It’s been raining a lot lately. You know, those heavy, ozonic rain storms. They only come after intense heat and humidity, when you can barely see a few feet ahead, there is such a deluge. So of course, this brings to mind a perfume, and of course, that perfume is Guerlain Après L’Ondée. Après L’Ondée translates more or less to “after the rain shower” and was created in 1906 by Jacques Guerlain. It has often been called “heartbreakingly beautiful” by those who wear it. Some so much that they simply can’t wear it- it makes them too sad. I adore it, maybe because it feels therapeutic to wear a perfume that can evoke such emotion. Jacques Guerlain himself has said “I felt something so intense, I could only express it in a perfume”. Are we feeling what he felt in 1906? Maybe…
Après L’Ondée does to perfume notes what watercolours do to art. Guerlain calls it “a perfume of absolute romance”. When I wear it, I can almost see Monet’s Les Nymphéas (Water Lilies), with their almost ethereal blues and purples and that feeling of cool fresh water.
|Iris butter (from iris rhizome/root) is one the most expensive perfume ingredients in the world…|
I love the cool earthy and buttery iris combined with the most delicately sweet and green violet, both of which are wrapped in the gentle powdery vanillic heliotropin that only Guerlain can do. I also notice a delicious anise note, which is kept from being too sweet or “licorice-y” by a whisper of gently soapy carnation and jasmine. Oh, to be sure there are other notes, but they are so masterfully blended I can’t really discern them.
Many complain that Après L’Ondée is also heartbreaking in that it’s magical beauty doesn’t linger long enough on their skin. Luckily, my skin wears this perfume perfectly, and from the first second I sniffed it, I loved it. It does make me feel sad, but in a good way, the way a good cry during a sad movie does. It smells like a lush closed garden, at dusk, after a heavy downpour, when the flowers are heavy with water and weighed down, and air is still slightly electric, like the rain could come down again at any moment. Perfect.