Thursday, October 07, 2010

Guerlain Après L'Ondée (Vintage Extrait de Parfum)

My first official  introduction to this 1906 classic Guerlain was through the newer EDT. I tested it many times and was always struck by the difference between the beauty wafting from the bottle and the way it smelled on me. I declared my skin as the place violets go to die. But that was not the  real Après L'Ondée.

Last year I had the incredible luck of finding a full bottle of the vintage parfum. I proceeded cautiously to make friends with it and discovered love. Apres L'Ondee is not so much about violets as it is about atmosphere. It's somewhat sheer and floral, but the notes that stand out to me are heliotrope, anise and lots of lots of very pale dry iris.  It's interesting how even with all the licorice and almondy heliotrope, the perfume never turns gourmand. It actually lacks that pastry shop quality you find in many Guerlain perfumes, even though the connection to Guerlinade (both the classic base and the 1998 special limited edition) and to L'Heure Bleu is there. It's just a very different kind of perfume.

Sometimes smelling Apres L'Ondee in parfum feels like entering a dream. It can be familiar, like a memory you can't quite place but you know you've been there, maybe in your subconsciousness. The iris is almost otherworldly. It's not earthy or dirty, nor is it buttery. How can something so rooty feel this sheer and delicate, like the wings of a dragonfly? That's the art and genius of Jacques Guerlain. He created an emotional experience of the first degree, which is perfume at its very best.

Art: Nocturne by Kirsty Mitchell


  1. What a beautiful description of the vintage extrait - I haven't tried this but even with the edt I can relate to your description of it as sheer and delicate, like dragonfly wings. There is a mournful, gossamer quality to this one, and I love wearing it on snowy days (not that we have too many of those).

  2. I have 1.5ml of this. It's not enough. I would happily settle for the modern parfum.


  3. Incredible description. I can smell it!

  4. Cannot believe you have this! Perfumistas everywhere are drooling and devilishly envious. I have the edt and adore it.....thank you for making me want the unattainable parfum all that much more ;-)

  5. I am totally with you here. I am so lucky to own the big 30 ml Extrait of Après L'Ondée and the new and modern Spray of Eau as well. There is no comparison between the two. The Extrait is to die for - you can meditate on the notes and aromes - the Eau is just nice. Still very special, but "only" nice.

  6. Beautiful post. Apres l'Ondee always left me cold. I was resigned to being the only perfumista who smelled it and thought "Meh, wistful's not my thing."

    Maybe my problem is that I've never tried the extrait, or better yet a vintage extrait. Thank you!


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