Article by Lilybp (Judith)
Well, I am back from the fabulous sniffapalooza in Paris (arranged by "les Karens"), accompanied by 16 perfumistas, one perfumisto, and one long-suffering husband (hereafter known as Mr. Lily). Our days were jam-packed, and I–not realizing I would be writing this—did not take any notes, so my report will be relatively brief.
For me, at least, the unquestionable highlight of the trip was our visit to the Osmothèque: they opened it especially for us, and we were given a tour and a lecture on the history of perfume by none other than Patricia de Nicolai (one of my traveling companions explained to her husband that this was comparable to being given guitar lessons by Bruce Springsteen)! We got to smell a number of "disappeared" perfumes, including Eau de Lubin, Coty Rose Jacquemot, Origan, Chypre, and Ambre Antique, Houbigant Fougère Royale, Lanvin Scandal, the original Balmain Vent Vert and Grès Cabochard--and two that I had been dying to smell for quite some time, Fath Iris Gris and Rosine Fruit Défendu. In their literature, the Osmothèque also speaks of "disappeared" perfumers, which I suppose means that they are dead, although I prefer to imagine that they are in Never Neverland, creating perfumes for Amelia Earhart, Judge Crater, and Jimmy Hoffa.. While at Versailles, we also visited the ISIPCA perfume school, and were given gifts of the students’ creations.
Other unusual and wonderful opportunities included visits to the perfume creators, Givaudan and Firmenich. At Givaudan, we toured the labs and saw how perfumes were made, and were fortunate enough to speak with Antoine Maisondieu, perfumer extraordinaire and Camus grandson (Marina is still swooning), who discussed and let us sniff many of his fragrances. At Firmenich, we smelled the raw materials of several famous perfumes and saw how they were put together. A wonderful workshop at L’Artisan proceeded in the same manner, and showcased the creation of their new Jatamansi products; and we were given an extremely informative walking tour of Montmartre by François Duquesne, the president of the line.
Several of the houses hosted beautiful receptions for us. The amazing–and amazingly young–Lisa Simon fêted us with champagne, Ladurée macaroons featuring her rose scent (created by Olivia Giacobetti), and incredible chocolates; she also provided each of us with a hand-and-arm massage using her products. We had more champagne with Claude Marchal (my latest crush), his lovely wife, and the charming Stéphanie Bakouche, the creator of my favorite MDCI scent, Invasion Barbare. We got a complete tour of Guerlain, including the VIP rooms in their spa (relaxing even to look at). I was unable to attend the reception at État Libre d’Orange, but it was supposed to be great, and everyone was buzzing about a beautiful new rose scent they will soon release. Many people really enjoyed a visit to the Baccarat museum, which your lazy correspondent also missed (shopping, shopping). And since we were all too exhausted by the time we were supposed to visit Crazy Libellule, the gracious people there brought wonderful gift bags to our hotel.
And, of course, we shopped!! I did serious damage at Montale, Dior, Serge Lutens, and Printemps. Unlike many others, I held fast at Guerlain (merely splitting some Nahema parfum with Nancy), but that was because I already have most of their fragrances! Among my favorite new finds were the (pricey) Montale pure parfums, Indian Saffron and Santal de Mysore, which I split with some friends, Montale Bois de Aoud, Prada Cuir Ambre LE parfum (OK, this has been out for some time, but I never smelled it), and Stéphanie de Saint-Aignan Berberiades. We had drinks (at the Hotel Costes) and dinner with Karl from Aedes, and our trip was capped by a lovely dinner-and-dancing cruise on the Seine. Then–because too much is never enough--Mr. Lily and I had a final, extraordinary meal at Taillevent (he wore his new purchase, French Lover).
Hmmmm. . . .I guess that wasn’t so brief. But there was much, much more! It’s hard to believe that it was all just last week. Everyone I have spoken to wants to go back NOW!! And we are all forever grateful to les Karens, the Sniffapalooza Queens!
Images - Eiffel Tower at Night, Patricia de Nicolai at Osmothèque, Perfume Cabinet in Osmothèque, Versailles, Antoine Maisondieu, Givaudan, On Montmartre with François Duquesne, At Palais Royal Shiseido and Notre Dame at Night - are courtesy of Mr Lily and Robin Sper.