–“You are under my skin.”, he whispered, holding my face between his hands, just before kissing me. We were standing on a long wooden pier at the seaside, in the complete darkness. I could feel the soft body-aura surrounding him, the scent of his skin closing in on me.
I had a chance to take a quick sniff of “the new one”, a perfume preview version sprayed quickly on my neck while I was attending an Unum event held in Milano, during Esxence 2018. There was something strange about it, even at a quick sniff…it caught my attention right there and then.
PITTI FRAGRANZE, FLORENCE 14-16.09.2018. – Adventures of a Curious Nose Report, Part II
The Pitti Fragranze fair is truly worth visiting: well organized, with an excellent portfolio, stimulating, a perfect place to discover new trends, network and establish new contacts. Furthermore, it is not just about events taking place at the exhibition halls of Stazione Leopolda: organizers provided a large number of unique occasions linked to olfactory culture, in the presence of creators and some in the places closed to general public, all around the city! 48 events on 28 different locations, to be exact!
Fragranze at Giardino Bardini, in the Bobboli Gardens, at Palazzo Pitti (fashion and perfume), Rendez-Vous with creators, guided tours of Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, Guess the Note at Farmacia SS Annunziata, Fragrances to bite and drink, opening of the new Essential Store Campomarzio70, Filippo Sorcinelli events but_not_today and Sinestesia dell’anima, and Lorenzo Villoresi’s Extraordinary Essences session. Miles and miles of walking and running from one location to another, but hey! You are running around one of the most beautiful cities in the world!
La Città delle Fragranze!
These were my favorites:
„A journey into the Spirituality that involves the five senses. It’s possible to listen and see what the Soul says, taste through feel, touch, remember through smell. After handling the artistic direction of Synesthesia – the first Italian festival dedicated to this phenomenon – Filippo Sorcinelli, creator of UNUM Parfums directed the vocal octet Extrait de Musique connecting music and scent together with words and readings by the abbot Bernardo Francesco Gianni, on the dual occasion of Pitti Fragranze and the Millenium Jubilee of San Miniato al Monte in Florence.“
This journey started by a long walk along Arno, and then climbing stairs leading to this famous basilica, standing atop one of the highest points in Florence. I think there are 400 steps leading to it, starting from the Michelangelo Plaza! Steps worth climbing! I managed to make it, even with my foot badly swollen. The view of Florence is spectacular! Thanks, Filippo! It was worth it…
It has been described as one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany: what a spectacular setting for Extrait de Musique collection (previously SAUF), with perfume names that refer to organ stops. Two new additions are Unda Maris 8 and Violon Basse 16. Not any organ stops: knobs are faithful reproductions of the “Grand Orgue” of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris! Heavenly extraits du parfum!
The atmosphere, the music, Filippo at the organ, voices: like angels singing. I must admit I cried during this soul touching performance, and I don’t think that I was the only one bursting into tears during Sancta Maria…I was truly moved by sheer beauty pouring all over me, triggering all my senses.
but_not_today at Palazzo Capponi
„The event held at Palazzo Capponi, in the same rooms where Hannibal Lecter – a movie directed by Ridley Scott and starring Anthony Hopkins – was filmed. Through the atmosphere, history and stories of the Capponi family, guests were able to relive important moments from the movie, passing through rooms where Doctor Lecter lived during his years of „exile“: the courtyard, the study where he wrote his letter to Clarice, the library, all the way to the great hall with red damask curtains, which still hosts the famous piano, that, on this occasion, was played by Filippo Sorcinelli with participation of Giovanna Donni. „
If you are a fan of „The Silence of the Lambs“ as I am, you will immediately remember the atmosphere, the mood, the words, and the consequences.
There we gathered at the famous Palazzo Capponi, and again: all senses were touched. Food served, drinks poured, perfume sprayed, while music filled our ears. What an exquisite performance! Filippo creates lasting memories!
but_not_today is a new addition to Unum Collection, and a perfume I’ve been waiting for ever since I got a sniff of it’s first version, during Esxence Milano earlier this year. Yes, it was worth waiting, and it most certainly deserves my full review. Soon. In my opinion, it is one of the most unique perfumes of Pitti 2018: 42 notes of blood and 18 of the White Lily (as the brand says), dark, bloody red bottle and cap, with lavish packaging and presentation…I am in love (again)! Congratulations, Filippo!
In the meanwhile, you can visit brand new Filippo Sorcinelli Brand website, because there’s something else new as well: UNUM 10ml travel spray sizes are now available for purchase (35EUR)!
LORENZO VILLORESI – VILLA VILLORESI
Lorenzo Villoresi organized special talks and a visit to his garden and terrace containing the selection of aromatic plants and plants for perfumery coming from different countries around the world. Upon arrival, I had to wait a bit, since I didn’t confirm my attendance by mail (so not like me, but ah, no wonder: I was Pitti overwhelmed with TMI!). Mr. Villoresi kindly welcomed us and made this little exception, enabling me to tell you more about his Secret Garden…
This event took place in the ancient 15th century Villa Villoresi, in Via de’ Bardi 12 with lush gardens and lovely terraces overlooking the river of Arno.
Well, maybe not so secret in the future, as Mr. Villoresi is planning to offer this amazing place to the world. This is where a future Academy and Museum will offer courses, events, and seminars. I must say I am looking forward to this, it is really amazing to see all the aromatic plants growing and blooming on: I know that these plans have been postponed for a couple of years, but I also see this is something worth waiting for.
In the garden you can see, touch and smell mint, vetiver, citrus trees – including Combava, Sichuan Pepper, Styrax (!), Calendula, Orris, Tuberose, sage, and thyme…etc.
A frangipani bush in full bloom!!!
In his brief introduction, Mr. Villoresi said something that I absolutely agree with: How can you talk or write about perfume notes if you haven’t smelled them in their natural form? How can you talk about Frangipani without ever smelling its flower? It is important to have the opportunity to smell, touch and feel a particular plant, if possible. Raw materials as well. All my life I’ve been sniffing around me, and I couldn’t agree more. You simply have to sniff and keep sniffing! He also showed various raw materials presented in the Conference Room in numerous jars. Like orris roots:
I also think he enjoyed our reactions to his beautiful gardens, too. We were like little kids and I hope the plants didn’t mind so many people touching them, squeezing the leaves and pushing noses into delicate flowers…What a great experience! The view from his terrace is breathtaking, too!
The boutique area on the ground floor is impressive as well: perfumes, potpourri, home fragrances collection, vintage collection, books and tools, white Carrara marble or Ebony shaving accessories (!!!), Travertine Marble dishes…oh! The home of Alamut, Aura Maris, Teint de Neige and Acqua di Colonia…since 1990., celebrating Tuscany. This perfume accompanied me home:
I am very grateful for all these experiences. As my way of thanking all these wonderful people, my message is sublimed in this quote:
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.”
Thank you for taking my breath away!
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl Archive
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!
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
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:
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
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.
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl archive, Le Jardin de France
Samples: Provided by Le Jardin de France, opinions of my own.