opposed to something you smell when sniffing your own skin directly (it's one of those Ellena tricks - most famously done in Terre d'Hermes - that some find clever and others find frustrating or simply don't perceive at all). The real star of the show is a delicious toasted almond smell, almost imperceptibly brightened with a pinch of citrus and fennel and made rich and nutty with a subtle sandalwood underneath. There's also a shot of Ellena's favorite cumin note, so there's a sweaty/spicy element as well.
So, I know this doesn't sound like much: Soapy sweaty vaguely-woody almond where you kind of can't smell the soap but it's there. But it smells amazing! I love the toasted almond note - it makes Eau Claire feel like some whole new kind of gourmand. But it's got that push and pull between the "perfumey" soap and the "niche" sweat, too. If you like loukhoum scents, you'll probably enjoy Eau Claire (though it's not that sweet). Or, if you're a Hermessence fan, this feels like it would be right at home in the line. Ellena fans, this is one of the good ones...