Monday, July 30, 2007

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.

will be available in the U.S. in mid-2008.

Image credit: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Artillerymen, 1915, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good morning from Swiss Beizli land!
I agree very much: Onda is not for the hip novelty seekers, but I wonder about the thrill seekers: Onla is for the thrill-seeker in the sense that it is bringing in a quality of vetiver that in my nose is truly thrilling, positively exciting because it is a very different take on vetiver. Far away from the clean vetiver that you might get as whiff from your tie-and-black-shoes-colleagues in the office elevators these days.

July 30, 2007 at 11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It smells of days, nights, work, rest.... the basics of life, so to say. Definitely a great scent. Thanks for a wonderful review!

July 31, 2007 at 1:00 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Andy, I couldn't agree with you more: it's a thrill for the nose. And what's more, it lives and develops on the skin. Rare indeed is the fragrance that has me constantly sniffing at myself.

July 31, 2007 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Dear V-
Take no prisoners...
This is a favorite of mine.
I just love the way it dances and sings on the skin.
It doesn't hurt any, that the woman responsible is such a force of nature herself.

Thanks for this review !

August 1, 2007 at 4:07 AM  
Blogger carmencanada said...

Sometime lurker, first time poster here... I've also had the chance to sample Onda, and I find it a very haunting composition. Not as fierce as your perception of it though: earthy, leathery, feline, yes, with a honeyed drydown that kept me in the proverbial nose-to-the-wrist position. But not quite tinged with teenage crotch - inasmuch as I remember them... As Andy said, they're not for thrill-seekers: their unusual quality is balanced by their classical composition.

August 6, 2007 at 7:12 PM  

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