First day of Esxence 2015 was very successful and rich with excitement. I met with most of my friends, shared chocolate with them and enjoyed learning more about their new launches. Fragrant notes very playing along with music accord coming from the lobby. But that was just a prelude to a great fun. In the middle of day 1 I also happened to meet with Megan, who not only happens to be a reader of my blog, but she also runs her own website plus she’s a contributing writer for Cafleurebon. We knew we’d meet but we didn’t plan time and place. It was funny when we bumped onto each other when I came to say hi to Ann Gerard and Megan was at her stand that very moment. Another day of my scented adventure in Milan was about to start.
Day 2 – 27th of March
On Friday I left my appartement slightly earlier than on Thursday because I wanted to have a look around the neighborhood. The weather was very nice. The sky was clear and it was pleasantly warm but a some moment the strong wind was blowing so I was happy I wore a jacket that day. I went back to Stazione Centrale, a central railway station of Milan. It’s beautiful facade was really impressive. Then I headed towards Piazza Lina Bo Bardi but I took the way around to see more. That’s when I found this little park next to Repubblica in which magnolia was in full bloom. I saw a bit around and went to discover more of Esxence. I was looking forward to it.
I arrived at the venue just a few minutes before it started and almost immediately I was grabbed by Mark from Colognoisseur to give him a short interview for EsxenceTV. He was super friendly, asking me what I think of the fair, what got my attention and what I was about to try that, still I felt how my knees were shaking. I really don’t like standing in front of the camera. Right away I went off to Neela to share some of my impressions about Pichola with her. Then at 11:00 there was an official launch event of Jul et Mad Les White collection. Julien and Madalina invited perfumer Luca Maffei, who created 2 out of 3 new fragrances (namely Nea and Garuda). As scent strips were being distributed among the small crowd that gathered around their stand, Luca was explaining his creative process with these compositions. He also brought some raw materials that were used to create Nea and Garuda. It was very interesting to sample a fragrance and a note from it side by side.
Later on I return to Nicholas Chabot of Le Galion as it turned out that apart from launching 3 new eau de parfums he is also introducing 3 fragrances in extrait concentration. Two of them were stronger versions of existing scents. Respectively Essence Noble for Eau Noble and Sortilege Elixir for Sortilege. Third one was a new rendition called Sovereign. Then I met up with Megan and we spent rest of the time at Esxence together. I introduced her to some of my friends and showed her some of the brands that I just tried. We also had a lunch together (it was terrible, cold pasta with lots of oils and barely any tomatoes). At some point I finally got to meet Michelyn Camen, founder of Cafleurebon. at 16:00 I had an appointment with Puredistance team. I got to meet Mary, who I’ve been in touch with over the past months. It was a real pleasure to get to know her a bit more. We sat at the pouf and talked for a while. She wanted to know my impressions of White and also to find out how I got interested in perfume and how the whole thing with blog started. By the end of the day there was also a perfumed piano concert with Keiko Mecheri. Friday has passed fast and at 18:30 it was time to leave. We stopped by my place and then headed to Megan’s hotel. We wanted to go to an opening party of Campomarzio70 at Via Brera 2. We arrived there with slight delay (we got a slightly lost with my map printed from google – it didn’t have all of the street names on it) bu we made it. It was a street party and it was extremely overcrowded. Megan and I somehow managed to squeeze and get inside but it was hard to move. Michelyn was also there.
After spending there around 30 minutes we realized there is no point in staying there longer. We wanted to get something to eat. As we went out and headed back towards some restaurants we also stumbled upon Val the Cookie Queen you all know from Australian Perfume Junkies or Olfactoria’s Travels. When we reached the restaurant that looked interesting we were informed by the waitress that only meat or pizza were available. We didn’t realize how late it was. We found another restaurant which looked nice but it turned out to serve only burgers. Yes, we left. Finally we dined in the 3rd place with huge portions of pasta carbonara (yum, but oh so big) and wine. Then we said goodnight and returned to our places. It was around 23:30.
Day 3 – 28th of March
Megan and I had some ambitious plans for Saturday as for both of us it was the last day of being in Milan. We realized that one can’t simply come to fashion capital of Italy and don’t do any sightseeing. I picked her up from the hotel in the morning and we decided to walk to the center. This time equipped with a better map we made it to Teatro alla Scala, from where we ventured through Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele to reach Duomo. Despite it being Saturday morning there were thousands of tourists already. We took some pictures and afterwards we decided we’re taking an underground to get back to Repubblica, Esxence was very close to it. At the fair we decided to focus more on discovering new brands. Setting such goal gave us additional motivation.
We hit it off by visiting a booth of Miya Shinma. She’s japanese, lives in Paris for many years and she creates perfumes inspired by japanese traditions and poems. I found her collection to be pretty consistent. Presentation of simple 50ml bottles with a minimalistic label with some artistic, calligraphy-like drawing on it was pretty nice. The fragrances represent very peaceful and zen qualities. My two favorites were Tsuki (jap. for moon) and Yuki (jap. for snow). Miya felt very anxious as it was her first time to attending such an exhibition as Esxence, but she was getting good response from the visitors. Next in line was the brand named Une Nuit a Bali (we got interested by the name, both of us had association with “One night in Bangkok” song). This house started by making body care scented products and now they introduced 3 eau de parfums: Fleur des Fleurs, Mr. Vetiver and Suma Oriental. I especially liked the latter one.
We also paid a visit to Stephane Humbert Lucas stand. He was there himself to tell us about his new collection which begins with a perfume of a mysterious name Mortal Skin. The idea is centered around snake (even the bottle features snake’s face.) 777 collection was also available to try which confirmed my previous feelings that I like Khol de Bahrein more than a lot. Another brand we tried with Megan was Map of the Heart. Personally I disliked bottles that were shaped to imitate heart as body organ, fragrances didn’t speak to me as well. Right next to this brand there was a stand of Malbrum Parfums, a niche line coming from Norway. At Esxence they appeared with three extracts, all of them were animalic. Tigre du Bengale was nice but not something I would wear often.
Next brand in our agenda was Room 1015, a debuting collection brought to the market by Michael Partouche, former pharmacist who loves music and based his line on his passion for sound. 3 fragrances he introduced were called Atramental, Blomma Cult and Electric Wood. Other brands I managed to try were Hayari with three new rose fragrances, Santi Burgas with White Collection. Last stop was a booth of Pierre Guillaume where Megan wanted to sample his new project, Collection Croisiere. For the moment there were 4 fragrances launched but the collection will gradually grow to total of 8 in the following moths. All these creations are different takes on marine notes. We also paid a visit to Aedes de Venustas stand when I tried new Palissandre d’Or and also got a sneek peek into their next creation. On Saturday night Esxence was organizing a party on the 23rd floor of Diamond Tower, right next to the fair building. We weren’t planning to go but everyone was asking so we decided to show up. Party theme was 80s and some people came wearing some fancy clothes on. After having some snacks and drinks it was time to say goodbye to everyone we met. It was time to say farewell to Esxence. Saturday was all about packing in the morning, reaching the airport and flying back home. I hope to visit Esxence next year again. But first – Pitti in September!
On the whole I had a great time at Esxence. It was a great experience and assistance of Megan was a great thing, it really is much more interesting to visit such fair with a friend with who you can discuss each fragrance on the spot as you try it. I was also glad to meet Michelyn of Cafleurebon and Val the Cookie Queen for another time. I was very happy to see my friends behind perfume brands again and that they were happy to see me again as well. Everything seemed ideal but there were just 2 flaws that were a bit frustrating. First was that the main light was switched off, only the point-lights were on so it was a bit dark there (I heard they finally turned main light on for last day) and also a very tricky wi-fi which had a perfect signal but wasn’t working properly (I think it was overloaded) and that more or less stopped me from live-journaling. There was one remarkable thing that made Esxence 2015 special for me. What was it you may ask – it was the fact that many new brands as well as some of longer existing brands I didn’t deal with so far – they all knew and valued my blog. Am I getting famous in perfume industry? I don’t like thinking about myself as of expert or something but it seems brands care about my opinion which is extremely flattering for me. now it’s time to get back to reality, but all the samples I got will remind me of Esxence for a long time.