I have had this tiny sample of Onda in extrait form, for at least six months. I looked at it everytime I opened my sample box, which is quite often as you can imagine, but whenever I wanted to try it, I thought: not today.
I thought this is the one out of the three Vero Profumo scents that interests me the least (it is the only sample I have, the wonderful Ines sent it to me) and besides, there was always something else screaming louder and getting my attention first.
Then one morning I felt extremely frazzled, my nerves lay blank, my stress levels were soaring, and an early morning spritz of Chanel N°19, my tried and tested “nerves of steel” perfume of choice, had already evaporated, when Onda, tiny, unassuming and banned to the outer reaches on the sample box, suddenly beckoned me. I knew it was a vetiver perfume, but not much else. Before I thought more about it, I applied a drop to the back of my hand, my prime sniffing spot.
The rest as they say, is history…
Onda is one of three perfumes by Swiss aromatologist turned perfumer at 60, Vero Kern. Onda was launched in 2007 together with her sisters Rubj and Kiki, a white floral and a lavender scent respectively.
Those three extraits along with matching Eaux de Parfums are Vero Kern’s only offerings to date. A fact I admire immensely. I think it is excellent, in these days of overexposure and oversaturation of the market, to stick with a small range of incredible perfumes, and let those sink in, let those get indispensable, instead of taking away attention from them by launching more and newer fragrances all the time.
Bergamot, lemon, tangerine, ginger, coriander, basil, iris, ylang-ylang, honey, vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, musk and ambergris are on the notes-list First in Fragrance provides, Luckyscent keeps it simple with vetiver, ginger, mace and coriander.
Onda is a surprise. Usually I’m not shy with words, I usually know how to articulate my perfumed shenanigans, this blog is testament to my verbose side after all.
But Onda took her time. Onda refused to be put in words quickly. Onda wouldn’t let go of her secret for a long time. Onda ignored my attempts to get an angle on her, just as I had ignored her presence in my sample box. Onda made me wear her over and over again, until my small sample was entirely gone.
Then Onda was missed, sorely missed. And through missing her, I knew what she has been for me. Sometimes we have to let go of something, to know how and why we love it.
Onda is powerful. Onda is different. Onda speaks to a side of me that does not talk much, that is not used to expressing itself, that goes about its business in my head quietly and unappreciatedly.
Onda smells rough, free, heath-en – like the windswept meadow and the non-believer. Onda smells of earth and grass and hay, incredibly warm and alive. There is warm skin rolling around in the hay. There is a human body underneath the earth and dirt.
Onda is not what the people looking for fresh and clean will go for, Onda is old-fashioned, but timeless. It is a presence, it is a statement, it is a smellable extension of myself.
Onda is like an amour, making me invincible, but it is not hard, it is pliable and soft, like the leather I smell in the drydown. It is tough, rough, uncouth and warm, soft and adaptable to me like a second skin.
Green, spicy, dark, leathery, musky, salty, complex.
Love. Desire. Intelligence. Onda.
Oh, I am such a sucker for vetiver. Your review is just gorgeous – amazing how much scent can change our perspective and make us feel a certain way. I could use a suit of armor these days.
Thank you, Joey! We all need such an armor now and then, Onda works just perfectly for that purpose.
Wonderful! I feel very similar about Onda – she covers my back whenever I need it.
Plus, at work I have to deal now and then with a very nice lady who likes her Coco Mademoiselle so much that you get the impression you’re swimming in it. Onda is the only perfume that’s able to protect my borders, so to speak, and let’s me feel like me during these encounters. Without overapplying, mind you!
And Lauren Bacall is just perfect! 🙂
Another Onda lover – yay! I’m glad she works as your border patrol against the onslaught of Coco Mademoiselle.
A great review (I have goosebumps all over). 🙂
Thank you, your comment makes me really happy!
Thanks so much for reviewing this B, I’ve been interested in Onda for a long time mostly because of the leather note. It sounds wonderful – very Wuthering Heights.
Wuthering Heights fits exactly!
I was floored by Onda’s power, such a moving creation.
If it’s Wuthering Heights then I have to re-try it (I tried it ages ago, but it left zero memories)
If only I could have a sample box even half the size of yours, this one also sounds lovely and on a got to try basis.
I have been religiously reading blogs and aquiring samples for quite a while now and yet still you keep throwing in names that I have never heard of before, thank goodness for google which is where you find me for at least the next hour or so. (Good job the boss / bf does not read this blog as technically I should be working right now) 🙂
Vero Kern is a name you should indeed remember, since she is one of the greats! I will be reviewing her other two extraits as well as the EdP’s soon.
Have fun googling! 🙂
I am not familiar with this line – though I remembering your mentioning it when I was under the mistaken impression that Andy Tauer, Swiss Army Knife! and Michel Comte were the only perfumes to have come out of Switzerland (a huge omission, as I now know). I shan’t forget the scent now, having read your review. The very intoning of the name Onda in that mantra-like way serves to underscore the scent’s powerful hold on your senses! And though I am not sure it is my style of perfume, like Pandora, I would try it if I came across it. As it happens, I am back in Switzerland in a couple of weeks, so who knows!
When you say, you won’t forget that perfume now, then I succeeded in getting my impressions across. Thank you, that makes me day!
I think it is safe to say, Onda won’t be your favorite, but it is nonetheless a “must-try” for perfume lovers, as are her sisters Kiki and Rubj.
Sorry for the redundant gerund there… ; – )
I remember the huge confusion the gerund caused in English class back in highschool, and although I pride myself for knowing enough English to find my way around, finding your redundant gerund in that comment proved too difficult for me. I declare defeat.
Well, most understandably, for it was more incorrect than redundant – “remember” rather than “remembering”. Another bete noire of mine in the gerund department is at the dry cleaner’s where they invariably ask: “Do you want it folding?”
Oh wowww, Birgit.
Onda is the most stunning and unique vetiver perfume I’ve ever encountered: her rough-and-tumble, wildly beating heart and heathen spirit just thrill me.
And your beautiful review does Onda justice in every way. LOVED this! ❤
Thank you, dear Suzanne! I thought this might be your kind of perfume! 🙂
I’m kinda’ new around here, but I just love your reviews!!! I feel like I’m taking wonderful adventures…..thank you for opening the doors
Hello Sharon! It is lovely to hear from you!
Thank you for that kind comment. Isn’t perfume a great means of travel? 🙂
Excellent review! Onda really showed herself to me when I accidentally poured way too much on from my meager sample. I was stunned. It took two years or more to finally own some Onda, but I finally do, and she is everything you said. Amazing stuff.
Thank you, Tama!
Glad to hear from a fellow Onda lover. She is amazing! 🙂
Beautiful words Dear, and I have been meaning to try these fragrances. Thank you!
Thanks! All three are really worth a try!
I can only echo what has already been said: really wonderful review! I will certainly be looking out for Vero Profumo now. And I like seeing Lauren Bacall as your illustration; she is awesome!
Lauren Bacall fits Onda to a T.
I love that there are only three in the line, that is manageable, and all three are glorious.
I want to start with saying that your review is great. And I’m not just saying that: because of your review I will try both concentrations of Onda one more time. Even though my notes from the previous (second) attempt say: “I will not be testing it any more”. Onda smells awful on my skin. It’s not “nothing special”, “not interesting enough” or any other versions of “not my perfume”, it’s a straight-forward bad smell of an unwashed body covered with some strong perfume.
I read many good things about this brand. Then I tested Onda (both EdP and extrait) and disliked it passionately. Then I tested Rubj: first EdP – and had a similar reaction and then the extrait… Rubj Extrait de Parfum was so great that it took me by surprise. I like it. And my “like” in this case is very close to “love”. This is one of the perfumes that will have to be replaced in my collection once the tester is gone.
Because of how much I liked the extrait version of Rubj when I didn’t like the EdP one, I decided to re-test Onda extrait. The result was the same. Now after reading your review I will give it one more try.
Oh, Undina. That is lovely of you. Vero Kern said she is used to people either loving or really hating her perfumes. If Onda is not for you, don’t fret, Rubj is amazing (and expensive enough!) 🙂
Actually, I noticed that I get much less upset if I really like at least one perfume in a line. Then I can tell myself that not liking other perfumes is a blessing since it saves me money – for buying the one I liked.
That is true. And Vero Profumo is no cheap thrill! I’m glad I don’t like the EdP’s so much as to want them too! 🙂
Birgit, this is the only scent of Vero’s I haven’t tried. So far, the others haven’t clicked with me. Maybe this will? Adding it to my sample order. Thanks for another great review. 🙂
Maybe this one will…
I hope it will, since it is so brilliantly done!
Olfactoria: Excellent excellent review! I have a sample of Rubj…and after reading THIS now want to try both Onda and Kiki! Thank you so very much for sharing your insights, and I have checked the “Notify me of new posts by email” option and look forward to reading ALL your new reviews (and some of the older ones as well). Keep on sniffing AND writing! 😉
Thank you so much for your kind words, John!
I hope Onda becomes just as special to you as it is to me.
I certainly plan to stick with perfume and writing… 🙂
I love this stuff, too, and your description of it tapping a part of you that doesn’t speak much is perfect. It’s like Onda helps me put aside my people-pleasing efforts and just listen. There’s something very primal about it. But then it softens and starts reminding me of Habanita, which is another great phase, too!
Primal – that is it. It appeals to the pre-verbal parts of our souls, and something like that is very much needed sometimes.
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I just noticed you’ve reviewed one of my favorite fragrances.
If you like the extrait please give the eau de parfum a try, too! Vero’s EdP’s are significantly different from extraits, not just different concentrations ( I’m really not fond of Rubj parfum – it grates on me, but love the eau de parfum ). Onda eau de parfum is the strangest things, a drily-herbal non-sweet bitter-fruit chypre. It was what I always hoped Mitsouko was, only Mitsouko wasn’t ( Mitsouko’s nice, just never wowed me, even when I sampled vintage ). I don’t own it yet, but it fascinated me from afar.
I’m currently testing all three EdPs. A review will come in time…
And, psst, I can’t wear Mitsouko either. 😉
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Like you I left Onda be for many many months. Occasionally I would open the little vial and sniff it, only to immediately disregard it and put it aside again. I just couldn’t imagine that I would ever truly get it. And it didn’t seem like a loss.
And then I wore it. I just wore it. And it was like nothing I have ever experienced before. I know now that I need to look no further. This is my scent. I feel sexy and strong and confident and, well, I feel like I can be me, that I am me. I never want to be without Onda again.
That is wonderful, I’m so glad.
Onda only reveals herself to those who wear her, a sniff from the bottle is deceiving. She is astounding and fascinating – Vero’s masterpiece.
We have so many perfume loves in common, Åsa, I like that!!! 🙂
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