Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Greatest Romance- Onda by Vero Kern

The first time I wore Onda by Swiss perfumer Vero Kern was on a rainy winter day. The streets were grey, damp and miserable. The wind was fierce, but not in a Christian Siriano way. It cut through my clothes, under my shawl , blowing my hair in all directions. But what I remember most from that day is feeling beautiful. And much taller than my 5'3" self.

People in the know (like Helg of Perfume Shrine) compare Onda to one of the biggest perfume legends of all time, Guerlain Djedi. I've never sniffed this 1926 masterpiece, but I'll take Helg's word for it. Onda definitely smells and feels like a creation from a beautiful, romantic, bygone era. It is utterly luxurious, rich and very complex.

This scent, with its smoky opening, leathery notes and vetiver-gone-wild earthiness is wonderfully different than anything else I own. It's unlike perfumes one would come across on the market, and I suspect that there's no chance it can be a commercial success outside the realms of niche scents. This is the opposite of everything "fresh" and "light", and would encounter a thoroughly disgusted look from both your teenager niece who wears Pink Sugar and from your mother who associates this kind of scent with the "old ladies" she remembers from her own childhood in the 40s or 50s.

Let's ignore them.

Onda is Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, Paulette Godard and Ingrid Bergman. Beautiful, dramatic and romantic. It's smoky and leathery enough that I'm curious to know how it would work on a man. It's almost dirty, but not quite. It's strong, the spiced up vetiver lasts and lasts, but since it's a very concentrated extrait de parfum, the sillage wouldn't precede you. But make no mistakes: those close enough would smell it. Hopefully, they have what it takes to thoroughly enjoy it.

You can purchase samples the same way I did: directly from Vero's web site, $20 for a sample kit of all three of her scents, and almost as much in postage, if you live in the US. Full bottles are also available, the price is on the very high side of things and completely justified and worth it in my opinion. It takes a while to ship, as my husband discovered the hard way, so figure in about two and a half weeks, especially if you're buying it as a present.

Image: IMDB


  1. Hi,
    Onda smells great on a man. I think so and have been told by both men and women, who have caught a wiff of it on me. There's nothing mainstream or niche to compare it to. It's in a realm of its own. Love it, Love it, Love it!


  2. I absolutely love Onda!!! And I'm frantically saving up my pennies until I can afford a bottle. It just makes me feel good all the way down to my bones. I keep finding myself inhaling deeply from the scented spots so I can experience it all over again.

    You're right, my 21-year-old daughter sneers at it and wrinkles her nose. Ah well, maybe she'll come around some day :)

  3. Onda - wore it yesterday. It is incredible...

  4. Wow, this sounds RIGHT up my alley....

  5. I'm with you all on this one.
    It's pure sorcery in a bottle-
    Unique au monde.

    It's not appreciated by everyone, I think.
    What work of art is?

    Lovely review, shayningke.

  6. Yes, yes, yes... Onda is pure amazement. It's way beyond my powers of description to explain why and how it smells the way it does. It's utterly unique in my experience of perfumes, particularly in the ones that have been developed in the last thirty or fifty years. From a distance, my husband finds it sweet, up close, it's allllll animal. In addition to being an extraordinary fragrance, it was developed by an extraordinary woman. Vero Kern is the real deal.

  7. Nattygold- I'm very happy to hear this and I agree: it's beyond comparisons.

  8. Gail- If there ever was a perfume worth living on ramen noodles, this is it :)

  9. Lee- Once again we agree. This perfume makes my day and my night.

  10. Flora- I'm certain you're going to love it. It's an artwork.

  11. Chaya'le- Thank you so much! I've missed you. Love and kisses.

  12. Heather- Vero,Onda and precious few others give us hope. All I wish is that more and more people would learn to appreciate such creations.


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