First day at Esxence was really exciting. I was back in Milan and I was happy I could meet again with all my friends who run different perfume brands with different concepts and ideas in their mind. That was just day 1, the next days were supposed to bring even more fun.
DAY 2 – 1st of April
I began that day by stopping by a booth of Anais Biguine. I was intending to visit her the day earlier but she was very busy each time I was passing by. At the very beginning of the day her display was not so crowded yet so we got a chance to talk. At the central part of her area there was a Jardins d’Ecrivains display. On the right there was Les Cocottes des Paris trio and left side was dedicated to her new brand – Gri Gri, three perfumes inspired by the art of tattooing your skin. They are named Moko Maori, Tara Mantra and Ukiyo-E. My favourite was the latter one made in Japanese style, then I liked Tara Mantra with intensive saffron.
The next stop was at the small but eye-catching stand of Olivier Durbano. He didn’t present a new perfume at the moment as he tends to introduce his launches at Pitti but he had a gorgeous display. At the front table there were shiny bowls filled with water with perfumes standing on top of a transparent cubes – that gave the impressions as if the flacons were on top of the water surface. At the shelf in the back he had his extraits lined up as a rainbow and there were also necklaces of Olivier’s design. On the wall there were many scarves with prints also made by him.
The next brand, one that I never got to try before was American line Coolife. They had 3 fragrances so far and just introduced 4th one, Le Quatrieme Parfum. In the end the line will consist of 7 scents, each one dedicated to a different chakra. I quite enjoyed some of their perfumes during a very brief test on paper, so I will have to definitely try them on skin at some point.
Later I visited a nicely decorated stand of Premiere Note. This brand appeared on the market in 2015 with 5 compositions. The idea of this brand is that the perfumes are made as simple as possible because they are meant to be layered with each other in order to create more complex blend that will also have some uniqueness as it will be the wearers decision how many sprays of which fragrance are they going to mix with another one. I have never been a fan of perfume mix-n-match concept but to each their own. However I liked their 2 novelties: Ambre Kashmir and Himalayan Oud. They were richer, more oriental and definitely more complex.
Now off to a little break from sniffing. I made my way to the conference room to participate in a talk titled “what is the future of niche in France?” Pascal Caussat (NEZ – The Olfactive Magazine journalist) and his 4 guests: Francois Duquesne (Beauty Enterprise), Francois Henin (Jovoy), Renata Faizutdinova (Sensunique) & Johann Vitrey (Intertrade Europe) had a fierce discussion centered around brands like L’Artisan Parfumeur or Juliette Has a Gun and their availability at Sephora. Together with people sitting in the audience we tried to come up with what niche really means nowadays. Unfortunately no final version was made as we were out of time.
Next I had a quick stop at the booth of Hadarah, a brand from UAE. The bottles were really glossy with many golden elements. I was introduced to a full line but none of the fragrances really attracted my attention. I kind of fell like the visual part of the brand must be the crucial way of drawing potential customers.
After looking for another brand I could smell I have found the ideal place for my nose, the stand of UNUM. Now this was one of the most strange displays at Esxence. Their entire area was covered with bubble wrap and it was enveloped by a mysterious atmosphere of darkness since there was not much light, except of a big black table with top that was also the source of light. The contrast of that light and black bottles was kind of creating the dramatic effect and darkness of the stand. Filippo Sorcinelli introduced 2 new creations: Ennui_Noir and Symphonie-Passion. Both were interesting and coherent with earlier releases. I still consider Rosa Nigra my favorite from him.
In the afternoon finally it was the time to visit the stand of Masque. Their booth was kind of enclosed, giving visitors somore more privacy when they were talking with brand founders, Riccardo Tedeschi and Alessandro Brun. Their latest fragrance named L’Attesa is a true symphony of iris notes. The opening of bubbly champagne evolves into woody, earthy and kind of rooty iris. It’s powdery and woody at the same time. Perfumer Luca Maffei used an iris absolue with high percentage of irons and he also developed a special material for this fragrance – a CO2 absolute of beer! It gives that rooty, yeast-ish effect that enhances the iris performance in this perfume. It’s a magical creation, something to drool over if you’re an iris fanatic.
Next in line was Uer Mi booth. If you remember from my report from last year, this brand creates perfumes that evoke different fabrics. This year they introduced two new fragrances. Or White and Or Cashmere. The first one is inspired by a new fabric made of milk protein – it smelled very sensual of powdery iris, rich and aromatic tonka and a bit of leather. The other one was more musky and woody, with some rum too. Both fragrances were developed by Cecile Zarokian.
Not moving far away from the topic of Cecile, I came to smell new fragrances in Fath’s Essentialls collection from Jacques Fath. That’s where I met Cecile herself and she gave me an introduction to 4 fragrances she worked on. There was Green Water, based on a fragrance from 1947, a warm and citrusy Vers Le Sud, sensual Bel Ambre and marine Curacao Bay.
Going back to a conference room I came to meet with a friend Sarah Colton (we met during my first Esxence ever) who was introducing her new book titled “Bad Girl’s Perfume.” She entered the room as Beyonce – Run the World was playing. As soon as she started reading excerpts from her book I knew this will be an easy and funny read as at the very beginning she wrote that Biblical Eve was the first bad girl as she made Adam eat the forbidden apple. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay until the end of this presentation because I had a meeting.
A meeting with Puredistance it was, where I grabbed Mary Gooding and we went for lunch and to talk about what’s new. She told me just some small bits about recently announced Sheiduna that will be most likely launched in 6 months from now. It was nice to spend some time with their team, take some photos of bottles, of us and so on.
Affinessence was one of my last discoveries that I made on Friday. Collection called Notes de Fond had a very unique approach of creating a fragrance using only… base notes. The founder believes that a perfume without light top notes and floral heart notes, with only base incorporated into a scent, will make a fragrance last much longer and will leave a long aroma trail behind the wearer. I’m not sure if I agree with that but some perfumes were good, especially Cedre-Iris and Vanille-Benjoin but at 300 EUR per 100 ml bottle I have many doubts.
My last meeting on Friday was with Nicolas Chabot, founder of revived Le Galion and now also a creator of a new brand called Aether. For Le Galion he introduced me to 2 new creations – Cologne, which was an up-to-date interpretation of classic cologne. The other one named Cologne Nocturne was very modern and sophisticated. I liked it a lot. These two were made by Rodrigo Flores-Roux. Aether is the very opposite of Le Galion as it relies purely on synthetic aroma materials. It’s becoming a trend that many start to follow. I have nothing against non natural ingredients and I really liked Rose Alcane.
This will conclude day 2 of my report. In the evening I had a meeting with Tanja Bochnig, Saskia Wilson-Brown (Art and Olfaction Awards) and judges of the awards, since over the course of the day the finalists of this year edition were announced. It was also Tanja’s birthday so I invited her for a dinner. It was late, we were tired but the food was delicious.
As you can see the post has grown really long so I will split day 2 and 3 and will write part 3 of the report separately to cover my final day at Esxence.