Tag Archives: perfumes with orange

Hermes Elixir Des Merveilles by Jean Claude Ellena

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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?

Serge Lutens Mandarine Mandarin: A Festive Brew

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 This is my second time of trying Serge Lutens Mandarine Mandarin.  The first time smelled like orange crème brulee, which as much as I would to try that, I feel sure that I don’t wish to smell of it.

The second time, I like this a little more, but there is a note like dried Pot Pourri that just stops me short of loving it.  Maybe it’s the tea?

 Suddenly the fragrance comes back to me. As a child, I would place the peel on a hot burner of the stove, rendering a scent I’ll never forget- Serge Lutens

First off, I love oranges in scent.  I love Jesus del Pozo Ambar,  LUSH Karma, Biotherm Eau Vitaminee, and Ô de Lancome to name but four.  In Mandarine Mandarin the orange is used differently, like a resonant background that gets deeper and darker like a rich spice. There’s no more creamy, burnt note like there was the first time round. This smells like herbal tea, infused with all the parts of an orange that dear Christopher Sheldrake could get his hands on.  There is also a smell like marmalade that has been reduced to gloop on the stove. It’s not an immediate fondness, but it grows.

The notes are Tonka Bean, Orange, Mandarin, Nutmeg, Tea, Labdanum and Amber.  I haven’t listed them in order as they don’t really emerge in order.  Oranges and Tea come though first, followed by Amber and Nutmeg, and then it kind of settles into a cross between the above mentioned pot pourri and Oranges being steeped in dark tea.

Longevity is as good as ever with Serge Lutens and  the quality of ingredients is excellent.  It’s not for me, but it  might be for you, if you like what you hear. Oh and it’s very Christmassy! I wouldn’t wear this, but it would be unbeatable as a room scent at this time of year.

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