Tag Archives: Duomo

Hungry for Inspiration – Day 3 of Esxence 2019

By the time my third day in Milan came to be I grew a certain level of tiredness, so I decided that I don’t need to push myself anymore and just try to enjoy my final day at Esxence, whatever it might bring. As usual weekend was open to the public so you could expect a bigger crowd of people anyway, which quite successfully reduces one’s chances of being a productive explorer.

I started the day by attending a lecture by Michael Edwards titled “From niche to niche: the evolution of French perfumery” in which he talked about the greatest perfumers of different times, from Guy Robert to Dominique Ropion and Calice Becker and how niche were their ideas for the fragrances that were released in their respective times and how over the last century they’ve been using the ingredients nobody dared to use until they did. He also used this opportunity to share with the audience the news about 2 new books he’s been working on but I already knew about this.

Immediately after this lecture ended I was supposed to meet with Pissara Umavijani, creator & perfumer of Parfums Dusita but when I arrived at her stand she was missing. Just a moment earlier she started a livestream outside and continued as she came back. We started talking about the idea behind the name that I chose for her new fragrance (Reve d’Aurore, one of the winners in naming competition), in the context of Splendiris we also talked about working with iris and we had a deeper discussion about what it really takes to create a successful scent and how many people were involved. All this was recorded so it felt a bit as if Pissara was interviewing me, not vice versa.

On that day I ended up talking with a lot of people, mostly friends with whom I wanted to chat even if they were not showing any new releases at that particular time. So I talked with Olivier Durbano, with Celine Verleure, Nicolas Chabot, a bit more with Megan Paki & Jean Philippe Clermont.

There was also a moment when I could sit down together with Rania Jouaneh at a more quiet moment and talk about her newest creation + smell it of course. She decided to work on a musk. Even thought it’s a very popular note, with Musc Moschus she managed to create something between white musk and filthy musk. The scent is animalic but in an elegant way and with a lovely creaminess in the drydown. For unknown reasons I didn’t take a photo of the bottle…

Encouraged by Ana who tried the fragrance before I decided to stop at FO’AH stand. This new brand which launched in 2018 is owned by Emilie Dewell who wanted to combine her two worlds: French and Arabic into a perfume line. Emilie thought palm tree would be the perfect symbol so the bottle the brand uses resembles a palm tree trunk structure. In addition to that FO’AH teamed with Givaudan in creating a special and unique palm tree note incorporated into each of 5 scents the brand is offering. I enjoyed two of them, Memoires d’une Palmeraie 02 and 08.

In the afternoon I had a chance to meet with Neela Vermeire, a person who I believe needs no introduction to anyone who loves a niche perfume of top sort. We sat for about 30 minutes and talked about the show and what is generally happening in this segment of perfumery. Unfortunately Neela had to back out from exhibiting with NVC this year but she still came to Milan and did some meetings with business partners outside of Esxence. I hope it was a fruitful trip to her.

One of interesting new discoveries of Saturday was this brand named Essential Parfums. The concept is to use a simple bottle, an eco-friendly packaging made of couple layers of carton glued together and to feature at least one sustainable ingredient in each fragrance. They’re working with most renowned and recognized perfumers while the brand itself is super-affordable, charging 69 euro for a 100 ml bottle (or 18 euro for 10 ml travel spray). After smelling the entire range I was surprised in a very positive way and it’s a proof that niche can be great without costing a fortune.

My very last stop at Esxence was Uermi. The brand completely changed the look of the bottles to the round bottom ones from previously used rectangular shape. They also reworked a couple of fragrances to make them more polished. The brand new thing at the stand was NU Leather – a fragrance developed by Luca Maffei. It was a soft and embracing take on leather.

And so Saturday at Esxence came to an end and it was time for me to say goodbye to everyone and to say goodbye to the exhibition for another year (hopefully). In the evening there was a “Gala Party” organized by Esxence founders but since it was a themed party (dresscode: formal attire) & I got my invitation just before Easter when I was already packed I decided that I’m not going. Luckily I wasn’t alone as Elena was in a similar situation. As a party replacement we decided to meet in front of the Duomo and have a nice dinner together. We went to La Rinascente, made a tour around a ground floor dedicated to fragrance – mostly exclusive designer lines (as if we didn’t have enough perfume during last 3 days). We got a table at Obika at the rooftop of La Rinascente, at the patio outside, so we enjoyed our pizza, pasta and drinks as we were looking at the top of Duomo by our side. I bet it was much better than the party. That was the end of my little adventure. We both took different metro to go back to our places, I had to pack to be ready to leave at 6 AM on Sunday.

A couple of final thoughts. I didn’t count but there must have been a lot of new fragrances that were launched at Esxence and I only managed to try a part of them but I must tell you that the air around The Mall smelled of stagnation. There were a lot of nice scents but “nice” is a clue word here. They were “nice” – nothing more than that. Lots and lots of repetitiveness, a lack of originality and no new ideas. There were a lot of fresh creations, quite many inspired by seaside or Mediterranean cost. Green florals and soliflores were also quite common. It starts to become more obvious that niche is becoming more commercial and mainstreamed, fragrances are much more safe and appealing to a greater audience. Even brands that we know they took some risks in the past and prevailed are not as open to experimentation anymore. Each year I came to Esxence there was at least one fragrance that would mesmerize me, that would make me go wow! and fall in love with it immediately. This year I didn’t experience that feeling & because of that I feel kind of disappointed.

Another phenomenon that has shaken the ground of Esxence was that 2019, like no other year before, saw a huge number of vloggers, Youtubers and so-called influencers coming to the show. Every now and then you’d see one of them filming another video or an interview with a brand. They were all over the place and you could easily recognize them as they were walking down the aisles with handfuls of bags with full bottles. I’m not here to judge anyone because I don’t know these vlogging people. If brands want to be promoted via Youtube or Instagram it’s their choice but I have a feeling that this is not the rightest way and that to some extend it can even tarnish their good reputation and luxurious character in the eyes of the other people. But when you hear loud voices of these people trying to convince the brand to give them something of big value as a present or some waiting until Sunday to score a free tester bottle from the stand… this just leaves me speechless and thinking that they don’t come to Esxence to meet people, to connect and exchange opinions but rather to get a big “haul” as they say, to brag about how much they got and how much it’s worth.

And with this non-optimistic accent I’d like to end this 3-part series of my Esxence 2019 report. It was a great experience to meet with friends and with new people. But to discover new & exciting perfume – not so much this time… May these last lines be your food for thought. Niche, where are you going?

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tagged , , , , , ,