|Emmanuelle and Cristiano at the Osmothèque stand|
Photo credit here
Anyway this is far more of a museum where you can smell liquid glories from the past, it is a precious spring of olfactory culture organizing all year round thematic encounters open to everybody. The Osmothèque survives thanks to donations, both of money and vintage bottles and every perfume lover should be proud to give his contribution. So I took the chance to renew my membership at SAO, the Osmothèque friends society.
That's why the two presentations about raw materials shouldn't have absolutely missed, but I was so disappointed to see some empty chair at the second presentation about hedione on sunday. Pity!
During the first presentation "Iris and its utilization in fine fragrances over ages" Emmanuelle Giron showed a nice tour around one of my favourite raw materials. Introducing it through historical and botanical outiline, she led us smell iris pallida absolute and irone alpha, the molecule mostly present in it that started to be synthetized since 1947 through a long and expensive process (3000 €/kg). It's impressive how riched in carrot-barm facets is the first and how longer lasting is the second to the nose. Again this shows how nature and synthesis can get together to embody the abstract art of perfumery. And more abstract than what I remembered it is Guerlain Après l'Ondée (1906) where I felt right through the iris-lilac accord the rain that's forgotten in the current version. Here you can really pick up the link with the topnotes in L'heure bleue. While discovering iris I could smell Iris de Coty (1913) which I didn't know, a thick, woody iris, just warmed up in its melancholic elegance by carnation and an indolic touch à la Origan. So nice then to smell again Jacques Fath's Iris Gris (1946) created by Vincent Roubert who was perfumer at Coty and understanding how related are the two fragrances, being spiced the first and fruitier the latter. Gosh! Each time Fath's perfume glorifying iris to the nth power takes my breath away. Another fragrance certainty inspired by the Coty many many years later is Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist where Maurice Roucel cleansed the frills from the cedar-vetiver woody soul letting in iris as aloof as a muted promise.
The survey on iris couldn't skip the aloof beauty created by Henri Robert in No. 19 I'm lucky enough to own in its original formulation with a still shining galbanum and a dewy hyacinth. Madame Giron made us note how iris in 19 keeps an extraordinary woody radiance thanks to the fixateur 404, back in time a Firmenich synthetic forerunner of ambroxan.
I liked also the contemporary iris they chose like Malle's Iris Poudré, Dior Homme and again Prada Infusion d'Iris or my favourite of the raw, Hiris by Olivia Giacobetti with its vegetal, tactonic facets together with that smell of a freshly dry cleaned woollen jacket. Of course as the cost of the natural raw material got higher than in the past (but now I'd be also curious to compare it to the one coming from the new short technique from Biolandes) nowadays its powdery touch is more and more supported by synthetics like irone alpha and musks. Nevertheless also in this new embodiment the mouillettes have proved that it keeps on inspiring the perfumers creativity and still is the epitome of chic refinement.