Monday, September 1, 2008

Eau de Merveilles by Hermès : A Question of Concentrations

“May I see the extrait?”

“But of course”

The tiny flacon is beautiful but strange, echoing the shape of the original but done completely in metal. It hangs from a saddle tan colored strap so that it may be hung from the neck like a pendant.

The sales associate turns to face me with a smile. “Would you wear it?” he asks. His mascara-ed, intelligent blue eyes shine with genuine interest.

“No, but I would love to have it hanging from my bag, like a charm.”

“But what if it spills? You wouldn’t want your beautiful crocodile bag to be destroyed!”

I can’t help but steal a glance at my bag in disbelief, just in case it has somehow magically reinvented itself and is now posing as a reptile. No, still the same calfskin Cavalli I walked in with. Moo.

I carefully smell the extrait. It is beautiful. Deep, dark and rich... Amazing. Extremely far removed from my beloved Eau de Merveilles however, only paying it a cursory nod in passing, it’s not what I came for; Perhaps another time. (Make that probably another time, its just beautiful)And no, I would certainly not wear the pendant around my neck – it would make me feel as though I am about to join a Live Action Role Playing weekend dressed as a hobbit or elf, equipped with magic potions and all. Nope. I leave instead with the Eau, a bottle of Ambre Narguilé (stunning) and a happy load of other generous 4 ml Hermessence samples, packed in pairs in pretty orange packets.

So why the Eau? And why should it matter? Well, in the case of this particular fragrance, choosing the right strength certainly does seem to matter. The parfum is, as already mentioned, a different beast altogether. The Elixir (read: EdP) whose release came third, after the original EdT and parfum, is meant to be a re-worked version of the original and the official notes differ significantly. I have to confess however, that to my nose at least, the end result is incredibly similar and the main (and quite noticeable, I might add) difference is the intensity. Herein lies the problem. The Elixir feels so concentrated in fact, that its development in turn seems disturbed. Gone is the sparkling effusiveness of the original, which made it so congruent to its commercials, comparing a single spray to a beautiful, magical firework. The Elixir packs a wallop so intense, the nose finds itself too overwhelmed to discover the lovely nuances that make the Eau such a marvel. However pretty, the fact that the Elixir once sprayed on the skin becomes an aporia with its stunted development makes it immediately inferior to the Eau, which kindly lets you travel with it. There are tickets, there’s a road, a finishing line and a reward. Creamy, salty, ambery, woody.... Yummy, strange, warm and cold, sexy and aloof, sophisticated and fun loving all at once... Eau de Merveilles has it all. Why try and fix it?

Are your experiences similar to mine with the Merveilles family?



Jenavira13 said...

If there is one fragrance that I wish worked on me, this is the one! I have tried all the concentrations except the parfum and just doesn't seem to work. Well you are very lucky. See you finally broke down and got the Narguile.

PinstripedZebra said...

Very interesting market actually, the LARPing crowd, maybe it would be a nice idea to bring to the attention of some people I know...:P The reaction of the salesperson says it all: 'would you wear it?'. I wonder if the company really thinks they will see people walking around with their product around the neck.


Linda said...

Dear Divina,
What an interesting and amusing little tale! It's rare to meet such an enthusiastic sa, at least in my area... As for wearing the fragrance as a piece of jewellery, well, I don't know, but the presentation is really pretty, and although to my shame I don't often go for Hermes fragrance (apart from Caleche and Amazone), your description makes me want to sample this one! Have a great week and beginning to autumn,

Divina said...

Hehehe, yep, it is just too gorgeous to resist! I love how 'deep' it smells! :)

Divina said...

Oh, Z! They don't only expect them to, they know they would *WANT* to! It is Hermes we are talking about after all!

...Only... Hopefully most would go for a scarf. Seriously, I like the idea of wearing your fragrance around your neck in a romantic sort of way, but logically I completely resist it... It really makes me think of Elves and tiny flasks of potions threaded in their belts and hanging from their necks. Not the image I want to project :P

Divina said...

Hey Linda! Yeah, not only are the people that work at Hermes enthusiastic, but they are also warm, funny and generous. A thoroughly enjoyable experience. (I am of course only able to speak about the boutique in Amsterdam as it is the only one I have visited... Well I have also visited the Hermes boutiques of various airports, but these are never really nice...)