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Eau des Merveilles Bleue – Natural and aromatic, refreshing and cool

How do you imagine a fragrance would smell if it lists these notes:

Minerals, Salt, Driftwood, Patchouli

Hmmm. It sounds more like a smell than a perfume, and maybe not even a good smell, but I’m intrigued. After all, it’s an Hermès scent by Christine Nagel, their new House Perfumer, and it’s the newest in the Merveilles collection, so I allow the Sales Assistant to spritz my wrist, and drop the sample of Eau des Merveilles Bleue into my bag. 

The Hermès Merveilles series is fascinating. The original Eau des Merveilles, or Water of Wonders, is truly unique, elevated to almost cult status and admired for its warm salty-skin accord of ambergris and woods, which has not a speck of florals. It’s the heavenly scent of sun and ocean and salty-skin. 

Each of its flankers have featured the elements of the original and added more. Elixir des Merveilles adds orange citrus notes and floats the amber note on waves of dark chocolate instead of sea water, so that it is richer, warmer, slightly gourmand. L’Ambre des Merveilles builds on this warmth and richness, omits the chocolate, but adds intimacy to the salty skin accord by layering leather, vanilla and tobacco, making it totally non-gendered with fabulous sillage.

Eau des Merveilles Bleue goes in a different direction. It takes the original Merveilles salty-skin accord, adds minerals and green notes, replacing the warmth with a sublimely cool freshness. Out of the shimmering sun and into the aquatic blue.

 The first spritz of Eau des Merveilles Bleue releases wafts of sea air in the cool moments of dawn, mist in the air, water on stones and pebbles as the tide moves. There is a hint of lemon zest, becoming more green, minty then momentarily anisic as the accord transforms into a mineral scent.

 “I marvelled at the pebbles, wet from the ocean; they had such a particular colour and luminosity, and I discovered on them a salty, mineral taste …” Christine Nagel.

This is the heart of Eau des Merveilles Bleue, salty, aromatic, shiny and luminous like wet stones, and amazingly fresh.

And as the fragrance dries down, the water evaporates off the stones and the mineral accord changes, becoming earthier with notes of dried driftwood and patchouli and musks. There is soft warmth and depth in the base, but still a refreshing lightness from occasional sparkles of lemon zest and salty skin which keeps the sillage soft but tingly. 

The smell of the ocean, of seashores and beaches, is in my DNA, so I’m naturally drawn to aquatic scents. Hermès Epice Marine by Jean-Claude Elena, Iroaz by Lostmarc’h, Côte d’Amour by L’Artisan are three that I love because the typical aquatic notes, such as the synthetic calone, which smells like melon, or other ozonic notes, don’t appear in the note lists. 

In Eau des Merveilles Bleue, Christine Nagel, has masterfully captured the natural scent of beach stones and cool sea air. The scent reminds me of waking up early in my childhood home, on another beautiful endless summer day, hearing the waves and smelling the salty air.  Light and natural with faint sweetness, dry and breezy, all-day cool and refreshing, I’m planning to wear this fragrance a lot through the hot summer weather. 

The Sales Assistant who gave me the sample had no idea that Eau des Merveilles would connect me so directly to my childhood roots, but he isn’t surprised when I show up a few days later to buy a bottle. 

“I can’t tell you how many customers come back for a bottle of Merveilles Bleue”, he says.

“Well, you were smart! You gave me a sample!” I tease.

The fact is I would have come back without him giving me a sample, or regardless of the fragrance stirring such emotional memories. I 've come back because I think Eau des Merveilles Bleue is just simply… a beautiful fragrance.

Eau des Merveilles Bleue is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

Image - Wikimedia Commons - Ocean at Dawn, Mount Desert Island, Maine by JRLibby, Feb 2012.