Post by Claire Vukcevic
Christmas time is a-coming! Time to talk about orange scents, in other words. First up – Elixir des Merveilles.
Elixir des Merveilles by Hermès 2006
Elixir des Merveilles by Jean-Claude Ellena
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Peru balsam, vanilla sugar, amber, sandalwood, tonka bean, patchouli, Siam resin, caramel, oak, incense, orange peel, cedar
God, Elixir des Merveilles is such a weird perfume. The first time I tried it, I remember thinking –this right here is why people hate perfume. It was overly rich, sweet, muddy, with all the elements jumbled together in that overdone blur that defines “Rich Bitch” perfumes to me. The second time I tried it, I thought “I should learn how to read labels better” because I’d been aiming for the Ambre bottle.
Third time round, something clicked for me and I began to like it. Now I have odd, sudden cravings for it. I think it’s because I was finally able to figure out its structure. There are two sides to Elixir des Merveilles – the syrupy orange peels dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt on one side, and on the other, a massively butch clutch of resins and moss. It’s basically a super-gourmand grafted onto a super hairy-balled aftershave.
Both sides are as oversized as clown shoes. The oranges dipped in caramel and chocolate are sweet to the point of being grotesque. One minute you think it’s gorgeous, the next you think, Christ, this stuff is absolutely gross. The sprinkling of what feels like celery salt over the treacly mass is probably one step too far. I swing between feeling repulsed to wanting more. The countermanding element is rather chypre-like: a brusque, musky cedar, smoky balsams and resins, moss. It’s really quite dry, bitter, and smoky.
The exaggerated forms of the two parts give the perfume a cartoonish Jessica Rabbit shape. It’s like watching an overloaded plane trying to take off or Kim Kardashian walk across the road in a tight skirt. You half fear it’s going to topple over any minute. But somehow the whole thing seems to hang together and work quite well. It’s a great winter gourmand, and the oranges and resins make me think of Christmas and oddly, Theorema.
Just don’t put this on if you’re not in the right mood for it, because it sticks like glue and seems to grow grander by the minute. At times, I find it enveloping and rich – just right for a cold winter’s day. But at other times, it begins to wear me down. When my hand glides over the small bottle of it that I bought, I have to think twice before putting it on.
Further reading: Perfume Shrine and Non-Blonde
Hermes stores and department stores stock Elixir des Merveilles
FragranceX has it around the $100/50ml mark
Surrender To Chance has samples from $3/ml
What about you guys? Do you have any perfumes that you hesitate before putting on because they are either such a huge commitment? Or because sometimes you enjoy them and other times they make you want to hurl? M/Mink and Myrrhe Ardente are both a little like Elixir des Merveilles in that way for me.
Claire also writes for Take One Thing Off<<JUMP