Thursday, June 28, 2007

Vero profumo line ~Onda: fragrance review

As we discussed the other day, Vero Kern is a very talented perfumer in the horizon of niche perfumery. She interweaves elements of surprise in her creations that astonish and make you immediately see that here lies a complex naturalistic composition that is meant for your intricate exploration.
And her talent shows through in her rich scent Onda.
Onda means wave in Spanish and Italian, while in the phrase “Que onda?” it means “what’s up”? In summary, don’t get swayed by the name, because it’s meant to signify that you should close your eyes and inhale deeply the kaleidoscopic journey that Onda is bringing on.

Deep within the Java jungle a great big tiger awaits: the rumour is that she is a man-eater, the fear and tremor of the country folk. It’s been some years that she roams the countryside assaulting her innocent victims; she’s a seasoned one, that one.
It’s very rare that you see her, hidden as she is through dark foliage, stepping on wet ground that doesn’t leave footprints behind. Yet, there she is…
It is with awe and amazement that you come to set eyes upon her when walking; her thick warm fur, her contrasting colours , her magnetic eyes that lure you and make you stare like an hypnotised novice in front of a cobra. The air is filled with the aromas of grass and roots: pungent vetiver that is uprooted, bundled and tied with ribbons, emitting a scent of earthiness and primeval dirt, like the soil on which no man has set foot on before. Mace pods have been crushed into your pocket as you stand there in your hardy leather chaps and as you put your hands out of it you suddenly realise that you are sniffable from the distance. Is your fate sealed? Will the man-eater attack? It all depends on your attitude. The bitter and carnal smell of what seems to be ambrette seeds interwoven with honeyed notes makes the approaching achingly desirable, even though you know of the grave danger you risk. The tiger approaches, sees you and appraises you. Stares you deep in the eyes with her own the colour of gems. You’d doomed. She’s one beautiful creature. And as she sits there you realise that today is your lucky day. You will be saved after all. Your amulet of Onda is safe-keeping you with its deep, erotic animalic smell. The musk that lies in its heart and makes you revert to a time of pre-lapsarian carnality with no shame.
You’re one of them! And out in the urban jungle to hunt for prey alongside her.

Onda manages to convert vetiver into a leathery animal that will make you forget all the citrusy, green interpretations you have already experienced by other perfumers (Guerlain Vetiver, Carven Vetiver) and stop you in your tracks as you come back to the original meaning of it: deep earthy roots, animalic undertones, rich pungency.
It will be difficult to pull for many as it requires a very self-assured woman to wear it and one with an attitude that is as far away from prudent as possible. However it is so unique that it merits to be tested even by those who say they cannot do these formulas. Less sweet that the admirable middle-eastern version of Vetiver Oriental by Serge Lutens or the very interesting, smoothed out Vetiver Tonka by Hermes; and very potent~ it can transport you to other places and images and make a statement for which you need never be apologetic about. And it lasts and lasts. If you have “it”, set out and charge.

Vero Profumo fragrances can be sampled/bought in Switzerland and neighbouring countries through the site. You can also contact Vero at
Plans to bring the line to the US are scheduled for mid 2008.
Prices for Onda extrait de parfum are 105 euros for 7.5ml and 165 euros for 15ml.

Next post will tackle another Vero Kern perfume.

Top pic photography by Art Wolfe courtesy of
Bottom pic by Helmut Newton collection Sex and Landscapes courtesy of

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