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niche perfumes

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There were moments at Esxence when I felt like a gladiator in an arena, roaming around crowded floors of The Mall, armed with love and determination, in search of perfumes that might disarm me with their artistic creativity and originality, touch me soul-deep tapping into something unconscious, spiritual, profound, and cause waves of emotions…well, some certainly did.

Ave perfumes! Mission accomplished!

Strength and honor!

Did I mention 6000m2 of exhibition space? 221+ brands? You can find Facts&Figures&Learning Opportunities in my previous report, Part I, here.

Let’s talk about perfume. First impressions? Trends?

If I have to give a general overview, I would say: mostly “nice” frags, mass-appealing, easy-going, with elaborate marketing sugar-coating and all that jazz.

A few obvious “bestsellers”, even fewer “square pegs in round holes”. A couple of timeless beauties, complex but not loud, singing sotto voce

I felt a much “lighter” (not necessarily “simpler”!) overall vibe, soliflores, fields of flowers, strong “Ambery-Woody-Cedarwoods” and “musks” vibration or “classic beauty” modern interpretations. Some meditative, poetic, very refined fragrances, including sparkling stronger-citruses-then-ever ones. Yes, there’s Oud but it is now being placed in the background, in a much subtler form.

Great perfumers signing quite a few new releases – it seems that big-shot perfumers have been busier than ever! Many new releases were announced yet to come, after Milan! Actually, a few I’m really looking forward to.

Summer 2019 is near: I also noticed many « oceanic, aquatic, sea breeze, relax ‘n’ take it easy » perfumes: sea, salt, sand, sunshine, holidays…as well as light florals or green minty-fresh ones, “Apres-Beach party” or classy French Riviera interpretations. Mood:

Important notice! Where you see no perfume-bottle-photos, it’s because: a) I forgot to take photos b) light was terrible and I had to delete photos – the ones I took wouldn’t be doing a favor to a brand c) I completely forgot to take photos because conversation was way more important, or d) same as c) but being completely blinded by love.

Let’s take a closer quick look at:::

Atelier des Ors

Riviera Collection

It’s always my pleasure to meet Megan Paki and JeanPhilippe Clermont: last year they surprised us with the White Collection…This year Atelier bottles turned deep-sea-blue (blue glass, not fragrances!), marking a new collection that promises a feeling of classy holiday evenings bliss at the French Riviera (Riviera Lazuli), easy-going mornings in a lush Mediterranean garden with lemon and orange trees (Pomelo Riviera), or relaxed afternoon drives along A8 highway along Côte d’Azur in a cabrio-convertible, wind ruffling gently your hair as you drive into the sunset (Riviera Drive)…

It’s all about old school glamour and Riviera dreaming -bringing back sweet memories of many days spent there…oh, how I long for Summer!

Carner Barcelona

Fresh Collection

Reflecting a Mediterranean “living-is-easy” style with three new fragrances:

– Salado: fresh, sea&salt with prominent orange blossom and cucumber heart. Sunny mornings and that refreshing feeling after the first morning swim in clear blue sea water…my favorite.

– Fig Man: fresh, spicy, with a salty fig leaf and violets accord, warming up to patchouli – tonka bean finish. Siesta time.

– Bobo: ripe mandarine, orange & jasmine flowers, body movement, skin glowing, the sheer joy of fiesta time!

Beso Beach

Hello, Ibiza!

Ibiza: dear Joaquim Carner, please say “Ibiza” again, with that lovely “thhhsz” sound..Ah. The island of love, endless parties, sun-tanned skin, and sea salt in your hair. So he talked about Ibiza (Ibiithhsa) showing me fragrances Carner made for restaurants belonging to The Beso Beach Group, all launched in 2018, signed by Olivier Cresp, Annick Menardo and Christophe Raynard. Summertime flings and kisses:

Beso Canalla: a little bit of lavender in your hair, a little bit of orange on your lips – a flirty kiss, warm and spicy.

Bendito Besso: a fresh, morning-at-the-seaside kiss, with bergamot&jasmine in the shade of a tall cedar tree.

Beso Negro: as the name suggests, late-night kisses – getting more passionate with patchouli-leather tones.

Summer: skin gets darker, hair lighter, and kisses taste better!

Miller et Berteaux

Menta y Menta

Mint that doesn’t smell like toothpaste”: this is a bouquet of Moroccan mint reduced to fill one small fragrant teacup… So fine and well blended, like mint tea with a touch of jasmine – calming and gently warm in the drydown.

What a lovely discovery, one of my Esxence highlights.

Puredistance

Aenotus

All their timeless beauties exhibited at Esxence, plus Aenotus – a new fragrance by Antoine Lie, launched on 1/3/2019 – my review already published, you can check it out here.

I stopped by a couple of times and finally met Jan Ewoud Vos (founder) on Saturday (wearing a light blue jacket matching Aenotus colors), and we talked for quite some time. That helped me understand his signature fragrance better: quiet waters run deep…

“The Dutch prince of classy perfumes” does sometimes leave his castle hidden somewhere in The Netherlands to mingle with other people of perfumes: cool, composed, well-educated, aware of fragcomm but keeping his distance with grace. His passion is not bluntly exposed, his dedication firm and aligned with his personal values. Classy. Aenotus style.

Let’s take a walk around some other exhibition stands, in random order, just like I did:

Santi Burgas

Primal Waters Collection

Launched at Pitti in September last year (and on mind ever since), this new collection, like everything Santi does – is as niche as it gets. I won’t stop talking about it because, in my opinion, this brand deserves more attention. Three new fragrances in this collection: A, N, T (yes, ant!)!

My personal favorite is AADH – The scent of the anthill. Earth, mushrooms, vetiver, patchouli, and oakmoss: so different, so interesting. Most peculiar: it feels like you are breathing and living a busy life somewhere deep inside corridors of a freshly built ant hill…

Let’s not forget N – like NYC – a blend that the perfumer made for himself: a lovely, citrusy-green-herbal-fresh fragrance with a pinch of mint, and T as TDM (Toroella de Montgri – the town where Santi lives): herbal, smelling like Mediterranean hillside shrubs and bushes, aromatic with sage and thyme. Poetic.

Different, bold, and passionate: signed by Rodrigo FloresRoux, these fragrances are something else and I’ll write more about them. Bravo, Santi!

Sarah Baker

This nose belongs to Sarah! I had no previously arranged meeting with her, but she graciously welcomed me and took her time to chat with ease about four new fragrances (new bottles, too!): Atlante (an A&O 2019 Finalist) by Sarah McCartney, Rules of Attraction and Jungle Jezebel by Miguel Matos, and Charade by Andreas Wilhelm.

Quite a line-up there, right?

I also must admit that aquatic Atlante attracted me immediately, but I certainly plan to devote more time to all four, especially much talked about JJ – now available in a more “decent” bottle (although the Divine -inspired one is still available, as limited edition. Yes, that bottle makes perfect sense. Divine, remember?).

Blackbird

Meet the Blackbird team!

When I first stumbled upon their Y06S in Milan last year (a funky jasmine-gone-bananas fragrance with milky-electronic plastic-static notes&Oud), it positively surprised me: hey, it’s strange, funny, delicious, different, creative, and so wearable at the same time! I keep smiling when I think about it. Fun!

This year I rushed to their stand: Blackbird launched Pipe Bomb Pink: a synth-boosted hi-tech metallic-salty rose-short-circuit Eau de Parfum (Pipe Bomb flanker, and one of the most unusual roses I’ve ever smelt, kept re-spraying!), and Universal Supreme: a sweet&sour gourmand staub-sugar-ground cherry-pits freshly baked industrial pie with almonds-launching June 15th!

Not memory-triggering, rather create-your-own-fantasy-here-and-now fragrances – innovative, cool, relaxed unisex sexy, and unconventional!

Dusita

Splendiris

What can I say that hasn’t been said before about this whole collection? Enter Splendiris, launched in Paris on 18/4/2019: I also received a sample a while ago: a very Dusita-handwriting tainted fragrance – smooth and vibrant, soft and earthy, so tenderly rhyming violet, iris and rose at its heart, serving them on a fresh fig leaf, oranges, and carrot seed -with a sensual drydown that’s recalling misty layers of last night’s dreams. I must admit that it wasn’t my love at first sniff: (maybe because of its name) I was expecting more buttery, rooty Orris (and I love that!), but it wasn’t until the second or third wearing that I started to fully enjoy its delicate, flowering beauty in the opening. Spring and warmer weather suit it well… And this trembling flower and all its parts, down to the dreamy aura it reflects so sublimely- managed to get under my skin.

Oudh Infini is one of my greatest Dusita loves, and on my skin, it is simply sensational! Ask Pissara, she’ll confirm!

Mendittorosa

Ithaka and Talento

Barefoot Perfume Fairy Stefania was presenting two new fragrances. She is one of those wonderful people of perfumes that make you feel that it was all worth it! Quick sniff& draft: Ithaka (Odori d’Anima Collection) is a fragrant poem about life journeys, destinations, new ports and harbors you sail to or return to ones well known. Ithaka brought tears to my eyes: I lost words. It carries traces of seawater, the opulence of stunning incense, Amber and Vanilla…

Talento (Talismans Collection): since I’m on a personal journey through a “year of roses” in 2019, this fragile, cold, just-budding rose featuring mint leaves and soft, silky-woody comfort is definitely a different, optimistic, youthful rose – although I could smell its thorns, tiny sharp rose thorns as well, still soft but present. A beautiful rose it is…every drop of it! Presentation is fascinating as always: that ceramic bottle cap!

Goldfield&Banks

Velvet Splendour

It’s always my pleasure to meet Dimitri Weber and to listen with how much love he talks about Australia! Velvet Splendour is the newest addition: its sunrise is displaying lovely hues of orange blossoms and puffy, soft, bright yellow mimosa blossoms. Sunset of this fragrance is like thick oriental silk imprinted with a Tonka accord, with Opoponax adding a honeyed and sensual touch to Ambergris notes in the drydown. Elegant, a bit powdery, Oriental-spicy fragrance. Summer again, but this time in February, somewhere in deserts of South Australia. While I chatted with Dimitri, I forgot to take any photos. Which turned out ok, since he invited me to attend the launch in my home town, et voila!

Ormonde Jayne

Elixir Collection

I managed to arrange a meeting with Linda Pilkington, founder, creative director, and perfumer! When I arrived at OJ stand, dear Ivan Lozic (Brand Manager) was there too: what a warm welcome! I enjoyed our conversation, and Linda explained to me everything about Elixirs: chosen classics with a new twist. These beauties – Osmanthus, Ta’if, Royal, Ormonde, and Isfarkand– are stronger than ever (extrait), and Ta’if newly interpreted with addition Cambodian Oud, in a most subtle and elegant way.

You might’ve guessed that I’m an OJ Ta’if lover: I simply melt every time I feel this fragrance. THE Ta’if Rose for me! I could write poems about it, or love songs to it: I’m drooling all over the keyboard just when I think about it…heaven, I’m in thirty-petals Ta’if rose floriental heaven!

Let me just tell you this: the addition of Cambodian Oud is discreet yet so justified, and…so royal. There I go, falling in love head over heels, utterly and helplessly – again!

I was a bit nervous before our meeting, having such a high opinion of Linda: she is very approachable, simple and sweet! I managed to take only a couple of not-so-perfect photos, for reason c) as above mentioned, and d) I fell in love.

Jacques Fath

Essentials – Red Shoes

Released recently (Cannes last September, I think) and new to me: Cecile Zarokian created this fragrance inspired by a 1948 ballet movie and a beautiful red silk evening gown (created by Jacques Fath), sensual as heavy silk on your skin, sensational as Rose Damascena with a specific Zarokian touch: she has her way with Patchouli and spices…Juicy-ginger-fruity, chic, feel-good, and made me smile instantly! Didn’t have a meeting scheduled at JF (I guess I should have had?), talked to no one, no one talked to me, so basically I helped myself at this stand (too). Next time I’ll do better..

Suleko

Exhibiting for the first time at Esxence! I could finally feel and touch these lovely bottles! My interview with Anastasia Sokolow (brand owner) and Cecile Zarokian, plus a short review of all fragrances is here. Anastasia showed me that the metal bottle cap can be worn as a ring!

Rassei Fort

What interested me the most was Kolonya by Rassei Fort, because I didn’t have a chance to try it before Milan. If his grandfather smelled like this, I only can wish more men today would smell the same. That a cologne! Rassei does blend his fragrances in a most amazing way: they transform with time and wear. Refined, complex, revealing itself layer by layer while you are wearing it – this is so enjoyable!

Optimistic citruses, a lovely Iris, plum, rosewood and flowers, Vetiver and hay, lavender and tobacco, and I felt the finest touch of animalic musk as well. This is more than just a cologne – it is mesmerizing and elegant.

Nice meeting Rassei – he is a living ‘n’ walking selfie stick – check out that arms-span:

Houbigant
Essence Rare

Released in September last year (again), not really a re-write (in my opinion), but a totally new, modern and refined composition featuring the classic French archetype holy trio: rose, jasmine, and lily-of-the-valley – by the same perfumer – the one and only Jean Claude Ellena! A drop-dead-beautiful, heavenly executed Lily of the Valley (and I’ve never been a huge fan of it…), a huge romantic floral bouquet for a true lady. The base is so graciously feminine: vanilla done the only possible way I could ever love it, powdery and discreet, sprinkled over sandalwood and amber. This perfume unfolds little by little in a most subtle, elegant way. A joyful celebration of the beauty of life! I managed to take this photo while just standing there in front of their stand, silent, for a loooong time. I think they might have thought that I’m just a little bit strange – all I could utter while sniffing my wrists was “Oh!” and “Ah!”. Love, and must have!

Etat Libre d’Orange

Experimentum Crucis

Etienne de Swardt, Creative Director at ELDO was so kind, helpful, patient and friendly, even though it must have been a x-thousandth time he had to repeat the inspirational story behind Experimentum Crucis during one day, and day after day for four days: about Isaac. Isaac who? Isaac Newton! It’s clearly not only about the famous apple: Experimentum is also about light and gravity, about things and ideas that change the destiny of us humans. How does that relate to this perfume? Well, Etienne says that perfumes linger in space between fundamental science and feelings (love), and the element that makes these fragrant “experiments crucial” is – your skin!
Experimentum Crucis is a honeyed rose sprinkled with cumin seeds, boosted up by hi-tech Givaudan Akigalawood (fractioned from patchouli, with a woody-spicy-floral accord in the drydown – you’ve smelled it before), and so much more than that. This fragrance made me stop and think: it felt strong (cumin) in the opening but then it moved at a slower pace, it became lighter, more floral/fruity. I felt that typical ELDO fizziness, rose-honey-rose bursts, nicely done patchoulish tones (I don’t like it too heavy anyway) and it still remained sparkling woody-fruity. ELDO sexy on my skin…

Olivier Durbano

Poems Stones

It’s no secret: Olivier’s Pyrit Ana Tra (2018) made me cry, right there and then while he was still talking about the fragrance, and explaining his inspiration behind it. I know I surprised him, but luckily Anne-Cécile from L’Osmotheque came by and explained to him that I tend to cry and get all emotional when smelling an exceptional fragrance, and yes, I am an empath – so we’re good now. He says it’s a perfume of the Enlightenment: carrying his vibrations, transferring his emotions, the first fragrance in his new collection…it did vibrate to me.
I really can’t precisely explain why it moved me so strongly: it’s not because of any singular note or accord – it just felt so comforting, safe, tender and loving, primordial and true. Like a kind of a sanctuary built of big white-stone blocks, when you can actually smell the surrounding grass, rocks, trees, Nature breathing, and all that feels so out of this world, transporting you to your inner Universe… Is hugging a huge, soothingly warm rock on a foggy day, feeling grounded and extremely happy about the whole experience an appropriate description? No? Add a bit of dry tobacco, licorice and a pinch of resinous leather. And just close your eyes and FEEL. All feeling, not thinking, so I took only this one photo…

J. F. Schwarzlose Berlin

20/20

Timeless elegance, retro-chic inspiration, again. I must admit I’m fond of Schwarzlose because my father wears Zeitgeist (a souvenir from Berlin) sometimes, and I am instantly sentimental with 1A-33 and it’s Unter den Linden, “Berliner Luft” feeling. Their new launch is named 20/20 – inspired by roaring ’20ies in Berlin, glamour, dancing, cabaret, burlesque, and living like there’s no tomorrow. It’s based on their original formula of perfume Chic, dating back to 1920. Well, now 1920 meets 2020 – resulting in 20/20: a fruity floral with some spicy patchouli and vibrant, cool rose. Goes well with red lipstick and black suits.

Gustave Eiffel Parfumes

Courone d’Italie and Anne de Russie

Two new fragrances, inspired by awards given to Gustave Eiffel: the first one, Courone d’Italie is sparkling fresh with a white floral heart and a lovely tomato leaf and rhubarb twist, and the second one, Anne de Russie is my personal favorite: a spicy jasmine&rose heart with darker castoreum tones, and just enough of leather to make it “de Russie”. Interesting, and I like these bottles!

Olfactive Studio

Seppia Collection – 3 new launches

I missed Olfactive Studio’s vlogger/ blogger meeting and presentation at 11 AM on the first day (something a few brands organized this year…and I attended none…), had no pre-arranged meeting, so I stopped by on Saturday to check out these 3 new fragrances in the Seppia Collection: Violet Shot, Rose Shot, and Iris Shot – by Dominique Ropion. During a very quick sniffing tour – Iris Shot caught my attention: a bright, green, almonds-milky and sharp spicy Iris, just slightly sweet when showing its woody side. A gourmand-Iris perfume, with a healthy touch of Ambroxan. The official launch is announced for September. I only took a couple of quick blotter-sniffs, so I’ll try to wear and smell these new releases later, when possible.

Maison Olibere

Les Insoumises Collection

Marjorie Olibere exhibited this year Les Mythiques Collection collection (Chemical Love, Dangerous Rose, Savannah’s Heart, and Leather Attraction), but the spotlight was on the Les Insoumises Collection (2018), signed by Luca Maffei: Le Jardin De Madame Chan, Le Jardin De La Reine, Le Jardin De Mistinguet and Le Jardin D’Amelie. The Romance Collection, light, fresh, pastel-colored, Spring/Summer-appropriate, inspired by female movie characters and legendary films. These are “timeless elegance” Eaux de Parfum, and my first choice is Le Jardin d’Amelie, because it made me think about the main character’s smile and inner beauty, an instant positivity dose. This rhubarb-raspberry-rose layering is so optimistic! Maybe it’s also because, just like Amelie, I love cracking the top layer of crème brûlée. Don’t you?

Rosendo Mateu

Olfactive Expressions No. 6

No 6 is the latest addition to this line, I had a chance to try it in Barcelona right after it was released. Master Perfumer Rosendo Mateu‘s sixth fragrance is a sensual-oriental fragrance: Sambac Jasmine underlined with vanilla strikes me first, but it’s not done with a heavy hand. It floats on soft cushions of warm Amber. After the initial sensual blast, it becomes more of a soft floral fragrance, blending Jasmine, synthetic musks and Amber with just a touch of spices, giving it a salty-fruity-coconut touch. Not revolutionary, but nicely composed and executed: reminds me of after-midnight walks around Barcelona in August…

Meo Fuscuini

Spirito

Oh! Spirito…smells like a dream. Or waking up in a dark, green, shady, misty forest. You are in perfect balance with Nature, and its breath makes you inhale that stunning herbal smell, slightly resinous, with beautiful, bright vetiver: you feel at peace with Universe. A beauty. Fine and complex, poetic and pensive. Thank you, Meo for this lovely fougere…touching me soul-deep. What a discovery! I must return to it: a total eclipse of my heart!

Rania J

Musc Moschus

Lovely, smiling, warm-hearted Rania Jouaneh welcomed Ana Y El Parfum, her sister and me like close family members: her new Musc Moschus is a fragrance we all talked about. With a reason: this is a very beautiful and unusual musk-centered perfume, combining different shades and vibrations of musks – not pushing them back to the base, but rather allowing them to shine softly in hues of golden honey and ripe fruits. Lovely, congratulations Rania!

Perris Monte Carlo

Rose de Mai and Jasmin de Pays (Grasse)

My expectations were high: I mostly helped myself at their stand, lifting glass bells covering scented cotton buds (no photos, I forgot to take any). This is it. Really. If you want to pay homage to Grasse, who’re you gonna call? Master Perfumer Jean Claude Ellena, of course. The man that can tell from which field surrounding Grasse and at what time in a day a rose was picked, btw. Jasmin de Pays is a tribute to this flower, city, region, tradition, the youth of a perfumer and art of perfumery written in delicate handwriting of a Master Perfumer I adore. Creamy jasmine with a gentle touch of clove and soft musks, living through all phases of Jasmine, from fragile softness to indolic thickness…or simply THE jasmine from Grasse, and one day it shall be mine.

Rose de Mai is pure poetry, again so divine in its seemingly simple feeling of dewy freshness, but only when it settles down you see a Centifolia Rose trembling on light breeze coming all the way from the Alps into the valley, early in the morning, opening its young pink petals with every golden ray of Provencal sunshine. Yet, this is not a bright pink rose only: enhanced with immortelle it shows its deep, dark beauty, the moment that broke my heart. This IS it. I’m in love. Again.

Homoelegans

Like a Jewel

What a pleasant surprise! He must be smiling, wherever he is now: Freddie, I mean…Luca Maffei translates that unique Freddie Mercury burst of energy with the use of citrusy-ginger-fruity accord expanding over fragrant octaves from soprano-high to rose touched tenor and almost metallic baritone. I was so startled that I forgot to take a photo! Sparkling glam. I want it all!

UERMI

NU Leather

I was stumbling around The Mall and almost missed their stand, because – they’ve changed – everything! A new visual concept was presented at Esxence, new bottles 100/8,5/2ml, new perfume (long expected) added too: NU Leather by Master Perfumer Luca Maffei! Luca does it again: what a Dolce Vita leather, on my skin boozy spicy suede – a gourmand garment…It glides from bitter to sweet…spicy to woody, at moments fruity too, in utter opulence – dat a “leather”! Beautiful. Congratulations!

I think I’m going to proclaim 2020 to be my “Year of Leather”…I can wear it with ease and confidence.

A photo I almost forgot to take, but Kate from Australia reminded me: yes, that’s The Plum Girl logo on a roll-up, listed as an Esxence Media Partner!

More friendly faces, love, love, love:

Stay classy and fragrant! Part IIIEvents&Extras is coming up next!

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl, Esxence Official, friends&brands

Disclaimer

It took me nearly a week to sit down and start writing about days spent in Milan. Esxence related adrenaline flow started to diminish right after I returned home, and I needed some time for things to settle down, to rest, sort out all impressions, regain objectivity and figure out where to begin…

Upon exiting M1 Metro line at 9.30 AM on that Day1 cloudy Thursday, I was so happy to see the skyline of Porta Nuova! I’ve been dreaming about and living for this moment for months ahead. The joy of meeting old friends and finally seeing in person new ones, all wonderful people of perfumes! Good people. My people. They know who they are and that I love them dearly. That’s really the best part of Esxence!

This year I chose a theme for my Esxence– related posts: The Beautiful Noses of Esxence.

Here are my thoughts: we all tend to find something to complain about our noses, avoid taking close-up profile photos, choose positions and lightning to make it „look better“, some even consider reshaping it when feeling constantly insecure about it. Let’s celebrate our noses, for a change!

Noses, noses, noses. Esxence is a „safe place“ for noses, all types of noses, be it fleshy, turned-up, Greek, Roman, celestial, Nubian, hawk, bumpy, snub, Bulbous or by any other name – (beauty is in the eyes of beholder) there, at Esxence – all noses are beautiful and fully in function! They are in service of art, craft, and beauty (ideally speaking) and they were offered an Inspiration Flow in Milan, an abundant offering of niche perfumes from all over the world, served on a 6000m2 buffet table to their majesties – our noses. Abundance, yes. Art? Not as much as expected.

I managed to take some great „nose“ photos (you can already check out a few on my IG account The Plum Girl), connected to their rightful owners and their perfumes!

Most of my Esxence Day 1 was spent on meeting and greeting people, from the first moment I walked down to the entrance. Much later I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked up the time and realized that it was pretty late…

I haven’t done „anything“ that day, by anything meaning serious sniffing and testing of perfumes. I realized that it was 5 PM (!) and that I haven’t stopped once since 10 AM, eaten or drunk any water at all. Like a camel, really…I guess that „great expectations“ adrenaline kick kept me going like crazy for all three days, from 10 AM until 6 PM.

I don’t know how many miles I walked each day, but obviously quite a lot. And yes, my previously planned „must do’s“ went down the drain…again. If you wish, you can read my sort of „Esxence For Beginners“ report, written after my visit last year, here.

The first sniff of Esxence, even before entering through spaghetti curtains…oh! Right at the entrance, I noticed that there are many visitors waiting for their accreditations at the press booth, much more than last year. The Mall was crowded: the siege has begun…I felt a little twitch in my stomach. Little did I know…but my intuition obviously knew better.

Facts&figures: 7.890 guests (25% more than in 2018) coming from all over the world. 221 brands (+19% compared to 2018) – 91 Main Brands and 130 Spotlight Brands, meetings, round tables, workshops, presentations, and parties. 6000 square meters of exhibition space (including Villa Quartzo). Organizers did a great job (again!), congratulations and thank you!

That little twitch in my stomach? I became aware right then and there that there’s no way I could possibly cover everything I planned. Fear of missing out, I guess. I decided to go with the flow. Inspiration Flow.
Could I’ve done better? Maybe. Could I’ve planned better? Maybe. Could I’ve tried out more perfumes, visited more brands? Maybe.

Now, when I look back, I think I did just fine, considering everything. There’ll be a few perfume reviews to follow…and quite a few not.

There were great moments at stands, some unexpected, some simply horrifying. Ah well, in such a big basket there must be a couple of rotten apples, right?

Let me tell you more about good things (I’m an eternal optimist…) and three wonderful opportunities to learn which I enjoyed, my definite recommendations: Esxence is also a place to learn.

The first one: L’Osmotheque!
This year they had even more exhibits at their stand, chosen from their archive of more than 4.000 perfumes (800 no longer found at all).

This is really a must-sniff pit-stop for any serious perfume lover or reviewer. I visited it every now and then, and it’s never enough. I could probably spend all four days of Esxence right there, just sniffing and taking notes. Actually, I dream of being locked inside L’Osmotheque for a month, at least 😀

Really, how can you seriously talk about Chypre genre perfumes without meeting Papa of all the Chypres, Coty 1917? Know thy classics:

Or just take one more sniff, one more time, of Joy / Patou 1935? The Joy of all Joys:

Or just stroll through some Guerlain classics? (I swear Anne-Cecile will start pulling out a box of Kleenex when she sees me approaching their stand in future! I cry every single time when I’m with her, sniffing some of the classic beauties):

Actually, I would proclaim that visiting L’Osmotheque stand is obligatory for all visitors. Especially perfume reviewers.

Secondly (and this is not in order of importance): I enjoyed tremendously a raw materials work-shop organized by Histoires de Parfums.

What a wonderful idea! Even if you think that you „know everything“ about the most common raw materials used in the perfumery, this is so worth every second of your time. Although not the first time I ever attended similar or even more elaborate workshops, raw materials presented were really basic ones that each and every perfume lover (let alone reviewer) simply must know.

These two hours of exploring raw materials and how they relate to each other, hosted by extraordinary Alexandre Isaie Helwani-Rober of „The Perfume Chronicles“ were pure bliss for me (I’m blessed to have you as a friend, Alexandre!). Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Well, there’s an idea for perfume brands: if you don’t wish your perfumes to be reviewed as „Great, great, nice, nice, smells good, huuuge projection, big bottle, awesome, top, rocking, amazing etc.“ – why not try to educate your audience and offer learning opportunities during Esxence like Histoires de Parfums did? Not that I’ve seen any so-called, massively present „influencers“ attending these workshops, but hey! – it’s worth a try…

I will happily share with you some of my short notes from this workshop, the blotters still intensely fragrant: Rose – we sniffed essential oils, reminded that one drop of extrait contains the breath of 70 roses. Make sure to differentiate and find your own words to describe different roses. Rose Centifolia is fresh, tea-like, garden dewy. Rose Damascena is more jammy, thicker, loaded with Eugenol. Rose Taif (oh!) is more transparent, with a touch of lemon-like notes, multi-faceted. Man-made Taif appears more “green”…
Sandalwood: milky, smooth, you can add it practically in any perfume…Mysore Sandalwood is buttery creamy, the one from Ceylon – with almond tones…
Tonka Bean Absolute: cherry-like, almondy, like smelling dry cherry pits…in short.
Moving on to man-made materials:
Aldehydes: stuff that makes perfumes smell clean, crispy, some even a bit salty.
Calone – star of the ’90ties: it can be like watermelon, sea, fruity…
Allyl Caproate: fruity, ripe pineapple…
And more: ISO E, Ambroxan (Ambergris-like, not nearly as beautiful as real Ambergris…), Alpha Ionine, Galaxolide (musks), Hydroxycitronellal, Synth Oud, “Real” Oud and so much more! Loved it.

Last but not least, one of my scheduled meetings was with Mr. Patrice Blaizot from PCW France, thanks to Megan!
Why you might ask? Well, because they are a one-stop-shop for perfume, fragrance & flavor needs. They provide quality raw materials, development and creation of perfumes. The company is founded in 1986 in Grasse and blooming.

They produce perfumes, from creating formulas on, including bottles, bottle caps, artwork, packaging, regulatory conformity…everything you need to make perfume, actually. Some brands that just sign those fragrances and say “made in Grasse”.

Patrice is Grassois, the 5th generation in the industry and his son is studying- to become a perfumer. Their team is young, small and flexible, and Patrice very knowledgeable, with years of experience.

I enjoyed our brunch meeting so much: we talked about Grasse, the company’s history, raw materials, perfume creating process, Grasse (again, never enough), and this was yet another chance for me to smell some exceptional raw materials: their saffron really colored my day sunny yellow! Check out their ingredients list: nearly 1000 references listed!

What did I do? Listen carefully to Patrice, sniff&learn, making plans to most certainly visit them in Grasse. And remain locked up in their facility for a week, preferably 😀

End of day 1, 7.30 PM: I finally got fed, surrounded by my “fragrant family”! Lukasz from “Chemist in the Bottle” organized everything and took us to a lovely restaurant on Corso Como that night. Here you can see him, Ana from Ana y el Perfume and her sister, Dana/A Nose Knows (IG profile), Tanja/April Aromatics, Kate/Kate Nose from Australia, Nick/Gallivant and Bibi. Felt like a family reunion…Thank you for having me in your lives!

(getting sentimental just looking at this photo…)

I hope you enjoyed your read and found some useful information, although I mentioned no perfumes at all!

Part II – featuring perfumes & people is coming up…soon.

The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic
Photos: The Plum Girl, Esxence – The Scent of Excellence
Disclaimer

Ah, the Millennials! Gen Y, born between early ‘80ies to early ’00s!

Who are they, this cohort of young people, generally marked by increased use and easy-going familiarity with digital technology, media, and communications? Are they App-friendly dreamers? Achievers? Peter Pans? Well, it’s a Millennial World we are living in now, take a better look around. They’re not kids anymore, and they’ve turned out just fine!

What happens when a Millennial takes things into her own hands, writes a project, finds funding, and develops her own perfume brand? Because she really-really wants to do just that and won’t take a no for an answer? 27_87 Perfumes Barcelona, that’s what happens:

Romy Kowalewski is the founder, 27_87 Perfumes Barcelona is the name of the brand, as well as the date/year of her birth. She won’t disclose the month (“People needn’t know my horoscope sign as well!”, she laughed when I asked), but she readily speaks about her fragrances with a big, contagious smile. Why Barcelona? Well, among other reasons (it’s a beautiful city, lively, business-oriented, and great to live in) – Puig is here…And all the other resources you need to start-up a perfume brand.

Millennials are also citizens of the World: Romy, born and raised in Germany, living and working in Spain, traveling around Europe on a regular basis. I was lucky to catch her during my short stay in Barcelona. We managed to grab a couple of freshly squeezed organic drinks, and chit-chat a bit:

27_87 is a new niche perfumes brand: it all started in 2016., The first fragrances released were Wandervogel, Elixir de Bombe, #hashtag and Hamaca. Genetic Bliss is the newest addition (2018.), forming the Next Generation Collection together with #hashtag. Unisex (of course!), 87 ml Eau De Parfums, created by renowned perfumers, using quality materials.

Everything is well-thought about: I admire attention given to design and presentation. Minimalist, white opaque (and one black) bottles, carefully designed packaging contrasting the white canvas of bottles – suggesting that you write your own fragrant story. Different packaging of the bottles is telling you more about the inspiration, ingredients or the perfume itself. I really enjoy holding these bottles: funny, but it feels like you’re holding a smartphone! I tested and wore the whole collection, it felt somehow carefree, here-and-now, just-do-it, optimistic and vibrant. Quite refreshing! Long-lasting too, a couple of spritzes are more than enough. Carefully crafted, these fragrances did not fall of some big company’s shelf, nor are they a byproduct of some grand perfumer’s assistant’s assistant, or composed of cheap synthetics: Romy knows what she wants, from the very beginning…I’d love to watch her negotiate 😀

The whole 27_87 collection is revolving around some key aspects of a “Millennial” lifestyle: it’s all about your daily social media presence, tweeting, posting, hash-tagging, vlogging, blogging, chatting, capturing insta moments of a day – technology driven. Traveling light and easy whenever you feel the itch, feeling at home wherever you land. Leaving sea salt on your skin and in your hair after the sunset on a beach, relaxing, chilling, and meditating. Feeling sexy and wild, partying, loving like there’s no tomorrow. Being unique, happy about yourself, with the utmost joy of living. Perfumes? Yes. Boring? Never. Too complicated? Naaah, who’s got time for that? Perfumers? Yup, it’s great to have some “strong” names, but what really mattered was to get the Zeitgeist feeling right.

Let’s start from the newest one, the “black sheep” in this family:

Genetic Bliss

The “black sheep” in this family: Genetic Bliss was released in 2018., and it’s the first fragrance that comes in a black bottle. Why? It’s composed of 100% synthetic materials, and Romy told me very proudly in Florence that she managed to obtain the very best and hard to get ones – 5 captives, Akigalawood – Belambre – Moxolane – Javanol and Georgywood. You might remember these as experienced in Molecules, one by one. Again, the whole story gets individual, because it does depend on your skin: if you are a fan of molecular perfumery you’ll enjoy this fragrance. When I’m wearing it, I leave a trail of goody-woody feeling around me. Very linear, expectedly abstract, a well-blended scent, fir-like on my skin at the beginning with just a slight accent of deeper, ambery tones. Longevity is good, sillage massive: I also get a lovely creamy sandalwood whiff on my skin, obviously due to Javanol. Later on, warm, soft oud-like notes rise, with a musky aura. If this is my personal skin scent made olfactory visible, I like it very much, thank you. It made me visualize my own skin like it’s covered with the most delicious, dark honey. I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrists, just to make sure that I still feel it.

Perfumer: Jordi Fernandez.

Notes: Akigalawood – Belambre – Moxolane – Javanol – Georgywood (TM)

#hashtag

My favorite. Every time I wear it, I’m like: yesssss/big smile! With a clean, clear and sparkling opening, this is a refreshing, aldehydes, jump-start-wake-up-call! It feels slightly metallic, like the cold but familiar metallic surface, of an iPhone or iPad. Perfect for any time you need a quick positive energy boost: very uplifting, fresh, and mineral-water bubbly. I wore it on hot summer days and it felt great, but I also enjoyed it during colder weather when I felt that I needed something to pick me up and get me going through the day. Later on, as the perfume develops, #hashtag shows its softer side, staying cool, but becoming comforting as well: if you can imagine frankincense being “cool”, this is it! Violet leaves are moist green, iris notes are soft and cold at the same time, very slightly musky, and the whole composition remains fresh even during dry down. The musky-woody-cedar accord feels tingly, adding surprisingly calm but sharp urban vibe! The more I thought about it, sometimes it reminded me of a well air-conditioned, glass and steel corporate office room, other times of moments when I entered an old, stone-built church at noon, on a hot August day: just when I reach to take my straw hat off, the incense-scented coldness from inside glides over the hot skin, bringing finely-scented immediate relief. Longevity is remarkable, although I keep spritzing on during a day, just to feel that energetic start again. The Nose behind this fragrance is Daniela Andrier (the “German connection” in Givaudan? She signs quite a long list of perfumes, and I must admit that I like very much what she’s done for Etat Libre d’Orange, for example). Hit me, baby, one more time! The message conveyed by the brand is: “Blog, tweet, regram. #hashtag is the story we smell.” I’m not a Millennial, but I love wearing #hashtag. What an instant upper!
Notes: Aldehydes, Violet Leaves, Iris, Frankincense, Cedarwood, Musk.

Hamaca

Chill&Cozy. Yey, we’re on Summer holidays again, but this time it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, laying down (after a great lunch) in a hammock (hamaca) tied between two trees…Your skin still has some traces of that coconut sun-tan lotion left on it, it’s vanilla sweet and sunshine glowing, it’s balsamic, and yet quite marine. If you’re into sun-tan-sea-beach-sweet and juicy kisses fragrance, Hamaca is what you can wear all year round, because it might be just a little bit too heavy for Summer/high C temperatures. If you layer it with #hashtag, then it won’t. That’s what I did and it worked out just fine.
Notes: Marine Accord, Sandalwood, Coconut, Tonka Bean, Vanilla

Elixir de Bombe


From the Diversity Collection: the name behind this fragrance is Mark Buxton, who’s been awfully busy lately. A fruity-leather-ambery fragrance, Rapbsberry Beret… Pink lip-balm flirty, sweetish-spicy in the opening. If you like fragrances that sport fruits’n’flowers/vanilla’n’spice in strong dosages, this fragrance delivers. On my skin raspberries on leather turn later rather Labdanum resinous, warm and hazy. Even a bit sour, in a good way. My son (16) loves it: he says it’s fresh-teasy-fruity-punch is fun. Making this a “young-people-friendly fragrance for partying” (he got me with that last remark, didn’t he?).
Notes: Tangerine, Red Pepper, Ginger, Ylang-ylang, Rock Rose, Raspberry, Caramel, Leather, Amber

Wandervogel

The name says it all: wondering birds. Actually, it used to be Wanderlust, but that had to be changed. A strong desire to travel, to hit the road, to be on the move, to experience new places and people with all of your senses. That feeling, when you open your suitcase and start packing. That feeling, when you dig your toes into a sandy beach, just next morning upon arrival from a cold and smoggy urban jungle.
This is a fresh-green fragrance. The opening is fresh and minty, like ice-tea with crushed mint leaves. I really enjoy that mint-anise touch, which again reminds me of a time when we had a glass (or two) of Ouozo in a small village on Corfu Island one Summer…Even the dry-down reminds me of that island-hopping Summer vacation, spending a couple of days in one place, quickly moving to another, packing and unpacking, ferries, backpacks and buses, and long evening walks along empty beaches. Created by Shyamala Maisondieu (signing Hamaca as well), responsible for Besos/Carner Barcelona, among other fragrances on her list. Love it!
Notes: Mint, Shiso Leaves, Marine Accord, Anise, Fennel, White Floral, Caramel, Leather, Amber

Layering tips:

You can be anything you want to be or mix and match for fun of creating your own olfactive story! Here are my favorite three combinations:

#hashtag/in the morning + Wandervogel/in the afternoon: Good morning Monday (wrk,wrk)! At the end of the day, just when I feel exhausted, Wandervogel mint&anise make me feel fresh again. #hashtag’s woody tones underline well the caramel’n’leather notes of Wandervogel later on, turning sweeter on my skin, and cold-weather appropriate. Or just any kind of weather-appropriate…
#hashtag / Hamaca: or the other way around! I am fond of ocean/sea/beach&sun&sand fragrances, so I can wear them just about anytime and anywhere. That coconut in Hamaca blends so well with the #hashtag, so I’ll probably be wearing every possible combination of these two.
Genetic Bliss / Wandervogel: Like taking a walk through a mint-tree forest. Wandervogel gives me this icy mint green freshness and Genetic Bliss provides lovely brownish, woody-earthy tones. Great morning to evening combination, in any season of the year. Ok, I guess I could mix Wandervogel with any and all of these fragrances, but this layering gave interesting results: I could feel it in colors and tastes: it resembles fresh mint leaves dipped into chestnut honey.

Or, just feel free to create your own combo if you’re into layering. This is where the discovery kit comes in handy: you can order 5x2ml vials with a brochure and descriptions – 25 EUR. These fragrances come in 85 ml Eau De Parfum/145 EUR, except Genetic Bliss/185 EUR, available at 27_87 Perfumes Barcelona website.

Enjoy moments of Millennial bliss, even if you are not a Millennial! Keep it playful. (Spring is in the air…)

The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic
Photos: The Plum Girl, 27_87 Perfumes Barcelona
Samples were provided by 27_87 Perfumes Barcelona, opinions of my own.
Notes: as declared by 27_87 Perfumes Barcelona
Disclaimer

Here I go, again: the Danube seems to be the highlight of my recent city breaks!

Budapest is close enough for me (well, actually, every city in Europe is pretty much – close….) to hopp off on a short city-break, and yes – it seems to be getting more and more popularity lately, becoming more and more interesting touristic destination, and no wonder:  Budapest is the tenth-largest city in EU, a Beta+ Global City and it is cited as the “Europe’s 7th most idyllic place to live” by Forbes.

There are so many museums and cultural institutions, the city is flooded with geotermal springs and wellness spots, it’s old Nyugati Railway station was built by the Eiffel Company of Paris in 1877., and it has the second-oldest metro line in the world, functioning very smoothly.

Yes, the river Danube is blue here and cruising along is really a wonderful experience!

Beware, niche perfume lovers: Budapest provides a great offer! There are four niche perfumeries in the center of the city:

Madison Perfumery is located near the Opera – Calea Doorobantilor nr 152. Sadly, the building was under reconstruction when I arrived, but I promised to return soon so I’m looking forward to revisiting and taking my time in Madison. It showcases leading niche houses, carefully cured beauty products…and coffee! It’s founders crave fine coffee and they are sharing with their clientele the high quality, small-batch beans of local specialty roaster. Next time I will most certainly devote more time to Madison!

There is also Cherry Garden Niche Parfumeria close to Opera house – Nagymezo u.47 and Le Parfum located in the Hotel Carlton Ritz, both with fine, although pretty mainstream niche houses. Le Parfum also offers Perfume Workshops – you need to book in advance.

Well, the whole idea of taking this trip (pssst! My family didn’t really know that until we got there!) was, quite honestly, because Rassei Fort told me a couple of months ago that Neroli Parfum&Luxe will become distributors for Fort&Manle in Budapest! The perfumery is located in a small street adjacent to the main shopping street in Budapest, you can’t miss it: Regiposta utca 19.

Neroli does have an impressive offer of fine niche perfume houses, take a look at these photos and check out The Plum Girl Instagram TV – there you can find a short video showcasing their offer.

So, I finally met Fort&Manle live and with the whole line presented.

Of course, they have just announced a new addition: „Forty Thieves“ – so I guess I will really have to revisit Budapest, soon.

This baby accompanied me home:

Fort&Manle Charlatan, edition 2018. I did post a really short quick sniff, first impression review on Instagram! When I test the whole line, I will most certainly write a more detailed review. Just for now, to answer any potential questions: yes, it’s worth a FB!

Even though the offer of perfumes is impressive, I was not at least impressed with customer service at Neroli. Much to my surprise, when I walked in I was hardly greeted: all SA’s were quite busy unpacking boxes and boxes at the back of the perfumery, hardly paying any attention to me. I did introduce myself properly. I did say that I do know what I’m looking for. Still…Ignoring a customer and unpacking boxes doesn’t leave a positive impression. OK, it was Monday morning, OK, SA’s obviously had quite a few boxes to unpack, but somehow it just didn’t feel right. Not when you consider the prices you are paying.

Budapest is relaxed, vibrant, filled with sounds and scents: do visit the main Marketplace. It is really big, filled with homemade sausages, dry red pepperoni, paprika, spices, vegetables and fresh cheese.

Old K&K restaurants and pubs offer superb goulash and paprikash – a must-try!

We enjoyed Hungarian lager beer, which really goes well with Debrecener sausages (debrezeni kolbasz) – heavily spiced with paprika, garlic, pepper and marjoram.

Do visit Budapest! It’s an ideal city for a short, weekend city break and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

Elena Cvjetkovic

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl Archive

Disclaimer

PITTI FRAGRANZE, FLORENCE 14-16.09.2018. – Part I

Florence! One of the most beautiful cities in the world! Here I am again, just last Summer I was wandering around Tuscany: this time my experience of Florence is completely different, and I could return to it time after time.

Pitti time is something special. A gathering of people connected to perfumes, from all over the world. I needed some time for all the impressions to settle down, now I think I’m about to write a series of posts about Pitti Fragranze, from different aspects.

The 16th edition of this fine exhibition at Stazione Leopolda is a great stage for niche perfumes industry, together with numerous events throughout the city: unveiling perfume and industry news, featuring returning houses and debuting brands, workshops, perfume raw materials, and events dedicated to olfactory culture.

So much to see, learn and sniff!

People. People from all around the World. Perfumers, buyers, brand managers, distributors, journalists, photographers, sales managers, vloggers, bloggers, perfume lovers: around 2.150 members of the trade, from over 50 countries! 190 Maisons and brands! Celebrating perfumes…

Here’s to you, wonderful people of Pitti! Since we are talking about niche, indie, artisan perfumes, I feel that people behind the perfumes deserve our full attention.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the humans of Pitti, mostly by the order of stands in Stazione Leopolda from the main entrance onwards. Please have patience if your favorite person is not mentioned in this blog post! More will follow.

First of all, thanks to Ilaria and Olga from Pitti Immagine Ufficio Stampa/Press Office for taking care of my application. Big thanks to young ladies working at the wardrobe too, for their patience when I dropped by every now and then…often. Very often.

Let’s take a closer look:

Louison David Grajcar – Techique Indiscrete

Louison David, born and raised in Antwerp, Belgium was summoned to exhibit at Pitti just a few days before it opened! He managed to decorate his stand in a couple of hours, picking up some flowers and herbs just outside Stazione Leopolda. He did well, just being himself. Jerusalem is his newest addition to the Extract d’Emotion range.

I could relate to his interpretation of one of the cities I remember so well and long to return to. That’s not all: he is kind, gentle, and keeps reminding people that bees matter! Upon purchase of his perfumes, a certain percentage is given to a bee preservation foundation. He is greatly concerned about preserving Nature. He also makes candles, soaps, and teas. A very dear and special young man. Take care, Louison!

Andy Tauer – Tauer Perfumes

Everybody loves Andy! Why? First of all, he makes extraordinary perfumes. Secondly, he is a self-made man, working in his little perfume factory, driving deliveries to the post office with his bike, he writes a blog, actively posts on IG, issues a magazine…Tic-tac work, like a precise Swiss watch, and he embodies values we (yap, bloggers – we had our talks, too…) discussed as being the most important: authenticity, creativity, credibility. He follows himself only, speaks his mind and instinctively delivers beautiful works of perfume art. Plus a big smile and beautiful blue eyes as a bonus! Honestly, I don’t know how he manages to do everything he does on a daily basis. Swissness at it’s best, I guess. And love. For perfumes.

Yes, everybody loves Andy. Which made it difficult to have a meaningful conversation with him at his Pitti stand, but even that is OK. After Pitti, he made it known on his IG account: Tauer, the candles, are launching this October! And Les Annees 25 are almost gone, so better hurry up  – if you can order online. Because one thing makes me crazy: I can’t even order Tauer Mag with a sample online, let alone any of the cute-little-familiar-shaped-bottles! Nothing, nada, niente, zip, zero: Croatia is not on the shipping list!

Dear Andy, please do solve this issue soon! We love you. You can do it! 😀 (Why do I keep imagining his little perfume factory like a Santa’s Workshop, with elves and marmots helping him? Why?) <3

Filippo Sorcinelli – Filippo Sorcinelli Brand

Most people know Filippo for his fragrances released under the UNUM, Nebbia and SAUF brands (inspired by individual organ stops on the Grand Orgue of Notre Dame de Paris, connecting music and perfumes, incense music…). Or LAVS. There’ve been some changes here: a new website and SAUF has been renamed into Extrait de Musique (this seemed to confuse a lot of fans, so let’s clear this out). Packaging has been redesigned, take a look at the new bottles: the lower part is now transparent. 2 new additions: Unda Maris 8 and Violin Basse 16! One other thing: new 10ml travel spray size! Priced at 35EUR, for all UNUM perfumes! This is just a quick intro, as I will write in more detail about two fantastic events Filippo and his team organized! The debut of but_not_today perfume was something to be remembered!

Filippo is a painter, photographer, graphic designer, and an organist. Creator of sacred vestments for Popes.  (Atelier LAVS – L’Atelier di Vesti Sacre). An artist, searching for beauty everywhere, in constant creative fluxus. If you take a look at his FB posts each day, he starts with „Buongiorno Amici“ (hello friends), only to follow with „Buongiorno Nemici“ (hello enemies), turning his other cheek. Do I need to mention authenticity, creativity, and credibility again?

I feel only love for him, and his creations. A big thank you to his whole team and kind Cristina Brolli who handled all our communication.

Santiago Burgas Bou – Santi Burgas

Santiago is the creative director of the brand Santi Burgas, born in and loving Torroella de Montgi – dedicating one of his newest perfumes after this city. A multitalented person, too. A graduated textile designer, lover of nature and insects, especially ants – behold the new, ant-hill themed perfume!

Santi is sweet, gentle and kind, at first he might seem a bit shy, but when he starts speaking about his perfumes, his eyes sparkle! Art inspires him, ever since high-school. Santiago is a rebel, rebel as well: I think he enjoys greatly his creative freedom, doing some perfumes by himself and some in collaboration with certain perfumers.

We have a saying in Croatia: Quiet water wears down mountains. Carry on, Santiago Burgas Bou: you shine!

Romy Kowalewski – 27_87

Yap, you’ve probably heard her story: she was born on 27th, in 1987. She won’t disclose the month, you really don’t need to know her horoscope sign. Romy lives in Barcelona, where I first met her.

Millennial hype? She IS a Millennial. Studied hard, wrote her project, made it happen: she invited some perfumers to make something new, not existing on the market. She is determined, hard-working and yes, I loved her #hashtag: seems simple, with sparkling aldehydes. She uses hi-tech materials by Givadaun, obviously enjoys playing with molecules, so I guess Daniela Andier here made quite a hit.

GENNEXT theme goes on with her new addition, Genetic Bliss. Go, Romy, go!

Murat Katran and Mert Guzel – Nishane

Istanbul. Just one word: Istanbul. If you’ve ever visited this city, a lot of things about Nishane are much clearer.

Tradition, modern and cosmopolitan structure, Europe and Asia connected: this is the first perfume house from Turkey!

Are you enjoying Rumi’s poems? Well, Nishane gave us a perfume inspired by his poetry: Fan Your Flames. Little Prince? Nishane covered this, as well: Le Petit Prince Collection, Vain&Naive still sitting on my desk, a review half-written. They team up with chosen perfumers, collaborate, create, move and shake. And they are both ever so sweet and friendly, maybe sometimes overwhelmed by all the interest they’ve attracted.

Love you guys, aferim! <3

Sarah McCartney – 4160 Tuesdays

A lady with thousands of names for her perfumes. Bewitching. Funny and relaxed. Open, eccentric, having fun while mixing up and creating her perfumes.

I really think she is enjoying all this jazz enormously, employing her vivid imagination. Have you seen her FB post featuring a short video of her dancing and singing while shaking up a big bottle, mixing her new perfume? Amazing, to me – that’s Sarah.

She is a self-thought perfumer, scent lover, marketing-wise, fast-thinking and a just a little bit a  perfume fairy. She is quite active in FB perfume lover’s group and I was really looking forward to meeting her.

Keep rockin’ Sarah: I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with next!

Francesca Bianchi

She made me cry. One of her perfumes, to be exact. Under My Skin. Well, some perfumes do make me cry, but this one? I was sobbing. Intense, sensual, intimate. Triggering memories.

Talking about authenticity again? Francesca is Francesca is Francesca, take it or leave it. She has her personal view of perfumery and she is boldly hitting your emotions, yet in a very elegant way. She is intense and so are her perfumes, captivating. What a personality! Love her. As I love Sex on the Beach: after so many Summers spent at the beach, that sultry, warm, sun-bathed, sun-tanned, salt-on-your-skin erotic vibe is something I can definitely relate to.

Italian, self-taught, now living in Amsterdam. You bring sunshine wherever you go, Francesca! Thanks for all the tears and laughs!

Nick Steward – Gallivant Perfumes

Gallivant may be a relatively new indie perfume brand from London, debuting at Pitti Fragranze, but Nick, the founder, has twenty-and-some years of experience in the perfume industry. Yes, you know him, he is a veteran: if not from big companies, then as ex-creative director of the house L’Artisan Parfumeur.

Like many great noses, he decided to get back to basics. He is well-read, well-traveled, elegant and interesting. When people ask him „that“ question: „Whom are your perfumes targetting?“ he simply answers: “People. With skin.”

Gallivant is all about cities he knows and loves, atmosphere, a feeling: my kind of thing, definitely. His perfumes come in 30ml bottles: easy to pack and take on your flight.

His newest, 7th perfume is Tokyo: a tribute to Kodo, calming, easy-going, with a whiff of wasabi! Loved it! Immediately set my mind that I have to meet the person behind it!

I tried to find Nick on his distributor’s stand at Stazione Leopolda, but failed and didn’t manage to return to it later on (it’s easy to get distracted!). Well, as some things are meant to happen, while talking to Lucca Maffei standing in the crowd on the street, attending the opening of the new Essential Store Capomarzio70 – surely enough, there was Nick! We finally met, yeeey! And had fun. And meaningful conversations.

Do I have to mention authenticity, creativity, and credibility again? Nick is doing it his way and what an extraordinary journey he is taking us on! Congratulations! P.S. I really really don’t like selfies, naah, next time I’ll ask someone to take our pic. 🙄

Pissara Ploi Umavijani – Parfums Dusita

Much has been written about Pissara: she grew up in Thailand, surrounded by books and poetry. Self-taught, she began creating her perfumes, blending, dreaming…Working. Her passion is noticeable: she translates the poetic world into scents, taking you to Dusita, a paradise where you can be yourself, express yourself. Her value system? Integrity. Uniqueness. Quality. Philosophy of the brand. Her Siamese heritage is strongly present, her talent exceptional.

Say what you will, but Pissara is authentic. She walks her talk. With an irresistible smile, warmth, and kindness. She is living her dream, loving it, and that is contagious!

This year at Pitti, Pissara exhibited her well-known perfumes range but we also got a peek preview of surprises that will be announced: Dusita has a boutique in Paris and the Perfume Creation Atelier starts now! Blend your own perfume with Pissara!

I was like: just give me one reason to return to Paris, just one little reason…

Thank you for all your smiles, kindness and patience! Yes, personality matters!

I was also thrilled to meet (again) fellow bloggers/perfume critics/writers: it is so much fun to know who is (often) behind a nickname, to talk, to exchange opinions, to explore together, support each other…We had so much fun! Chapeau! Things we do for our love of perfumes, things we do…

I am looking forward to seeing you again, beautiful People of Pitti!

See you in Milan, next year!

Perfumes of Pitti? Check out The Plum Girl IG account, you can find short, first-sniff reviews there.

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl Archive

Opinions of my own.

“In the beginning there was earth, wood, stone, metal and leather…”

These are the primal elements according to Mr. Bertrand Sonnier, owner of this artisan perfumes company for twenty years. The work of Jardine de France began more than 100 years ago in Amboise: still manufacturing, still featuring an in-house perfumer – Justine Brivet, always giving tribute to Burgundy/Bourgogne, the heart of France – a magic place with a long and proud history.

Jardin de France is all about tradition, authenticity, craftsmanship and the quality of raw materials.

Sources d’Origine Collection features Terre Initale, a woody-aromatic-fruity tribute to Mother Earth, Bois Premier – a woody-spicy-green ode to ancient woods and primordial trees, Pierre Originelle – a woody-spicy-powdery fragrance, Metal Absolu – a woody-aldehyde-spicy perfume and Cuir Eternel – oriental-woody-leather eau de parfum.

Some months ago I received two samples of new Sources d’Origine perfumes. They did present them at ESXENCE Milano earlier this year, I remembered. The package was interesting. Simple glass vial samples. No perfume notes written, no inspirational text, no interpretations or suggestions: just fragrances and a note saying that these two will complete the collection in September 2018. I like that, that’s how I prefer to meet new perfume: in my own time, exploring it and listening to its fragrant story. Giving the perfume a chance to speak for itself.

Primal elements. When I think about primal elements, I automatically think about the ancient concept of the famous 4: earth, water, air and fire. All ancient cultures had their lists, trying to understand and explain the world surrounding them, paving way for modern science.

Another association: scenes from the Luc Besson movie “The Fifth Element”! I think we all remember the Diva/Plavalaguna song!

Which leads me to say: with perfumes, WE are the fifth element! 

Air. What does air actually smell like? Air itself has no smell. Well, it does to you, regardless of what chemists say. Yes, it is odorless – odors we feel are produced by airborne particles released by things in the environment around us.

It all depends on your perception, place where you live, your surroundings and olfactory impressions. It might smell like fresh grass, wildlands, seaside, woods somewhere high up in mountains, mornings just before snow falls or moments after rainfall. You might already have your set of associations due to all the perfumes with “Air” in their name you ever smelled, too.

Fire. What does fire smell like? The fire itself has no smell, but things it burns give it smell we feel. If you try to imagine or recall the smell of fire, what will you feel? The scent of dry wood burning in the fireplace, paper vanishing in flames, rubber in clouds of smoke, autumn leaves, mrryh or tobacco: some are pleasant, some not…

Your perception. The olfactory impressions you gathered in your life. They matter.

Your skin, mood, feelings. 

An olfactory impression of fire and air? You are the fifth element defining it!

Let me tell you more about these two fine perfumes: I feel that Jardin de France really should be mentioned more! Sometimes it seems to me that the same names, houses, and perfumes are constantly talked about, and some really fine perfumes almost neglected, not given enough attention.

I think Jardin de France deserves it and these were my impressions after several wearings:

AIR ELEMENTAL

Well, this will certainly make you stop thinking “fresh and light” when you see “air” in the name of perfume in the future! This air is breathing heavy, like wet earth during a storm! Thunder and lightning and that sensation when you are looking at a storm approaching, even before it starts to rain. You see dark clouds moving in, the wind rises, thunder is rumbling above your head yet it feels so good to sit beside an open window and breathe this moment in before lightning bolts scare you and heavy raindrops start hitting on the window glass. This potent rumbling of thyme with pepper notes is pleasing but what I find most enjoyable is this tuberose -ginger relationship! I will say this now: whatever. Forget the notes list and just follow your feeling! The opening felt impressive, but let me reassure you: the smooth and hugging amber dry-down will soothe your soul.

The Perfumer’s Note: “If the creation of an air-themed perfume was obvious, we wanted to take the opposite of the fresh and light air that everyone expected to create an intense and powerful “air” which astonishes and disturbs”.

Notes: Bergamot, Thyme, Pepper – Tuberose, Ginger – Patchouly, Amber

FEU PRIMITIF

Very uplifting at the beginning, a wake me up call, quite sparkling. Later on, it becomes quieter in a very refined way, and I can’t explain why it feels like Indian Summer to me: there’s warmth and there’s coldness. Rose is felt in the air, with a surprise: you cannot see roses in your garden anymore, it’s too late in the year for that, yet that makes you enjoy even more the one you bought this morning at your local florist’s. This rose is big, pink, and just when you are placing it in a vase you can feel a small whiff of its scent. That makes you feel good as you look at it, hoping it will last for more than a couple of days.

Incense dances slowly around it, swirling in the background, a back vocal on a small and intimate stage, like a thin, silver, functional picture frame. What I feel is a deliberate play with light and shadows, bitterness and sweetness, finely blended with evidently high-quality ingredients.

The Perfumer’s Note: “Timut Pepper is used for its frank and fresh attack that perfectly illustrates the bright and sparkling element that I wanted to create. I also tried to break the codes of incense in order to get away from the sacred aspect that is often associated with it.”

Notes: Timut Pepper, Orange, Elemi- Black Tea, Rose – Incense, Cypress, Cedar of Virginia

These two new additions to Le Jardin de France’s Sources d’Origine Collection are presented at Pitti Fragranze 2018:

These two new additions will be available from October 2018. You can find their chosen retailers on Jardin de France website!

Do take a look at my Instagram account: I will report from Florence! My Pitti Report will follow as well.

Elena Cvjetkovic

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl archive, Le Jardin de France

Samples: Provided by Le Jardin de France, opinions of my own.

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