Tuesday, 27 December 2011

REBECCA'S MUSINGS: More Thoughts on Perfume

Last night I was talking to someone at a party who said she has worn the same perfume for many years, and I wondered what that would be like. Of course there is something to be said for having a 'signature perfume.' In fact, there are certain perfumes that I associate with certain boyfriends because I was mad about them while I was mad about them - if you see what I mean!

But I find I like different smells at different stages of my life. And, of course, many of the perfumes I used to buy are no longer available. Some ingredients, such as oakmoss, have gained a bad reputation as allergens. Bergamot - which used to be an ingredient in Ambre Solaire - is also regarded as suspect because it can make your skin photosensitive in sunlight.

At Versailles, near Paris, there is a museum of perfume called the 'Osmotheque.' There they keep recipes for many perfumes no longer in production and recreate perfumes according to their original recipes and with the original ingredients, regardless of modern preferences. The purpose is to conserve them for posterity in a fragrance library.

Amazing recreations are harboured there, such as a first century Roman scent, the Queen of Hungary's toilet water from the XIV century and, in 2007, they recreated the perfume of Marie Antoinette.

There is also, I've discovered, an equivalent Osmotheque in New York, called the US ACADEMY OF PERFUMERY & AROMATICS.

Both these institutions are on my 'must see' list whenever I return to those wonderful cities.

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