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  1. #1

    Default Osmotheque visit and samples

    Last week, I was in Paris, so I signed up for a conference at the osmotheque. Sadly, it was cancelled because not enough people had signed up. But I begged to be able to smell the mouilettes with the famous reconstructions, and they were very kind to prepare them for me. So one day I went to Versailles and picked them up (and since I was there I also bought a few books, they have a nice list of books for sale). The osmotheque is in Versailles, about a 30 min walk from the chateau. I did not get to see the refrigerators or labs. they told me that they keep the perfumes in bottles filled with argon, and in refrigerators at a temperature of, if I understood correctly, 12 degrees (but I could be wrong on this), and of course with no light. Don't they sell argon also for wine lovers? almost thinking of getting it...

    I'm in Italy right now, and still don't have too much access to the web. When I go back to the US in a week or two, I shall report on the mouilettes. Now I just wanted to start the thread - I'm still excited at the fantastic smells that emanate from the little strips. The smell will be gone soon - but I hope to remember it well.

    As expected, most of the stuff was sensational. Not that it was hard to imagine that perfumes like that are not found anymore. Some of the smells were somewhat expected, but there's never any substitute for smelling the thing itself. Many of the things I had read about them became more obvious. For instance, the relation between some of the Guerlains and their predecessors. Fougere Royale and Jicky, for instance. Jicky does smell a lot like a fougere royale plus vanilla. Or Emeraude and Shalimar.

    cacio

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Oh i have been wondering where you are:-)

    So lovely to hear......what interests me , what is the closest experience from all you have smelled to this what you tried now? Am curious:-) anything at all or just the1 st closest experience to this?


    Enjoy your holidays!

  3. #3
    Basenotes Junkie Curly11's Avatar
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    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    I hope you're really enjoying yourself while on vacation. Thank you for thinking to give us stay-at-home BNers a little report. I'll look forward to reading about your impressions of the mouilettes.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Cacio, please take some rest while you are home. You are being missed. Bunches, too!

    You are not the first person whose seminar was canceled for the lack of participation/interest. Can't wait to hear more impressions.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Thanks cacio, I am curious to read your impressions!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Interesting Cacio! Greatly looking forward to hearing more. Enjoy your trip home.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Wow, I'm very eager to hear. It's my dream to visit Paris one day with someone who will appreciate perfume sampling. I want to take my time, go to the different houses, and definitely go to the Osmotheque. I hope you are having a lovely time!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Thank-you all! I'll be in Italy until tuesday.

    iivanita:
    you mean what's the closest current perfume to what I smelled? Jicky parfum and Cuir de Russie weren't too far off, at least on paper. Cuir de Russie was a little more assertive and less skin-like, but still close to its current extrait self. So I went to a store and was about to buy Jicky parfum, I sprayed it in a Guerlain store, but unfortunately it disappeared on me rather quickly - don't know if it was nose fatigue or just the drydown is now nonexistent. I must try again.

    Larimar:
    I also got En Avion extract, in the little sprayed bottle. Properly applied, the orange blossom stays in check and the leather comes out nicely. Indeed, I must say that the leather of the current En Avion does not smell very far off the leather of the Tabac Blond reconstruction I smelled. Tabac Blond didn't have orange blossom, of course, and it had rich ambers. But the dryness was the same. Of course, none of this remains in the current Tabac Blond.

    cacio

  9. #9
    treeman5823
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    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    The Osmotheque gives out samples? Since when? I though they only let you take home smelling strips.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    cacio, did you buy En Avion from the Caron boutique, I take it? You've got fine taste. Interesting that you are making a connection to the original Tabac Blond. I still have some in my decant left, but it's so very animalic that it should be obvious on the test stripe. Have you had exposure to the Lanvin classics from the 1930s? That's it!
    Jicky Extrait is tricky with just one or two spritzes... Jicky IMO always asks for a costly liberal application (30 minutes prior to leaving the house ), but then it envelopes me all day long. I have two cashmere sweaters that are stained for good with Jicky Extrait. Worse things could happen...

  11. #11

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Oh, fabulous! Dying to hear more but can be patient while you enjoy your much deserved holiday. Enjoy your visit, cacio!
    The nose wants what it wants!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    treeman:

    yes, "samples" mean paperstrips only. Regrettably. Many of them though.

    Larimar:
    yes, I got it at the Caron store on avenue Montaigne. I didn't want to imply that En Avion smells like the TB paperstrip. as you say, that TB smells very animalic, and with some ambers. What I meant is that the leather is very dry, like En Avion, where it is however paired with orange blossom for an airy (and not animalic) feel. The current TB extrait I bought a couple of years ago is has less leather and it is not very dry. In other words, it is almost as I felt a common signature which is not present in the current TB.

    cacio

  13. #13

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Here are my impressions on the Osmotheque mouilettes. As mentioned above, they were smelled only on paper, and some after quite some time, so it is hard to judge longevity or evolution.

    First, the historic ones, ie pre Fougere Royale.:

    Parfum Royal: I don't know exactly what this is, I assume it is the reconstruction of an Egyptian, Greek, or Roman perfume from antiquity (likely Egyptian, since most aromatic substances in antiquity went through there). Since recipes from antiquity, even when available, are hard to read and don't have doses (in an osmotheque book, there are discussion as to what an ingredient is exactly, sometimes it is not even clear if they are talking, say, of myrrh or frankincense), I'm sure a lot of modern judgement went into this. In any case, it smells like a very good spicy ambery frankincense, with the amber toned down, the frankincense quite clean, and the spices becoming more notable as it goes. There is a mix of several spices, I detect cardamom, cinnamon, and mace (didn't know the last one was available back then), but I could be wrong. Smells very good and very natural, and could well work as a good modern niche incense. Indeed, I don't see any reason why a modern house couldn't market this as an all natural, organic perfume. it definitely smells like it has more structure than most of the current natural stuff. (This assumes, though, that no animal products are used in the recipe)

    Eau de la reine d'Hongrie: truly an eau, in the sense of herbal water, especially rosemary. Even on paper, this smelled faint. Presumably, said queen bathed in gallons of it throughout the day. Not properly a perfume, and not even an eau de cologne, but pleasant.

    Eau de cologne Jean Marie Farina: the well known recipe, natural smelling. This doesn't survive well in the current JMF, which is too sharp, but in things like 4711 or Cologne Sologne.

    Eau de cologne de Napoleon: at least on paper, similar to the traditional eau de cologne, but more herbal. As if moving towards the street leading to some modern masculine herbals; or perhaps Napoleon still had some of the herbal smells of his native Corsica in mind. Very good and pleasant, and as fleeting as all true edcs. I don't know the relation between this and the purported St Helena recipe sold by a niche brand some time ago.

    Next, the birth of modern perfumery (Fougere Royale, Jicky, etc)

    cacio
    Last edited by cacio; 10th May 2013 at 12:40 AM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Oooh nice, Cacio! I wish we were there with you! I've read of Hungary Water. I once had an old book on homemade natural cosmetics that had a recipe for it (who knows where that went). Parfum Royal sounds interesting. I thought I read somewhere that Napoleon was fond of violet. Well, enjoy the rest of your trip and thanks for telling us about it. xo

    Larimar, a Jicky saturated sweater sounds like one to never ever have cleaned. I know what you mean about it enveloping you all day. I like the edt best, however. I don't own any, and I'm not anxious to own the new stuff. Maybe I will run into some pristinely packaged vintage some time.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Great thread.

    Larimar, you have another Jicky convert!
    What do insomniac perfumers do to fall asleep? They count chypres!

  16. #16

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    I knew you ladies had great taste! lilybelle, I can see what you mean with the vintage EdT. I have a full bottle and went through one last summer. It's the creaminess (also vintage PdT) that is missing today, however, I find sillage and longevity very frustrating with the vintage EdT. The current EdP is perfect for me in summers and extrait for winter.

    Thanks cacio, very interesting! I do look forward to the Jicky part! ^^

  17. #17

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    A few more, conveniently, the Fougere Royale Jicky era, which previous posts were discussing.

    Fougere Royale: I never had the chance to smell this, even in later versions. It is truly a fougere 1.0. Smelling this, one gets immediately the Platonic idea around which all other fougeres rotate. The accord is very clear: lavender top, and a soapy-warm drydown of coumarin. It smells at once soapy, clean, powdery, and warm, the ideal barbershop scent. But it's not just the smell per se, somehow, it creates an aura that's at once clean and warm. As expected, whatever one thinks about the thing sold now by whomever purchased the trademark, it smells nothing like it; nor does it smell like the current Penhaligon English Fern, a supposed follower. And most modern fougeres, good as they are on their own, don't replicate the same aura, compared to this, they appear sharper and more assertive. To my nose, the closest thing to FR is Jicky parfum - to get an idea, one should subtract the vanilla and some of the civet from Jicky.

    Jicky: as in other cases, here one gets the idea of Guerlain taking other perfumers' innovation and giving its own twists. Jicky smells like FR plus vanillin and a touch of civet. I don't know which vintage recipe the osmotheque has. I compared it to the current parfum version I sprayed in a local store, and on paper they still smell the same. On paper at least, it seems to have somewhat less civet than what I remembered from the edt, but likely, this is something that needs to be checked on skin. One worrysome thing though was the fact that the spray of the current Jicky perfume I put on my arm seemed to disappear quite quickly, as if the drydown weren't there. Has it changed? The osmotheque samples are on paper, so it is hard to say. But Larimar's statement that Jicky has to be sprayed liberally perhaps indicates that one spray wasn't enough. I'll need to test again to see what's going on. It would be sad if Jicky too, as so many other guerlains, had been lessened. But again, on paper at least, this does not appear to be the case.

    cacio

  18. #18

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    This is awesome.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Just guessing, but the major difference between modern Jicky and the original would probably be the absence of real Civet Abs in the current version. Jicky is changing all the time, it seems. I have a sample from 1990 and recently compared with the stuff being sold at the moment. The older sample was more animalic, whilst the current version was sweeter and on dry down much more amber (Vanillin and Ambroxan??). In fact my older sample of Jicky was closer to the recent version of Mouchoir de Monsieur.

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    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Lovely,

    But 4711 was always considered as a copy of the original koelnisch wasser? And it doesnt smell natural to me today as well:-) ?

    I am looking forward to testing modern and vintage jicky edp soon, and will join the discussion finally:-) .....have been waiting for ages to try
    But i have no doubts about modern jicky beeing less oomph then the old, simpler:-) ......its mathematics for me

    Love the descriptions Cacio!

  21. #21
    Basenotes Junkie Curly11's Avatar
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    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Thanks, cacio, for your various reports. In reading them I get a very good impression of how each perfume or cologne actually smells.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    David:

    it makes sense that there's less civet now and this shows up in the drydown. Hard to say with that one spray on the arm. The edt could have artificial reconstructions.

    cacio

  23. #23

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    You are probably right cacio, although synthetic civets are not bad. I think it is probably more to do with perceived current tastes.

    BTW I always thought that 4711 was described as the original Koelnisch wasser, on the bottle! No doubt the formulation has changed, but it is still a super fragrance.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    cacio, I had a decant of what I guess was early 2000s Jicky Extrait and it behaved like today's. I can't compare to older extrait, only to the vintage PdT from the 1990s. This may well project more (also with more civet), but longevity (or a very quiet Jicky after 3 hours) is the same. The only way Jicky is rewarding to me is to use it liberally (half an hour prior to leaving the house) and by the time I go out sillage is perfect. It has always been commented by others that it envelopes me with a discreet aura that is noticed when one comes closer.
    Last edited by Larimar; 12th May 2013 at 01:42 PM.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Thanks cacio,

    Just clarifying for people that you are talking about a vintage formulation of Fougere Royale, rather than the current reissue which smells more like a relatively boring greener version Havana, and very little like the original Fougere Royale.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    David:
    yes, I meant the Roger and Gallet eau de cologne, which carries the name Farina on the front-too sharp and synthetic smelling. 4711 smells much more natural to me.
    And I agree with you that civet reconstructions can be quite good. I will definitely need to try Jicky extrait again with proper spraying, as Larimar was suggesting.

    cacio

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    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    David this is from wiki:

    The original Eau de Cologne is a spirit-citrus perfume launched in Cologne in 1709 by Giovanni Maria Farina (1685–1766), an Italian perfume maker from Santa Maria Maggiore Valle Vigezzo, Italy. In 1708, Farina wrote to his brother Jean Baptiste: "I have found a fragrance that reminds me of an Italian spring morning, of mountain daffodils and orange blossoms after the rain".[1] He named his fragrance Eau de Cologne, in honour of his new hometown.[2]

    When free trade was established in Cologne by the French in 1797, the success of Eau de Cologne prompted countless other businessmen to sell their own fragrances under the name of Eau de Cologne.

    The most famous Original Eau de Cologne is 4711, named after its location at Glockengasse No. 4711. It was also developed in the 18th century by Wilhelm Mülhens in Cologne and is therefore one of the oldest still produced fragrances in the world. On 12 December 2006, the perfumes and cosmetics company Mäurer & Wirtz has taken over 4711 from Procter & Gamble and have expanded it to a whole brand since than.

    In 1803 Carlo Farina, who was not part of the famous cologne-producing family, fraudulently sold William Mülhens that family's naming rights.[2]

    In 1805 Mühlens was first recorded as a cologne manufacturer, later sold under the product name 4711 from 1881. After the Napoleonic wars his company also exported the cologne abroad, including Paris and Stralsund.

    In 1832 Wilhelm Mülhens was found guilty of abusing the name "Farina", and the 1803 contract was found to be void.[3] To continue operating under the name "Farina" in 1832 Wilhelm Mühlens son, Peter Joseph Mülhens, took on a Farina from Mortara as a partner in the company for "office work and supervision of fabrication."
    Last edited by iivanita; 12th May 2013 at 08:29 PM.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Some Coty

    La Rose Jacqueminot: a very intense damask/Bulgarian rose with liquor and jammy notes. It smells more intense and deep than an edt I have, as expected from a parfum, but it's not too different. It would be interesting to know how it related to other perfumes of the era. While this is a rose, it is clearly not plain rose extract, it's a reconstruction. Was it the first one? Who knows. In any case, we now have hundreds of rose soliflores, this is one of the best and I enjoy it, but it doesn't seem as essential as other vintage perfumes, whose disappearance we always lament.

    Ambre Antique: an excellent amber, rich but smooth, not too spicy, and not too sweet. Luca Turin correctly said that it would do well in a niche line, and I would guess that indeed there's something around that smells similar. Excellent, but again, since ambers are pretty much alive and kicking, not essential.

    Origan: instead, an essential one that has disappeared. An abstract floral, smelling deceptively simple, but rich. If one analyzes, there are powdery violets, heliotropin, orange blossom, and concord grape (and certainly a lot more), but the point is that it comes together as a sort of invented flower that sits somewhere between pale, white flowers and assertive, "pink" ones (pink not in the sense of color, but in the sense of oomph, garish). The "pink" part comes from concord grape (and perhaps a touch of clove). I get Sanchez's assertion that the smell stands between Heure bleue and oscar de la renta. Th relation with the Guerlains (Apres l'ondee and Heure Bleue) is often highlighted; if one pays attention, one can get it, but it is not so obvious, perhaps because the underlying structure is more hidden, but especially because the aura of the two is completely different. Origan maintains a certain sassiness, whereas the Guerlains remove all the "pink" and amp up the powdery, white part via heliotropin and iris, and enter a hazy, dreamy world. I have a late edt reformulation; it is still in the same style, but, while good, it is not nearly as interesting and rich as the original - in particular, there's less of the concord grape, pink part.

    cacio

  29. #29
    treeman5823
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    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    I love my old bottle of L'Origan pdt. Its oscillation between abstract, happy fruit (violet, orange flower, clove) and sad chill (iris and heliotrope) is the olfactory equivalent of a sad smile. I prefer it, in fact, to L'Heure Bleue, which is a bit like L'O after a course in Wagnerian hooplah. More, cacio, more!

  30. #30

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Not following the chronological order:

    Coty Chypre: Chypre 1.0, in all senses. Ideally, everybody should smell this as a reference. As with Fougere Royale, smelling these makes one understand fully the structure of the key genres. A combination of elements that comes off as a unified and entirely abstract smell. I have a later EDT reissue; still recognizable, but the osmotheque parfum is richer, and the citric- the bergamot part is more noticeable, perhaps because the citrus has disappeared from the old bottle. The osmotheque formulation is indeed very powerful, 20 days after spraying the mouilette is still extremely powerful, with an unchanged structure. So powerful that one even picks up dirtyish animalic notes, and oily ones. Gorgeous. Once again, the closest thing (I cannot say extant) would be vintage Mitsouko parfum. Subtract the peach from Mitsouko, and you're almost there-except that this one is richer (at least than the Mitsouko I've smelled). As for other cases, smelling the original versions reiterates the idea of Guerlain appropriating and giving a twist to previous ideas.

    Emeraude: since we're at that, another coty-guerlain succession. The mother of all orientals. A rich, powdery, golden ambery vanillic mix. Yet it never smells heavy or sweet. Having read Luca Turin's description, it seems the secret is the fact that the oriental base is overlaid with a fresh, "minty" note. I'm not sure I would have picked it on my own, because the whole thing comes out as a unified smell. But once this is pointed out, it is quite clear. It's not exactly "minty" in the usual sense, and certainly not green, but more like some superfresh candy (like Golia bianca, for the Italians). Again, the closest recent things are Shalimar parfum and (vintage?) Vol de nuit parfum, though the relation isn't as close as that for FR or Chypre. It's more the overall effect. Relative to Shalimar, Emeraude does not have much lemon and it also doesn't have the dark leathery aspects of some version; relative to Vol de nuit, is is more powdery and gritty. For lack of better words, I'd say that Emeraude would smell more "old lady" to people used to modern concoctions. I have some vintage-ish bottles of Emeraude edt. Recognizable, but as usual, the parfum version of the osmotheque is smoother and richer. Of course, the current version is much worse.

    cacio

  31. #31

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Great read! Thanks, cacio!

  32. #32

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Cacio, this is just wonderful. A really great read and so well written. You are giving us such a rare treat!

  33. #33

    Default Re: Osmotheque visit and samples

    Edit: oops, I added on the wrong forum. In any case useful list in here too, since the original forum has been cut.

    Parfum Royal (a reconstruction of an ancient roman/persian perfume)
    Eau de la reine d'Hongrie
    Eau de cologne Jean marie farina
    Eau de cologne de napoleon
    Fougere Royale
    Jicky
    La rose Jacqueminot
    Ambre Antique
    L'origan
    Chypre
    Emeraude
    Rosine Le Fruit defendu
    Crepe de Chine
    Quelques Fleur Houbigant
    Tabac Blond
    Cuir de Russie
    Carven Vetiver
    Iris Gris
    Vent Vert

    cacio

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