More than perfume, Esxence after hours

The experience of Esxence was amazing. That’s like one of the dreams came true. But I wouldn’t be myself if upon visiting Italy I would limit myself to only spending time at Le Triennale di Milano. No, that wouldn’t do! Not giving a taste to real Italian cuisine (even for someone on a diet) and not spending some time sightseeing around the city would be a sin. So I did both of the following.

Thursday, March 20th

After spending 1 hour on a bus to Warsaw Modlin Airport, the next hour waiting at the airport, two hours on a plane to Orio al Serio/Bergamo airport, yet one more hour on a bus to the city center of Milan and almost an additional one for getting to my place of stay I arrived at Esxence shortly after 4:00 pm, which gave me only 2 hours for the first olfactory experience there. I was so exhausted that when the fair day was over I went straight back to my room and went to bed. No after hours… but, I met with a perfumer Giovanni Sammarco. He came to Esxence as a regular visitor. We met at the entrance hall and talked for a while. He brough me some pure ambergris and civet (?) paste to smell. Terribly animalic but oh, so precious.

Friday, March 21st

For 4:30 pm I had a scheduled meeting with Madalina Stoica-Blanchard from JUL ET MAD. We had a coffee and tea together, talked like for an hour. She wanted to know a little bit more about me, how I got interested in perfume. We talked a bit about the industry etc. She gave me some valuable tips I’m going to use very shortly. Will let you know about that if something happens.

At the same time as Esxence there were two other perfume events going on in Milan: Essential Days organized by Campomarzio70, and Unscent. The latter one I didn’t attend but one week ahead of my departure I was contacted by Francisco, my friend who works for Ramon Monegal Barcelona. I asked him if he was going to Esxence. He wasn’t, but he actually invited me to come to the vernissage “perfume on canvas” of perfume-inspired paintings created by Jordi Molla. I couldn’t say “no” to such an offer, so when the Esxence day was over at 6:30 pm I went to Via Dante 14 where the exhibition was starting at 7:00 pm. I made it on time! Guess who I met there – Val, the Cookie Queen. Vero Kern was there too to promote her new perfume – Rozy.

The paintings… They were quite surreal and modern, I’m not any close to being an art critic but actually I didn’t like them and I though that their pairing with perfumes weren’t really clever or intuitious. But I didn’t care. I met with Francisco there and also with Ramon Monegal. His wife and son were there too, so I was introduced to all of them. They treated me like a family (see the happy family photo in the slideshow below). Agnieszka and Michał Missala from Quality Missala, as well as two other bloggers from Poland were there too. After we left the exhibit we went with Agnieszka and Michał to have a late coffee and discuss what got our attention at Esxence so far. I returned to my room around 10:30 pm and my legs were pretty heavy but there was a lot of excitement.

Saturday, March 22nd

As I said in the previous post on Saturday afternoon Natalie had to run some errands for Etiket around Milan. I went with her to Cale perfume boutique but then we split, agreeing that she won’t make it back to the fair and that we should meet at the end of the day to have a dinner together. We agreed to meet at the very begininng of Via Dante. When I was leaving Triennale Natalie texted me saying that she’s found a nice place for us. I was curious about the place since Nat is a foodie.

As we met the rain was still falling down from the sky. We went all the way down Via Dante until we reached Duomo, a huge and magnificent cathedral. Just a few meters away from it was a department store – La Rinascente. The ground floor was a perfumery and it was the first time in my life I saw Chanel Exclusives bottles. That got me pretty excited. We made it up to the 7th floor (the top one) where we went to Obika Mozzarella Bar that Natalie found for us. She even made a reservation so that we were sure we’ll get the table there. Our feast started with tasting of two mozzarellas: one fresh one and one a bit older, smoked I guess – it was a bit brownish from the outside. The two bulbs of mozzarella were served on a green salad with a delicious bread and olive oil. It was so good! Each of us had a pizza as a main course, mine was with prosciutto (Parma ham) and rucola. The pizza was delicious and huge. I ate half of it and was unable to eat more. We laughed and talked and as we left it was already around 9:00 pm. We went back through Via Dante (Natalie grabbed a gelato on the way), said goodnight and we went almost in opposite directions to our places. That was an absolutely positive day.

Sunday, March 23rd and Monday, March 24th

Natalie was coming late that day so when she wasn’t there I made my own way through the stands discovering unknown brands. At 3:00 pm I was meeting with an unusual person. Just one day before Esxence Matthew Zhuk, creator of Ex Idolo Thirty Three asked me via email if we could meet. Sure, why not! The spot was the huge nose welcoming all the guests at the entrance. When he came and talked it turned out he wanted to ask me for advice and help in terms of getting Thirty Three to Poland. It seemed important to Matt as his family history is connected with Poland. I gave him all the necessary contacts and I hope it works out. In the meantime, when we were talking, Natalie appeared and joined the conversation. We discovered 2 more lines together and shortly after 4:00 pm she had to leave because she was flying back home to Amsterdam in the evening. I felt sad when she left… It was all much more funny with her walking along me.

Shortly after she left I made a decision that it’s time for me to leave. I just didn’t feel like discovering anymore (had enough discoveries during previous 3 days) and around 5:00 pm I said goodbye to Joaquim, Julien and Madalina, went to the cloackroom to pick up my jacket and that was my farewell to Esxence and Triennale (sniff!). I paid a short visit to Castello Sforzesco on my way to Via Dante and went to Duomo to take a couple of pictures during a day time. I also stopped by Galleria Vittorio Emanuele which has a gorgeous decorated floors and there’s a beautiful dome above it. I found a Prada boutique there! Of course I took some pictures of it. Then I had a dinner at Majestic Cafe – I picked risotto alla Milanese from the card which turned out to be a very delicious and creamy dish flavoured with saffron and served with pieces of parmezan cheese. For dessert I ordered some gelato, lemon, cream and strawberry flavours. Delish!

It was starting to get late so I though it was the highest time I returned to my room. I had all the packing ahead (and figuring out how to pack all the press materials and samples I got) as I was leaving Milan early morning on Monday. The city said goodbye to me with a plesant weather. I took the Orio Shuttle bus to Orio al Serio and flew back to Poland. When I landed in Wrocław it was cold, windy and the sky was crying. That trip is something I will never forget.

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20 thoughts on “More than perfume, Esxence after hours

  1. jilliecat says:

    I can’t believe how much you packed in – what energy you have.

    Those paintings are rather weird. It seems strange that they are “inspired” by perfume since they all seem so angry. I had an uncle who was a very respected contemporary artist, and whilst I didn’t appreciate all his work, it was rather beautiful – unlike these – so I don’t think it is because I don’t understand modern art.

    I am very glad that you got to eat Italian ice-cream, as their gelatos are meant to be the best in the world!

    What an adventure you have had – and I have been able to experience it “virtually”, so thank you!

    • lucasai says:

      But I managed to pack it all and at the airport it turned out that the suitcase was lighter than when I was on my way to Italy. It was lighter because I finished some of the cosmetics I had with me there plus the luggage was lighter without a loaf of bread I took with me.

      Yes, the paintings are really weird and they’re very modern. The interpretation of perfumes in a very different way. Can you believe that each of these was 3200€?

      That’s why I had to eat them again. I ate some gelato during my 1st trip to Italy as a teenager but I didn’t remember the taste.

      • hajusuuri says:

        You brought a loaf of bread with you? Hilarious – I’ve actually brought peanut butter sandwiches with me quite a few times while traveling. I usually bring the little energy bars which I stash away in various nooks and crannies in case I get hungry, which is often. That, and handwipes!

        • lucasai says:

          Yes, but I took it mostly because I thought I might not have time to look for a good bakery after my arrival. It was a good decision though. I took the moist towelettes with me too!

  2. poodle says:

    The term artist is thrown around way too loosely these days. In my mind to be an artist you need talent. Sorry, but those “paintings” aren’t my idea of art. To each his own I guess.
    You really packed a lot of activity into those few days. It sounds like a really fun time and you made some new friends too.

  3. rickyrebarco says:

    I am loving your descriptions of the Exscence experience. I feel like I was there myself. Thank you, dear Lucas, for taking us “inside the excitement.” I would have been overwhelmed I’m sure. Really appreciate hearing about all your experiences and the people you met.

  4. rickyrebarco says:

    Loved the pictures- that’s so great that you got to meet Ramon Monegal. I am a fan of his perfumes. I must say those ‘paintings’ inspired by perfumes are kinda weird, but I’m no artist :-))

    • lucasai says:

      Thanks. I was happy to meet Ramon Monegal, especially that I was invited to the vernissage by his manager.
      The paintings were weird, I agree.

  5. Holly says:

    Thanks for another memento di Milano! I’m actually a fan of “modern” art, but perhaps not this particular representation. It’s pretty cool as a concept though…

    I love your pics and really enjoy seeing faces to go with the names you’ve mentioned. You definitely made the most of your trip and your enthusiasm shines through in your writing.

  6. Mary K says:

    Thank you for telling us more about your visit to Italy and Esxence and including more pictures. Such a great experience! And it really sounds like you met a lot of good people, too. It was fun to hear about the restaurant and the pizza looks so tasty.

    • lucasai says:

      My pleasure! It makes me happy that I can show you what I did around the city.
      And I hope you’ll enjoy the perfume reviews. They’ll start next week.
      Pizza was amazing, the best one I ever had.

  7. hajusuuri says:

    Dearest! Thanks for taking us with you on your Milan adventure. It is so nice that you were able to meet perfume personalities outside the venue. Perhaps you were an “Operator” after all since you were asked to pave the way for at least one company!

    The paintings were meh. You would have to pay me to take one home and then pay me again to actually display one inside my house!

    The food…wow, mouth-wateringly delicious looking!

    The Galleries Vittorio Emanuele dome looks like the one at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Pretty!

    • lucasai says:

      That made me feel really good that people, especially the perfume ones care about my opinion. And I was happy to lend them a hand. It’s too early to thank me now but when the brand appears in Poland, that will make me proud of myself.

      I totally agree with your feelings for the paintings. But the food, oh my, that’s a wonderful story.

      Yes, they look alike. My parents just returned from their trip to Paris (we had a 2 days overlap) and said the same thing

  8. Undina says:

    Those “paintings” aren’t art in my book as well so even the perfume connection hasn’t helped.

    Thank you for the detailed story, it was interesting. I’m glad you enjoyed the trip (and the food). But now – back to the diet, right?;)

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