Hermès unveils chiaroscuro scent made for both sexes

Published November 6, 2020, 1:48 PM

by AA Patawaran

This fragrance is for you and me

L’Ombre des Merveilles

When I first encountered L’Ombre des Merveilles, the latest iteration—and fifth in line—of the Eau des Merveilles collection at Hermès, I was told it was for sharing. It’s a his and hers fragrance, but I find it quite unpoetic to call it unisex, meaning designed for both sexes, universal, or, in fact, generic. 

L’Ombre des Merveilles is nothing but special, something deeply personal, designed to smell unique to whoever wears it, sometimes even unique to the moment one wears it. But it is his and hers all right. Should a couple decide to share it, it envelopes either one of the two parties in a new layer of the bond that should exist between them. I seriously don’t think they will smell the same. The fragrance, reacting to the subtle differences between these two people as well as to the circumstances in which they find themselves, the time of day and its temperature, the light in which they are suffused, even the degree of closeness between their bodies or the frequency at which they come in contact. But his will be a scent she will come to identify as the smell of love unique to him and hers will be a scent that he will recognize as hers, the smell of love that is hers and hers alone.

Smell is a powerful attraction. If you have a hard time sleeping, why not try wrapping your pillow with your partner’s shirt? It does help relax you and put you to sleep. A study was done at the University of British Columbia recently to prove this, exploring the role of scent in relationships and social support systems based on new evidence that the mere scent of a romantic partner improves sleep efficiency. Besides, romance is a mingling of lives, of memories, of dreams and thrown into the mix, integral to the mix, thanks to the intimacy, is scent.

But I’m not sharing my L’Ombre des Merveilles with anyone. On my skin, behind my ears, on my wrist, it acquires a quality that makes it my personal scent. Yet, even as my personal scent, it carries a whiff of my multiplicities because the scent is designed like that, as multifaceted as every personality.

Its creator Christine Nagel, the in-house perfumer at Hermès and a professional nose since 1997, following the scent of sea spray in one of L’Ombre des Merveilles’ precedents, Eau des Merveilles Bleue, set off to capture the vast possibilities of wonder between light and shade, between yin and yang. Her exploration led to the creation of this versatile fragrance based on the multitudinous yields of combination and contrast. 

In L’Ombre des Merveilles, incense, swirling lightly, stirs up the hesperidia, which are then intensified by the night-toned tonka bean, while, all at once, a pinch of black tea brings out the woody notes, revealing a chiaroscuro scent that is both dark and sunlit, spicy and oriental. 

Christine Nagel, the in-house perfumer at Hermès, set off to capture the vast possibilities of wonder between light and shade, between yin and yang.

This new captivating scent to hit the shelves online and in-store at Rustan’s and the Hermès store in Manila is certified sensual, woody yet soft, sparkling, and as tender as a whisper. L’Ombre des Merveilles is described as “a moment of grace, a veil of soft cashmere, fine and enveloping, across which the incense inscribes its mysterious arabesques.” Its magical texture bursts forth at the threshold of the day or at the close of the night. A scent powerful enough to stir the senses, alter the mood, evoke memories, and transport the spirit, L’Ombre des Merveilles and its shadow are crafted for anybody who delights in every possibility of day and night. 

That’s not all. The wonder that’s inside is matched by the wonder of the vessel that carries it. Created by Serge Mansau, the rocking bottle, flat on one side and rounded on the other, is a star-spangled magnifying glass, a work of art, a piece of poetry. The spray nozzle is engraved with the Hermès saddle nail seal. 

The Hermès perfume universe, along with L’Ombre des Merveilles, is now available on rustans.com. Browse the full line at https://rustans.com/collections/ fragrances/hermes.