Hermès’ topsy-turvy Eau des Merveilles is one of my favourite fragrances from the brand. Heck, Eau des Merveilles is one of my favourite fragrances full stop and it was the scent that got me into all things Hermès – it was my Hermès gateway drug, if you will. So you will understand that I’m a little bit protective when it comes to my Merveilles, but so is Hermès and whilst they have produced a number of flankers for this fragrance, each one has brought something new to the franchise and as with all things ‘Hermès’, each Merveilles flanker has been expertly crafted.
Eau des Merveilles exists on the horizon, where constellations meet the deep blue sea. It’s a scent of adventure and navigation, both nautical and extra-terrestrial, which as you can imagine makes for an incredibly exciting olfactory experience. For Eau des Merveilles Bleue the latest take on the Merveilles signature, Hermès’ in-house perfumer Christine Nagel has removed the scent’s head out of the stars and plunged it firmly into the shallows of the sea at dawn. Eau des Merveilles Bleue encapsulates in scent, the freshness and crispness of a new day, through the translucence of the colour blue. I’m relaxed just thinking about it.
“The wonder of Hermès is rooted in childhood, when our eyes are open to the world, and marvel at everything.
I marvelled at the pebbles, wet from the ocean; they had such a particular colour and luminosity, and I discovered on them a salty, mineral taste …”
– Christine Nagel
Minerals, Salt, Driftwood and Patchouli
How Does it Smell?
Sea salt and minerals are the first impressions offered up by Eau des Merveilles Bleue. The effect isn’t entirely literal though, with a touch of lemon and a dash of mint to lure one’s mind away from the shores. Straight away, Bleue is instantly recognisable as Eau des Merveilles however, the colour has been drained away, with the sparkling orange tones of the original purified into something more transparent and luminous. This all floats atop a salty heart of driftwood and stone, creating a clash of woods, minerals and citrus fruits that feels easygoing and revitalising.
Like so many modern perfumes, Eau des Merveilles Bleue relies heavily on ‘laundry musks’ in the base to create a feeling that is sparklingly clean but also expansive and large. The difference here is the contrasts between this ethereal, sterile musk and the dryness of patchouli, which adds a darker undertone that hints, just hints, that there is depth in these marvellous waters. All together it gives the impression of cool air drifting slowly over the water. It’s an air of mystery that draws one closer to the mineral shimmer of the ocean.
Eau des Merveilles Bleue is very nicely done. It manages to be evocative of the ocean without relying on the tired tropes of the aquatic and marine genres. In fact, it doesn’t feel remotely aquatic at all (which really is a curse word in modern perfumery, let’s face it) instead it evokes the mineral feel of pebbles on a beach rather than the crashing of the surf. I think it’s a scent that I’m going to hit pretty hard this summer, because it’s the perfect fragrance for those days where one simply wants something clean and refreshing. Eau des Merveilles Bleue is the scented equivalent of throwing on a clean shirt (from Hermès, naturally, if only I could afford one) in the palest shade of blue. What could be more pleasing than that?
Eau des Merveilles Bleue is available in 50ml and 100ml Eau de Toilette. Currently it is exclusive to Harrods.
Samples and quotes via Hermès. Notes via Basenotes. Images are my own.