Thursday 13 August 2015

APRÈS L'ONDÉE - From Seduction to Blue Hue

Created in 1906 by Jacques Guerlain, Après l'Ondée is an all time classic. It has had a troubled history, and for a period it was heavily criticised, but it has managed to survive and is now the oldest "female" creation still in production by the company. Just to clarity, the fragrances older than this one are Cologne Imperiale 1853, Jicky 1889, Cologne du Coq 1894 (all unisex), Mouchoir de Monsieur 1904 (masculine) and then the jewel in the crown. Why do I love Après l'Ondée so much? Quite simply, it is a masterpiece of delicacy meeting mystery, freshness meeting earthiness, and expanse meeting warmth.

Over the years the notes listed have altered quite significantly. The reason for this is that companies started listing "ingredients" that you think you smell, but which might not actually be in the fragrance. Two oils in combination can create a third scent, in the same way that colours mix, but the original two scents can also still be there as well. So, don't get too hung up with the conflicting information that you see on the websites. Take it all with a pinch of salt.

The biggest problem for Après l'Ondée is actually made up of two even bigger problems! When ingredients started to be restricted it had a huge impact on many perfumes, and this one really suffered. It can now only be made as an Eau de Toilette, and the act of reducing the overall concentration made the scent more transparent and ephemeral. Instead of the scent of the ground and flora after a rain shower, it became more a summer drizzle which doesn't quite dampen the soil. It went from an earthy floral rich seduction perfume to a fresh rain enriched blue hue EDT.

The other problem was that Guerlain had been using accords that were manufactured by different companies. These were a blend of various ingredients that created an impression of the scent required, for example hawthorn or lily. When these companies went out of business, stopped producing the ingredient, or even changed the formula, the perfume houses either had to recreate it themselves or substitute something similar, and this was the story with Après l'Ondée.

Now, Thierry Wasser has recreated, as far as possible, the original perfume at 68 Champs-Élysées but it has defied an exact return because of those missing blends. Even detailed analysis hasn't been able to provide an exact match for those missing parts, but it is pretty close. What became clear though was that the return of a pure parfum version of Après l'Ondée wouldn't be possible because of the restricted ingredients.

So, let's enjoy the EDT version and think of a light summer rain instead of the original downpour. Yes, the accords are different and the weight has been removed, but it is still a fantastic scent. Spray liberally and imagine the air "after the rain".


  1. Thanks for such an interesting post. Must go and try it!

    1. Do try it ... it is such a wonderful fragrance, and Thankyou for reading.

  2. Yes, I would like to try it as well.

    I am also looking for a fragrance that smells like Night Blooming Jasmine, but nothing that reeks of synthetic chemicals. Yes I know that using fresh flowers exclusively in perfume can not be done for various reasons, but there is a line between the sickly sweet smell of a chemical trying to be a flower and chemicals mixed by experts to more closely resemble the real flower. I would love to leave a soft trail of jasmine when departing a room, or just passing by, and also when I must leave this planet. ;-)