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!