When talking about perfume what usually comes to mind is Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Dior, Nina Ricci … but what not many people know is that there is an alternative world to all the big names, where you can discover unique and bold fragrances: niche perfumeries.
I remember reading “Perfume”, a novel by Patrick Süskind when I was a teenager. The book tells the story of a French orphan with an exceptional sense of smell, who becomes a perfumer and a murderer while trying to create the perfect fragrance. Although obscure in many ways, the novel introduced me to the world and idea of the making of perfumes and the art behind blending essences and oils, something that has become somehow naturalized and forgotten with the commercial perfumes.
It was a great surprise to come across OSME Perfumery and Apothecary when walking around Wynwood some weeks ago. The store, decorated in a minimalist old Parisian style curates niche, artisan and natural fragrances, most of which I had never seen before. Maurice Locke, the Jamaican born owner of the store gave me a detailed tour through the store and telling me with passion and knowledge the stories behind many of the perfumes they carry, such as Eight & Bob, the fragrance worn by JFK; Galimard, a French perfume house that made the fragrances for Napoleon and the French court; a line of perfumes inspired in illegal substances such as hashish and absinthe, and even a line inspired on wine.
OSME is having their grand opening tomorrow with in store performances by Millionyoung and vinyl DJ sets by Mr. Jolt and Mariana Dias. Before the event we were able to ask Maurice some questions to get to know a little more about his passion and sore.
How did you discovered the niche perfumery world?
I went to a store, it was the typical Sephora and I asked a guy, can you point me out a few perfumes that are unique, something different, I wanted something that none of my friends had and everyone at the time was wearing Acqua di Gio and things like that. The guy was “you are not going to find something like that here, I used to live in Paris and they have something that is called niche perfumeries, here are 3 that I think you should check out.” After checking those out and seeing how natural and well blended they were I couldn’t go back to the normal Gucci or Prada… So I started to collect and after like eight years collecting fragrances I have over 400 fragrances, and I thought that maybe it is time to take this hobby and turn it into something that I love doing professionally. So after years collecting, I decided to draft the business plan and a year and a half later I’m here opening OSME.
Can you tell me what’s the main concept or mission behind OSME?
The name is an old Greek word meaning a pleasant smell. What me and my partner Bhavika wanted to do was to bring something different to South Florida, this kind of stores are in France, in Dubai and in the Middle East, in California, even in New York but here in South Florida there wasn’t a store to go and learn about fragrances. Because a fragrance is not just something you put on, it is actually an extension of your personality. If you are in a playful mood there is a fragrance that you can spray on, if you have a big power meeting in a board room, there is something serious that you can put on like Jubilation xxv from Amouage. So there is a smell for every occasion, how you smell is as significant as putting on your shoes, your shirt or your belt, it is an extension of your wardrobe. I wanted to bring something like that to South Florida.
The design of the store is pretty unique. How did you come up with the idea?
I didn’t want to have a typical white store, I wanted a store that would represent anti-fashion perfumes. So there are the standard fashion perfumes like Gucci, Prada, made by the classic designer houses and then you have niche perfumes that take more chances… if you want to smell like money and metal you can, if you want to smell like coffee you can smell like coffee and if you want to smell like beautiful roses you can too. It’s perfume and art mixed together and that is reflected in the design of the store. You have black that represents masculinity, you have pink that represents femininity and both blend and flow together. Real perfumes are unisex and it is your ph balance to decide what works and what doesn’t work.
OSME Perfumery Grand Opening
Thursday, April 27th 6pm
With Millionyoung and all vinyl DJ sets by Mr. Jolt and Mariana Dias
Complimentary Wine and Peroni Beer.
No Cover with RSVP