Onda Extrait de Parfum (Vero Profumo)

Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o' the great;
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The Sceptre, Learning, Physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

--William Shakespeare

According to Tania Sanchez, a perfumista's biography can be broken into six stages-- or rather, ages. In childhood, we identify strongly with what Mother and Father wear. Adolescence marks our first sortie into scent independence, usually by way of some cheerfully generic drugstore spritz we choose and pay for ourselves. However, we won't wear it for long. Burgeoning peer pressure triggers what Sanchez calls the "flowers and candy" phase-- a spate of teenaged conformity in which we wear only what others of our gender, class, or social stratum wear. From this stereotyped prison, we are rescued by the "first love", a fragrance so personal that we adopt it without giving a damn what others think. Greater confidence leads to greater experimentation; we indulge in wild goose chases after the rare, the exquisite, the arcane, and the just-plain-weird-smelling. There's nothing we won't try... and then suddenly, we stop trying. We've smelled it all. There is no more urgency to explore and conquer unsniffed territories. Here at last we find the fragrant version of nirvana-- a cessation of desire, "satisfaction in things in themselves".

Then what?

I have long wondered (and possibly feared) what might occur when I reach this state, only to find today that I'm already there-- and happy. Having heard and read so many tales of the earthshaking power of Vero Kern's Onda, I put off wearing the sample JoanElaine sent me until I felt sufficiently girded for the experience. Now I find I've been wearing Onda all along, under so many different names: Cabochard, Madame Jolie, Réplique, Imprévu, Crêpe De Chine, Riverwalk, Audace, Shocking, Intimate. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose-- and yet, I'm not disappointed. Here is the smell I like, reincarnated yet again.

And me, I'll keep returning to it, just as it keeps returning to me.

Scent Elements: Bergamot, lemon, tangerine, ginger, coriander, basil, mace, iris, ylang-ylang, honey, vetiver, sandalwood, ambergris, musk, patchouli