Weekends at Esxence are always a bit hectic since it becomes open to the public, meaning anyone interested can enter. And believe me, Italians do come to smell some perfume. They often come as full families, even with little babies or with dogs (I’m sure their sense of smell goes crazy there!) For that reason I usually try to do my most important visits on Thursday or Friday. Then on Saturday I can smell things more casually and with less pressure. It usually works well if I do it like that.
I started the third day at Esxence from a visit in a conference room where one could listen to an interview with Michael Edwards first thing in the morning. I think he’s such an iconic person in a perfume industry that I just wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t attend it. Listening to how Mr Edwards started from being responsible for deodorant campaigns and how he got to creating The Fragrances of the World. Would you believe it all began as a simple and thin guide for fragrance associates in department stores? Nowadays it’s sort of a bible that collects data of thousands of fragrances.
After that I visited a stand of Extrait d’Atelier, an Italian brand owned by Chiara Ronzani. The brand interprets work of different artisans into fragrances and this spring they have launched a 4th composition dedicated to Maitre Ceramiste, a master of ceramics. The perfume is meant to evoke a workshop filled with the smell of clay and plaster, moist air and a bunch of tools used to carve the details. This fragrance masterfully combines spicy pink pepper and metallic notes, the smell of clay entwined with iris and incense with a woody base with oakmoss and amber. Review will come later.
Asian market is more and more open for the offerings of niche perfumery and in effect one of the trends is creating lighter, more wearable and inoffensive scents that would appeal to people from Japan or China. No surprise Miya Shinma appeared at Esxence with a bunch of light and airy fragrances. I especially liked Ruri which means blue in the old Japanese. I also admired Kimono Sakura, a blend of rose and peony to remind cherry blossom. That one was very harmonious.
Saturday was a day of talks and conferences for me as there were 3 in total that I wanted to attend. Second one that day was titled ‘100 years of chypre‘ and as you might guess it was an olfactory travel through the history of this classy perfume family. This conference was organized by Osmotheque. It was a lovely lesson starting from old, classic chypres and finishing at modern ones. I only regret that the speaker was using french, since I’m still a long way from being fluent. Also blotters were not distributed well so I didn’t receive a whole bunch of fragrances to smell.
At the lunch time I went outside to have a meeting with UNUM. This year they decided to be available at a private suite in a nearby appartment rather than inside Esxence. From what I’ve been told they are getting prepared to make some changes to their packaging. Also another perfume will be launched by the brand, it’s expected to arrive at Pitti. For now I can only say that inspiration for the fragrance was a scene from a movie. And it fits well the style of Filippo Sorcinelli work.
Nicolai was presenting their new scent – Cap Neroli, a beautiful and summery scent of orange blossoms drenched in the sunlight. I’m sure I’ll enjoy wearing it when it gets a little bit warmer.
Once I was back at Esxence venue I spent a couple of minutes discovering the line of Sylvaine Delacourte. I’ve been familiar with the name but never tried fragrances from this lady. She dedicated her first collection to musk and she just launched a new collection focused on vanilla. There are 5 different vanilla fragrances in it but one that seemed most interesting to me was named Valkyrie.
Jovoy also had a novelty at their stand and it was causing quite a lot of buzz between perfume enthusiasts. The new fragrance bears a name Remember Me. This new composition is signed by Cecile Zarokian. It’s her 2nd creation for the brand and it’s a very lush bouquet of frangipani.
My last discovery included smelling of 4 fragrances by Les Bains Guerbois. It’s an old bath house that nowadays works as a hotel in Paris. They decided to revive the heritage of colognes that were using during the times when the bath house was operating. I only tried them briefly on mouilettes so another test – this time on skin will happen in due course.
Final conference titled ‘2D perfumery: how Instagran culture is affecting fragrance design‘ was a fun thing to listen to. Panelists such as Sarah Baker, perfumer Alex Lee & Andy Tauer presented their point of view regarding how influential Instagram can be.
As you’ve probably noticed from the picture galleries I kept coming back to smell Neela Vermeire’s Niral every day! It was definitely my favorite fragrance at the fair this year… and that was it! Saturday came to the end and so did my visit in Milan. Same evening there was also an Esxence party but because my flight back to Poland was really early on Sunday and also because I didn’t get the invitation (and had no clothes to match a theme) I decided to skip it. I only treated myself to a great dinner in the evening. Some pasta, prosecco and a desert to say bye-bye to Italy for a while.
A final word from me. As good as the whole 10th edition of Esxence might’ve looked like in my report I have to admit that I was quite disappointed this time. New releases from brands that exist for a couple of years now were really good but the offerings from newly created brands that just debuted on the market were plain boring. Most of the stuff smelled repetitive and similar to some other perfume created some years ago. Are they scared of being innovative? To make something that’ll shake the ground? Maybe they play safe now but will improve and open their minds later… I don’t know. I just wanted you to know how I felt and why there weren’t as many photos as usual.