Tag Archives: Florence

Bad decisions?

Hello my dear friends, there’s something that I need to talk about with you today and I want to do it in the most sincere & truthful way I can. You see, ever since I followed the rabbit down the hole of a perfume world, I always wanted to attend one of the exhibitions that gathers niche brands from all over the world and where new fragrances are being shown to the world for the 1st time before they appear on the shelves of perfumeries. This wish of mine did come true, I still remember how excited I was when I applied for a press accreditation and received a positive answer from organizers.

It was back in 2014, That’s when I experienced the magic of Esxence and Milan as a city for the first time in my life. The very same year I also tried my chances in joining another big perfume fair in Italy – Pitti Fragranze in Florence. As you know from my posts, I indeed was able to visit this event as well. Ever since those times I would annually travel to Italy in the spring time and late in the summer to keep myself updated with all the new launches and trends. Thanks to both Esxence and Pitti I was lucky to meet many lovely people who I think of as friends after these couple of years.

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Year after year reconnecting with friends – bloggers, perfumers, brand owners, was becoming more important than perfume. I still wanted to smell things but I would spend more time talking to people than before. And then September 2018 came and something about Pitti Fragranze felt broken. There were visibly less brands, people looked tired, new releases weren’t all that exciting either. With some friends we started to question if glory days of Pitti are over. Many brands exhibited at their hotels and not in Stazione Leopolda. A number of perfume houses preferred to go to TFWA in Cannes instead.

2 days ago I looked into calendar and I saw that Pitti is held from 13 to 15 September. A tax free exhibition in Cannes will then follow in exactly 2 weeks. I think last year’s scenario will repeat, maybe at a scale bigger than in 2018. And last year I was really disappointed. I was fighting with myself for long hours. As sad as it sounds I want to let you all know that I made a decision of not going to Florence for Pitti this year. It makes me feel down but I don’t think the show is going to improve this year. I’ll miss all the people I won’t meet. Am I making a bad decision? Only time will tell…

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Defining Undefined at Pitti Fragranze 2018 – part 2

First day of this year’s Pitti Fragranze sure was exciting and packed with many meetings and a wide variety of perfume. I expected that following days won’t be any worse & in fact they were not. Each day gave me something different. Also for the first time in the history of my Fragranze attendance I was at the fair for all 3 days so I got a new perspective by seeing how the last day looks like.

On Saturday I started my olfactory investigations by visting a stand of Soul Couture. This is a new brand of Italian origins & some of my friends recommended it as worth trying. At the stand I met Michele Marin, who founded this brand and who is a perfumer behind it. He created 6 different fragrances presented in simple & elegant bottles and boxes. I especially liked Weekend Postmoderno (with spices and iris), and Gender Ginger (with citrus, ginger and rosewood). It’s also one of the very few brands that offers travel-friendly size from the very beginning.

When I was passing next to Uermi booth I noticed they have some news too so I decided to spend there a few minutes to learn about them. They worked with perfumer Alexandra Carlin to develop two new compositions: SO Satin and UR Silk 19, a rework of UR Silk introduced 5 years ago. They also had a third one for which they teamed with Maurice Roucel. OR Damask is a lush red rose that I really liked. It had a full body and from the start you could smell it’s very well blended.

Miya Shinma didn’t present any new things as she still wanted to focus on the L’Eau de Miya Shinma collection. I said ‘wanted’ because she told me that she has been robbed. She shipped all of her perfume to Florence and when she wanted to organize the stand it turned out that someone stole all of the bottles of the new collection that were inside that box. It’s more than a misfortune – to come to the fair (which is not cheap!) and to not be able to present your latest achievements. So sad.

Have you ever heard of an Irish perfume brand Cloon Keen? Well I did and many years ago I even reviewed one when I got a sample in a swap. Ever since I was curious to smell the other fragrances in their range but it just never happened because I couldn’t get samples locally. This year they came to Florence and had their stand at Fragranze 16 – I could not overlook such occasion. I talked with Margaret Mangan, creator of Cloon Keen, who guided me through fragrances and candles. I’m telling you – I liked all of the scents. Lunasa and Frosted Moon stayed in my memory for long.

On that day another interesting discussion took place in a conference hall. Title of this panel discussion was ‘Asia & You’Chandler Burr as a host and 5 different people were blind-smelling around 20 fragrances and commenting whether it’s suitable for Asian market or no. The gimmick was that Chandler asked 20 random brands exhibiting at the fair to select ‘the most Asian’ scent from their range. Then at a panel those people had to come to the scene, shortly explain why they think it fits. This was followed by smelling, commenting and at the very end the name of brand and perfume was revealed. I think it was brave of all those brands since comments were often not nice. My friend, perfumer Alex Lee was one of the panelists and later when we talked he said he didn’t feel good doing it. It surely was a challenge as he didn’t want to offend anyone.

Beaufort is not a brand that belongs to the group of my brands but I decided to give a try to their new composition mostly because their stand was shared with Atelier des Ors where my friends were. New Rake & Ruin was very much like gin – super metallic, tons of juniper, lots of smoke and animalic ingredients. Absolutely not my cup of tea but at least I gave it a try, right?

Nowadays I think that Laboratorio Olfattivo is one of those brands that just have something new any time they exhibit, meaning new things are added to their range twice a year at least. After introducing a handy 30 ml bottle as well as travel kits (2 x 15 ml) now they presented a new perfume. Its name is Sacreste and it’s composed by Luca Maffei. The scent itself is very incensy but with a lot of warm oriental elements like saffron, cardamom, amber. It’s nice but not very new in terms of idea.

One of the completely new brands that appeared inside of Stazione Leopolda was Maison Rebatchi. For their debut they launched 4 fragrances but even if I’m alone in my impression I’m going to say it was a let-down. The bottles look kind of like boutique collection from Dior. Each scent was done by different perfumer and even if one of them was Bertrand Duchaufour didn’t convince me. And people there seemed annoyed they have to talk to me. I quickly lost my initial interest.

Dusita with Pissara Umavijani at its front was busy all the time but I managed to have a few minutes with her. Current focus is still on Erawan of course but Pissara let me smell the fragrance she’s been working on and which she’d like to launch in spring. Oh boy, it was very good, quite different from her previous creations… and it has a lot of iris! At Andy Tauer’s stand Les Annees 25 was the newest perfume but Andy also had his 2 candles (they just launched!) that I could smell. Extrait d’Atelier still focuses on Maitre Ceramiste – not rushing things is always good in perfumery.

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In the evening many of us went to a street party celebrating the opening of Campomarzio70 boutique at it’s new location in Florence. It was super crowded and we had to be careful because taxis and buses kept passing through. Afterwards I was supposed to get something to eat together with Nick Steward but the word spread and I actually started gathering people to come with us. We ended up having a fantastic dinner for 10 people. That’s it for day 2. Normally I would pack but not this time!

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