The Osmothèque is the world’s largest scent archive, a leading international research institution tracing the history of perfumery, based in Versailles with conference centers in New York City and Paris. The Osmothèque is internationally responsible for the authentication, registration, preservation, documentation and reproduction of thousands of perfumes gathered from the past two millennia, archived at the Osmothèque repository and consultable by the public. The institution stores over 3,000 perfumes from the past and present, all preserved at a constant temperature under argon gas. This place also maintains a substantial reference library of fragrance bases and aromatic sources, both natural and synthetic, historical and contemporary, as well as a vault inaccessible to the public containing historical perfume formulae, many unusable due to a lack of corresponding raw materials.
Rarities from the Osmothèque’s collections include examples of ancient perfumery, such as the Parfum Royal of the Parthian kings as described by Pliny the Elder in the 1st century, medieval toilet waters such as the 14th century Eau de la reine de Hongrie of Elizabeth of Poland and 18th century powders such as the Poudre de Chypre.
Equally unique is a major collection of 19th century perfumes from leading houses such as Farina, Guerlain, Houbigant, Lubin, F. Millot, L. T. Piver and Roger & Gallet. Also from the period is the eau de cologne made for Napoleon in 1815 during his exile on Saint Helena.
The largest portion of the Osmothèque’s archives is devoted to modern perfumery (beginning in the late 19th century), presenting innumerable original masterpieces now discontinued or reformulated.