Luxurious Bargain – Review: Hermès L’Ambre de Merveilles

Lately my perfume habits have changed dramatically.

I’ve gone from testing four of five perfumes a day, to craving and wearing a single one for a week or more at a time. That development has it’s positive and negative sides. On the one hand, I feel it is a more “normal” kind of behaviour, I’m less driven, I enjoy to stick with one for a time and really get to know this perfume, I feel more in control, less addicted. On the other hand, it impacts my blogging behaviour as well. Test five perfumes, get five reviews. Wear one, well that is only one.

But I’m fine with this, for now, this is how I want to operate and I can only hope all of you are fine with it as well, even if it means posts are going to be further apart.

So let’s see which perfume held me in thrall for the past ten days…

L’Ambre de Merveilles was created by Jean-Claude Ellena and includes notes of amber, vanilla, labdanum, and patchouli.

L’Ambre de Merveilles is a flanker to 2004’s Eau de Merveilles by Ralf Schwieger and Nathalie Feisthauer. Hermès in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena has re-interpreted the theme already twice before with Elixir de Merveilles (a gourmand angle) and Eau Claire de Merveilles (a greener, lighter version of the salty, soft, sea water-orange of the original).

In my humble opinion this third flanker is the best.

I was not immediately enamored though. The generous Lady Jane Grey let me partake in her decant and I let it sit (being occupied with other things) for a while. Until I got the flu that is. I did not feel in the mood for perfume, knowing myself though, the one sure-fire mood lifter when I’m ill is anything and everything by dear, trusty JCE. His Santal Massoia nursed me back to health the last time, so of course I turned to him again.

L’Ambre de Merveilles is very close to its mother scent, but it is like an Eau de Merveilles for winter time. The warm, snuggly aspects are turned up, the amber (labdanum-vanilla) accord warms up the salty-orange skin scent.

It is transparent, as are all later Ellena creations, but it has a definite presence and amazing lasting powers for something so diaphanous. It manages to exude warmth and a blankety cosiness, while staying light and gauzy.

L’Ambre de Merveilles is like one of these gorgeous Hermès mousseline shawls. Impossibly soft and see-through, but still warming and substantial.

Compared to such a luxurious scarf, L’Ambre de Merveilles has the added bonus of being a right bargain.
Although I sure wouldn’t mind having both…

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54 Responses to Luxurious Bargain – Review: Hermès L’Ambre de Merveilles

  1. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I tested it after you told me how well you liked it. I found that salty note after the first, very sweet phase very interesting: it’s almost medicinal on me. It’s a comforting scent with a relaxing quality – so yes, now I know what you meant. It’s like a very clean and suave yoga studio…

  2. Philipp says:

    Can you believe it I never sampled any of the Merveilles? I received a tiny vial of Parfum de M. as a swap extra, but I never thought about testing it.

  3. Tara says:

    I’m glad this was able to bring you comfort when you were sick. I’m no good with salty notes but I will give it try as I’m craving cosy perfumes lately and you love it so.

    That Hermes scarf is beyond gorgeous.

    BTW I love that you called it a “right bargain”, that’s such a London thing to say!

  4. masha7 says:

    I’ve worn and loved all the Merveilles, and now I must seek this one out! The original is probably the best beach scent ever. And I’m like you when it comes to ambers….Bring ‘em on!

  5. arline says:

    Think about this, you could get creative with your fragrance topics, and not always write reviews, but other aspects of your olfactory travels. You would probably do some great interviews, and you would be awesome at suggesting and guiding those who need perfume assistance.

    I like your guest bloggers too, they add a lot to your blog.

  6. Suzanne says:

    Wow, this one has held you in thrall for the past ten days?!!! With that kind of endorsement, I will definitely give it a try a some point!

    I wear the original and love it, but one of the best scents I’ve ever smelled was when Ines wore the Elixir de Merveilles one night out to dinner in Paris. It was stunning on her, and I’ve thought about that version a lot ever since then (but still haven’t tried it myself).

    • Olfactoria says:

      I don’t know whether it is the perfume or just my mood, but yes, it’s two weeks now and I’m still not bored.

      Must re-aquaintance myself with Elixir stat though. Our lovely Ines is a very good reason to branch out a bit. ;)

    • Ines says:

      Ahhh Suzanne, you brought some lovely memories back now. :D I remember we discussed it but I didn’t realize you liked it so much. We do seem to share the love for a certain type of perfumes.

  7. Dionne says:

    I recently got samples of the original Eau, as well as Elixir and Claire, but I’ve been holding off on trying them until Ambre is also in my hot little hands, because I want to do a throwdown of all four; after all, it is in my nature to want to explore ALL the paths. I’ll be very interested to see which I like the most.

  8. lucasai says:

    I’m looking forward to trying this as I didn’t have a chance to smell it yet

  9. flittersniffer says:

    Since reading about your serial wearing of this one, it shot up my lemming list to the No 1 spot – those notes and your response make this one a must try – it seems to tick all the boxes of a favourite winter scent for me.

  10. Eva S says:

    I have really enjoyed my sample of this (thank you Steven at Place Vendome!). I’m not sure about a FB though since I have 12 of CE:s creations already (including travel-bottles) :-)
    I agree it’s the perfect comfort scent.

  11. Ines says:

    I haven’t yet tried Ambre de M but I don’t doubt I will like it. The whole Merveilles set is good in my opinion, especially the Elixir which is my favourite so far. :)

  12. Annina says:

    I just went out to Sephora and spritzed this on, per your recommendation. I’m in love!!! This is incredible! At first, I didn’t think I liked it. It was very caramel-y and sweet on me. But within about 15 minutes, it mellowed a bit and the amber-y notes came through. I’m generally not a huge fan of gourmands, and I feared this would be. But it dried down really nicely on me, and I really like it! Oh no…. my credit card is melting…..

  13. Gretchen says:

    This makes me smile…there are a half dozen or so fragrances that, when I put them on, I think that this could be The One…the one I would commit to above all others (I refuse to say ‘signature scent’ as it would never be true), and I will wear it continuously for several days, a week, or sometimes more. Then, I put on one of the other select scents, and instantly sat, oh, but no, THIS is the one. Then, I read a review and decide I need to try that, and lo and behold, a new FB becomes part of my world. My collection remains small, less than 30 bottles, but I have discovered that I fall into categories of scents, and so feel content in my limited little world, although I must smell everything, “just in case.”. I defi Italy understand your love for this Hermes….it fills a need for you right now, and you may or may not move from it quickly or with reluctance. That you share your stories (like meeting Roja! And getting to sample his fragrances RIGHT There!!!) and broaden our worlds is what matters. I second the idea of more guest posts, and continuing the olfactory conversation in different ways, Birgit. It will continue ue to be rewarding, even if we don’t read new reviews every day.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I rather enjoy this new phase of slower perfume rotation. For the past month I have been wearing only three perfumes and I love it.
      Thank you for your encouraging words regarding my blog, that does really help!

  14. Undina says:

    I’m not sure I’ve ever worn a single perfume for several days in a row! When I was in a monogamous relationship with my first perfume love it was too precious to be used daily, it was saved for special occasions. Later, when I fall into a perfume promiscuity phase, my perfumes were usually changed as clothes: I won’t wear the same blouse the second day unless I have to (for whatever reason). So when I read you about wearing a perfume – any perfume – for that long it feels unreal.

    Somehow I missed on all of the Merveilles – starting from the original and through all the flankers (hate flankers! I can’t figure out what is what if I weren’t following a perfume from the very beginning). Recently, after reading Victoria’s (Bois de Jasmin) and Natalie’s (Another Perfume Blog) reviews, I went to a store and sprayed all 4 that I found on blotters (do not ask me to name them now but then I wrote them down on the test strips). I can’t say they are bad but … I do not know. For a while I probably just don’t want any more “just nice” perfumes – even in the form of a bottle from the sky: I know that I will end up not wearing them. But I’m glad that you found a perfume to help you when you needed that help.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Me too, and we are still going strong (uninterrupted since Nov 1). :)
      For me it turned out that apparently there are times, when a nice perfume is just the ticket, and a gorgeous one would be too much of a good thing.

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