Water of Wonders, Eau de Merveilles has an excellent name, an unusual bottle (by Serge Mansau) and is an unusual perfume. It is meant to showcase an unusual ingredient as well – Ambergris.
Ambergris is a secretion of the sperm whale, it floats around in the ocean for years. Being exposed to the elements gives it a unique and complex salty, sweet, woody aroma. These days ambergris in perfume is most often synthetic (e.g.: ambroxan, ambrox, amberlyn). Natural ambergris is very rare and therefore expensive.
Eau de Merveilles was launched in 2004 and was created by Natalie Feisthauer and Ralf Schwieger. It includes notes of elemi, bitter orange, Italian lemon, Indonesian pepper, pink pepper, ambergris accord, oak, cedar, vetiver, balsam of Peru and tears of Siam.
To me Eau de Merveilles is a curious perfume. Most days when I wear it, I forget about it only to be reminded suddenly because I catch a whiff of something wonderful. Eau de Merveilles melds with my skin so totally it becomes a different fragrance from the one you can experience on paper of fabric. Eau de Merveilles needs a person’s skin and warmth to really glow.
It starts softly sparkling with citrus notes and a little pepper, but soon the darker, more woody aspects show through. Once applied Eau de Merveilles smells salty, like sea water that dried on skin, a sensation almost, not only a smell.
I think Eau de Merveilles is perfectly gender-less and it holds its own very well over time, especially for an Eau de Toilette. It is transparent and sheer, a perfect addition to the Hèrmes oeuvre, but despite that Eau de Merveilles has a presence.
Eau de Merveilles speaks quietly, but insistently. It gets its message across: Here I am, Water of Wonders, when you wear me, can you hear the crashing of the waves? Can you fell the spray? Can you smell the sea? Can you? Can you?
My review of the new 2012 flanker L’Ambre de Merveilles can be found here.