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Welcome to Part II of my Pitti Fragranze 2019 report&highlights!

While enjoying perfumes and fine Tuscan cuisine&vine in Florence, I noticed that quite a few perfume houses were inspired by scents, tastes, and heritage of the Mediterranean basin, an endless source of inspiration.

This is not a “new” trend, I see it simply as an everlasting constant since forever, a reflection of joy of living in this region, heritage and terroir translated into the language of fragrances.

Plants, flowers, herbs, tastes, childhood memories, new olfactory adventures! Here are brands and perfumes I’ve chosen to bring closer to you, some already known, others new or with new releases, in no particular order.

Let’s start this quick-sniff tour of Pitti:

New: Dies Aurorae – Antonio Alessandria Profumi

Just imagine the fiera of Sant’Agata in Sicily, a three-day festival gathering up to one million visitors. Now imagine a ten-year boy, tired from walking in the procession, his fingers and mouth sticky and sweet from eating all the dolci, typical sweets, Olivette and Torrone. Enough to overwhelm the kid, waiting for the early morning church ceremony, holding his father’s hand and dozing off in a dimmed atmosphere of an old church filled with incense smoke, big candles and sounds of ritual songs.

This is Dies Aurorae, the day of the dawn: a mouthwatering, never too sweet gourmand, a delightful, warm and smooth creation touched by lovely Tonka and sprinkled with Pistachio. Quite woody, comforting and churchy in a most gentle way.

I did take a bite of these sweets at their Pitti stand: what can I say but Sicily, here I come! You might have noticed that I personally don’t wear or mention gourmands often, but Dies Aurorae changed my mind. Enough said.

New: Almah Parfums

Based in Barcelona, founded in 1997, and the main business the brand is well known for is the production of natural oils. They also explained to me that the history of the brand goes back to the early 1900s and that they’ve managed to create their own extraction system based on old recepture from the great-grandfather – Valenti Perello. Almah unveiled 16 perfumes at Pitti!

This certainly means that I shall devote more time to them, for now, my first choice would be Santa Cristina: the smell of Costa Brava, as the brand states. Soft pine needles enrich a very smooth and quiet opening, slightly sweet and spicy, like an easy late afternoon/early evening siesta.

Salty tones rise later on, and all I can think about is a hammock near a Med beach…summertime sadness at maximum warp hit me immediately, the feeling of 35C in shade at 6 PM, feeling too lazy to walk over to the beach to swim and cool off.

Notes: Orange Blossom, Geranium, Rose Centifolia, Tuscany Iris, Green Tea, Gardenia, Jasmin, Lavender, Patchouli, Vetiver, Musk, Amberwood, Clove.

Other fragrances I’ll explore further are Mr.Keops, Green Crowne, and Viaggio.

New: Aqua dos Açores

Wine and perfumes, how can it get any better! Add Açores to this combination and here we go: OK, Azores is geographically located in the North Atlantic Ocean, but they are an autonomous region of Portugal.

If you furthermore add to this equation a Florentine couple cultivating wine in a climate where the Mediterranean and tropical flora merge – there you are, with an olfactory diary revolving around specific terroir: I loved their home fragrances Tinto and Branco – red and white wine themed and delicious.

Eau de Parfum Flores and Azul focus on endemic species, obtained from and specific to the Azores.

Flores is a bitter fresh floral aquatic with herbal tones, reminding me of an almost subtropical climate, soft rain, and ocean air.

Azul is woodier, like pieces of wood found washed ashore, drenched in seawater. It’s airy and salty, bitter and sweet, with soft flowers and white woods. Lovely.

The brand quotes: “With precious natural extracts: Cryptomeria, Geranium Bourbon, Clary Sage, Lentisk, Bergamot, Davana, Opoponax” – and I very much like it.

Bravanariz – Smelling Wild

Catalonia connection, yay. Landscapes and terroir, resulting in a line of fragrances that are 100% natural, made with local plants gathered by hand.

The founder, Ernesto Collado Sala took his time to explain to me that you can book a one day tour with them and experience the process firsthand! You can gather plants, learn techniques of extraction, and work on a fragrance – wine tasting and delicious local food are included!

Three fragrances were exhibited, Bosc, Cala and Muga, each with a distinct character and terroir bond, from humid forests of the Albera Massif and the Salines Mountains, following the Muga river, and over to Cap De Creus Peninsula.

This tour mentioned is definitely going on my travel bucket list!

Acampora Profumi: New Tadema Collection

Acampora invited, for the first time in their history, an independent perfumer Miguel Matos to create for them.

Tadema is dedicated to the artist Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema and his work, featuring an olfactory journey and “the most neoclassical tribute to the values of the Mediterranean Sea”.

Three new perfumes in this collection are Mentuccia Romana (aromatic herbs and mint), Citrea Prochyta (lemons, bergamot, mandarin) and Malum (juicy honey-sweet apple with anise, spices, and marine notes).

Fragonard

I have a soft spot for Fragonard, dating all the way back to my first visit to Grasse. They were also exhibiting new, Christmas packaging (photo of Pivoine), and, of course, the new Lavande by Celine Ellena.

Now, this is a bright lavender with a pinch of myrtle, a clear and transparent absinth note in the opening, with lavender but without being straight forward lavender-ish at all! I find it delicately feminine, soft and very powdery, with a musky dry iris in the drydown.

To Grasse I shall return – most probably next year, right now I’m happy to celebrate The Year of Lavender with Fragonard.

Tonatto Profumi

Laura Tonatto fragrances have such a smooth vibe, and are very wearable, using evidently high-quality raw materials.

There were no new releases in 2019, but you can surely find at least one Eau de Parfum to love in their extensive collection. Solista, for example, is a lovely Tuberose themed fragrance!

Just reminding you to check them out, I really feel this brand should be mentioned more often.

Bonus I: Aer Scents

Aer is based in Berlin, making natural, hand-blended and 100% botanical perfumes. Their stand was so…green.

Cade was my first sniff favorite, launched in 2017, now slightly reformulated: a smooth, aromatic woody fragrance with just enough freshness and sweetness to add depth to it. Other perfumes in the line are Nargamotha, Ambre, and Cedar and I look forward to testing and exploring this brand in more detail.

 

Bonus II: Villoresi Museum

Last year, while I was visiting Villa Villoresi, we were told that the Museum shall open soon: well, it finally has!

Not only do you have a chance to enjoy a guided tour of one of the most beautiful gardens overlooking Arno and surrounding villas, but this is also a great learning opportunity for any perfumista.

 

How can we talk about Patchouli or Styrax without knowing what the actual plant looks like? Or without touching, feeling, smelling bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, lime or yuzu growing on a tree?

 

Frangipani didn’t flower this year (I smelled it last year!), but inside of the Museum, you have a chance to smell aromatic materials from all over the world. Wonderful!

Except for one thing. I went totally Musk blind on that particular exhibit (Musk, like the real thing. Big molecules. Felt nothing and almost fainted from fear of anosmia), but never mind, I guess that my nose was just too exhausted. Will repeat, sooner or later.

One more thing: Osmorama room! I wish I could get locked inside and stay for a week: inside this room, you’ll find a lavish display of literally all the ingredients a perfumer might ever use!

All nicely stacked and grouped, everything your heart might ever desire. I have never seen such an elaborate “organ”! I really can’t wait to return.

Enjoy your read and don’t forget to drop by for the last Pitti Fragranze 2019 report – coming up soon!

My Pitti Report Part I featuring roses is here.

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl

Disclaimer

While waiting for all of my fragrant impressions of Pitti Fragranze 2019 to macerate properly in order to choose perfumes which I’ll review in more detail, I decided to give you a short overview of a few newly launched and some already known rose-themed perfumes which were exhibited, right after writing about The Man Who Stole The Show, Jean Claude EllenahereRose&Cuir included.

Not saying that this is a new “trend” – just a bouquet of roses I personally picked for you!

Every year I manage to fall in love with at least one rose-themed perfume, and since this is my “Year of Roses”, I’m still on the hunt for the most amazing, different rose interpretations of all kinds.

Most recently I’ve been smitten by Hendley Perfumes Rosenthal – that’s again yet another story, written here. I’m still enchanted by my dear Dangerous Rose he created for Maison Olibere – you can find my complete review here.

Back to Pitti! Let’s start from the darker side of the spectrum:

New! Coreterno: Rose and Me – A Goth Fortress Rose

Coreterno is a lifestyle brand and a totally new niche perfumes brand, founded by sweet Francilla Ronchi (photo) and Michelangelo Brancato, and managed from New York. Luca Maffei of Atelier Fragranze Milano created 4 new fragrances for the brand: Punk Motel, Catharsis, Hierba Nera and – Rose and Me.

Let’s say that Luca knows his contemporary “dark” roses: Rose and Me is a RosePatchouli fragrance revealing a fully bloomed burgundy rose at the beginning, with sharp geranium teeth. It carries a certain broody dustiness within layers of styrax and patchouli, with all aspects of the dark side but somehow remaining fresh at the same time. Mmmm!

Notes: Deep Black Rose, Geranium, Jasmine, Saffron, Styrax, Patchouli, Guaiaco Wood, Musk.

Pekji Perfumes- Calligraphy of Oriental Roses

Meeting Ömer Ipekci and getting to know better his line of perfumes was definitely one of the Pitti highlights for me! His creations are strangely addictive, different, mouthwatering! RuhSun Rose Again (2015) is an Oriental Floral.

Prepare yourself for a firework of sensations, ranging from bright and spicy to smooth ambery, from freshly brewed Turkish coffee tones to goat cheese Oud and patchouli bitterness, and through the whole breathtaking experience – there’s a jammy rose, at first covered with most vivid Cardamom, moments later dipped in a fruity Jasmine, smiling right at you straight from the opening of this calligraphic composition.

Intense at first, like any first impression of a souk but later on, with time, you start noticing that in all this there is a certain order of things, a pattern in a composition, leaving you with a warm, almost vanilla-infused cozy sweetness at the end of the day. If you want to experience a very different Rose, this is just it. Very artisan.

Notes: Amber, Cardamom, Coffee, Jasmine, Musk, Oud, Patchouli, Rose, Saffron, Sandalwood.

Sultan Pasha – Attar Roses

We met in Florence, spent some time chatting and sniffing: it’s crazy. I spent hours and hours inside Stazione Leopolda, talking about perfumes, sniffing and applying them on my skin, and you’d think that’s enough? No, it isn’t. Not when something wonderful appears right in front of your nose.

Just when I thought I was tired of everything, there comes Sultan and off we go with his samples kit…and let me tell you, it is worth every second. I won’t drool here and now about his Irisoir attar (a totally captivating iris-centered fragrance) or Ensar Rose (I’ve seen people write poems to it), but let me tell you that he showed me his new creation – better said he carefully applied some attar on my skin…and first sniffs almost made me cry.

Juriah is the new attar blended by Sultan with love and passion that’s almost palpable. Rose/Oud centric, a Ta’if beauty, liquid poetry…

Now I can’t wait for my sample to arrive and it seems to me that I’ll end up writing poems to it and about it.

That’s not all: Sultan is really adorable and fun. I can’t count the times when I burst in laughter while reading his FB posts so hard that I had to clean the screen afterward.

These off-campus meetings were so inspiring, and I’ll list some more in reports to follow!

Rose&Cuir / Frederic Malle – An Illusion of a Rose

This perfume deserves a category of its own: if you are expecting a jammy, smack-in-your-face rose, or smoky-dirty explicit leather – you’d better look elsewhere. I can suggest a few.

It gives an illusion of a beautiful pink-faced rose skiing a parallel slalom race with a not-so-watercolors-light-at-all, fine-crafted genuine leather.

If you’ve ever watched Night Parallel Slalom Alpine World Cup races, you’ll know what I mean. And the winner? It’s definitely Marcel Hirscher of this perfume, technically perfect beyond being human, precisely executed to the point of esoteric grace – IsoButyl Quinoline!

Airy and transparent meets raw and dense, watercolors hit the grainy, rough, dry paper, and I can almost see JC Ellena smiling: he did it his way. Well, better said his “new” way…

Rose&Cuir is a perfume that polarized fragcomm to the extremes of yes/no opinions ever since it was released, just a mere month ago. I haven’t yet seen an indifferent comment, just indecisive ones like “I don’t know what to think yet.” – correct me if I’m wrong. One more thing: inspiration, the feeling behind this perfume is experiencing Mistral wind blowing in the south of France, not literally rose&cuir…if that helps…

Enjoy your read, pick your favorite rose, and drop by for yet another Pitti Fragranze 2019 report: Scents and Tastes of Mediterranean & Back to Nature – coming up soon!

P. S. While I’m writing this my thoughts and prayers go to Robert Herrmann, Sr Editor at ÇaFleureBon and his loving husband Ron. I keep thinking about the quote Robert uses as his FB cover: Life is too short for boring fragrances!

1.10.2019. Robert has passed on. I’ll never forget his kindness and smile.

 

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl, Pekji, Frédéric Malle website

Disclaimer

One of the greatest perfumers in the world, a Master Perfumer. Jean Claude Ellena.

Through his work, he’s been a part of my life for years now! On my skin. Not surprising when you think about all the perfumes he signs! I also love him maybe because I’m sentimental about his path in perfumery, maybe because times are a-changing. His way is the “old French school”, classical way.

Shall there be stories like his in the future?

No, but there’ll be other stories about him. With twists. Reinventions. I also think that he is now – better than ever. I can already see the plot of a movie, not Perfume, but “Ellena-The Story of a Nose“.

Ellena picked jasmine as a child with his grandmother in Grasse, he worked as an apprentice at the factory of essential oils at the age of sixteen. He can tell from which field surrounding Grasse a rose Centifolia oil comes. His father, brother, and daughter Celine are perfumers.

He studied at Givaudan, became one of the founding members of the Osmotheque, retired in 2016 from Hermes, founded a perfume house –The Different Company, created for Bulgari, L’Artisan Perfumer, Van Cleef&Arpels, Sisley, Rochas, Cartier, YSL, Acqua di Parma, Giorgio Armani, Lalique, Frederic Malle, Perris Monte Carlo, Le Couvent des Minimes, Houbigant, etc. and now…after more than 40 years of work and 100 perfumes he created, I think we are yet to smell great things to come!

At Pitti Fragranze Jean Claude Ellena was a special guest (like a rock star!), and attending visitors had the chance to experience the first major retrospective exhibition dedicated to him, presenting masterpieces of his career – curated by Chandler Burr (perfume critic and ambassador of Pitti Fragranze), and to participate in conversations that followed.

Chandler Burr chose these fifteen fragrances for the Pitti exhibition:

First, Van Clef&Arpels (1976), Eau Parfumee au The Vert, Bulgari (1993), In Love Again, YSL (1998), Anqeliques sous la Pluie, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle (2000), Rose Poivree, The Different Company (2000), Declaration Bois Bleu, Cartier (2001), Cologne Bigarade, Frederic Malle (2001), Bois Farine, L’Artisan Parfumeur (2003), L’Eau d’Hiver, Frederic Malle (2003), Ambre Narguile, Hermes (2004), Terre d’Hermes, Hermes (2006), Un Jardin sur le Nil, Hermes (2008), Kelly Caleche, Hermes (2007), Eau de Gentiane Blanche, Hermes (2009), and Rose&Cuir, Frederic Malle (2019).

To have an opportunity to smell and enjoy all these perfumes in one place, what an extreme pleasure!

Burr explained his choice of perfumes dating from 1976 -2019:

“Some (fragrances) are important because they established the art medium firmly within entire aesthetic schools: Bulgari Eau de The Vert (1993) was the first great work of Minimalism in scent; L’Eau d’Hiver (2003)is one of the medium’s seminal works of Abstract Expressionism.”

The Master himself, participating at Pitti for the first time ever, said in the conversation that followed that he considers himself being in the Third Stage of his professional development now: if Stage One was “corporate work” to fulfill briefs given, Stage Two – Minimalism, reducing, sometimes his own formulas, then he sees his “Third Stage” as developing right now: the new Rose&Cuir for Frederic Malle marks a new beginning – just being himself, playing with possibilities.

This is how a “Bonus” content – stole the show. I’m happy that it did!

For the Conversation that took place in the Pitti Conference Room, Ellena chose 5 perfumes and told us stories connected to each one:

Eau Parfumee au The Vert, Bulgari (1993)

At the time, Ellena was 28 years old. He says that the current state of fragrances on market inspired him. Yes, it was a complicated formula to begin with, rich and sophisticated. Virtuosity to balance all the ingredients was a challenge to him, later he purified the fragrance reducing it to 19 components. At the time, in 1993, he was responding to the era, his Nose belonging to it.

He chuckles while talking about The Vert: Maison Dior rejected it and went with Fahrenheit instead! But, he believed in it, underlining again that if we are looking at perfumes as an art form, the illusion is more important than reality, seduction IS at the core of art, creating an illusion. What was Ellena’s illusion here? He created a perfume that smells of tea, and there’s no tea in it at all.


Cologne Bigarade, Frederic Malle (2001)

Ellena talked about the exhibition in the Museum of Perfumery in Grasse, featuring the history of colognes through centuries. Colognes date three centuries back, they are the beginning point in the history of perfumes as we know them today. Made for the aristocracy, as a perfume, not a hygienic product. In the 18th century, one small bottle of cologne would cost you 1/4 of your salary. In time colognes became a popular product and moved all the way to supermarkets.

And suddenly, from Eau de Cologne, the word cologne was removed and everything became Eau this and Eau that. Like with Eau Savage: there’s no “Cologne” in its name… So Jean Claude Ellena approached Frederic Malle with a new perfume: Cologne Bigarade, putting “Cologne” back in the name of a perfume.

He also considers Bigarade, a bitter orange, to be so very much “Provencal” (and I suddenly remembered tasting those most wonderful marmelade-d-oranges-ameres in France…), it was, in his opinion, the most Mediterranean product you can imagine – bitter oranges growing by the Mediterranean sea…

This is when he said something that made us all laugh: I like bitter, bitter is intelligent. I prefer to smell bitter, to smell intelligent. Everybody now wants to smell sugary, and sugary…just isn’t intelligent.”

Cologne Bigarade, in his own words, has a very simple structure, 20 components were used. He smiled and added: “You have to have a cologne! Everybody does.”

L’Eau d’Hiver, Frederic Malle (2003)

Burr calls this perfume “the most silent one”, the “pure silence”. I’ve always loved it, for a number of reasons. Including very emotional ones.

Ellena explained his idea from the beginning: when he starts to work on a perfume, he likes to have a name for it. So, he wrote “Cloud” in his notebook (Nuage). Then he began to think about clouds, delicate, summertime clouds, searching for lightness in the scent he was creating, murmuring not shouting. Frederic Malle changed the name to L’Eau d’Hiver after smelling the first versions, and Ellena proceeded to finish the formula.

This is where he gave us another piece of his thoughts. Ellena says that he loves perfumes that smell good on people when he’s sitting next to them. Good, not strong. That a fine perfume should never yell, shout or scream. L’Eau d’Hiver is murmuring softly…

Bois Farine, L’Artisan Parfumeur (2003)

The story behind Bois Farine is fascinating: Ellena says that people often ask him: “You like to travel and travel a lot: are you looking for new raw materials, new ideas?” He answers that ideas come to him: most often in botanical gardens, as places where a perfumer can always find some new, interesting, or unknown scents of trees or flowers.

He was sitting in a botanical garden while traveling around L’île de La Réunion. There was a plant blooming there, and he was fascinated by an unknown flower: when he came closer to sniff it, it smelled like – flour. He made a watercolor drawing of it and saved it in his notebook.

When he returned to France, he was asked if he would like to make a perfume based on his travel experiences, and he remembered that strange flower. This is where Farine (Flour) part of the name came from. Bois (Wood) was another story: it simply related to names of places that had the word “Bois” in them, Bois here, Bois there so he decided to call this perfume Bois Farine. The process of making it had it’s funny moments too: he took some flour from his kitchen, kept smelling it, playing with it, sniffing it.

Ellena also finds flour to be something essential – we eat bread, pizza, or pastry made of it, and he finds the image of a woman threading dough with her hands, covered in flour – very erotic.

Ellena told us that Bois Farine has only 10 components and that its formula is the shortest one he ever made.

Terre d’Hermes, Hermes (2006)

The idea behind Terre d’Hermes is connected with terre – of Ireland.

Ellena likes to make watercolor drawings everywhere he travels, so when he was in Ireland he concluded that this country was simply ideal for this activity because while he was there, the air was so damp that his drawing paper never got dry! While observing green fields around him, he noticed some rods and fences breaking up the landscape, traces of human presence in nature.

He was asked to make a masculine perfume for Hermes, and this memory became the centerpiece of the new perfume. In his thoughts, vertical equals masculine, wooden rod in the green, the grass-covered ground was masculine…So he started with Cedar, a “vertical” component as he calls it, and built the fragrance around it.

He admits liking to use cedar, as opposed to sandalwood, which he doesn’t use very much or very often. There was another challenge for him: to make a masculine perfume without Musc or Moss! He did that, and the rest is history.

I found really interesting how he answered one question coming from the public: a lady asked him is there a perfume that he admires, and wishes he had made.

Ellena said that when he was young, there were a few perfumes he loved so much that he wished he had signed them, like Edmond Roudnitska‘s Diorissimo, later on, he loved Fijibut with time, this changed.

Not the appreciation of these perfumes, but the feeling…of love.

He said: “I know now too much to have this kind of emotion. Like here, at Pitti: I walk by, feel a perfume, and I know how it was made. The moment I feel a perfume I start analyzing. Without emotions involved.”

This made me somehow sad: I would never want to lose love for perfumes, moments of falling in love with fragrances, the pure joy. Again, is being this brilliant a blessing, or a curse? Or is it merely an “insider’s” thing…I wonder.

After this session finished, I went to the exhibition room and smeared some perfume on my wrists: on one hand In Love Again (YSL), and on the other hand the new Rose&Cuir (Frederic Malle). I fell in love with it, thank you, Maestro!

A “Rose” where there’s no rose, “Cuir” where there’s no leather, and yet you feel both, intensely, a grand illusion, an ultimate seduction. Signed by Master Perfumer, Jean Claude Ellena.

The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl, Pitti Fragranze, Fragrantica (perfume bottle photos)
Disclaimer

Pitti Fragranze, 17th Edition.

Jean-Claude Ellena. Retrospective, talk with Chandler Burr, Rose&Cuir explained by the Master Perfumer himself.

Spring Section. Niche, artisan perfumes. New perfume brands, a couple of long-awaited new perfumes launches.

Florence.

This seemed enough to start with. Months before going to Florence I kept hearing about brands and distributors who decided not to participate this year, getting invitations to presentations and perfume launches to be held at Cannes, and hearing discussions about the future of Pitti, or better said, the future of niche perfumery. I decided to attend, just like the last year, clearing my mind of any and all expectations or assumptions. Because Florence in September is always a good idea, and assumptions, oh, assumptions are the mother of all misunderstandings!

You can also find my previous, Pitti 2018 report here.

What happened just a couple of days ago is that I was actually pleasantly surprised and very content with the whole Pitti Fragranze 2019 experience!

First of all, I find the visual aesthetics of Pitti always very pleasing: this might seem irrelevant to many, but it is important to me.

The whole set up, the atmosphere, design, and feeling. Stazione Leopolda was reduced to almost industrial-looking naked walls, elaborate lighting, and details, or better-said installations, featuring bare, natural wood.

The content – perfume (supplemented by a range of quality cosmetics this year)– was under the spotlight, unveiling the concept: the pairing of art and beauty, beauty as harmony, a changing entity involving us in its movements, visually created by graphic artist Diego Soprana.

Secondly, Pitti is a trade show dedicated to niche perfumery, art, and beauty – while TFWA Cannes, the annual Duty-Free and Travel Retail Global Summit – simply isn’t. It isn’t, it revolves around all the products you can buy in any Duty-Free Shop in the world, and none of the niche brands (as far as I know) are actually exhibiting there – they are merely satellites revolving around the main big-bucks event, mostly present in rented hotel rooms, suites or on yachts.

Well, each to his/her own, choices have already been made: Cannes in September is a good idea, too.

Thirdly, still and in spite of recent drops of perfume brands and/or distributors exhibiting, as well as lack of the off-campus perfume brands’ presence in hotels around Stazione Leopolda this year, Pitti fulfills primary functions of any trade fair as a direct marketing tool per definition, ever since medieval times: raising brand awareness, building business contacts and networking, enabling new brand or perfume launches, and generating positive publicity in direct contact. Simple as that, and really: networking always matters.

Direct contact with exhibitors was so much easier at Pitti this year. The exhibition space gave plenty of room and it never seemed overcrowded, stands were not under the siege of visitors, the whole atmosphere was more relaxed, and…well, somehow more B2B in my opinion. It was simply more…manageable.

I had not only time to screen, visit and talk to all the brands I had in plan, but also to attend all the chosen talks and presentations taking place in the Conference Room.

Yes, bonuses to the show shaped the show in a way: The Master Perfumer, the one-and-only Jean-Claude Ellena definitely stole the show. ‘Cause he is a perfume star, and I’ll write a separate post about Ellena related events! I got my book signed: just look at that smile:

I returned home content and gratefull: it was a good show, I’m looking forward to testing and wearing new perfumes I found interesting, meetings with perfumers, brands and fellow reviewers were inspiring, and Florence…ah, Florence manages to rob my heart each and every time I visit.

To all whom it may concern: I do intend to attend Pitti Fragranze 2020. I believe in the power of niche perfumes. See you there!

The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic
Photos: The Plum Girl, Pitti Fragranze
Disclaimer

“What do you think about it?” – he asked, softly.

“It smells like fear…bitterness of loss… and…hope.” – I answered.

 

Epicentro, the first fragrance in the Filippo Sorcinelli’s new collection Delire de Voyage, was presented for the first time at Esxence Milan 2019, and a multimedia art installation, featuring a synesthetic journey, took place on the evening of the last day of the exhibition.

Délire. Delirium. A perfume, a sensation that kicks you out of normality, even for just a couple of seconds, and raises your awareness of what is happening in you and around you. Linked to Beauty, for Beauty is life, and life is Beauty.

All can change in a single, disturbing moment:

“The earthquake is a particularly disruptive and violent event which enters with arrogance into the lives of those involved, taking possession of their “normality” in a few seconds.

External earthquakes increase our own inner earthquakes as if with the loss of the safety of the earth beneath our feet, a profound internal tremor is determined, as a consequence.”

This fragrance is dedicated to the region in Italy from which Filippo Sorcinelli comes – Marche, hit by devastating earthquakes in 2016 and 2017, leaving behind “Ground 0” ruins and many deep scars of lives lost.

Filippo visited the small town of Bolognola after these terrible events, and this perfume is his olfactory impression of the aftermath of the first, 2016 earthquake.

I met with Filippo that evening, and he led us to a dark presentation room inside Hotel Straf near Duomo. The multi-sensory exhibition featured bits and pieces of everyday life found in ruins, artistic video footage of destruction these earthquakes left behind, and one single bottle of Epicentro.

He was wearing a pendant, shaped like a small silver rock – a part of the presentation package of Epicentro. The bottle, just like the others by Filippo Sorcinelli Brand, is a piece of art by itself: round and smooth with a big, silver, rock-shaped cap, a part of which is this piece of jewelry.

Shock art, by definition: “…contemporary art that incorporates disturbing imagery, sound or scents to create a shocking experience. It is a way to disturb “smug, complacent and hypocritical people.”

The Epicentro multisensory journey left me, an empath, thinking about the ways I react to immediate threats, primal fears. My “Lizard Brain” tends to react differently, although involuntarily and instinctively, adjusting to the situation.

I’ve never experienced an earthquake of this force, but I do remember my first-ever earthquake, in California. The movement and swaying of the ground under my feet, the deep, threatening rumble, a growl coming from somewhere deep below the surface, the cold sweat of uncontrollable fear: I tend to freeze.

The order of my reactions in this specific situation was: freeze-flight-fight, meaning that my first reaction to an earthquake was to just stand still (“freeze”), shocked by what is going on (a totally new experience), then, unaware of what I was doing, I fled (hid under the kitchen table), and when the earthquake stopped, I started to assess and repair the damage (“fight”), which luckily didn’t amount to more than just a misalignment of a couple of photos hung on the wall.

I believe that the overwhelming adrenaline rush tends to change your body chemistry and smell, therefore I believe that primal fears influence our body odor, which then, in turn, can be felt.

I know very well how human fear, loss, and pain smell like. And hope! Yes, hope: I associate the scent of incense notes and accords in perfume – with hope. Maybe it’s because of my Catholic upbringing, maybe its because I tend to think about it in regards with the healing power of incense, as used in aromatherapy – reducing and calming stress and fear, maybe it’s because it is one of the oldest fragrant ingredients ever used…it just smells like hope to me. Hope…and resurrection.

Despite the shock-art concept, what I always find interesting, Epicentro is a very wearable fragrance. After experiencing, reviewing, and falling in love with but_not_today, with notes of “blood, dust, and metal”, this fragrance felt smoother, fresher, invigorating, and suitable for any season of a year.

Epicentro draws you in from the first moment, opening with sharp, piercing notes, almost metallic, like crushed, bitter citric leaves cutting swiftly and with unexpected precision into your personal space,

This awakening moment soon gains another dimension, as if pulling you deeper, opening other layers of reality. I feel scattered pieces of a white marble baptistery covered with white dust while soft and gentle trails of incense used ages ago are evaporating in air and swirling in the breeze coming through windowless walls.

Smoky, aldehyde tainted, old oak wooden roof beams bear traces of candle wax, laying on the ground covered with bright, multicolored shiny pieces of a broken vitrail. The rhythm of the fragrance slows down, warming up on the skin after the initial brief and apocalyptic episode, memories of which still protrude every now and then, sparkling softly in now a bit sweeter and muskier layout, soothing and calming.

The complete presentation, down to perfume samples, follows the concept aiming to activate all five senses: even the black Epicentro box is carefully crafted, with a moving base enabling the perfume bottle to shake and vibrate when touched.

Filippo never discloses perfume notes: if we are approaching perfume as an art form, then letting ourselves be seduced, moved, touched or emotionally drawn in is the best part of the experience! It’s just you and the perfume: what’s in it is shaped by what’s in you, so I’ll just list the “notes” as I felt them:
Top notes: piercing metal, a rush of cold wind blowing through broken windows, crushed citric leaves.
Middle notes: fresh white dust, pieces of concrete scattered on street pavements, broken white marble releasing traces of incense.
Base notes: old oak church rooftop beams, multicolored parts of a broken vitraille shining brightly, strangely soothing peacefulness after the apocalypse, hope.

Epicentro, an Extrait du Parfum, feels abstract and fresh, disturbing and calming, introspective and stimulating. It’s all about an inner, olfactory voyage, and endless movements in time and in yourself.

With this review published, I head toward Florence: Pitti Fragranze awaits! I promise to report live as much as possible on Instagram, follow me: @the_plum_girl!

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl, Filippo Sorcinelli

The sample was graciously given to me during Esxence Milan, opinions and feelings belong, as always, to me.

Disclaimer

There is a new wind blowing, bringing changes: Acampora Profumi shall launch at Pitti Fragrance 2019 nine new perfumes in two new collections, and a trip through time!

The inspiration behind these collections, and the first time ever for Acampora Profumi to open their lab doors to an independent perfumer – Miguel Matos , as described by the brand:

“From revisiting New York Studio 54 and the crowd of artists and dreamers to which Bruno Acampora belonged to, till the Pompeian splendor in Lawrence AlmaTadema paintings.

Classic and modern, tradition and innovation – translated into 9 new, surprising and unexpected fragrances.”

Let’s take a sneak peek at what awaits us:

Acampora Fiftyfour Collection

“A collection that is also an invite to dance with your senses and more! The energy and dynamism of Studio 54 resonate amazingly with Acampora DNA and translate into perfectly imperfect fragrances you will be addicted to.
Pure joy and extravaganza.”

Perfumes in this collection:

Bruno

Notes: grapefruit, cut grass, rose, saffron, cedarwood, amber, musk, sandalwood, patchouli, oud, resins.

Robin


Notes: aldehydes, anise, black cherry, cassis, mandarin, almond, tuberose, ylang ylang, jasmine, iris, incense, musk, vanilla, cedarwood, tobacco, coconut.

Young Hearts


Notes: bergamot, galbanum, birch leaf, pine, saffron, jasmine, fir balsam, rose, oakmoss, patchouli, musk, amber.

Freak Chick


Notes: apple, ginger, bergamot, passion fruit, mandarin, jasmine, rose, chamomile, musk, teak, patchouli, ebony, cedar moss, raspberry, beeswax.

Relight My Fire


Notes: aldehydes, bergamot, coriander, juniper, galbanum,jas mine, mimosa, geranium, violet, fir balsam, musk, Peru resinoid, vanilla, animalic notes, leather.

Read My Mind


Notes: almond, saffron, pomegranate, lemon, bergamot, jasmine, iris, ylang ylang, magnolia, cumin, musk, leather, ebony, patchouli, sandalwood, teak.

Keep on Dancing


Notes: lemon, lime, rum, chamomile, woody notes, coffee, chocolate, tobacco, cashmeran, tonka bean, musk, vanilla, leather, patchouli, vetiver, mate.

 

Tadema Collection

“A collection to celebrate the splendor of Pompeii and the Mediterranean with its paintings and unique perfumes.
A journey of the senses and imaginary to evoke a multisensory pleasure.”

Perfumes in this collection:

Mentucia Romana


Notes: lemon, basil, bergamot, pennyroyal, lavender, litsea cubeba, cedar moss, musk, woody notes.

Citrea Prochyta


Notes: Note: lemon, bergamot, mandarin, neroli, rosemary, oakmoss, white musk, animalic notes, coumarin.

Malum


Notes: apple, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, marine notes, lily of the valley, fennel, anise, tonka bean, musk, patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla.

I’ll be able to tell you more and share my first impressions after the launch, scheduled on September 14th at 4.00 PM, at Pitti Fragrance in Florence. I’m also looking forward to seeing Sonia, Brunello, and Miguel again!

Since I’ll be sharing most of the things going on at Pitti live on Instagram, you might want to follow me @the_plum_girl, and Facebook – The Plum Girl.

The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: Acampora Profumi
Disclaimer