Vero Profumo's Onda EDP. I am husbanding the small quantity I have left until I can get more, and following up with Rubj EDP, so I may stay in this atmosphere of olfactory intoxication yet a little longer. I have worn them every single day since receiving the samples (by purchase, as inspired by Olfactoria's gorgeous review) Olfactoria is so right, it is a form of olfactory armor -- worthy of Joan of Arc, as she listens to her angel in the woods.
It creates a surrounding enveloping cloud, within which to enter into an ideal version of the material world in which we live. Something like wrapping myself in an aromatic guilt-free fur coat, a cloak of light yet dense warmth and space around me. The notes play together in a kind of voluptuous and beautiful melancholy, like the deepest sounds of a cello, or a piano sonata meant for midnight.
I know I am late to the party, in that these were released in an extrait form a few years ago and in this EDP form in 2010. I gather there are differences in formulation as well as strength, and avidly look forward to trying the extrait incarnations very soon. I feel lucky to have found them now, though there have been reviews by a number of my favorite perfume writers. I've been preoccupied so I missed them, until recently when I caught Olfactoria's review, and now I've looked up others who have fallen under the spell too. This is an all or nothing perfume experience. I will even say that those who have a taste for this perfume are those who I would find an affinity for, and would relate to the perfumes I rave over.
I have ordered a sample of the extrait strength, which is almost frightening to think of, the EDP is so powerful in itself.
The perfume calms me and at the same time has the strength to be a barrier-filter to any aesthetic rudeness that may intrude into my psychic interior space. It acts like an exoskeleton of beauty. For me it acts in a similar way as do other totemic signs of beauty, such as long shiny hair, dark red lips, smooth skin. It calls to all the classical signs of appeal yet is modern and open to individual interpretation and style. The earthy quality grounds the romanticism.
There is talk of vetiver as being the signature note of this perfume but while it is there it is melded into the rest, listed as bergamot, citron, mandarin, ginger, coriander, basil, passion fruit, iris, ylang-ylang, honey, Bourbon, patchouli, musk, and cedar wood.
What I experience is a depth that is lifted and made delicate and cool by the almost menthol qualities of certain materials (iris and cedar especially) in contrast to the musk, honey, patchouli. Sort of like drinking fresh icy water as you bask in a hot sun that relaxes every muscle in your body. I suspect the bergamot citron and mandarin are acting as go-betweens, melding all into a whole that is not to be broken down into its parts. This perfume is seamless.
Rubj is at the opposite end of the fragrance spectrum. Creamy orange blossom and tuberose blended together with smooth musk, very heady, with glimpses of anise in feeling and tone. The notes are listed as bergamot, mandarin, neroli, passion fruit, cumin, orange flower absolute, tuberose, basil, cedar, oak moss, musk. The soprano/bright aspects of the notes are most emphasized, and so completely opposite to Onda's low tones.
After some time for dry down, the creaminess is stronger but the upper register of the passion fruit, mandarin, neroli, tuberose and orange flower continue to hold forth. This perfume is all about the highlights of each component, and it is the essence of sweetness without sugar, more of an olfactory nectar. In a later stage of the dry down, the headiness turns almost marine, like breathing fresh sea sprayed air through transparent gauze curtains of light musk.
My preference is for the darker low-lit Onda, but Rubj is also a very complex, if otherworldly almost ultra-violet high-pitched intelligent perfume, that spells elegance to the fingertips on those who would wear it. I find it would not be suited to my personality, but I can well imagine it on a strong blond or redhead. It would make a creamy/velvety foil for a peaches and cream style of beauty, in all the variegated highlights.
Vero Kern is a fascinating perfumer, and I look forward to anything and everything she does. An intriguing exclusive interview with her may be found here, by Sorcery of Scent.
Above illustration: Jan Van Eyck Detail from Madonna With Canon van der Paele (via artdetails)
a flacon of Vero Profumo EDP from Luckyscent ($195 for Rubj, $165 for Onda, samples $5)
Highlighted hair from Beauty Insiders