Le refuge: : : APRES L’ONDEE by GUERLAIN ( 1906 )



































Guerlain’s strange and exquisite Après L’Ondée has a cool, primeval innocence, yet a wise, sage, intuition; as new as a just-blossomed flower, but as ancient as its knowing, tearful DNA. The soft diluvial transparency it breathes makes the perfume by far the most natural and air-kissed of the classical Jacques Guerlains, while the unusual bouquet garni of anise, cassie, rosemary, heliotrope, carnation and hawthorn contrasting emotionally, and perturbingly, with the vanillic-lined silken flower dust beauty of its powdered iris, violet, mimosa and musks make the scent quietly Arcadian: mythological, almost in its shy but steadfastly feminine beauty. A poignancy: rainsoothed; unfathomed.


































Filed under Antidotes to the banality of modern times, Flowers

32 responses to “Le refuge: : : APRES L’ONDEE by GUERLAIN ( 1906 )

  1. Vernona

    Beautiful review as always!
    I always found Apres L’ondee similar and overshadowed by L’heure bleue. I prefer the latter due to its denser heliotropic profile and the fact that it’s easier on violet,heavier on iris. Violet is a tough note for me nowdays, allthough Insolence edp was my wedding scent (gosh,I don’t think I’d choose that one in a million years from my current perspective but back then it was kind of weird and special…). I struggle with classic Guerlains in general (blasphemy, I know I know…) but my tastes are aimed at more modern L’Art et La Matiere et al.Guerlains. However, the purifying melancholy in both Apres and L’Heure hardly leave anyone indifferent..

    • Definitely. I can’t wear Ondee, and Bleue smells ridiculous on me as well, though I enjoy it as a night time treat. On my best friend Helen, though, Apres L’Ondee is so perfect it is timeless.

  2. emmawoolf

    A gorgeous review for a gorgeous perfume. xx

    • It’s funny. I didn’t even know I had written this review: I found it on Friday on the back of a piece of paper – I must have written it while in a trance during one of my lessons when the kids were writing something. I quite liked its attempt to capture the atmosphere of the scent so I wrote it out and put it up. But I literally have no memory of having written it!

  3. I wore this for the firs time recently after hunting down a vintage parfum. So beautiful. It is like the fragrance equivalent of discovering the t-shirt of an ex-boyfriend in some box at the back of my wardrobe. Love it ❤

    • My god the vintage parfum is SO rare and so delicate. How did you find it? It certainly has a cold yet warm, cerebral aspect that I think stops time for a while, somehow.

      • One cropped up on eBay, and I nabbed it. Stopping time is an excellent way to put it. It felt familiar but also impossible to understand. I’m besotted with it.

      • Exactly. Familiar but also impossible to understand. I think this is probably the key to all the best perfumes. The ones you become obsessed with seem to have both those aspects. So does my relationship, actually, which is probably why we have been together for twenty three years!

  4. Lilybelle

    Years ago when I first sampled Après L’Ondée I didn’t like it. It seemed so strange and fusty (someone had sent me a vintage sample). Maybe it was just off because now I love it and covet a bottle of the extrait. It’s the type of fragrance I love, strange and ethereal and alive.

  5. What a beautiful review for a heartbreakingly beautiful perfume. I only have the EDT but would love to have it in extrait.

  6. A beautiful review- it’s hard to do this one justice as it is unique, but you described it perfectly.

  7. I credit a perfume review of vintage Apres L’Ondee extrait that I read in the Time over a decade ago with kickstarting my perfume madness. I have it saved somewhere; I distinctly remember the author writing that after trying the extrait she felt a little weird, as if the walls were bleeding silver (I never forgot that line). As luck would have it, my friend who was already a perfume fiend had the EdT and offered me a sniff. Something was unleashed.

    Apres L’Ondee remains one of the favorites of my ever growing collection, the smell of a crisp, cold, sunny Winter morning by the Seine. I might need to buy a new bottle soon.

  8. You have captured the spirit of this magnificent fragrance with your beautifully written prose. It is a scent which longs to be loved, yet at the same time eludes contact. I just adore it and it is definitely one of my favorite Guerlain scents.

  9. Tara C

    Such a beautiful scent, yet so fleeting I generally only wear it before bed. I have had both the extrait and edt, currently only the edt, but it is gorgeous.

  10. Perfection. I love that you can’t remember writing this, like it was just channelled through you one day. You really have captured it so beautifully, no more needs to be said (although I am loving some of the other views). A refuge is precisely what it is. My little daughter is burying her face in an Apres L’Ondee scented handkerchief every day at the moment to get her through a very anxious time at school. Apparently all her friends love the smell too, so children don’t seem to find it strange (I love the picture of them gathered round, all asking for a sniff!).
    And it is definitely true to say that the extrait is not strong enough. Traces of the edt on the other hand are still detectable on my wrist at the very end of the day.

  11. larslatchkey

    I remember when I started more consistently to explore their classics. My experience is that fragrance sales assistants mostly are pretty daft (hope I’m not offending anyone round here). Not chez Guerlain, though! I mean in their “perfumer boutiques” (or whatever they’re called). Anyway, just wanted to comment that back then one lady sprayed it into my woolen scarf and I remember well how it made me swoon, how intense it was and how moving. I felt a bit like this fairy-like woman had thrown a handful of star dust on me. The colour of the current bottle label is so appropriate. That was about 10 years ago or so, and I guess it must have been pre-reformulation EdP. Now they only sell EdT and while it’s beautiful, it does not move me anymore. Am I just spoiled? The heartbreaking fragility and this anisic saltiness is not as delicious as it used to be. Well, I’m sorry, I’m sure you must be tired of this common lament. But it does sadden me. Latest news is that Derby is being discontinued and while new releases may be above-average, you sometimes wonder where this all leads. Anyway, after reading you here I want to revisit Al’O. I have been busy pondering other Guerlains (Jardins de Bagatelle EdP got me hooked, somewhat reminded me of No. 19 and made me think it’s a bit like a Chanel imagined by JP Guerlain) finally ordering a cheap bottle of L’HB EdT for I love it’s spiced-up orange blossom (with the same order I also got 200 ml of Néroli Doré as I realised with surprise after using a 15 ml bottle that it is so original in its minimalism that I want mooooore). Afterwards I searched for reviews and found your musings (that dialogue with your friend) about L’HB it and I feel the same: I wear it on weekends at home or for bed. Of all the classics I find it the most difficult for a man to wear. Après L’Ondée is different. I could wear this comfortably. I remember it as warm and innocent where L’HB is slightly stand-offish. The latter may be more yummy but I’m not sure if I want to smell like French pastry on the street. It makes me think of those paper serviettes used under cakes that look like lace. Après L’Ondée makes me think of the garden of a famous breeder of perennials (a horticulturist, that is) who was also a sort of philosopher or mystic and who loved the colour blue, Karl Foerster. From around 1910 onwards he wrote absolutely mind-boggling neo-romantic essays about the effects of flowers, and he also wrote about the smell of flowers. He would have liked Après L’Ondée… you told me once it’s okay to write long comments here ^^

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