A true jewel in a crown of my great Italian holidays was a visit to Florence, a third one in my life, in order to attend Pitti Fragranze – an international fair that opened its doors for all fragrance enthusiasts for 14th time. I got to Florence from Bologna by train in the afternoon of September 8th. My AirBnB was really close to the Firenze Santa Maria Novella station so it took me maybe 15 minutes of walking to find the address. It surely was a really hot afternoon.
Few hours later Megan – my fragrance companion for the last editions of both Esxence and Pitti, made her arrival in the city. She called me when she got to her place & we decided to meet for a late dinner to eat something good and to discuss what do we want to see and smell during the fair. Our lists were quite similar which was perfect for walking and smelling the perfume together. We were really excited about the next morning that would mark opening of the fair.
Day 1 – 9th of September
On the previous night I didn’t sleep very well because of the warm night and surely because of my excitement too. But a thought of all new perfume releases waiting for me made me feel pumped up, so I didn’t feel tired at all. Shortly before 10 AM I headed for Stazione Leopolda where Pitti takes place. I was staying only 5 minutes away from it which was very convenient. This year I could either wait in a queue to get a printed press pass or I could quickly download a Pitti app on my phone and have my pass in digital version. Even though I wanted a printed pass as a token from the fair, I decided to use a pass on my phone in order to save time. A quick scan and I was inside.
Minute after minute the place was getting more busy and buzzy that at some point it was like a perfumed beehive. First booth that attracted our attention belonged to Olivier Durbano. His stand was decorated with blue bottles and necklaces that served as a display for his new perfume #12 – Lapis Lazuli, a fragrance about the Sky Stone. It was a lovely aromatic perfume with smoke, iris, rose, spices and unusual accord of wheat. And sapphire-like color of the juice is just gorgeous.
Next I made it to the stand of Maison Gabriella Chieffo. As usual her display was attracting attention. Decorated with black branches and little nests that were housing bottles of this brand’s creations. Main focus was made on a new launch called Taersia – a smoky tuberose twisted with myrrh, ginger and coffee. I found this perfume to be pretty interesting even though I don’t like tuberose in general. Since Taersia is about falling in love, Gabriella asked her guests for photos of them with a face expression associated with this feeling. She then used these photos to hang on wooden branches to enrich the display. I liked the idea of a stand evolving after time.
Then I was almost literally “grabbed” by a representative of this new Spanish brand from Barcelona named 27 87 Perfumes. They debuted half a year earlier and have three fragrances: #Hashtag, Elixir de Bombe and Wanderlust. I liked the latter one the most, since it smelled like a playful variation of a freshness of mint toothpaste. These perfumes definitely stick to a modern perfumery concept that seem to be targeted more towards younger perfume lovers and millennials.
Right opposite was a stand of my friend Angela Ciampagna who arranged her collection in a fantastic way. It looked like a mix of laboratory equipment with glass flasks but what really caught my eye were these little cage-like domes with perfumes and plants inside of them. They really gave a pretty nice visual effect. Angela still focuses on Cineres Collection – Ignes and Fauni and no new perfumes were introduced at Pitti, which is good. No need to rush things.
Later I stopped at the stand owned by Nicolai. During my holidays I got an email from them with a press release of an upcoming fragrance. This fragrance was a main attraction of the brand during the fair. After a brilliant Oud Sublime introduced half a year ago, Patricia de Nicolai played with oud again and created Incense Oud – a smoky and woody variation of this raw material. The quality here definitely exceeds many other oud fragrances that are available on the market right now.
Then I briefly met with Neela Vermeire of Neela Vermeire Creations. She sprayed some of her new fragrance named Rahele on my arm and simply told me to walk around with it for some time and smell it every now and then to check how it develops. She was having an appointment so I walked away. But I will be able to tell you more from NVC in my report from day 2 as I had a booked meeting that day. I’m glad I did that. She’s always busy so it was good to have 30 minutes for us.
After that I wandered into a Kaon box (remember that brands at Pitti don’t have a separate booth for each but are grouped together by their Italian distributor). I noticed that our favorite couple: Julien and Madalina from Jul et Mad are free, so I rushed to say hi and to discover their novelty. A year and a half after Les Whites were introduces, a couple finally revealed their new scent. Secrets du Paradis Rouge is their another collaboration with perfumer Luca Maffei and was inspired by the couple’s honeymoon in Morocco. It’s a beautiful gourmand-ish creation with lots of orange blossom, mild spices and flowers. It’s delightful and will smell great in a colder weather.
Then I took a break from sniffing (not really!) and I went to a lecture from the RAW series (it was initiated last year with bergamot) that in 2016 edition was focused on patchouli. The entire conference room was decorated with patchouli plants in decorative pots. People from Mane Fragrances told us about history, cultivation, harvest process and all things related to obtain patchouli in a sustainable way. Then we learned about different extraction methods that can be used on patchouli. As those were discussed, blotters with mentioned patchouli extracts were being spread around the room so that everyone could smell them. The odor profiles were varying from a dirty, earthy smells, through something more woody and finishing on more fruity facets or even ones that smelled almost like a laundry. Very weird impression. Then a topic moved on to chypre genre and they let us smell some actual perfumes with different patchouli extracts.
Wiser with some knowledge about patchouli I stopped to say hi to Nicolas Chabot, founder of Le Galion and Aether. Of course there was a purpose of that visit as some time earlier that year I learned that the brand is working on a new masculine fragrance. And there it was, waiting for me to smell it. The perfume name is Sang Bleu and it’s an uber manly chypre. It’s a very rugged and sexy fragrance paired with an attractive visual from Robert Greco. It presents a naked, hairy & muscular men – ideal candidate to wear Sang Bleu I guess.
In the same area there was Celine Verleure of Olfactive Studio, so after I finished talking to Nicolas, I smoothly started a talk with her. After a rather succesful fund-raising she was proud a new bottle design the brand will be using from now on. She was also really keen on introducing me to Close Up, a new scent made in collaboration with Annick Menardo. It’s a beautiful and multi-faceted oriental amber perfume. I’m sure it will bloom beautifully on skin in the winter.
It’s always great to meet Arquiste founder Carlos Huber since perfumes appearing in his line are always worth attention. For this year editions he worked again with Rodrigo Flores-Roux. The results are 2 fragrances inspired by Armando’s Le Club in Acapulco of 1978: Él for him and Ella for her. The first one is a full-fledged spicy and woody fougere for real men (with hairy chest as a must!) while Ella is a chypre-floral with some animalic side to it. People will like these two.
Then I made a quick stop by a stand of Aedes de Venustas where I was introduced to their new creation. Grenadille d’Afrique is a complete opposite of previous Cierge de Lune. It’s very dark, heavy, woody but almost oily. It polarized me and it’s something that I would probably not wear on a daily basis; but people will crave for it as it’s a perfume that you just cannot stay indifferent to.
Later in the afternoon I managed to meet with Andy Tauer. He belongs to that group of people who are so popular among perfume lovers that they are basically busy for the entire day and are hard to find without someone at their stand. When I came he was finishing a meeting with someone so I jumped just after that. Andy showed me his 2 new pieces. One of them belongs to a Tauerville collection and it’s a Tuberose Flash while the other is from regular Tauer Perfumes line. That one is named Au Coeur du Desert and is a revisited L’Air du Desert Marocain. This new interpretation is even stronger and more intensive, made in extrait de parfum concentration.
That pretty much sums up what I discovered during the first day of Pitti Fragranze 2016. When the clock reached 18:00 marking the end of day 1, everyone was invited for cocktails, drinks and snacks at Numbers & Flowers party. During day one I also went to one more presentation and visited few more brands. I will include them in next part so that they can have similar text volume. In the evening Megan and I had a dinner together. Then I slept like a baby.