Once upon a decade I had a signature perfume and that time is so far behind me now that I have trouble remembering what it was. Oh yes, Chant d’Aromes, and in the summer Eau de Hadrian. It was pretty halcyon, you never had to think about what to put on. It was always the same stuff.
I wonder what would happen if I wore the same perfume for a work week? The question was which perfume to choose for this signature experiment? I wasn’t picking any of my regular choices. That wouldn’t be fair. So my list includes a varied selection of things I have but don’t wear, in sample form, the sample being large enough to wear for five days.
So a random draw commenced, an unscientific one admittedly. I put seven perfumes in a bag, shook it slightly and closed my eyes, first vial touched was IT. They were:
- Papillon Angelique
- Etat Libre Vraie Blonde
- Krigler Established Cognac
- Neil Morris for Takashimaya
- Le Labo Poivre 23
- Vero Kern Onda
- Hermes Vetiver Tonka
That was the easy part. Laugh if you like, but the hard part was actually abiding by the choice. Even for a week, fidelity has become hard for me. I flit, I flirt, and am as untrue a fragrance lover as ever lived and just didn’t think I could stay off the perfume roundabout for a whole five days.
Anyway the choice fell on Onda. There we were Onda and I, in an impromptu intimate relationship, anyhow for a week. It’s ridiculous but my second action was to put away all the other choices so there couldn’t be any second guessing. Onda was the one and there wasn’t going to be any whining or midnight candy calls to Le Labo Poivre 23. Fidelity meant fidelity.
The longer this experiment went on, the more sympathy (and this is appalling) for Lotharios I developed. Still the effort was worth making if only to see what a signature scent feels like again and so, on went the Onda.
Now Onda is a perfume about which I know little. I’ve followed Vero Kern reflexively from a distance but don’t know her work and have this sample courtesy Vanessa of Bonkers about Perfume, but honestly only tried it once and drew few conclusions except that Onda was animalic. In other words this week of perfume matrimony was beginning to look like “Married to a Stranger”.
Day One: So this morning I have to say that Onda strikes me as a leathery chypre. There’s a strong slightly salty animal pelt note and something else, maybe castoreum? Anyway there is also a delightful floral floating above all the fur, and since this is half way through February, I’m grateful for a few petals. The heart is a high grade floral and just lovely.
An hour later and Onda is less woody, leathery and salty, but is also much less flowery. This has become an expensive leather jacket perfume. By the evening of our first day together we have quarreled. I think Onda’s too dirty. This perfume clearly has other things on its agenda than personal hygeine . Already I want to return to my long suffering perfume spouse Vanille Tonka.
Day Two: I’ll say, this Onda’ s tenacious. I woke up this morning smelling as if a mouse
had peed on both wrists and this from an application that was 18 hours old! As a diversion, I sprayed Apres L’Ondee on a kleenex. This is not really cheating, I maintain. Nobody but Onda is going on my skin. Maybe this is a technicality, and how soon to dab again?
Day Three: OK we’re the odd couple. This thing is animalic with a capital A and the note which just gets stuck in my nostrils is civet. Really, really determined, hanging on forever, through showers and hand washing, and everything else: civet.
Day Four: So I’m getting used to Onda. Can’t say it’s my favorite perfume, but I’m getting accustomed to its sequence: slightly green, flowery (my favorite part by far) then its’ woody spicy section and finally its’ civet. My beef is that the civet part stays on so much longer than anything else.
Day Five: Today which saw the last of my sample, ironically I hardly noticed the animalic facet of Onda. It went on as per usual, and I had no problems with the formula, proof positive that familiarity breeds content.
Conclusion: if you let yourself get accustomed to a perfume for long enough, even a random choice can work perfectly well as a signature scent. It might be easier to start with something you actually like. This particular perfume Onda had a few advantages. It was very well made, with good sillage, clarity, and a very long lasting time indeed. I suspect Onda would be excellent on men, and its good quality makes me think I should try Rozy and Mito asap.
As for Onda, I would never have picked this scent but I have to admit I kind of miss it!