If Chanel's Cuir de Russie is the horse you rode in on, Onda is the musky undergrowth you had to stomp through beforehand and the tack room you end up in afterwards. Dirt, wild and dank vegetation, and redolent leather all combine to form one of the most unusual and daring scents I own. Onda is not only dark and loamy and vetiver-laden, but it is complex and strange, and includes notes I'm fairly sure I've never smelled before in perfume, e.g., mace. Most folks are going to find Onda a bit too 'ugly' or scary since it's even darker and more animalic than vintage Magie Noire. In fact, it does smell like something a druid might cook up in a clearing in the forest on All Hallow's Eve, or what I imagine the tannis root from Rosemary's Baby smelled like. And because I am a complete animal and pagan, I love it!
Today I was walking in the park with Ogma, my dog! A man of seventy years old was painting the landscape sitting near a tree. It was not exactly a beautiful painting, but I was excited to understand that even at that age a person wants to get involved with something!
About Vero, I can say that I respect very much a person who has begun to make perfumes at his age! Wow! The licensee of this brand seems to be of Campomarzio70 of Rome, even though the brand is a Swiss one.
But to talk about Vero's perfume I need to understand her ideas about perfumery. As she is considered an artist, it would very important for me to investigate perfumery's bloggers opinions because contemporary bloggers play an active role in the process of constructing meaning about works of perfumery and art. Some artists often say that the viewer contributes to or even completes the artwork by contributing his or her personal reflections, experiences, opinions, and interpretations.
But in this case I found a beautiful interview by Alfarom, in which she is talking about perfumery and about her point of view too.
She said: …the market is full of new products and is increasing daily. We learn of strange "shocking" perfume concepts with blood, semen, urine and other body fluids. After a while I just stopped thinking about it and do what's right for me.
MMM! She is talking about Sécrétions Magnifiques (2006) where Antoine Lie tried to give an olfactory idea of blood and sperm. This is an artistic idea! She is talking about Peety by O'driù in which one can add ten drops of his/her own pee! And also this is an artistic idea!
So, what is right for her?
My goal is to make a good product, and not to be a famous perfumer. And my goal is to create the perfume as a Gesamtkunstwerk, with the right bottle, the appropriate packaging and at the heart an original emotionally touching scent.
Following her speech, I think about the packaging of her perfumes: a standard old style bottle in a box type for watches! No, just a moment!
Gesamtkunstwerk (translated as: total work of art) is a term that was used for the first time in 1827 by the writer and philosopher German KFE Trahndorff and then used, starting from 1849, also by Richard Wagner, who included it in his essay Art and Revolution (Die Kunst und die revolution).
The ideal of Gesamtkunstwerk is enhanced by visual artists of the Vienna Secession including Gustav Klimt who design, sculpt, paint and decorate in view of an idealized fusion of the various arts. And He was even famous!
At this point, I wonder if people understand the meaning of their statements!
I focus on the scent! I quote an Italian blogger Jicky2:
These perfumes are so memorable that we had forgotten that they existed in the closet ...
Really, the niche children love her, they make a lot of pictures with the old woman, who looks old... But, who cares, a nice review of 4 perfumes is everywhere.
Wath I think about this perfume?
I think this perfume borders with an insecticide! Perhaps that smell served to her to tell the poetry of marine pollution, in a total vision of art. Or maybe it's the smell of tiny flowers caught in a romantic flowered field in Switzerland before the arrival of those of Ricola's candy.. When they arrived, there was not even a flower, and even grass! They could not make their CHRÜTERCHRAFT candy! And now a lot of people have hoarseness and cough!
Why not try to paint?
Aesthetics might be shared but beauty is experienced personally. Discussions of aesthetics often lead to unanswerable questions on the nature of attraction, absolutes and subjectivity.
Onda's contribution to the debate is to show where the discussion takes place. Wearing Onda shows you that beauty is experienced at the limits. Simple ease and comfort might be found without much effort, but satisfaction and the greater pleasures don't land in your lap. They require your engagement and determination. The cliché, 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.' takes the burden off the object and places it in the mind of the witness. Onda refutes the passivity of the 'beholder' making the experience not just looking, but craving. Onda fuses beauty with desire. The question shifts from, "What is Beauty?" to Beauty slapping you in the face, smiling and asking, "So, what are you going to do about it?" Onda's question of beauty come in the form of a dare.
The mirror image of beauty isn't ugliness, it is fear and Onda gives you desire and fear in equal helpings. Fear as much as beauty balances on the precipice of activity and passivity. In considering fear you find the seeds for the broader questions of agency and fate. Is a fear of heights a fear of falling or jumping?
Onda interrogates beauty in a similar manner and beauty is revealed to be neither pretty nor polite. It is sinister and seductive. It is gorgeous. It comes at you forcefully whether you're ready or not. Onda favors destructive beauty and the heights that challenging work inspires. Beauty can cut, but it can also transform you. It is up to you whether or not to take the risk.
I wear Onda EDP often, but have recently been introduced to the Extrait de Parfum, which is a slightly different breed of cat. A little less alarming, a good bit more seductive. The differences are noticeable in the projection. The EDP uses passionfruit to light the fuse on the hot, salty, earthy heart of Onda. The EDP lunges at you with a sense of momentum and feels constantly expanding as if an exercise in olfactory physics. The Extrait moves more fluidly. It surrounds you and seeps into you. It's harder to pinpoint its source even though you know where you dabbed it. It is extremely rich and elaborate. The Extrait is darker than the EDP and its complexity makes it denser, though not heavier. It is even more alluring than the EDP and cuts me deeper. The Extrait is more a chypre than the EDP and while it has all the magnetism of the classical chypres, it is neither retro in style nor reminiscent in tone.
Kern uses three concentrations (Eau de Parfum, Voile d'Extrait and Extrait de Parfum) to explore the range of ideas that she presents in each of her perfumes. They share common ground, but they offer different perspectives. In Onda, the EDP and the Extrait both play with the notion of wildness and the whimsy of trying to tame it, the capriciousness of control. Onda EDP gives its animal a long leash and provokes a feeling of recklessness, excitement. The animal in the Extrait appears more tame and on the surface the Extrait seems less less audacious than the EDP. But here is the the Extrait's threat: It might be quitely purring at the moment, but how tame can a wild animal really be? When will the confidence of your safety shatter? The EDP urges impulsiveness. The Extrait feels dangerous.
There is an etiquette in corporate perfumery that dictates that perfume shouldn't challenge the consumer for fear of alienating even one potential buyer. The rule is reversed in niche perfumery. It's a spin on neo-punk: a show of outrageousness or non-conformity but no attempt to alter the status quo.
Kern looks past these constraints and makes perfume that both challenges the wearer and disrupts convention. She reserves the right to provoke. Her work doesn't simply express a range of aesthetics, it engineers aesthetics to poke at the questions of beauty, desire and self. The questions aren't easy, and neither are Kern's answers, but they are rewarding and satisfying.
Onda is one seriously weird smell. On a smelling strip it is a bold, animalic leather that vies with Bandit, Knize Ten, and Oud Cuir d'Arabie in pungency, married to a potent and bizarre peanut butter and hospital disinfectant accord, the likes of which I've never before encountered. When I first smelled Onda on paper my reaction was revulsion, but with such initially disturbing scents as Muscs Koublaï Khan, Kouros, and Yatagan in mind, I withheld judgment. Another case against evaluating fragrances on paper: on the skin Onda makes a very different impression.
Onda's leather is no less blunt when worn on the skin, but I'm happy to report that the illusion of peanut butter subsides after several minutes, revealing in its place an intense and sweet tobacco smoke accord that sends my nose scurrying in search of a humidor. What smelled like disinfectant on the test strip emerges as a combination of ginger and extremely dry vetiver, the latter with strong overtones of licorice. A highly contrasting floral note emerges not long after, piling yet another layer of weight and complexity onto the structure. Onda is nothing if not ambitious!
Onda is also loud, and I mean LOUD: the neighborhood will know you're wearing it. The floral component inevitably bows out over the course of three or four hours, leaving the smoky campfire and riding tack accord to stand alone in all its dark majesty for several more hours, with no diminution in overall volume. In its late stages, Onda resembles an even smokier, ashier version of Andy Tauer's Lonestar Memories. Being considerably less sweet is much to Onda's advantage: unlike the Tauer scent, it never smells like smoke flavored barbecue sauce.
Onda never sheds the raw intensity with which it opens, and so like Muscs Koublaï Khan, Yatagan, or Kouros, it's going to divide critical opinion. I don't expect too many neutral reviews of this scent! After multiple wearings and much internal debate I rate Onda positively for imagination, daring, and originality, with the caveat that you might well find it nauseating. Masterful or horrible: you be the judge.
Brown, woody, humid antique-furniture vibes. Peculiar, gloomy and masculine, with a really dry, pungent and earthy feel. Pretty much no counterparts or dissonances - no room for refreshing or sweetening notes, or other classic accords and escamotages. You can smell great, high-quality vetiver and ambergris, with a persistent spicy-sparkling ginger-nutmeg accord. All is quite simple and straightforward, in a minimal and linear style and a great consonance of notes. Honestly I do not feel anything challenging here - or, better say: surely challenging to wear, as for many contemporary fragrances that tend to push forward the boundaries of perfumery - so quite on the thin line between a more abstract "smell" and a traditionally-structured perfume... but still, itself, it is surprisingly linear and simple. Beautiful and bright drydown comprising a (dried) orris note, a hint of patchouli, and slight debris of dried fruits and flowers. A bit cloying honestly, and also, a bit boring after a while but that is my inner taste speaking: personally not my cup of tea, but a great execution with great quality materials.
Dry Vetiver Earth Years ago I tried Onda extrait at The Scent Bar and recoiled - recoiled . I was frightened by it. It smelt like TCP ( a british antiseptic - very potent smelling ) to me . Hence I stayed far away from Onda for years. I retrieved a sample of the extrait from my sample box, graciously given to me by dear Larimar and behold ! My nose has matured ....or something magical has happened for I finally 'get' Onda in all its dry vetiver and earthy ,dusty beauty. How I got TCP to begin with amazes me now. I should hang my head in shame. Opens with that gingery mace making it a spicey leather and then the rooty vetiver emerges wrapped in with some grounding earth . The whole thing is very truthful and an old world scent. A very thoughtful scent. It gorunds the same way Serge Noire by Serge Lutens does. It's somber, elegant and bold. Not for the faint of heart but for the brave hearted. I think Onda is brilliant. Unisex and mysterious. A wonder. Pros: Grounding and CompellingCons: Price"