Open Doors Day at the Osmotheque

If you could smell one perfume in its original formula, what would you pick? For me, it would be a tie between Coty Jasmin de Corse and Guerlain Après L’Ondée extrait de parfum. Well, it might be possible. On Saturday September 15, 2018, 10am-5pm, the Osmothèque will open its doors to all vintage perfume lovers. Located in Versailles, the International Conservatory of Perfume has the largest collection of rare and long vanished fragrances recreated according to the original formulas. To date, the Osmothèque holds around 4000 perfumes, of which 800 are no longer available commercially. My beloved Jasmin de Corse is part of its archives.

The Osmothèque event is part of European Heritage Days, and visitors will have a chance to meet the perfumers, smell rare fragrances, raw materials and learn about the art of perfume creation. Each visit takes around 1.5 hours. A donation of 1 € is appreciated.

To peak your curiosity, here are some of the fragrances the Osmothèque holds:  L’Eau de Lubin, Lubin (1798) , L’Eau de Cologne de Napoléon (1820), Fougère Royale, Houbigant (1884) , Vera Violetta, Roger & Gallet (1892) , La Rose Jacqueminot, Coty (1904) , L’Origan, Coty (1905) , Quelques Fleurs, Houbigant (1912) , Nuit de Chine, Les Parfums de Rosine (1913), Le Fruit Défendu, Les Parfums de Rosine (1914) Le Chypre, Coty (1917) , Emeraude, Coty (1921) , Knize Ten, Knize (1924), Crêpe de Chine, Millot – (1925), Zibeline, Weil (1928), Le Jasmin, Lucien Lelong (1930), Moment Suprême, Jean Patou (193), Je reviens, Worth (1932), Canoë, Dana (1935), Shocking, Schiaparelli (1937), Bandit, Piguet (1944), Iris Gris, Fath (1947), Fracas, Piguet (1948), Detchema, Révillon (1953), Vétiver, Carven (1957), Givenchy III, Givenchy (1970) and more.

L’Osmothèque – Conservatoire International des Parfums
36 Rue du Parc de Clagny – 78000 Versailles
For reservations, please contact the Osmothèque via their website or call +(33) 01-39-55-46-99
10am  to 5pm (the doors close at 4:45pm)

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42 Comments

  • Annie: I’d love to smell Guerlain Mitsouko and Christian Dior Diorama, because I heard so much about them. August 13, 2018 at 8:04am Reply

  • Richard Potter: I would love to smell Zibeline, Tabac Blond, Shocking, Quelques Fleurs, Knize Ten. Hell, I’d love to smell them all! August 13, 2018 at 9:32am Reply

    • Victoria: Me too! It’s hard to pick. August 14, 2018 at 11:06am Reply

  • Pompom: I would like to smell Guerlain’s Vol de Nuit. Don’t the organic and synthetic compounds in a fragrance change over time? For me, smelling originals is more of a fantasy than a real probability. August 13, 2018 at 10:55am Reply

    • Victoria: They do, but the Osmotheque keeps their fragrances under certain climatic conditions and they regularly blend fresh versions using original materials. Where possible, of course. August 14, 2018 at 11:07am Reply

  • Pompom: I would like to smell Guerlain Vol de Nuit. Don’t the compounds in a fragrance change over time? For me, smelling an original is more of a fantasy than a real probability. August 13, 2018 at 10:57am Reply

    • Victoria: Vol de Nuit is a gem. August 14, 2018 at 11:07am Reply

  • Joy Erickson: Oh, I so wish I could jump on a plane to attend. My grandmother wore Lucien LeLong. I wore Je Revien in college. They would bring back memories.

    Thank you, Victoria for telling us about it. August 13, 2018 at 11:05am Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: Probably Emeraude by Coty! August 13, 2018 at 11:07am Reply

  • Elena: Houbigant. 19th century. August 13, 2018 at 12:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: The whole collection from that era is fascinating. August 14, 2018 at 11:08am Reply

  • Debi: I miss my Molinard Isles D’Or. I thought I had found a replacement with L’Ete Dernier by Galimard but everything after the initial sunny sandalwood was darker and muskier on me. The Osmotheque is on my dream and do it list! August 13, 2018 at 12:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: They do a great job preserving this part of our cultural heritage. August 14, 2018 at 11:09am Reply

  • Dorothy Van Daele: Guerlain Chant d’Aromes. My mother had a bottle, her only perfume, when I was a child. The various reformulations are not the scent I remember. August 13, 2018 at 1:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love this one in all guises, but the original is unrivaled. August 14, 2018 at 11:09am Reply

  • Carla: Iris Gris, I would be happy to donate much more to smell that! ( I’m wondering what I will do when I run out of Iris Silver Most as I understand it was re-done.) August 13, 2018 at 1:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, do get a bottle of Iris Silver Mist while you can. The reformulation won’t be too drastic, but I feel like it’s sharper. August 14, 2018 at 11:10am Reply

  • Bill: I smelled Après l’ondée during an Osmothèque conference once. It was heartbreakingly beautiful! August 13, 2018 at 2:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: I have some parfum at home, but the Osmotheque’s one is fresher, so more irresistible. August 14, 2018 at 11:11am Reply

  • Erin T: Oh gosh! So many already listed here, plus more besides. Après l’Ondée parfum, the original Chant d’Aromes, Le fruit défendu by Parfums de Rosine (which I’ve only smelled on a blotter), Coty L’Origan, etc. etc. August 13, 2018 at 2:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m right behind in wanting to smell those at the Osmotheque. I have them, but somehow smelling them at the Osmotheque is even more exciting. August 14, 2018 at 11:11am Reply

  • Pocketvenus: This sounds like an amazing event!

    I took a look at the Osmothèque website. I couldn’t find information about ticketing prices or upcoming events beyond this open doors event but a pdf on the French language version of the website states that it has held multiple “séances” for the public. Does anyone know if these are held regularly or by appointment only? Any idea about ticket prices? I would love to visit someday! August 13, 2018 at 8:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: The price is 1 euro, as I mentioned in the post. This particular event is an annual one. For reservations, you should call them, since the website is not updated. The info in the post is from the Osmotheque communication. August 14, 2018 at 2:50am Reply

      • Pocketvenus: Thank you, Victoria! Please excuse me for my lack of clarity. I was actually inquiring about the Osmotheque’s other events. In the link to an older post on your website, the review lists a wide range of prices for various events there and from what I can gather on the French site, they regularly host different types of events open to the public, like lectures (?), but the website does not have much information. I will try contacting them directly, thank you 🙂 August 14, 2018 at 9:05am Reply

        • Victoria: They have lectures and events, both public and private, on regular basis, but their website is not updated on regular basis. If you contact them directly, they are usually very helpful. August 14, 2018 at 11:16am Reply

          • Pocketvenus: That’s good to know. Thank you kindly! August 15, 2018 at 8:42am Reply

          • Silvermoon: Hi Victoria, I would love to go but can’t this time. Please may I ask whether they have these open days only once a year? And are they always around this time in September? Or is it a more erratic schedule? Sorry to bother you with the question, but since I don’t speak French I wasn’t sure if calling would work. Many thanks! August 15, 2018 at 11:17am Reply

            • Victoria: This particular event is an annual one, around the same time, but they host many other events around the year (usually with a higher price for tickets). They also offer private events by appointment, but I don’t know the fee. Those are the best ones, of course, since you can tell them which perfumes you want to smell. During the group events, they usually don’t allow you to pick and choose as easily, although they will show all of the gems we’ve talked about here.

              They usually have someone who also speaks English, by the way. August 16, 2018 at 2:23am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: Another reason to visit France. I think the Osmotheque is fantastic, like taking an olfactory step back in time. The perfume I would like to smell is Diorissimo, the original one first launched before all the subsequent reformulations. Also any Violet perfumes, every time I spot a vintage bottle labelled Violette Parme in a perfume book it really makes me wonder what it smells like, violets of a bygone time. August 15, 2018 at 5:15am Reply

    • Victoria: Violetta di Parma smelled like a sweet, sugary violet. Do you know the smell of violet candy? It was very close. August 16, 2018 at 2:26am Reply

      • Nancy Chan: The only Violet candy I know the smell of is Swizzel’s Parma Violets. These chalky lilac coloured sweets are beautifully perfumed, but I am struggling in find a perfume close enough to these sweets. August 16, 2018 at 3:59am Reply

        • Victoria: Violetta di Parma by Borsari is close, I think.

          P.S. When you comment, please don’t put a broken link in the website field, otherwise your comments are blocked by the spam filter. That field is entirely optional, and unless you have an actual website you want to link, it’s best just to leave it empty. August 16, 2018 at 4:09am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: Oops, also forgot to add love to smell vintage Caron’s Farnesiana. August 15, 2018 at 5:22am Reply

  • Mj: I would love to smell the original Vent Vert. August 15, 2018 at 10:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, there is nothing like it. August 16, 2018 at 2:27am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: My apologies Victoria. Thanks for the perfume recommendation, I will try it.😃 August 16, 2018 at 5:15am Reply

    • Victoria: No worries! I just don’t want to miss your comments. 🙂

      Another perfume that smells like violet candy is Guerlain Meteorites. August 16, 2018 at 6:19am Reply

  • Klaas: Oh, wow, I would love to attend! It is on my birthday, too! I would definitely want to smell some of the original Guerlains: Vol de Nuit – of course – and Mouchoire de Monsieur. They both suffered terribly from reformulation.

    I would also want to smell the rather obscure French Line by Revillon, a 1980′ powerhouse that I used to spend all my pocket money on 😉 They don’t make it anymore, so it would be for old times sake. August 16, 2018 at 11:54am Reply

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