During April members of the BSP were given a unique opportunity to look into the archive held at L’Osmothèque in Versailles. Patricia de NICOLAI – President of the Osmothèque and Perfumer creator with her own company was kind enough to visit the UK and present a lecture entitled «De l’ancien vers le nouveau…(From the old to the new…) «
Patricia began by giving a brief history of L’Osmothèque, originally set up by Jean Kerléo in 1990. The original French word Osmothèque means,“perfume repository” although the word Osmothèque comes from the Greek words OSMO-odor and THEQUE-storage.
The original idea was to have a house of perfumes where professionals and the general public could rediscover perfumes that they once loved. The Osmothèque became a unique location dedicated to the memory of scents. From its inauguration in April 1990, the Osmothèque’s purpose is not only to identify and collect perfumes existing or future but also to trace the missing classics and revive them.
Patricia then gave members the opportunity to evaluate samples from the Osmothèque’s living collection and discuss the evolution of these fragrance families within the perfume industry. Beginning with the citrus family a comparison was made between Eau de Cologne de Napoléon à Sainte Hélène (1820), a fragrance whose formula was found in an old cabinet at an auction in Versailles and CK one, CALVIN KLEIN (1994) by Alberto MORILLAS that used Galaxolide as a key ingredient.
Next we looked at Florals and evaluated Vera Violetta by ROGER & GALLET (1892) and Violette in Love by PARFUM DE NICOLAÎ (2009) a creation by the speaker herself. From this we moved on to Floral Bouquet with Fleurs de Rocaille by CARON (1933) created by perfumer Ernest DALTROFF and the comparison with the classic Beautiful by ESTEE LAUDER (1986) created by Carlos Benaïm and Bernard Chant.
The next stop was Floral Aldehydic where we had three perfumes to compare, L’Aimant from Coty (1927) by Vincent ROUBERT , L’interdit by GIVENCHY (1957) created by Michel HY and the recently launched N°5 Eau première from CHANEL (2008) by Jacques POLGE. Staying with Florals we moved swiftly on to Floral Green with a chance to evaluate Vent Vert from BALMAIN (1945) by Germaine CELLIER and Envy by GUCCI (1999) created by Maurice ROUCEL. Our last stop in Florals was with Floral Fruity Woody and a look at Iris Gris, FATH (1947) created by Vincent ROUBERT and at the other end of this family Dior Homme by DIOR (2005) created by Olivier POLGE.
Our next family was to be Fougere – Fougère Royale by HOUBIGANT (1884) by Paul PARQUET and R by PACO RABANNE (1973) created by Jean MARTEL were the choices for comparison. Following this we moved to the Chypre family with an evaluation of Le Chypre by COTY (1917) created by François COTY and Femme by ROCHAS (1944) created by Edmond ROUDNITSKA, which is a more fruity Chypre. Added to this we looked at Aromatics Elixir by CLINIQUE (1971) created by Bernard CHANT that is described as a floral aldehydic Chypre.
With a few more families left to cover we evaluated the Woody family next with a chance to smell Vetiver by CARVEN (1957) created by Philippe Firmenich and the recent launch of Vetiver Tonka by HERMES (2005) created by Jean Claude ELLENA and then moved on to Orientals and the comparison of L’Origan by COTY (1905) created by François COTY and Oscar by OSCAR DE LA RENTA (1977) created by Jean louis SIEUZAC both where described as floral spicy ambers. On to Floral Woody Amber and we evaluated Le fruit défendu from ROSINE / Paul POIRET (1914) created by Henri ALMERAS and Angel (1992) from Thierry MUGLER and Olivier CRESP.
Last but not least we covered Leather and in this family Tabac Blond by CARON (1919) created by Ernest DALTROFF and last but not least Dzing by L’ARTISAN PARFUMEUR (1999) created by Olivia GIACOBETTI.
This rounded up an excellent evening that allowed the audience the chance to evaluate perfumes past and present and really see the evolution of these fragrance families over time. We would like to thank Patricia de Nicolai for her excellent presentation and for giving the BSP members a unique opportunity to compare fragrances from the L’Osmothèque archive. Further information about L’Osmothèque can be found on their website at www.osmotheque.fr
This report is the writer’s interpretation of the event. It is not intended as a verbatim account and should not be read as such.
© Copyright British Society of Perfumers 2010