Coming Attractions: Onda
Zürich-based aromatologist/perfumer Vero Kern has succeeded in creating a "nastierpiece," a nasty, irresistible, take-no-prisoners, exotic extrait de parfum called Onda which she has billed as a "fiery," rooty vetiver. That said, Onda is not for the novelty- or thrill-seekers. Guerlain Vetiver it certainly isn't, nor Maître Parfumeur et Gantier's RdV: it eludes suave-ness as expertly as it eludes shock value ... and any attempt at categorization. On first application it gives up an animalic powder note which, mere seconds later, recedes to reveal a medicinal-edged ginger/coriander note, and which a few seconds more bows before smoking room/tackbox/humidor aromas. Onda takes my imagination from a conjured place of ritual, high-altitude sacrifice (snow, smoky woods, musk deer, circling birds of appetite) to a rowdy, sweat-and-mud-caked high school locker room post-game rubdown (teenage crotch and a whiff of something mentholated) to the stale-cheroot-smoke-and-Jass feel of a rural Swiss Beizli. I wonder at Kern's labors in creating such an inelegant yet wondrous thing, an exotic which eschews all those expensive gums and resins in favor of never-ever-plain grass-roots groundedness. Onda is a stranger of uncommon provenance, almost frightening in its power. Hence, the Kirchner soldiers above. An extreme fragrance for extreme times.
Onda will be available in the U.S. in mid-2008.
Image credit: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Artillerymen, 1915, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.