Review: Après l'Ondée by Guerlain
FINALLY getting around to trying this Guerlain. It is a classic AND a masterpiece. Do you ever avoid sampling a perfume because you are afraid to fall for it? This is one of those for me. It's silly because I own so much perfume that it wouldn't have been that big of a deal to pick this up at some point. And I love it as much as I imagined I would!
Just want to mention that am not sure of the age of my sample as it was a gift from a fellow perfume worshiper. Judging by the color and the scent, it is probably not vintage.
In the first moments that I smelled Après l'Ondée for the very first time, two words immediately jumped to mind: delicate and serene. I envisioned feeling the silky, sheer, purple iris petals between my fingertips, taking deep breaths of clean air, my shoulders enrobed in warm sunshine.
Here's what I love and what is so unique about Après l'Ondée. Its notes not only evolve from the traditional French top-heart-base, but the scent also changes from one spot on my skin to another. It's as though I sprayed two different perfumes on my skin immediately next to one another. In one place I smell damp violets, but as I slide just an inch or two along my arm, I pick up sweet mimosa and a pop of cassis, which creates a vibrant green effect. Another few centimeters reveals the scent of rich and starchy orris root. The result is an olfactory impressionist landscape of a spring garden in the French countryside. On my arm sits a watercolor painting with swirls of purple and violet; hues of blue; a layer of green; brownish-gray round shapes strewn along the bottom. In my mind's eye I am Monet.
It's rare that I liken a perfume to a symphony, but the complexity and even feelings evoked by this perfume indicate that it was created by a master who is the olfactory equivalent of Beethoven. Après l'Ondée is a carefully orchestrated piece of art. The complexity, layering and harmonization of every single note is nothing short of genius.
Since violet is IMHO the biggest note in this fragrance, I want to focus on it a little bit. While the cassis does provide a green staccato (uh-oh! I'm breaking out the musical terms), the violet note itself hugs the line between a cool, wet, natural violet and sweet violette pastilles. I really like the fact that the violets are neither here nor there but strike a perfect balance in the middle, the likes of which I have never experienced in any other violet perfume.
Après l'Ondée is a classic that is still relevant today. And while perhaps marketed to women, in today's gender-bending society I can easily see it as a modern men's fragrance. We no longer have to adhere to the rules of "women wear violets and roses and men wear lavender and fougères." I can picture it on a man wearing a black suit as well as on a man who is enjoying Sunday brunch with family.
I am not a self-professed "violet lover" by any means. I am very particular about my violet perfumes. But if there were ever a violet perfume to own, Après l'Ondée would be it!
Just for the heck of it I will mention a couple of other violet loves: The retro-style green violet of Voile de Violette by Sonoma Scent Studio, good old patchouli-tinged Balenciaga, and I saved the best for last--Au Pays de la Fleur d'Oranger's gorgeously creamy Violette Sacrée.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on Après l'Ondée or your other violet faves ;)
6/20/2016 07:33:52 am
Excellent review. Apres L'Ondee is just hauntingly wonderful. I never even thought about the violets in it, but unless a note smacks me in the face, I am useless to pick it out. There is nothing about ALO that will smack one in the face. I love low sillage scents so this is an everyday kind of scent for me, very comforting, cocooning. If I had to pick a favorite violet than this would definitely be it because most of the violets I have tried go to that rubber/balloon smell, at least to my nose.....if my collection wasn't the size it is I would consider a backup of this one. :-)
6/26/2016 02:25:19 pm
Well that is even more confirmation of how special the violet is in this perfume. It is very soft, so it does not jump out the way it can in other perfumes. And thank you for your compliment on the review. I really do appreciate it. xo
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