Hermes Eau des Merveilles: More masculine than you’d think.
Recently, I had occasion to pull Hermes Eau des Merveilles out from behind…well, a whole backlog of other fragrances to test and review. And I thought about whether I’d given it a fair chance since Hermes has been quick to categorize this eau de toilette as a feminine scent. What better opportunity to decide but in the context of a full review with these questions in mind:
- Was this really a feminine fragrance?
- And was it enjoyable?
Occasion creates opportunity, so it’s time to delve a bit deeper.
Fragrance name: Hermes Eau des Merveilles
- Release Date: 2004
- Perfumer: Nathalie Feisthauer
- Concentration: Eau de Toilette
- Notes: Top — Lemon, Orange; Heart — Amber, Pink Pepper, Violet, Pepper; Base — Vetiver, Oakmoss, Fir, Cedar
- Availability: Hermes Boutiques, Department Stores
Translated loosely, the French name means “water of wonders, which is apt for this very light and airy experience. The opening of this is bright, very powdery, not at all feminine in nature but a very unisex scent that works well for daytime wear and three-season (Spring, Summer, Autumn) wear. Hermes Eau des Merveilles was more than a bit surprising, and while the presence of orange seems more than a bit the key note for the house (a la Terre D’Hermes, the color ascribed to anything Hermes related), that is absolutely note the core of this.
It’s not overwhelmingly floral given that violet is the sole floral component. This is a soft, ambery wood with a bit of pepper to provide some intrigue, making it a very good office companion. Projection is very mild, longevity is above average for an eau de toilette. So the answer to the first question — was Hermes Eau des Merveilles enjoyable — is “yes”. Good juice is just that, regardless of how it’s labeled. As for whether this is really a feminine fragrance, my response is “not at all”. It’s truly unisex, so I couldn’t think of any rational excuse for a man not to wear this.
But all of that said, Hermes Eau des Merveilles is simply “good juice” and a very solid and worthy effort from Hermes. It stops short of being exceptional or inspirational, but it’s a solid effort nonetheless. Unlike their later creations, Eau des Merveilles is not a linear and unexciting fragrance, but it’s also lacking a certain quality that takes it beyond being just a very good mainstream scent.
Oh, and if the bottle is reminiscent of another popular scent, take a look at the bottle design for Van Cleef & Arpels’ Midnight in Paris, which shares a starry-sky motif against a round bottle backdrop, the core difference being the color (transparent & orange, versus deep blue), and the offset base of the Hermes bottle.
Rating: 3.25/5. Recommended.
Bottom-Line: Hermes Eau des Merveilles is a versatile fragrance, very sharable, an overall good buy. Albeit not a stand-out in the Hermes line-up, it’s a scent that deserves more recognition, and a stronger effort than some recent introductions during Jean-Claude Ellena’s tenure as house nose. This is one well-worth trying.