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  1. #1

    Default Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Does anyone know? At the Osmotheque? (embarrassed to admit I've never been)

    Like the first original Chanel no 5?

    Or at least some kind of exact re-creation of the original formula?

    Yesterday I smelled a Mitsouko purchased in 1923 and O M F G!!!

    It's like taking the red pill and waking up in the real world after living in the Matrix...
    Last edited by Irina; 18th January 2013 at 10:47 AM.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Were to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Not sure what you are trying to ask Irina, but I have been to the Osmotheque and have smelled their "original" version of Chanel 5. It was wonderful. The main difference I noticed was the original had a much stronger Orris note; and was much more animalic. Agree completely with your comments about Mitsouko by the way. I envy you getting some from 1923; that must be an experience.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Were to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    Not sure what you are trying to ask Irina, but I have been to the Osmotheque and have smelled their "original" version of Chanel 5. It was wonderful. The main difference I noticed was the original had a much stronger Orris note; and was much more animalic. Agree completely with your comments about Mitsouko by the way. I envy you getting some from 1923; that must be an experience.
    Thank you, David The Osmotheque is on my 'bucket list'.

    Do you know if their original there is true to its first release?

    That is basically my question. Like with first edition books I was wondering where one can actually smell the classics from the very first batch? On the site of the Osmotheque they do say that they offer 'reproductions' of some of the original formula but it is not clear to me of which ones? As they also mention that some they can not re-create because of raw materials that no longer exist.

    I feel like I've just discovered something precious that really matters. Now I understand the 'vintage' rush much better. But time and storage can have such an impact, I really wish I would have access to a time machine to smell such historical milestones when they were 'fresh'.

    Re-creating historical fragrances: is that possible in a perfumer's training, David, that you know of?
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Were to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Irina View Post
    Yesterday I smelled a Mitsouko purchased in 1923 and O M F G!!!

    It's like taking the red pill and waking up in the real world after living in the Matrix...
    This is why the ongoing EU / IFRA reformulation and outright banning of key ingredients to perfume is such a crime. You're fortunate - most young people will never know what real perfume smells like and therefore have no idea what has been lost.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Were to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    This is why the ongoing EU / IFRA reformulation and outright banning of key ingredients to perfume is such a crime. You're fortunate - most young people will never know what real perfume smells like and therefore have no idea what has been lost.
    Although I'm not so young (late 30's) and smelled some of the now prohibited and even rare materials, I'm just in awe of such masterpieces. I mean reading about it is 1 thing, actually smelling the real deal is mind blowing. That's why I wish there was some way to get to experience the old ones, like they were. I'm really confused why there isn't a way to preserve such history. Like perfume archaeology?
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    I don't think the Osmotheque has exactly the first batches, or even the first year of most frags. It was created much later and thus it just got whatever it could. Not that it matters too much, I think, perfumes didn't change that much early on, and famous ones preserved their formula faithfully.

    You know better than me, but I think the first significant change in No 5 was the elimination of nitromusks, which happened much later. I can only envy your experience with Mitsouko!

    cacio

  7. #7

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Osmotheque say that they have many original formulae, and that they try to create them as closely as possible with the ingredients they have. Some things are no longer available, but much is. So it is impossible to know if what they have is truly like the original. They rely on their library of formulations, and any other help they can get. What we smelled when I visited was pretty good. I don't know just how may fragrances Osmoteque has in its vault. They are stored in the dark and at very low temperature. When I was there we smelled about 20 different fragrances including Coty's Chypre, the original Fougere Royale, the original Chanel 5 and the original Vent Vert. All were magnificent.

    I don't know if it was possible to recreate these original fragrances and I think we are losing something precious. Indeed I feel we have already lost it. The current version of many classics is a joke, and the manufacturers don't seem to care.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Thank you both for the insights Lovely to hear about your experience, David.

    Now that I have experienced what that heritage actually is, it makes me sad and nostalgic. I will do some research on the original formulas, see what I can dig up. From what I smelled in this Mitsouko it's more than just nitro musks, it's the combination between exquisite aged labdanum with vetiver and oakmoss, orris root and tonka together with a very dark but sweet animalic almost furry vibe, that must be real deer musk and other animal materials. Besides real pure ambergris I am yet to smell the other pure raw animal materials.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Perfumery is art. Unlike sculptures, paintings, or architecture, it has two failings that make it hard to experience the original artwork. It is dependent on mixtures of chemicals, and some chemicals decompose faster than others, resulting in some deterioration in any fragrance over time. The other problem is that to enjoy a fragrance, it has to be consumed. Beautiful perfumes are worn, breathed, enjoyed, and are gone. Thousands of people can look at the Mona Lisa daily, but if everyone sampled a vintage bottle of Mouchoir de Monsieur, it would be gone in a day. Osmotheque is a great concept. I suppose if you have unlimited resources, you can track down old bottles from estates and collectors...but it won't be easy or inexpensive.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    And as far as I am aware Osmotheque is the only place in the world that does this. The only place in the world with such an archive.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Quote Originally Posted by docluv45 View Post
    Perfumery is art. Unlike sculptures, paintings, or architecture, it has two failings that make it hard to experience the original artwork. It is dependent on mixtures of chemicals, and some chemicals decompose faster than others, resulting in some deterioration in any fragrance over time. The other problem is that to enjoy a fragrance, it has to be consumed. Beautiful perfumes are worn, breathed, enjoyed, and are gone. Thousands of people can look at the Mona Lisa daily, but if everyone sampled a vintage bottle of Mouchoir de Monsieur, it would be gone in a day. Osmotheque is a great concept. I suppose if you have unlimited resources, you can track down old bottles from estates and collectors...but it won't be easy or inexpensive.
    Actually I wasn't sure about perfume being an art, till this experience.
    Also I'm not looking to own or collect the old ones, just trying to reconstruct the artisanal knowledge of such heritage. I believe it could benefit my growth as a perfumer.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    And as far as I am aware Osmotheque is the only place in the world that does this. The only place in the world with such an archive.
    I thought so, thank you for the confirmation. Were you as a perfumer ever involved in such project of historical reconstruction?
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    How About decants from The Perfumed Court?

    How about Decants from Mr. Guerlain's Website?

    These both offer historical decants for their prices...

    You can also write to me and see what I've bought for my own study and library...

    Paul Kiler
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    I was also going to recommend The Perfumed Court or Surrender To Chance. They may not be the very first versions but I've got some very interesting old perfume samples from them, especially the Guerlains. For example, the original Djedi, which I think was discontinued in the 40s or 50s – a tiny little dab of this and it stays with you all day, wafting up around you, quite powdery – Shalimar from the 60s, Dawamesk, "vintage" (don't know how old) Coty Chypre.

    Actually, I also tracked down a tiny sample of the re-released 1996 Djedi and I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the two samples (on paper, side by side at least). So I guess that's one that ages well.

    I agree that buying old perfumes can be very risky, especially seeing the prices some of them go for these days. I've bought a few old bottles of Guerlain Vetiver on eBay (luckily they were fairly cheap) and they had all spoiled somewhat.

    I suppose the hardest thing about recreating original classics is finding the formulas. Then the materials. Octavian from the 1000 fragrances blog often writes about this.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    [QUOTE=Irina;2818007


    I thought so, thank you for the confirmation. Were you as a perfumer ever involved in such project of historical reconstruction?[/QUOTE]

    In a very small way, and certainly not with Guerlain. Many years ago I (and other perfumers) had to try and modernise some old formulae from the Crown Perfumery. It was surprisingly difficult. At the time there were very few regulations so that wasn't the problem. It was so hard to reproduce some of the materials used that were no longer available. Doubly difficult now with the added complication of IFRA.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Quote Originally Posted by pkiler View Post
    How About decants from The Perfumed Court?

    How about Decants from Mr. Guerlain's Website?

    These both offer historical decants for their prices...

    You can also write to me and see what I've bought for my own study and library...

    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    www.PKPERFUMES.com
    Thank you, Paul, these are very good suggestions. Emailed you back

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade View Post
    I was also going to recommend The Perfumed Court or Surrender To Chance. They may not be the very first versions but I've got some very interesting old perfume samples from them, especially the Guerlains. For example, the original Djedi, which I think was discontinued in the 40s or 50s a tiny little dab of this and it stays with you all day, wafting up around you, quite powdery Shalimar from the 60s, Dawamesk, "vintage" (don't know how old) Coty Chypre.

    Actually, I also tracked down a tiny sample of the re-released 1996 Djedi and I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the two samples (on paper, side by side at least). So I guess that's one that ages well.

    I agree that buying old perfumes can be very risky, especially seeing the prices some of them go for these days. I've bought a few old bottles of Guerlain Vetiver on eBay (luckily they were fairly cheap) and they had all spoiled somewhat.

    I suppose the hardest thing about recreating original classics is finding the formulas. Then the materials. Octavian from the 1000 fragrances blog often writes about this.
    Thank you so much for your input, the specific examples are very helpful! I have a decant of Coty's Chypre from TPC and I didn't find it nice, actually to my nose it was quite deteriorated due to oxidation. What a pity.
    However I do agree with you that sampling is very worth trying!

    I am also emailing atm with Octavian, he is a sweetheart, very kind and helpful!

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    In a very small way, and certainly not with Guerlain. Many years ago I (and other perfumers) had to try and modernise some old formulae from the Crown Perfumery. It was surprisingly difficult. At the time there were very few regulations so that wasn't the problem. It was so hard to reproduce some of the materials used that were no longer available. Doubly difficult now with the added complication of IFRA.
    This is fascinating, thank you for sharing, David!
    Crown Perfumery is one of the oldest British houses if I recall correctly, 1890's?
    So you've seen (some of) their formulas? Atm I wonder what the main differences are/were technique wise and creatively? Or the handling of materials like longer maturation times? The Osmotheque for example makes some reconstructions based on the original formula without modernizing, changing or abiding the legislation. Pure historian reconstruction. That is my main interest as I think there are some truly valuable lessons there that a perfumer could learn.

    And also because such masterpieces are fleeting in their nature, it would make sense from a preservation point of view, to construct some kind of museum or library, open to all, where one can experience the past artisanal perfume making and its products. Not unlike any other historical museums. Will love to experience if the Osmoteque is like this?
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    I have been passionate about vintage perfumes for years and have a fairly extensive collection. Even when I shed a perfume, I keep a reference vial as a tiny smell library of my own. The thing I find with some is the sheer difference between one and another of the same when it is vintage. it seems to totally depend how they have been looked after. I sought the real smell of My Sin for a long time before I found one that didn't smell of stale cat wee.

    Sometimes even on one that has really lost the plot, if one can bear the first pissy notes for a while, the underneath beauty does eventually emerge, but you have to smell very carefully. I have an old Coty La Rose Jacqueminot like that. Plus others that are tantelisingly sealed in by jammed stoppers. You know it may have saved them so far, but in opening them you know you could be setting them off on a faster path to decay.

    If one could create such a library, the problem would be how to allow it to be smelled successfully without loss or further degradation. Also there is a limit on how much can actually be smelled at once and/or in the same place. Testing is expensive unless you can learn how to yourself, and even with the results, the oils are split into fractionated components so a lavender may not present itself as such. I think a nose does a little of the same with enough practice but probably isn't enough without huge experience.

    I have tried and tried to re-create one old fave, even with the aid of a test result, and even when the top notes are obtained quite well, it easily slides sideways off track as it dries down because the ingredients are too different even if they were exactly the same name. Always nearly there but not quite.... lol.

    It's all good practice.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    The thing I find with some is the sheer difference between one and another of the same when it is vintage. it seems to totally depend how they have been looked after. I sought the real smell of My Sin for a long time before I found one that didn't smell of stale cat wee.

    ...
    If one could create such a library, the problem would be how to allow it to be smelled successfully without loss or further degradation. Also there is a limit on how much can actually be smelled at once and/or in the same place.

    ...
    It's all good practice.
    Thank you so much, Mumsy. Yes, storage seems to be key.

    Actually with a historically correct library I didn't mean actually cataloging the vintage versions and presenting them to the public, but offering historically correct reproductions that can be replenished/remade when they start going off. Like with any other perfume on the market actually: one makes a new batch when needed. Or you can make an exposition of the same formula in different stages of aging. Not sure if the Osmotheque actually does this?

    Restoration of old art like paintings is something that exists and can be done very well. The problem with perfume is that it is not yet seen as art within art history, thus it seems that perfume art historians or restoration artists are either in a baby stage or yet to be born.

    I might be missing something, thus I stand corrected if anyone knows more, would love to know more about this particular subject
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    i think that modern perfumes can be as beautiful as vintage one , there are some really precious gems among contemporary that can be called an art ......Patricia Nicolai for example made piece of art with her L temps du un fette! but her perfumes are not so popular like Amouages

    i also dont think that skills in making perfumes have been lost,....and everything that is old is necessary better....its just matter of perception, and sometimes obsession...becasue the beauty of that 1926 Mitsouko i am sure is amplified by it beeing so rare experience!, i am sure if you can buy it everywhere today you would not be so crazy about it and wont stock up 10 bottles .....its like Mona Lisa, somoene can paint Mona Lisa today to enjoy it in his /her room, thats not a problem, but why people dont do it? becasue that exact item is precious and not a copy

    thats what i think why it did not happen that perfumes are amsssively beeing recreated becasue people would not buy them! thats not it....also saying artist fromthe past had better skills then modern artist.... .... hard do quanitfy its simply different time

    - - - Updated - - -

    and one more problem is....artist were rarely recognized in their own times! so today we all know Mitsouko is special thing....its so much easier to look in the past and make statements...then to recognize things as they happen!! thats the essence i think.
    Last edited by iivanita; 24th January 2013 at 10:02 AM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Ivana, dear, while I understand what you mean and agree, this is not what my intention is: replicating that 1923 Mitsouko and sell it to the public.

    I think rather in terms of preservation. Like with the Mona Lisa: everyone can see the real thing (or a very good replica as originals are rarely actually exposed) and enjoy it in its beauty as it was in 1507. If the colors get 'old' a historical reconstruction artist will help to keep it as close to the original as possible.

    Thus instead of the MAD exposition with perfumes that bear the same name as their original but are not the original any longer, which is actually fraud imho, one will get to experience the 1923 Mitsouko like it was made available to the public in 1923. Or the aged well preserved version of 2013, so that people can experience the aging process for themselves, instead being fed marketing lies or as the French put it so well 'le rve'.
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    hehe i know!......i just love to participate in those sort of discussions since i was thinking about it for some time now and felt i want to share what i think at the moment hehehe , chasing after your vintage theme threads hehehe, psl sorry if i come across like having something against recreating vintages , was just thinking why it did not happen before i am late to perfume world...and people knew about IFRA etc and its all so interesting why those things were not important

    ......perfumery is so amsuing, its special kind of art, like cooking, you cant enjoy it without using it, and you cant preserve it forever without some special conditions, and you have to be able to recreate it constantly.....do you know this guy in London who makes art from cooking? Bloo, something with B....he recreates ancient meals! which sometimes are awful taste to nowdays people

    i thought Osmotheque is a place that trys to preserve perfumes and the heritage, so the idea to have more places like that not just Osmotheque would be great and even beeing able to buy it at some reasonable prices....why not.....

    just thinking loud

    - - - Updated - - -

    i am also so sure it is very much connected with money too.....

    so Mona Lisa and that type of art is used as preservation of value....one can not use perfumes for that purpose....becasue they are like food, during the crisis so many of those pictures have been used that way as a ways of investing money....

    there are so many things in the world that should be kept alive for future generations to see the beauty , complexity, to enjoy.....the nature versatility beeing as one very obvious! imagine how many old crops have been gone! they have to be recreated over and over again!
    i think if you look from that perspective.....tja this is not the worst thing in life and definitely not the only one where we "loose"....much worse is that one day you wont be able to see polar bear, or bengal tiger (and not fougere Bengale , or Amazon woods.....

    so i think thats the reason...if money found the opportunity there i am sure it would happen that way, in Mona Lisa every rich man would invest not just the one who understands the beauty

    - - - Updated - - -

    Jean CLaude Ellena is not rich? i think many of them are rich thats good point about keeping secrets!

    My point was only trying to discover why things did not happen, when there are so many enthusiasts...and so many lovers of old perfumes etc.... but they are not good way to store the value, they can go bad gold will never go bad , Mona Lisa as well, they can only get stolen. LOL
    the simmilarity with food is in a way that both MUST be consumed no point at looking at perfume
    Last edited by iivanita; 24th January 2013 at 12:14 PM.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Sure If I knew something about Polar Bears or Bengalese Tigers, I would do that

    But I'm a perfumer and this is my passion, so I guess that's why I feel invested. I guess it's all about personal passion: people who know and feel passionate about the environment join Greenpeace. If there were a 'Perfume Corps', I would join happily LOL

    Yes, money is an issue. Aren't any rich perfumista out there? LOL

    Perfume is not as easily spoiled as food btw, alcohol is actually a pretty good preservative and there are different additives one could add to slow oxidation down a bit.

    With cooking as art, one can buy a cook book and follow those recipes. Perfume is all about keeping secrets and telling bed time stories and I guess that right there is what bites the industry in the ass when it comes to both points: perfume as art and historical heritage.
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Jean Claude Ellena? ----i think there are some rich guys there...

    oh yes keeping secrets!!
    forgot about that


    perfumes are not good way to store value, they also must be consumed if you want to enjoy them they are not gold , doesnt wear out , nor are they pictures....they dont wear out from looking


    btw that Mitsouko that you tried is it more caleidoscopic then some other vintage from 1980? or modern?....and how did you happen to smell it? what you think how much 10ml of it would cost cca ? am very curious ......

  23. #23

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    I think that some perfumes are worth a great deal, as they are so rare, especially very old ones. Try finding an old Guerlain and see for yourself what it may be worth

    As for my encounter with the 1923 Mitsouko: I met a very nice elderly French lady at the local French library. We had a very lovely talk about perfume and she invited me for coffee at her home where I smelled the gem. I have no idea about the worth, I don't even dare to ask if I may extract a vial, this would be a find worth of the Osmotheque. I just cherish the memory and its effect on me, nothing like I ever smelled before, very rich, very luxurious, very odd in a good way. Enlightening.
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    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    such a nice story )

    hehe yeah i dont think that woman is even aware of possibility of decanting .....

    to me its a miracle she still owns it becasue she cant be that old to have bought it herself!....she must have inherited it from someone, and how they stored it properly!...thats the most amazing thing.....

  25. #25

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    It was passed on by her mother, an artiste, that survived the WWI by seeking shelter in Paris. I hope to see Madame again soon, so that I can listen to more of her stories. And it's very good for my French, although some of the finesse may be lost in translation (I'm working hard at picking up my French

    These are the stories that mesmerize me
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    I don't think the Osmotheque has exactly the first batches, or even the first year of most frags. It was created much later and thus it just got whatever it could.
    That's my feeling also.
    Last edited by hednic; 27th January 2013 at 04:36 AM.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Osmotheque does not claim to hold the original samples of old fragrances; it claims to construct, as closely as possible, the original formulations. It then stores these reconstructions in the best possible conditions.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    Osmotheque does not claim to hold the original samples of old fragrances; it claims to construct, as closely as possible, the original formulations. It then stores these reconstructions in the best possible conditions.
    Thank you, David, that is exactly the answer I was looking for.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: Where to smell the very first original of the classics?

    Irena, you are always welcome to the UK. I have a mini Osmotheque upstairs...lol

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Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000