September 2018


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:


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.

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.


„Recordate lo juorno
ca stive a me becino,
e te scorréano, ‘nzino,
‘e llacreme, accossì.
Deciste a me: “Non chiagnere,
ca tu mio sarraje”.
Io te voglio bene assaje
e tu nun pienze a me.“

Te voglio bene…assaje! I love you very much. Sounds familiar? It’s Napoli, Italia. One of the songs that make me shiver, gives me goosebumps, and one of the first things that come to my mind when you mention Naples.

The famous Neapolitan songs, and my olfactory impression of the city: almost bitter marine scent of the Bay of Napoli when scirocco wind is blowing, the black pepper scent of the typical salami from Naples, blossoming lemon and orange trees, and fried calamari. Or this:

There’s another thing characteristic to Naples: the biggest concentration of high-end handmade menswear in the world. The tailoring, the shirt making, hundreds of tailors in the city and thousands working, hand-sewing: bespoke garments at Sartoria’s. One of these fine houses is Luigi Borrelli Napoli and I must admit I was very pleasantly surprised by their new Discovery Set featuring three Royal Collection fragrances (2016.), telling us a story about fine fabrics, scented embroidery, and sartorial lifestyle.

To understand them better, let’s go back in time to Naples in 1928. Things were different then. Tailoring was something done with great care and dedication, for known customers and upon order. A craft you could make a good living off, provided your supply of materials, cuts, and stitches were done with great care and passion: hours and hours would be put into the making of one single suit.

Anna Borrelli, after a long experience in her aunt’s shop, decided to open her own business in 1928., a small workshop for a small number of customers – connoisseurs. Like the tradition obliges, she made sure that her story and family business goes on.

Luigi Borrelli, the son, inherited the love for a needle and thread and in 1957. founded the House of Luigi Borrelli. The business grew, times were better than when his mother started the business and Borrelli’s became famous for their quality clothes. Never growing too big, never dwindling down.

They were appointed as the official supplier of the royal Savoy Family („Supplier No16.“), offering bespoke shirts, suits, jackets, and ties: all handmade, unique by hand stitching: the collar of the shirt will give your neck a pleasant caress, buttons sewed on by the age-old traditional stitch only expert hands can produce, embroideries at the sleeve vent, buttonholes: details, details matter!

The third generation, Fabio Borrelli, Luigi’s son took over in 1987. and the renowned master embroiders, manufacturing according to old tailoring techniques made this company grow further.

The relationship between perfumes and fashion designers has a long history, so in a way, the House of Luigi Borrelli made not a very surprising move: creating perfumes to match their brand’s personality and image, the DNA of the company. They do not disclose the name of the perfumer signing these three perfumes, it is kept a secret (alas!), but these are finely blended and well-executed olfactory stories: although their garments are made for men, the perfumes are gender-neutral (as all perfumes are!).

I packed the luxury Discovery Set (3x10ml EdPs)in my suitcase for a weekend getaway to explore them further: I realized later on that I made a good decision. These three perfumes covered all my needs/moods during those three days spent at the seaside:

The first sniff of each perfume on blotters made me raise an eyebrow. Smooth. Well-crafted. Deeper than the first impression of elegant simplicity, much more complex and intriguing. Bergamot is the connecting red thread among these three fragrances.

Yet, each one has its own story and personality and each one affected me differently. Only later did I realize that the motto of the House is: „Going back to the past is the secret behind moving forward.“ (Ricercare nel passato – il segreto per andare avanti). As I did, as they developed on my skin:


I chose it as my SOTD early in the morning, on a bright sunny August day. The view from my room? Spectacular:

It felt comfortable, classic, soft and fresh at first. Then I froze in my footsteps: that scent was familiar. That sparkle of bergamot, a whiff of lavender and powdery iris roots? It took me instantly to moments I worked hard to forget: once upon a time I was heartbroken.

A romance is broken off, gone with the wind. A twin flame, lost. I went through all the stages of loss, but one of them I remember in particular.

There was a time when I was in pain, overwhelmed with grief so much that I couldn’t cry anymore.

Broken inside, curled into a fetal position, I found a way to help myself: I ironed, pressing my clothes and linen meticulously and precisely, straightening out wrinkles in cotton and my life.

I ironed like crazy, sometimes even washing full machine loads just so that I would have enough to iron when I felt bolts of emotional, turning to physical pain.

That comforting scent and warmness of freshly ironed cotton helped me get back on my feet. It soothed my pain, made me feel safe, and besides having the neatest wardrobe ever, that scent lingered in my olfactory memory as something that pushed the pain away and made me feel protected.

Is it the green clary sage that accentuates the whole composition with its energy, or is it the musky and herbal aftermath? Vetiver being lifted up by the warmth of my skin? A promising feel of anise in the opening? The unobtrusive union of vanilla and iris?

I am not certain, but I know one thing: this perfume doesn’t bring back memories of evaporating tears that dropped on my cotton shirts as I ironed them (how things can sound funny after you’ve survived them?). It smells like a sanctuary, a comforting safe place I created when I felt waves of pain rolling in. A clean, freshly pressed cotton shirt: so common, seemingly simple, yet so powerful. Very reassuring…I could wear it all year round! This perfume, of course: my heart on my sleeve – not likely.

Top notes: bergamot, rose, lavender
Heart notes: orris, clary sage, oakmoss
Base notes: amber, cedar, musk, vanilla, vetiver


This is what I want to smell like. Complex. A bit mysterious. Showing different facets, self-assured, determined but gentle, fluffy, soft and tender. Emotional. Like a warm smile, spreading from your lips and reaching your eyes, a quick touch of a hand, a sideways glance.

There’s nothing like a touch of cashmere on your skin, impossibly soft yet quite resilient. Its fibers are strong. The duality of this perfume is what attracted me. It is a fine mix of Europe and the East. Of bergamot infused freshness and dry incense – present but not too „churchy“. Of soft vetiver and warm labdanum…

Serious and playful at the same time. Subtle luxury. It is gentle, soft-spoken but quite powerful in a non-obtrusive way, leaving a very lasting impression.

The brand notes that this perfume brings out the idea of respect for power: to me, it signifies respect for all those little dualities that make us simply human. Strengths and weaknesses. The divine complexity of sense and sensibility…very attractive.

Top notes: black pepper, bergamot
Heart notes: incense, labdanum, guaiac wood
Base notes: vetiver, soil, musk

Vicuna Wool

It surprised me: I wasn’t very impressed on first wearing. Maybe it’s because I was still under the impression of Cashmere or it just didn’t fit my current mood. Wrong place, wrong timing: it felt kind of odd on me while I strolled along the beach in a long summer dress and flip-flops, walking around on +36C…I decided to give it a second chance later that evening.

I wore it. Again and again. As this perfume developed on my skin on multiple wearings, I realized that its apparent modesty is, in fact, the strength of its character: it has all the traits of an Alpha male. Or female. People with notable presence, not afraid to stand out, with no need for external validation or lack of confidence – it’s their inner strength and perseverance that you feel even when no words are spoken. This is what this perfume made me feel.

Vicuna Wool is a quite traditional combination of vetiver and citrusy accord, but from the beginning ambery-leather- vetiver vibe is present and strong. In my opinion, it is the most masculine one of the three, yet I wear it with no second thoughts: the more I wear it, the more I feel the sweetness of Cedar and soft Amber in the dry-down.

This perfume is definitely „almost a Chypre“, and that surprised me in a very good way! It always does: I am a big fan of classical Chypres. The so-called „modern“ ones I sometimes struggle to understand, but Vicuna Wool is quite close to the idea. It smells classic, refined, reliable and trustworthy.

The brand states that this perfume refers to a brilliant celebration, but to me, it’s more about feeling assertive, kind, with cultivated skills and a genuine sense of value in this world. Attention worthy, very promising. If a celebration this is, then it is a celebration taking place in an intimate place, with chosen food and fine wines, champagne glasses sparkling in the candlelight.

Top notes: lemon, bergamot, black pepper, elemi
Heart notes: nagarmotha, lily-of-the-valley, oakmoss, leather
Base notes: vetiver, amber, cedar, musk, patchouli

Now, sing along with me: Vide ‘o mare quant’è bello…Spira tantu sentimento… and then the part we all know: Torna a Surriento! Famme campà…!

The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic

Discovery Set provided by Luigi Borrelli Napoli, opinions of my own.
Photos: Vanja Roller, The Plum Girl archive