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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Paris Sniffa

Eiffel Tower at Night
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.

Patricia de Nicolai at OsmothèqueFor 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)! OsmothèqueWe 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.

Antoine MaisondieuOther 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.

On Montmartre with François DuquesneSeveral 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.

At Palais Royal ShiseidoAnd, 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).

Notre Dame at NightHmmmm. . . .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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful write up, J. I'm already aching to go back. I still haven't unpacked, so I'm all set to go (except for a few minor details like a plane ticket). Thank you for not mentioning the blisters you suffered as I lead you astray on our hike to Notre Dame. I'll take that as a sign you've forgiven me.

10:56 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Yes, wonderful report! And look at all of those bell jars!!!!

I am so jealous...this is one of my dreams.

I want you to do this again and take me with you.

11:06 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I agree with Kelley- both the jealous and the desire to go with you!

All those bell jars... (cue Homer Simpson reaction) bellllllll jaaaaaaaaarrrrsssss....

11:08 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judith, what an amazing adventure. Tell us: what is Patricia de Nicolai like? What was your experience like chez Serge? Most important, are you or Mr. Lily in the sort-of-group photo?

It's too bad you didn't get to visit Crazylib and thus cannot confirm or disconfirm for me whether the workers are elves.

11:12 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yep, this sniffa-trip sounds pretty much close to heaven for me, too. I'd be jumping around just to get to Paris, even if I had to sniff all its street corners (which are, believe me, smellier than Secretions Magnifiques lol), just to be there, but Paris AND all the fumes and the perfumers and ... oh no, that's just too much for my imagination. I'm going sulking to my room now and I will console myself with my two brand new bottles of Rousse and Daim Blonde, ha! ;-)))

1:52 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a great time. As Paris is just across the water for me, I'm especially jealous of your specific tour-related insights - like the sniffathon in the Osmotheque...


I need to hop on the Eurostar.

4:05 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How amazing trip !
I wish I can do something like that sometime...
How did you arrange everything ?

6:17 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm sooo jealous (just as everybody else here, I guess).
Judit, could you please tell me more about Stéphanie de Saint-Aignan's Berberiades ?

6:19 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

My shin is severely bruised from kicking myself for not going. What a fabulous trip and fabulous report! I can't believe you met Patricia de Nicolai! And all those "disappeared" perfumes! Another sharp kick to the shin. How was Iris Gris? Actually, I probably don't want to know. My heart breaks over scents like that being lost to us.

6:28 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thanks so much, N! Let's go! And forgive you. . .? I am so grateful to have been able to spend time with you! Now (someone has to say it), we'll always have Pairs

7:40 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thank you, Kelley! That's a great idea! Maybe we can arrange a blog trip!

7:42 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

OK, Tom, I am taking reservations! The bell jars were, indeed, to die for. I wish I could have brought them all home (I only bought 2).

7:43 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Hi Maria! Patricia de Nicolai was (as you might expect) extremely gracious--and very informative. At Serge--well, some have complained about snottiness there, but I didn't experience it. The SA was very nice to me. And it was wonderful to be in the Bell Jar-Presence. The lovely women who came to our hotel from CrazyLib did not look like elves (although they may employ them). And finally (sigh--I was afraid someone might ask:) I am the very curly-haired person in the front of the sort-of-group photo (not everyone is there) in Montmartre; Mr. Lily took the picture, so he is not in it and will remain a man of mystery.

7:48 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Tina--It WAS wonderful just being there--and the events the Karens had planned were beyond amazing. But your Serge haul sounds pretty nice, too:)

7:50 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Well, that's it, then, Lee. Since you are so close, you can arrange the blog trip! We will all meet you there!

7:52 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Dear Anon--
It was arranged by the Karens, two wonderful women who run "Sniffapalooza." Until now, they have just arranged sniffas in the US (the next one is in October). I shouldn't say "just"; the US sniffas are quite amazing. But this was beyond special!

7:54 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Hi LJG: Berberiades is a spicy oriental with woods, saffron, and jasmine. I seem to be addicted to it right now. Stephanie de Saint-Aignan has a website, where you can see her perfumes ( I only got to smell 4 of hers (now I want to try the the roses). The Ambre was also very nice; I am lemming a decant. The tobacco was not great on me (sigh--this is the one I had been most looking forward to) and the ciel didn't work at all.

8:00 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

L, It would have been great to see you there. Next year (heads up) the Karens are planning to go to Florence! Now, if I can just persuade Mr. Lily. . . .

Iris Gris was a very beautiful woody, floral (the best I can do at this distance, having smelled it on a strip). I should make clear that the Osmotheque perfumes are recreations of the original formulas (so they are not "aged" in the bottle).

8:07 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Um, N--we will have PARIS (though we may have pairs, as well:) This blogging stuff is HARD!!!

8:09 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful report (and many thanks to Mr Lily and Robin for the pictures!)!
I am jealous about everything, of course... but the fact that you met Camus' grandson...ah! :-)

8:46 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

De rien, M! Seriously, it was fun. And I have to admit (as I already have to you), that I did not know he was a Camus grandson until later (I didn't even catch his name). He talked about how his family was in Grasse and made perfumes!

8:50 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do believe that you are my advisor from a certain liberal arts university in Boston--the picture sealed it. What a coincidence! I am an AVID perfumista myself, and I read PST daily. Just letting you know that you have a kindred spirit very close by (and yes, I am kveling over the bell jars as well). Did you have a chance to sample Sarrasins or Louve? Thoughts?

PS: I am sure you would normally correct my grammar, but forgive me, as it is early!

9:20 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Lord, Billy, who'd a thunk it! (Correct that grammar, if you want:). We must talk!!

I didn't get to smell Sarrasins or Louve, though I may be getting samples soon. Sarrasins didn't seem to be there yet. Louve actually may have been; I (stupidly) didn't think to look at the export fragrances. But no one reported finding either one. There are good reviews of them on the Aromascope blog.

9:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

So thrilling to read your report! Thank you for posting that. :) I've just vicariously lived through the experience.

11:27 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Thanks for the lovely report, sounds like it was a fabulous trip! Please, more details on the Iris Gris, is it really all that? Or was something else you smelled at the Osmotheque to die for?

11:32 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thank you, Ina! The only thing that would have made it better is if you (and some others) had been there! Next time. . . .

11:51 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thanks, R! I wish I could give you more info on the Iris Gris, but I am pretty terrible at detecting notes, and we only got to smell strips (also-- I am not an Iris maven, like you:), so all I can say is that it is a woody iris (with perhaps some fruit?) and that it is very beautiful. Maybe someone else who smelled it can help me out here.

Many of the other scents we smelled at the Osmotheque were also beautiful, but I had already smelled most of the ones on my list (Scandal is one of my all-time favorites). Of the ones I hadn't smelled yet, I was most struck by the Rosine Fruit Defendu--and I am going to do even worse here than on the Iris. I really have no idea what's in this, but it's very unusual. It's clearly fruity, which I normally hate--but here, the fruit is mesmerizing! So sorry to be simultaneously vague and tantalizing. Perhaps N., M., or someone else can help, please. . .!

PS I also bought a little kit of individual accords to train the nose at the Osmotheque. Here's hoping that it works!:)

12:02 PM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Judith, bubbeleh-
You look GORGEOUS !Les Francais must have gobbled you UP !

I recognize some of the 'usual suspects'- but WHERE is my Doradear ?
This was big thrill time for her...

I love the Palais Royal.
I want to sleep there...don't you ?
Funny little girls in there- they made a pass at Isaac last Spring.
Thank God he's gay.
[But ever so suave!]
He walked in and asked for Cuir Mauresque and Iris Silver Mist 'pour Maman'. Gotta love him!

I wish it had been in the cards- we could have made a lot of mischief.

Next year- Firenze !
B and I are having our 25th anny, so we're doin' it, come hell or high water ...
[And with my glick, that's just what we'll get !]

Great job, cub reporteress !
Glad to have you home ...

12:27 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thank you so much, I! You are--as always--too kind!

Dora was certainly present--she went to all the events, I think, and is in other pictures, just not this one.

The Palais Royal looks like a perfume temple to me. Not sure if I want to pray or sleep there. . . That's funny about Isaac!

It would have been great if you had been able to come--and Florence sounds very tempting, indeed! I will see if I can talk Mr. L. into another perfume extraganza (I have a feeling you two would get along:)

12:48 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A dream vacation! What a wonderful post...thanks for sharing with us!

12:49 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thanks GE! It all does seem literally like a dream now:)

12:52 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely recap of our incredible week, J! It does all seem like a dream now, and I'm finally back on US time (reset my watch only a few days ago!)

1:02 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thanks again to you, Karen!! I still am not entirely back on US time. This is the longest it has ever taken me, and I think I am deliberately refusing to let go. . .

1:08 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

J: I read this last night, but have taken time to post so that I can cool off my seething jealousy and say something appropriate about the marvelous post. I went to Paris in February, and had a wonderful time, but couldn't get an appt. at the Osmoth and of course Patricia de Nicolai is one of my favourite perfumers. And I love and covet your curly hair! WAH!!! (The grass is always greener, I know. All my curly-haired friends pray for straight hair and vice versa.) My Serge SA was very pregnant in an extremely chic way, nice but with that slight Gallic chill. I like the chill, though, it's how I know I am in France. My best experiences were with Josef (?) at JAR, and the fabulous Julia at Guerlain - but I bought nothing at either store. The Guerlain I particularly regret now - should have got that LE Chant extrait or Sous Le Vent - but I was running low on budget by the time I got there and everything was so expensive...

2:18 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J, you are gorgeous and glamorous. Curly hair rules. (That's the attribute I share with you.)

2:22 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judith, what a great description of our wonderful Sniffapalooza in Paris. And we're so glad that you & Stu joined us, & he does take divine photos!

This trip turned out to be even better than we had dreamed, and was certainly worth all the months of planning that Karenska & I put in because it made everyone so happy.

Having arranged a trip like this now, we are
'experienced', LOL, and are already brainstorming ideas for the Florence odyssey next Summer!

Revelling in my new SL Bois de Violette & loving it!
Can't believe I finally own a bell jar...


4:11 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a wonderful adventure! look forward to hearing even more. - minette

4:37 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thanks so much, Erin. The Karens did arrange a lot of wonderful opportunities and experiences for us! And I must have told Patricia de Nicolai about 10 times how much I love her perfumes. We didn't stop by JAR (but we had the JAR experience at BGs at the New York Sniffapalooza).

And thanks for the comments on my curly hair. I am reconciled to it now-I even celebrate it (see below)--but I spent my childhood trying to get rid of it, and praying that it would just disappear. My mother took me to a conking shop where they put used lye to straighten it; she would say, "You have to suffer to be beautiful."

You might be able to buy the Guerlains you want at BG; you could try calling. But (I shouldn't mention this) we did get a 20% discount. I don't think you were wrong though; one has to draw the line somewhere (if I had bought everything I wanted, it would have sunk the plane):)

6:08 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thanks so much, Maria! Curly-haired people should stick together!!!

6:09 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thanks, Karen, for your comment and of course for the trip! I can't imagine anything being better than this--but I have already begun to drop hints about Florence.

Glad you are enjoying your beautiful bell jar. I got MKK and I am wearing it a lot (generally stinking up the place):)--also Fumerie Turque, but that is a back-up bottle, b/c I am almost out.

6:12 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thanks, Minette. It was really the trip of a lifetime!

6:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like such a lovely trip. I wish my budget had permitted. Thanks for sharing so we could all experience it vicariously.

10:43 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thanks Beth! Maybe you can make Florence (planned for next year)!

7:42 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Waaaaahhhhh!!!!! I wish I were there!!!!!!

6:13 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Come to Florence next year, EP! It will be different, but still great, I'm sure~

8:25 AM EDT  

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