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Fragrance Review: Elixir des Merveilles by Hermès

November 15, 2011

When I was in grade six, a girl in my class called Kelly procured some peach perfume oil. It smelled like the candy fuzzy peaches. It was pretty amazing at the time. She informed me that “boys like girls who smell like food.”

Grade six: "Boys like girls who smell like food."

In grade eight Natalie told me that vanilla oil was a guarantee to getting a guy to like you for the same embarrassing, aforementioned reason. As much as you can be a feminist at 14, the idea of food and fragrance was appalling to me. For this reason I have largely avoided fragrance with strong “food” associations.

Enter the beautiful orange Elixir des Merveilles by Hermès. This scent has the notes of Peru balsam, vanilla sugar, amber, sandalwood, tonka bean, patchouli, siam resin, caramel, oak, incense, orange peel and cedar.  Many of these things are food-related but this fragrance is decidedly not foody.

Deliciously not food: Hermès Elixir des merveilles

At first spray, it’s strong and you get all the wood- from the piney to the smokey. It’s intensely evergreen for a moment but almost instantly it begins to mellow and this gorgeous candied orange peel emerges. The orange is not sweet but slightly bitter and highly aromatic. There is also an element of burnt sugar, which is so warm in conjunction with the orange peel.

This fragrance makes me feel like getting bundled up in cashmere and curling up in front of a roaring fire with fancy booze at some luxe Après-ski ski party in Gstaad.

Princess Bianca living the après ski life in Gstaad, Switzerland, circa fabulouslessly rich.

It also makes me want to hear someone purr the word “orange” with a French accent. (Try it with me: Oh-ron-juhhh!) This perfume is sophisticated and sultry without a feminine flower in sight. And it just gets better, becoming slightly powdery and soft as the day wears on.

It should be noted that this fragrance was created by a perfume legend Jean-Claude Ellena, a nose known for creating incredible, often ethereal scents.  He is the genius behind L’EAU D’HIVER, one of my staples for the colder months.

Parfumer Jean-Claude Ellena

Jean-Claude Ellena's L'eau D'hiver


Elixir des Merveilles by Hermès is downright sexy. And I do not use that word lightly people! I suspect it’s the mixture of all these heady natural elements, like the wood and incense and fruit that create this effect without smelling like something you’d want to eat. It would smell amazing on a man too. (If they were man enough to get beyond the very pretty, snowy orange bottle design.)

For me, it is a must-have now that it is November. This is perfect for wearing during the holiday season.  Its intense and yet surprisingly clean and refreshing. And everyone at the chalet will want to curl up next to you.

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