Pastoral – Review: Guerlain Aprés L’Ondée

Aprés l’Ondée was my very first Guerlain. For a long time I also thought it would be my only one (insert hearty laughter here), because I thought all the others were not my style, I couldn’t imagine myself in something as challenging and grown-up as Shalimar or Vol de Nuit.

As my dear, constant readers know, times have changed and Guerlain is my favorite (if I absolutely had to pick!) perfume house. I have tried most of the classics and many of the exclusives by now and it turned out I can wear many of them.

But Aprés l’Ondée still has a place in my heart (and my perfume closet) as my first Guerlain, and arguably the loveliest.

Aprés l’Ondée was launched in 1906 and created by Jacques Guerlain. Notes include bergamot, neroli, aniseed, hawthorn, violet, heliotrope, iris and musk; there may also be carnation, rose, jasmine, vetiver and sandalwood. (notes info borrowed from Now Smell This)

Aprés L’Ondée starts with top notes of bergamot and neroli as well as violet together with spicy anise. It smells like a garden in spring-time after a torrential rain. There is the smell of wet leaves and flowers warmed by sunshine. As the perfume develops spicy carnation, violet and heliotrope take a prominent place, luckily for me, without getting overly sweet. The drydown lets the iris shine in concert with a soft musky-vanilla note.

Aprés l’Ondée is markedly different to the other classic Guerlains. It needs no getting used to, no fear of being called an old lady when wearing it, a lady maybe, but definitely not old. Aprés l’Ondée is soft, sweet, natural, the equivalent of Beethoven’s 6th, the Pastoral Symphony – programme music.

It is all there, the lovely flowers, the wetness after a rain shower, the bitter-sweet mood, it all unfolds before our very noses. Aprés l’Ondée is not hard to get, it is all right there for the taking, one only needs to appreciate the loveliness. And that can be harder than one might think, sometimes.

I need to be in the right mood for Aprés L’Ondée.

Not too cynical, or I get overwhelmed by its loveliness. Not too exuberant or I get dragged down by its wistfulness. Not too mad or I smell only its sweetness.

But when I am feeling fragile and a bit overwhelmed with the day ahead of me, nothing is better than Aprés L’Ondée.

Picture Source:, Purple Flower Courtesy of, some rights reserved, thank you!

About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Guerlain, Heliotrope, Vanilla, Violet and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Pastoral – Review: Guerlain Aprés L’Ondée

  1. annemarie says:

    Oh damn it! My favourite fragrance that I have never tried! From descriptions it sounds as if I would love it deeply, as you do. And the match with the Beethoven is wonderful. But I always hesitate because what if, well, it’s an anti-climax and my reaction is ‘meh’. So time after time when I put an order into TPC, I still don’t include Apres l’Ondee. It’s silly I know. Denying myself the pleasure is better than coping with potential disappointment.

    Still, I enjoyed your lovely review. Carnation, violet, heliotrope. Oh man. Is there something about heliotrope that evokes melancholy? I seem to to remember reading that somewhere.

    • Olfactoria says:

      What do they say? You only regret the things you didn’t try? Just a thought! 😉
      I understand your hesitation though, sometimes we don’t want to let go of an idea and test it against reality. I’m sure you will just take the leap and smell it when the time is right. Maybe while listening to Beethoven? 🙂

  2. Ines says:

    I love the sound of this and I don’t think I ever tried it (or if I did, I don’t remember it). Most Guerlains have passed by me.

    You know the strangest thing, last night I dreamed I spread perfume all over my arms and it turned out when I checked what it was, it was Apres l’Ondee, so this morning I kept wondering where in the world did I come with that one all of a sudden. 🙂

  3. Tarleisio says:

    I blush to say it, but I’ll have to join the wails of…”I’ve never tried it!”, either. Or if I did, it happened the once, at the Guerlain store in Paris, and let’s face it, I was already rather overwhelmed by it all! For some reason and I can’t tell you why, Aprés l’Ondée just slipped through unnoticed. I’ve got to do something about that – pronto! 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      You too, T. *shakes head reproachfully*
      That is such a classic of its genre, it inspired so many perfumers and perfumes, and it is so lovely. (It may just be the perfect antidote to the subject of your last review ;))

  4. I tried the EdT and was disappointed in its brevity. For something so lovely to be so fleeting…. it seemed like a real letdown at the time. But I’ve been hankering after the experience you describe here — which I’ve heard about from others as well, so it MUST exist — and I’m wondering if the pure parfum version of Aprés l’Ondée will finally be my window to this magic. Thanks for the nudge forward! 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I was on the hunt for the pure perfume of Apres for the longest time. It has proven really hard to find one, especially if I don’t want to use up my children’s college funds. Frustrated I have given up, and then it occured to me: Isn’t it the hallmark of beauty to be fleeting, isn’t brevity the necessary companion of a fragile, haunted loveliness like Apres l’Ondee possesses? Now I think maybe that is true and I am content with it.

  5. Victoria says:

    For some reason, on me the EDT lasts really well, but whereas in the past I always thought of it as light. At any rate, I get compliments on it long after I stop smelling it myself.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Lasting power is not bad at all on me too. I just wanted to experience the perfume, as I imagine it to be a magnified, crystalized version. I may invest in a sample after all for purposes of research. 😉

  6. Marina says:

    I now what you mean about having to be in the right mood for this. But when the mood is right, ALO is such an incredible beauty.

  7. Tara says:

    Despite the fact this is a no-go for me on account of the violet/anise/heliotrope combo I can still appreciate that it’s a wonderful scent containing both brains and beauty. I think “wistfulness” describes it’s mood perfectly.

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  9. Denise Miller says:

    I have a bottle (unsniffed) of this little number on the way to me from the land down under. I kept waffling back and forth between this and L’ Heure Blue but settled on ALO. I imagine it to be a slightly happier scent than LHB, and perhaps easier to wear. The only Guerlain I’ve experienced personally is Shalimar and that was about 20 years ago. I didn’t quite get what all the fuss was then. As I recall, I wanted it to be VANILLA, but it was more citrus. (I think?) I plan on giving it another go as well one day. Thanks for your review. I am throughly enjoying your little corner of the world. 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I agree, it is certainly happier than L’Heure Bleue, but I like them both for different reasons and different moods.
      Thank you Denise, I am glad you enjoy my blog, thank you for reading and commenting. 🙂

  10. Alice C says:

    Your post makes me want to try it! I enjoy reading your lovely descriptions. Thanks again!

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