Heaven! I rarely have that reaction to new, mainstream or non-vintage perfumes, but this one is sheer heaven. Imagine slipping into a warm pool of creamy custard. As you slide in, you’re surrounded by what is initially a sharp burst of super bright, crisp, fresh orange before — mere seconds later — it turns into the darkness of bitter Seville orange. As you lie there, enveloped as if in a cocoon, sinuous fingers of the darkest, most bitter earthy chocolate wrap themselves like tendrils around your leg. It’s like a fin above the water, while below a huge black shark lies in wait. Patiently. For about 5 minutes. That big monster black is actually a dark, resinous patchouli and balsam wood. It lies in wait, until it slowly rises to the surface. And BITES you! That, my friends, is Hermès Elixir de Merveilles.
The “Elixir” (as I shall it from now on) was created in 2006 by the legendary nose, Jean Claude Ellena, and comes in a lovely orange bottle splattered with gold at the top and leaning partially on its side, off-kilter. It is an Oriental Fougère, according to Fragrantica, which essentially means that it has oriental notes mixed with woody ones. The notes are: peru balsam, vanilla sugar, amber, sandalwood, tonka bean, patchouli, siam resin, caramel, oak, incense, orange peel and cedar.
The key notes that you need to really pay attention to at first are the Peru Balsam, the Siam Resin, and the Patchouli, though the cedar and oak become significant later. Now, from my reading of Fragantica’s explanation, peru balsam is a type of wood whose essence has a cinnamon and vanilla smell. At the same time, it has a green olive base which exudes an earthier, as well as bitter, aroma. Resin is slightly different. From general reading, it seems resin is the dark, oozing secretions from a tree that differs from “balsam” mainly in terms of its form and method of preparation. Siam Resin is a type of dark, balsam-ic secretion from a particular type of tree in Thailand, and is supposed to be more smoky and dark than other types of resins. The thing is, both share some great similarities. Peru Balsam and Siam Resin both smell like sweet vanilla but Peru Balsam has a cinnamon aspect too, along with that earthy, bitter edge. In contrast, Siam Resin — which used to be burned as incense — is more smoky and woody. In short, Cinnamon Vanilla with bitter green earth -vs- Sweet Vanilla with smoky, incense and wood.
The reason why I’m emphasizing this at the start is to allay and offset any fears about that orange custard that I mentioned earlier. Yes, the Elixir has been compared to an orange-caramel smoothie but that is really the most superficial possible interpretation possible. Because that orange-caramel smoothie is just the initial tip of a very dark, smoky iceberg.
But let’s start at the beginning. The first sprays of the Elixir creates the most crisp, bright smell of pure orange imaginable. That lasts mere seconds before the orange turns very dark and bitter. Have you had true British marmalade made from real Seville oranges? Those are the oranges I smell at play here. Maybe 30 seconds in, there is an immediate transformation from oranges (of any variety, crisp or bitter) to a suddenly warm…. ooze. I say “ooze” because I’m not quite sure how to describe the warm, seeping, almost thick (but soft) feeling of molting caramel that has suddenly appeared. There is a touch of cinnamon, too.
That seems to be the opening salvo of the Peru Balsam but it’s not jarring. In fact, the perfume has suddenly mellowed into a very complex “whole” with layers and range but, yet, still a “whole,” if that makes sense. It’s a full package where no-one thing perpetually dominates (except perhaps the bitter orange) and where you can smell numerous different notes all at the same time. And, yet, they blend together perfectly as one. Unctuous, creamy, rich and warm…. it’s like slipping into an enveloping custard bath.
At the same time, the Siam Resin is starting to make itself noticed. That custard bath has a vanilla element that is sweet, yes, but there is also smoke and incense. Smoky vanilla-orange with caramel and incense might lead you to say, “But…. that sounds so damn strange!” It also might lead you to think of food, especially when I mention one of the most obvious impressions from those opening notes: dark, black chocolate.
Yes, chocolate. My immediate first impression was Seville oranges coated in the richest but blackest, most bitter chocolate imaginable. And with a touch of salt on it too! (Do you see why I’m leading you into this very gently, Oh Reader who may hate food scents?)
Don’t worry, this is NOT a food perfume and most definitely not a dessert one. There are chocolate perfumes out there, but this is not one of them simply because of those notes which I said were so key earlier: the Resin, Patchouli, Oak and Cedar. In fact, there is absolutely NO chocolate in the Elixir! What you’re smelling is the Patchouli, a dark, bitter, dirty 70s-kind of patchouli in the best way possible. It’s not a modern patchouli because it has a bite to it. It has a definite kick, like that black shark lurking under the water.
The dirty, earthy patchouli gives this an edge, but it is really anchored in those underlying wood notes which bring an earthy, masculine, woody foundation to the whole perfume. Strong oak, aromatic cedar and the earthy, almost pine tree-like bitterness of the balsam tree make this a scent that is definitely not foody. Plus, it has that Hermès signature in its final stages that is dry. “Dry” in the sense that it’s not sweet, moist, crisp but… dry. It’s almost hard to explain. I’ve heard it time and time again about Hermès fragrances and, after having gone back to smell all mine (as well as my father’s colognes), I can definitely agree. But it’s a bit like Porn as defined by one of the Supreme Court Justices: you may not be able to explain what it is, but you know it when you see it.
The famous perfume reviewer, Luca Turin, supposedly called the Elixir “bon chic, bon genre” and said that its dry-down was “enchanting.” (See a comment from “Lisa.M.Kasper” on Fragrantica, here.) (I don’t have his book, so I’m taking her word for it.) She agrees with Turin, as do I. It absolutely is “bon chic, bon genre” which is a French phrase to describe someone in the “now,” who is chic, stylish and hip. And, yes, the dry-down absolutely is enchanting. It’s all majestic, big, dark bitter tree (almost like a pine tree at times), mixed with peppery incense, smoke, sweetness and spice and just a remaining hint of orange wrapped in dark chocolate. It’s so unusual that it’s just… baffling…. at times.
If Hermès’ 24 Faubourg was Princess Diana’s signature scent, then this belongs to someone else. I’m tempted to say Audrey Hepburn: sophisticated under a sweet, gamine appearance but not a child. Warm and sexy, but not overtly sexy like Brigitte Bardot. Casual in appearance (no Princess Diana tiaras and dresses here) but always stylish. And with a definitely aloof side under that initial impression of warm approachability.
The Elixir has been called “bi-polar” and I think that is a perfect description for it. It really is bi-polar. How else to explain these enormous extremes? It has also been called extremely masculine. To the point that there are a lot of complaints on Fragrantica, wishing they could like this scent but it’s so masculine. I don’t know when woody or spicy scents became masculine but I don’t consider this one. Nor, for that matter, do I consider it feminine. It is most definitely unisex, and the failure to label it as such is nothing more than a huge mistake in my opinion! I have to wonder if those who find it so masculine went into it expecting an orange dessert or a fruit cocktail scent. If so, then yes, by their standards, I suppose that green pine tree and cedar make it “masculine”. (If you could only hear my audible sniff at that.)
I should confess that I have a terrible weakness for almost all Hermès fragrances (mens, womens, dogs and horses…. no, I kid. Only the men’s and women’s fragrances), but not all Hermès scents make me whimper and moan as I sniff my arm. 24 Faubourg definitely does. And Parfum d’Hermès used to be one of my signature fragrances, though I have not smelled it as its re-named persona, Rouge d’Hermes. But I dislike Caleche from my childhood memories of it and most definitely have not liked most of the Merveilles flankers. The Merveilles line consists of Eau de Merveilles, the original one from 2004, then the Elixir in 2006, followed by Eau Claire and, recently, the very latest, Ambres de Merveilles.
There is a lot of talk about the Elixir versus the original Eau version. I’ve smelled the latter, but I wasn’t particularly impressed. It’s pleasant and nice, but it would hardly drive me to buy a whole bottle. I smelled the Elixir, and promptly went out and did just that. It has a WOW and a POW that, to me, the Eau version does not. The Eau is fresh, airy, clean and zesty. It’s subtle, less warm, and perhaps more demure. I haven’t tested out the Eau beyond some cursory sniffs and sprays, so I can’t speak as to its dry-down or process of development, but I hear that the Elixir and the Eau become very similar towards the end. And it is said that the Eau also has that typically dry Hermès signature at the end as well.
I don’t think the Elixir is for everyone. If your preference is for light, crisp scents, for florals, or for fresh, natural, understated and unobtrusive scents, then I think you will find the Elixir to be overwhelming and you should stay away. Those of you who fear fruity smells and how they may turn on you, I think you should give this a test run. Because it’s not a true fruit cocktail perfume by any means; that strong woody, resinous foundation forbids it! But for those of you who want to feel like Audrey Hepburn, in her capris and ballet flats with an Hermès scarf wrapped around her, as she quietly strolls through a bookstore in autumnal Paris where the orange leaves have fallen all around and where there is a brisk smell of smoky winter in the air… then this is your fragrance. Bon chic, bon genre indeed!
I hate to say this, but there is something about those crooked bottles that puts me off. As such, I have tended to avoid them. I did take a whiff at the new L’Ambre des Merveilles though and it was rather lovely. Next time I’m at the store, based on your review, I am going to have to give that a sniff as well. As for 24 Faubourg, I keep having to suppress buying a small bottle. There are so many other fragrances that I want, but as a less expensive alternative, I think it might be the route to go.. I love it! Wonderful review.
Thank you for your kind words.
I can understand that issue about the bottles. I personally love how it’s so different and its quirkiness BUT it brings out my OCD a little. So if you’re slightly OCD too, I can definitely see how would be annoying. 🙂 I thought the Ambre was surprisingly light and disappointing for such an ingredient. (In contrast, your wonderful review of the Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille made me want to go out and sniff THAT one right away.) I think after that “boozy,” intense fragrance like the Guerlain, you might find the Hermè Ambre slightly tamer?? I haven’t gotten a full sense of your tastes yet, so you will have to let me know. I hope I’m mistaken. 🙂 You know, Jean-Claude Ellena did both the Elixir and the Terre d’Hermès. (The Ambres, too, if I remember correctly). Anyway, I think you gave the Terre a 5 bone review. Well, if you end up liking the Elixir, you should layer the two together! I may be imagining it or in desperate need of more coffee, but somewhere, somehow, I thought I read that Ellena thought or said that the two were perfect for layering. I’ve tried it and it’s a very good combination!
As for 24 Faubourg, it is completely and utterly epitomised by Princess Diana in my mind. I never knew it at the time, when I was wearing it and it was my signature perfume, but since I *did* learn of it, it makes total sense. Diana in her post-divorce says when she was really elegant, less frumpy and more sophisticated… it’s totally 24 Faubourg!! It’s a fabulous, fabulous scent and one of my all-time favorites. My bottle is an one that I’ve had for almost 20 years, so it’s vintage in perfume terms. And I now hoard it as carefully as the U.S. Govt. its gold in Fort Knoxx. I don’t want to even think of how it may have been affected by the IFRA changes, esp. with regard to the ambergris and orange. But I will say this, if ever there were a perfume that I’d be willing to buy even POST-reformulation, it would be 24 Faubourg!!
BTW, only to a hardcore perfume addict would an Hermès perfume be a cheaper, more inexpensive route to go…. *grin*
Good lord, I am OCD and will obsess about many things. You’re right the Ambre was much lighter which I found nice, but not full bottle worthy. As for layering, I have not really tried it, but I should check out some of my perfumes to see what might work together…I have heard some wonderful things from some folks who do it.
As for perfume snobbery, I used to think $60 was a lot for a perfume.. boy has that thought changed!!!
I used to think $60 was a lot too. My first cologne I ever purchased with my own money was Nautica (the original in the sail-shaped glass filled with turquoise colored liquid) It was well below my threshold, with a cost of only $49.95/ 100ml. Now you can get that same scent for $10-19. Times can changed. LOL
Scent Hound, what kind of scent is 24 Faubourg? Is it a floral and ambergris extravaganza?
I’m not Mr. Hound, but I can answer that, Ferris, as 24 Faubourg is one of my all-time favorites (and I hoard my vintage bottle like it was gold in Fort Knoxx!). It is a floral, (slightly-peach tinged, imo) orange-blossom and faintly citric scent with ambergris, amber, sandalwood and subtle patchouli. It is heady but oddly dry (not earthy or dirty patchouli spiced), aristocratically elegant, sophisticated and truly lovely. It was Princess Diana’s signature scent and I think she is the perfect embodiment for the perfume. A truly expensive-smelling fragrance that I love with a passion.
Sounds interesting I might have to smell that one, next time I’m at Nordstrom’s. But I don’t think it will overtake Elixir. I tabbed some on my neck last night and I still smell it this afternoon. LOL
Aaaahhhh, I see that the Elixir has found another fan! It sounds like it’s sucking you in, Ferris. 😀 I have to say, I’m so glad. But you know, the Elixir and 24 Faubourg have absolutely nothing in common outside of the Hermès name, though they are *both* very long-lasting on me (which says something!). I personally don’t think 24 Faubourg will be your cup of tea (perhaps too feminine?), but then you’ve surprised me a few times with your stated love for florals, so who knows. Going back to the Elixir, are you tempted to get a full bottle?
Beautiful review – sounds like a stunner! Will you have a funeral for the bottle when it eventually runs out? 🙂
I’m embarrassed to admit that I never bury my truly loved bottles. I even have a box of my favorite but deceased perfume bottles. Not many, but enough to make it a bit embarrassing. LOL. You know, I’m getting to the end of my bottle of the original YSL Champagne, obviously now vintage. Since the legal troubles and the name change, seeing a bottle labelled “Champagne” is very rare. I will never throw that bottle away! (I will just mourn it and bring it flowers every Sunday.) Do you know, they sell totally EMPTY bottles of some rare vintage perfumes for some pretty astounding prices on eBay? Who knows, maybe one day my perfume hoarding tendencies will stand me in good stead.
Great review! love your way with words about this gem of a fragrance, makes me want to go grab a bottle! So descriptive and very enticing. So no chocolate in Elixir? Why does everyone’s site i.e. Basenotes, frangrantica, says chocolate (correct me if I’m wrong)? Anyway whether it’s chocolate or patchouli, I love them both, so what the hell. LOL. Thanks for informing us. If patchouli can smell like that, that’s what I want on me ASAP! Elixir is very intoxicating and rich with the orange, vanilla and the balsams. I tried this at the boutique and I wasn’t impressed. On my skin, I got a salty, sweet, orange resinous vibe. I agree with your comparison with Eau DES Merveilles, which is a sparkly, orange BLAH. Very disappointing to say the least. People all on YouTube rave about it though. I don’t get it. Starts out great but fizzles to a cheap orange shampoo finish/ dry down. I have to try Elixir again next time I go to the boutique. This time I won’t overload my nose by sampling 10 other perfumes at the same time, which is probably why I overlooked Elixir the first go around. I have a sample decant coming from the perfumed court and I am so excited to try again. Can’t wait for your next review!
Thank you for your kind words. As for the chocolate, no, it definitely has a smell or note of dark, bitter chocolate!! I only meant that there is no actual chocolate used to make the perfume. It’s not actually IN there, if you see what I mean. (Some perfumes really do use chocolate or cocoa. For example, Gale Hayman’s Delicious Chocolate. Aquolina’s Chocolovers uses hazelnut to help recreate that chocolate Nutella impression.) Sometimes, when people talk about “accords,” it just references the types of smells which a perfume brings to mind. Same thing with the notes that they smell. (At least, that’s how I use it. LOL) But that doesn’t mean something is an actual ingredient. That part is in the ingredient list, so to speak, and Elixir doesn’t list Cocoa or any sort of chocolate bean on the Fragrantica page. But it does officially contain caramel of some kind, though it might be a synthetic compound sort of thing. 🙂
I think it’s the darkness of that very dirty (in the best way possible) patchouli which, either on its own or when combined with the Siam Resin, creates that impression of dark chocolate. BTW, I’m glad you picked up on the salt too! It’s definitely a note, though I have no clue what creates that impression. Have you tried the Elixir actually on yourself or just on one of those paper swatches? If only on paper, I would definitely recommend it on the skin next time you go to the boutique. It’s more magical that way and, also, I think you get a more accurate picture of how it works with your own body chemistry. What size sample did you order? (I use Surrender to Chance for the same sort of thing.) The problem I always have is, if I know I’ll love something, a sample always seems too small. LOL! You’ll have to let me know what you think when you get it.
BTW, I don’t get the endless huge raves over Eau de Merveilles either. But some people prefer lighter, fresh scents. Clearly, you and I are not one of them. LOL. Please, let me know what you think of the Elixir when you get your decant! 🙂
I believe it’s an ambergris accord that creates the salty vibe. I’m sure it’s not real ambergris, because if that were the case, the price of the perfume would be astronomical. In fact, if you happen upon a piece or two of precious ambergris ,aka whale vomit, washed up on the beach, it can fetch a hefty price tag ! It’s probably ambroxan or some other ambergris synthetic chemical created in a lab somewhere that resembles that accord.
I tried Elixir on my skin at the store that time. I always try to do that when considering a fragrance. The difference between them can be so striking! As to the size decant I ordered, I believe it’s the 1 ml size. I don’t believe in wasting money. I buy lots of samples but only purchase full bottles of fragrances that I absolutely love. A couple of bucks spent on a decant sample that I find I hate isn’t a huge loss, just an educated purchase. I will let you know the results once my Elixir decant arrives.
It might very well be, especially as a synthetic version. However, I’ve worn a number of perfumes with ambergris in them — like 24 Faubourg, for example — and I’ve never encountered a salty note in any of them. “Salty” is not something I’ve ever associated with Ambergris as an ingredient in the past but who knows with things nowadays? Particularly, after the IFRA regulations which impacted the amount and concentrations of so many key ingredients, forcing perfumers to use more synthetic variations. It’s a fascinating process how these scientifically re-created molecules or chemicals can create such a wide range of different impressions.
One day, you will have to let me know which perfumes you found FBW- Full Bottle Worthy. We can call them Ferris’ Hall of Fame. 🙂
I tried Elixir again and it is much darker then I remember from the store, unless I was smelling something else and confused it with the other 10 perfumes I was trying on that day, which is entirely possible. LOL I don’t recall the dark resinlike vibe at all. All I remember is the sweet, salty vibe with a little bit of orange in the mix. Think I confused it with Tom Ford for Men’s drydown which is sweet and has tobacco and amber. I will have to wear it a bit more to get a better feel for it.
You’ll have to let me know what you think when you do. You picked up the dark resin vibe this time around though, right? I hope you end up liking it. To me, the start of the famous (and super-expensive) Amouage Jubiliation for men was exactly like the Hermès, only with quiet oud adding in. The start of Jubiliation is what so many men (and women) love about it, but I don’t think most men realise that the Elixir is very unisex!
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Wearing this today from the generous sample I bought from StC. It is a quite lovely fragrance and I am really glad I tried it.
I am puzzled by the “too masculine” comments- to me it is very rich-woman-shopping-on-Fifth-Avenue. Elegant, subtle and wearable. Definitely full-bottle worthy; I would be buying it right now except that I only have money for one full bottle and it somehow lacks that tiny maddening element of sex for me.
But I’m waiting for the dry down to decide. I am almost an hour into it and it’s definitely changed but I still get strong orange from it, in a good way. The spiciness is just starting to peek through. At any rate, I love this and would not have tried it if not for you, so thank you!
Awwww, you’re more than welcome. I smell and/or try a lot of things, but that Elixir will always remain one of my favorites. It’s not dangerous, it’s not trendy, it’s not hip and avant-garde, but I simply love it. And definitely a LOT more than some of the more edgy, expensive perfumes I’ve tried lately. (L’Artisan Passage D’Enfer, I’m looking at YOU and your hellacious, stomach-churning scent!)
I think the Elixir deserves a lot more love than it actually gets. People ADORE the Eau version or talk quite a bit about the new Ambres versions (a very influential perfume site recently called the latter the best flanker of the year) but, to me, the Elixir wins hands down. There is just no comparison, in my eyes, so I feel as though I must champion the under-dog who is always dismissed with a cold wave of the hand. It really just doesn’t get the credit that it deserves!
Anyway, I’m thrilled to bits that you love the Elixir. THRILLED!
Well, after obsessing over this all day I did finally buy a full bottle. As you pointed out, it takes a very long time to evolve– the orange stayed prominent on me for hours, and while it was pretty, it was not enough to get me really excited. The sweetness lasted a long time but I was occasionally distracted by other things (I did get soap, which was not unpleasant, and I also got a little bit of sea air, which was astonishing because usually that note makes me gag but it was pleasant here.)
So, for most of the day I was at “I love this but I might love something else more.” But when it started to fade it started to intrigue me– I love wood notes and I was also getting the faintest hint of tea. Then it melted into something really delicious– spicy, mysterious, a touch of hazelnut, even what I wanted the other saffron perfumes I tried to smell like. Something I could not turn my back on. I do understand the “bi-polar fragrance” comments now because I’m sure I would not be able to tell that the fragrance I tried on this morning is the same one I’m wearing now if I didn’t already know it.
This is the most expensive-smelling fragrance I have ever tried. The danger never developed but it is sexy in a very classy way, which is refreshing in its own right. The Park Avenue princess is still there, but maybe she’s fantasizing about an admiral on the spice route? At any rate, it is uniquely elegant.
I am SO happy, you have no idea! The dry-down on you was all I was hoping it would be. Perhaps even better. (Saffron? Yum! Saffron *and* Hazelnut? Double YUM!) I’m also thrilled that you managed to get some of the sea air aspect. That’s stronger in the Eau but it’s in the Elixir too, just to a lesser extent. Most people can’t really smell it. On me, it just translated as a crazy saltiness. I’ve never smelled a salty perfume before, and yet, this one had it. I loved the unexpected touch, so I’m glad you could smell it too.
It is funny just how bi-polar this is, isn’t it? I think most people wouldn’t believe it unless they tried it for themselves. The extremes are just THAT extreme, so there is no other way to describe it except as bipolar. From orange cream to woody, spicy, mysterious, salty and boozy. It really runs the whole gamut. And, yet, so many dismiss this as a “gourmande” scent. Furthest thing possible, imo. This is no dessert perfume, by any means.
I’m also glad you share my feelings about how expensive this smells. So much more than many other scents on the market now, at least from more mainstream houses. I remember when I first made my parents — who taught me all I know about perfumes and colognes when I was a child — and they both commented on how sophisticated, classy and RICH this smells. My father who is very rarely impressed by any of my scents found it really complex and intriguing.
Gosh, I’m so happy you ended up buying a full bottle of this. We really HAVE to spread the Elixir love. Poor, disdained, blithely dismissed baby. I say Phooey to the over-praised Eau de Merveilles. Give me the Elixir over that any day. And over most other mainstream perfumes too!
I am late to the party here and can’t seem to find a way to start a “fresh” comment, but I wanted to say how remarkable your review of this is. Rare is the person who can write well about fragrance, so huzzah!
I finally got around to trying this (via a sample) and it is everything you describe … everything … and on me, it is simply a man’s scent. I’d ADORE it on a man.
Elixir smells expensive; aristocratic, even. It smells like so much Hermes merchandise *looks* … well made, unquestionably fine, entirely self-assured. Never overdone, but always statement making.
My nose naturally went looking for any floral at all in it (though I knew better) and came up short. I’ll stick to my muguets for the moment, but tuck the Elixir away just in case a deserving fellow comes along!
Hi, Laurie AE, welcome to the blog. 🙂 I’ll have to check into why you couldn’t leave a regular comments, so thank you for letting me know. As for the Elixir, I think it comes down to what a person is used to. You say that you “naturally” went looking for a floral note, so it seems that florals (and green-white-ish ones like muguet florals) are your comfort zone, so it makes perfect sense that the Elixir would skew masculine for your tastes and by your personal spectrum. 🙂 Absolutely nothing wrong with that, and quite understandable.
Might I suggest for you instead something like Oriza L. Legrand’s Muguet Fleuri? https://kafkaesqueblog.com/2014/04/16/oriza-l-legrand-muguet-fleuri-springs-fairy-forest/ It’s a scent with a strong similarity to the famous Dior muguet in its old vintage form, though Oriza was first and its Muguet came out decades before. You can find samples of the line at Luckyscent or Twisted Lily in the U.S., if that is your location.
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I have another fragrance for you to try from a fragrance house in Hollywood,CA named Opus Oils. They have a scent they call Heavy Sugar from their Les Bohemes line which feature aged labdanum , dark amber, vintage patchouli, fossilized amber,sandalwood, beach found ambergris. Doesn’t it sound wonderful? I think its right up your alley. They also have some big and bold florals in a couple of the scents from that line too. i.e orange blossom absolute ( you know how much I love that) jasmine absolute , tuberose absolute and violet. Another benefit, is that Heavy Sugar blends so well with other fragrances in the line. I think I may have to order their sample set for $35.
Oh my heavens, it does sound good, Ferris! And, yes, totally up my alley. Fossilized amber? Seriously? Whoa! And an even bigger Whoaaa for the beach found ambergris! I thought that, technically, there was no actual amber (as in the sort that traps insects) in perfume, only ambergris or some elements meant to replicate its note. So, I wonder what they’re doing with the actual amber itself!
Just for clarification, the company is merely called Opus Oils, but they don’t sell perfumed oil, right? Regular perfume? I’ve written their name down to look into further. Thanks Ferris!
Yes the company name is Opus Oils and they sell two formulations of their perfumes, either in a base of fractionated coconut oil or alcohol, you can choose. They even have other products as well, such as body lotions, body butters and bath salts.
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Oh my….tried this today, right after testing amouage jubilation a day earlier. Very similar scents. If anything, Elixir de Merveilles might be richer, deeper, more satisfying.
As much as I love it, jubilation leaves me with a bit of the same frustrated feeling I got from L’air du Desert Marocain. I couldn’t quite get enough of a nose full to be satisfied. Maybe it is that notorious Ghosting effect others have reported with Jubilation: one moment it’s there, the next it’s gone…
Elixir, on the other hand, is a deeply satisfying experience. Bright and crisp at the open, only to give way to a dark crescendo of incense and patchouli. I love it. The lurking patchouli reminds me of that dark, foreboding lake in Beowulf where Grendel’s mother lived. Bubbling. dangerous. Full of monsters.
More to come….
Elixir is one of my favorites from Hermès — undoubtedly because Jean-Claude Ellena did NOT make it….. The similarities to Jubilation XXV are only at the beginning, however, as your subsequent comment shows you realized. 🙂 I love the comparison to the lake in Beowulf, btw!
Hi! I believe JCE is the nose behind Elixir (according to basenotes and others), which I also absolutely love. obsessing over a full bottle.
You’re right, it’s the Parfum de Merveilles which was done by others. I thought I’d read it was the Elixir, but I got it mixed up with the Parfum one.
….in the long drydown now, and I’m still enthralled by this fragrance.
If I have one complaint, it is that it lacks the multilayered complexity of Jubilation. I find myself missing the pepper spice notes, the animalic notes, and the labdanum you get in the Amouage.. Elixir is sweeter, more gourmand. Jubilation is dryer, in my opinion. Some have complained that there is too much going on in Jubilation. If you like a more straightforwardly fougere/patchouli scent, Elixir is near perfection.
I am intrigued by the idea of layering this scent with something woodsy. I’ll have to try it with Terre D’Hermes, but I wonder if there are other scents that might be even better suited for this….any suggestions, Kafkaesque?
Have you thought about layering it with Tauer’s L’Air du Desert Marocain to fix the dryness in the latter and to provide it with greater sweetness? I think the two scents would go very well together. Other possibilities: Parfum d’Empire’s Aziyadé and, perhaps, Azemour, especially as the latter was painfully arid on me and the Elixir could fix that.
I just posted a review of Elixir on basenotes and mentioned you. You are becoming my muse! Haha.
Oh, you’re very sweet, Andrew. Thank you. I shall have to look up your review. 🙂
After wearing a couple of samples of this for 2 weeks, I just ordered a full bottle. I love it, but I also love my fb of L’Ambre Des Merveilles (I fall in love too easily!), which you weren’t crazy about, correct? On me, L’Ambre stays strong til the next morning! I guess I have unicorn skin because most fragrances last forever on me.
The Elixir is really special as well, so I had to have it, & it doesn’t feel like a winter scent to me. I got the creamy orange & also some caramel & a touch of chocolate (the patchouli). It’s a really beautiful, different fragrance–just gourmand enough. Actually, L’Ambre feels more gourmand on me because the vanilla is as strong as the amber, but not cloying at all. Two very classy fragrances. Eau Des M is too light for me, but these 2 are beautiful.
I’m so glad you like it! I always feel badly for Elixir because it seems to be the forgotten, much neglected red-headed stepchild of the line, totally overshadowed by the other two. It brings out my protective side a little. lol. You know, for me, there are parts of Elixir de Merveilles that are very similar to the opening of Amouage’s lovely Jubilation XXV for me. There are differences between the two scents at the end of the day, but that orange-resin-amber stickiness is something they both share. Have you tried any of the Amouage fragrances, by the way? It’s a shame if you haven’t. I think it’s one of the best perfume houses around these days.
And how lucky about your skin chemistry retaining perfumes for so long!
Jubilation XXV was invisible on me & I blind-bought a full bottle (early in my perfume addiction days). I gifted it to a friend who loves it.
I actually recognized the similarities between Elixir & XXV in the opening, but Elixir on me is warmer & stronger. You told me that it may be the ISO E Supercrappy that makes XXV hard for me to smell.. Amouage Tribute Attar is incredible on my skin (thanks for the recommendation) I’d like to try another Amouage EDP, but don’t know which one. I’m considering a sample of Opus VII, which seems to be loved by all but you! LOL.
I guess I am lucky about my skin chemistry because the too sheer for you Ambre Russe feels like a powerhouse on me for hours & hours. It feels almost too sweet on my skin so I rarely reach for it,
Aah, that’s right, I remember now our discussion about Jubilation XXV and its performance on your skin. I think that was your very first post to the blog, if I recall correctly.
I think Opus VI is the one that is more universally loved, not quite Opus VII. Opus VI is the amber. Have you tried Interlude EDP? That is definitely one to consider. Spectacular creamy woods drydown, too. The opening is a bit challenging, but it is such a shape-shifter as a whole.
I have some more of the men’s line to go through and had planned to do Memoir & Dia, but the problem is that something keeps coming up. Some new release or another, so things get pushed back. I will try to get to at least one of them soon, but the next Amouage that I had planned is the Homage attar. Given the situation with the attars and people wanting to get their hands on what’s left, that probably will remain as the next Amouage, but hopefully Memoir & Dia man will be next. You know, a number of men prefer the women’s line to the men in the collection, and think they’re richer or deeper. I can’t remember how you feel about roses, but I thought Epic Woman was wonderfully spicy and oriental.
I’ll definitely try Interlude & yes, I meant Opus VI. I’m not crazy about roses when they’re really strong. Kalemat was all bright, sharp roses on me, Dior Ambre Nuit’s rose is hard for me to sniff out, but I love whatever it adds to the fragrance.
I’m going to read up on Interlude–I’m becoming very fond of creamy woods.. Thanks & take care
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