Hermes Elixir Des Merveilles by Jean Claude Ellena


I spend so much time in the kitchen that it has put me right off Gourmand scents.  I don’t want to smell like I’ve been baking, because I usually have.  However there is one man who could persuade me to wear a gourmand and that is Jean Claude Ellena, creator of both Hermes Ambre Narguile (reviewed earlier in this blog), and today’s scent Elixir Des Merveilles for Hermes.

If you told me I would be both wearing and enjoying a scent that added up to Oranges and Caramel, I wouldn’t have believed it, but I am.

When JC Ellena is on board, he is never heavy handed. Elixir Des Merveilles is all sorts of gorgeous.  It has citrus (Oranges) but isn’t a Citrus.  It has Resins and Patchouli but isn’t just an Oriental. It has Caramel and Vanilla but isn’t just a Gourmand.

 Elixir Des Merveilles opens with buttery Oranges. Whilst the notes of the Orange are clear, the citrus does not dominate, but is made creamy by the addition of warm Vanilla Sugar (I know, I’m starting to think Nigella Lawson made this, not Jean Claude).

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This top note is brisk and sparkly, but the Patchouli slowly and subtly gets bigger until the middle and base is a kind of mouthwatering Woody symphony.  The Caramel note is definitely noticeable, but serves to enhance rather than dominate, like a great backing singer. The warmth of the gourmand notes seems to make this smoother and rounded, like polished wood. The base itself has lost almost all of the Orange, and ends with a warm Oriental finish. Lasting power is excellent: the base note just goes on and on.

In an Overcast March that can’t seem to make up its mind, this warm beauty is like a hug. It covers all bases but it never sells out.  Caramel and Oranges? Jean Claude not only makes it work but makes you wonder why it isn’t done more often. I wonder what his cooking is like?

8 thoughts on “Hermes Elixir Des Merveilles by Jean Claude Ellena”

  1. Oooh, you’ve made me want to pull out my sample and try it again!
    Tara over on Olfactoria’s Travels today mentioned a bright citrus making her happy and I think this fits into the same mould.

    I’m sure I remember getting something salty from this as well. Mmmmm, salty caramel with oranges… dribbling now.

    1. Mm, salty caramel! Only JCE could put salty caramel in a scent and make it NOT a gourmand. He takes the best of both worlds. Thank you so much for the loan of the sample. Glorious!

  2. Dearest Iscent
    Yes, there is a hint of baking about this combination isn’t there. But as the orange has that bitterness so characteristic of Hermes (it’s house note, non?) it falls short of being a true gourmand. And that caramel’s slightly salty too, very ahead of it’s time. Most JCE I’d say.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    1. Dear Mr Dandy,

      Due to an oversight on my part, (and a little re-org as you can see) I missed your comment. Please excuse my tardiness in replying.

      I love the orange note that JCE uses. It can go wrong in fragrance, but never in his capable hands. I also love that this isn’t quite a gourmand, as you so rightly say, but it uses the best bits of a gourmand whilst stopping short of that “just come out of the kitchen ” smell.

      Your friend

  3. I’ll have to give this another try. I remember not getting any sweetness at all–no caramel, and even the orange was like dried peel. (L’Ambre des Merveilles, on the other hand, was too sugary.) I really want to love one of these, both because reviews of the collection make them sound so appealing, and because I love the bottles. If I had money to burn, I’d have bought a bottle of Eau des Merveilles by now, because it is (or despite its being) fascinatingly elusive.

    1. Dear Laurels,

      Do excuse my lateness in replying and thank you so much for commenting. I am fairly new to Hermes having tried only a handful, but as you point out, having one makes you want another. it could become an expensive habit. But then you pay for quality! This is worth the money, like buying a good new coat.

      best wishes

  4. I’m a huge fan of Elixir. 🙂 Then again, the whole Merveilles line is appealing, everything I’ve tried so far, I liked (I haven’t tried them all though).

  5. Hi ines, thanks so much for commenting and I’m sorry this reply is so late.

    Anything by JCE appeals to me. I love how he blends so seamlessly. This is a great line and in my dreams I own them all!

    best wishes

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