Days turning into months have quickly passed since Esxence – The Scent of Excellence closed its doors, but here I go again: a flashback, bringing you more behind-the-screen stories about people of perfumes, events, and extras, all that jazz that took place outside The Mall!
I could probably write more about different aspects of this exhibition, but let’s just say that I’ll wrap up all my hard work with this one – the last of my 2019 Esxence reports: if you haven’t yet, do take a look at Part I and Part II!
These additional activities are an important part of the Esxence-experience: meetings with makers/perfumers, brand owners, and managers – not exhibiting but visiting, attending private parties, cocktails, events or informal dinners, secret previews…or just whispering about new releases that are soon to be revealed. Yap, there’s life outside The Mall:
As you might have noticed on my IG account (the_plum_girl), this year I wrote about “beautiful noses” of Esxence. Noses? Yes, this is one of the rare places and events where all noses are – beautiful! Fully in use, too! It feels so good to be among people that value their sense of smell very much, to run with “your” pack and (ab)use your nose to maximum! The interesting part is that no one I asked objected to having their profile “nose” photo taken! The wonderful people of Esxence are so proud of their noses!
This lovely nose belongs to Tanja Bochnig, owner of April Aromatics whose newest fragrance – Irisistible is an Art&Olfaction Awards, 2019 Finalist!
Let’s take a quick sniff:
Irrisistible (love that play with words, too) is an ode to Iris-the goddess of Dawn and Rainbow, connecting heavens and Earth. It feels like you’ve been gently touched by this messenger of gods with pink fingertips: a flash of vibrant yet milky opening with morning dew made of citruses. Different facets of Iris (the flower) follow. It becomes rooty, flowery, and smooth at the same time, at moments even slightly bitter. This buttery flow turns velvety, thick, at times powdery, with floral whiffs. Later on, its inner, musky-smooth warm glow of rainbow spectrum colors begins to shine from within, glowing softly. Keep in mind that this is a “natural”, it settles close to the skin and shifts with your body movement, so give it time and patience.
We ran into Mark Buxton outside and chatted a bit catching some sunshine. It was fun just to say “Genau” a couple of times:
Meeting and having a chance to spend some time with Tanja is a bonus: she also pulled me out from The Mall, made me sit and eat something, drink water (I felt like a camel after a long day in desert), and talk about things other than perfumes: all the stuff I tend to forget to do while roaming around all those stands…Tanja is a tall long-legged blonde, self-taught, self-financed, working with “naturals”, Berlin-based and if this isn’t enough to raise a couple of eyebrows – she laughs and dances like nobody is watching!
Nick Stewart of Gallivant Perfumes was visiting Esxence as well, gallivanting around:
He told me that a new Gallivant fragrance shall be launched soon, and yes, it’s all about yet another city. I’m really not allowed to tell you which one -because it was confidential! All that I may say is that I lived in that city for a couple of years (and know it well) so we talked about which specific part of this city the new fragrance feels like. I think we both agreed upon one certain area, marked by a very famous street! Keep an eye on Gallivant, and check out my review of previous releases here.
I also managed to visit the hotel located near The Mall, where some brands shared Carbonnel showroom. I had a meeting scheduled there, with the owner of this nose:
Yes, this is Victor Wong of Zoologist Perfumes! We finally met, and he kindly and patiently walked me through his ZOO, introducing me to and allowing me to take a better sniff of all the fragrances that were new to me. You see, I had a parcel coming from Canada earlier this year, the Canadian post was at strike, it got delayed, then when it finally reached Croatia it was never delivered to me, so after a couple of months, it just arrived safely back to Canada…Argh. I sniffed everything and sniffed hungrily again, and got to meet all the creatures in his collection at last:
I guess you’ll be reading some of my Zoologist Perfumes reviews soon enough! That’s not all: Victor let me sniff one of his new, not yet released fragrances, and told me how he plans to proceed with it. I think he won’t mind this association:
Well, I’m not allowed to tell you how it’s going to be named, but you can start guessing which creature this new perfume is dedicated to. Some new fragrances are coming up, some “old” ones face “Perfume Heaven”: by the time I’ve decided to publish this post, Bat is about to be discontinued! If you are a Batman or Batwoman – go and get your bottle while you can…or wait for the new Bat, coming from a different cave!
I also ran again into Miguel Matos in Carbonell Showroom, exhibiting four new signature fragrances:
Here you can see Miracle of Roses, Germaine, Silver Stone, and Sailor Stories. Miguel was quite busy this Esxence: in addition to having his own line presented, together with Veneno, he was also all over the place as perfumer behind Nishane’s Unutamam, as well as Sarah Baker’s Jungle Jezabel (I wrote about it here), and Rules of Attraction!
On the blotter-sniffing-first-impressions spree I found the Miracle of Roses and Sailor Stories (aquatic with a twist) quite interesting, but I honestly need to go back to these perfumes and give them some proper wearing. Since this is my “year of roses” I do want to get to know this unusual, smooth, fresh bread with cinnamon and roses better…no rush: I’ll get to it, sooner or later: the inspirational story behind it is intriguing, and it fits the concept well.
It doesn’t stop here, around the exhibition hall. Just when you finish 10AM-6PM crawl-around-The Mall and its surroundings, you have like an hour and a half to make it to some carefully chosen and glamorous place: party time!
One event that you shouldn’t miss during Esxence: the Masque Milano Corso Como Party. Why? Well, because Masque IS Milano based, this is their home turf, and they do cover it with style.
Masque Milano launched two new perfumes at Esxence 2019: Love Kills and Kintsugi:
I tried to arrange a meeting at Masque Milano stand with Alessandro Brun and/or Ricardo Tedeschi on that same day, but didn’t succeed: maybe they were too busy handling all the previously arranged meetings, maybe I wasn’t pushy enough (never!), or my timing was just bad, whatever. Tip for all the brands located in the “Main Brands” part of the exhibition: it’s better to have your meetings booked in advance…note to myself, again. Next year I’ll fail better, I promise.
Anyway, since I didn’t have time to lose on waiting and hanging around: I stopped by and was greeted by a very nice young man, representing their distributor, who briefed me quickly about these two new releases. Sadly, I got no chance to take a sniff at that famous raw materials cofrett…I did manage to try out both new releases:
Love Kills…of course, the first one I reached for. And a good thing I did, because the other way around wouldn’t be a good idea. On a first impression basis, I wasn’t impressed. A rose it is, and I always have high expectations of a rose perfume: it was a young, bright, just budding rose…Oh, was I wrong!
Since I impatiently jumped and moved around the stand, this might’ve helped it warm up on my skin and it transformed, moving through phases from a fresh bud to a magnificent flower in full bloom, and even in this very brief moment, I watched it wither, darken and fade, becoming more goth, never letting you forget that it was a fresh, young rose once upon a time, even in moments of its dark and potent decay. Additionally, I really fell in love with the drawing on the bottle, an almost tattoo-like contoured rose with a dagger going straight through it. Yes, to this rose I shall return! (perfume related tattoo? Now I’m thinking about that…hmmmm)
Time was running out, we had to leave the fair and go to the party, so what did I do next? Sprayed abundantly Kintsugi from the tester bottle all over any perfume-free skin left on me at the end of this very busy day: well, if I was going to their cocktail party, the least I could do is to dress appropriately and wear Kintsugi!
My friends did the same. This turned out to be very interesting because Kintsugi developed differently on our skin (we kept sniffing each other the whole evening: on Lukasz (aka Chemist In The Bottle) Magnolia seemed dominant, on Ana (aka Ana Y El Perfume) it was almost lemony-green, and on my skin patchouli dominant, the kind of soft, sweet, lovely, silky skin patchouli I’m happy to run into.
It was interesting to follow its development in time over quite a few Aperol Spritzes! Bonus: chatting and spending some time with Ermano Pico, perfume connoisseur, writer, and evaluator whom I admire (love his smile), here with Ricardo:
Nishane Party was something we were all waiting for: No Limits!
Mert Guzel and Murat Katran were presenting six new creations made by Cecile Zarokian – ANI, Chris Maurice – NEFS, MUSKANE, and FLORANE, Miguel Matos – UNUTAMAM and Jorge Lee – SAFRAN COLOGNISE!
This private party took place in a wonderful palazzo, perfumes were displayed, people gathered and chatted, but what impressed me the most was the moment when we all stood in silence, listening to a touching folk song Sari Gelin/Sari Gyalin (in Armenian) that took us to a place where ANI (memory in Turkish) is something that connects people…music, like perfumes – connects people!
I really look forward to exploring these perfumes thoroughly, this is just my first-sniff draft of Florane I wrote for Murat’s birthday, just recently:
Florane smells like pulpy bitter-fresh grapefruit, ripe cassis carelessly cut and served with vanilla spiced brown sugar cubes on a festive table decorated with dainty Lily-of-the-Valley and jasmine flowers floating above trails of soft hinoki and musks. It feels like spending a sunny Summer’s day afternoon in a beautifully kept green and lush garden with a simple wooden table and chairs set in the shade of a big tree – filled with scattered, randomly picked flowers in small glass vases, bowls of fresh fruit cut into cubes, cold creamy-powdery fluffy cakes, laughter and sharing with friends and family you love and joy of living!
Filippo Sorcinelli Brand
Epicentro Promotion Event
I love Filippo, you already know that. Last year it was but_not_today, this year he shook me up with Epicentro, a new perfume starting a new collection: Delire de Voyage.
You see, I remember. I remember terrible news coming from a small town of Bolognola, devastated by an earthquake hitting the Marche Region…leaving destruction as its aftermath, breaking buildings and hearts of the people.
What you might notice is this quite original bottle, round glass with the usual oversized cap looking like a piece of metallic silver rock. Details matter, so this bottle is placed in a black box and it moves and sways inside it. Furthermore, I noticed Filippo wearing a pendant, a part of this silver rock which you can detach and wear as a piece of art.
Notes are not disclosed, as usual, and I approve of this approach: wear it. Feel it. Listen to it. Interpret it in your own words and emotions…once you find them.
This time Filippo took us to the STRAF Hotel near Duomo, presenting a synesthetic installation to help us grasp all the aspects of this fragrance:
While I was looking, smelling and feeling, Filippo came to me and asked: What does it smell like to you? I was already very emotional: I know the smell of fear and destruction. I know it well.
I just said: “Epicentro smells metallic like cold sweat and human fear.” At first.
Bitter and sharp like a shock that takes the ground from under your feet in just a couple of seconds. Smokey, like the rubble of your home destroyed, covering all the material things you ever owned, ancient buildings that you took for granted, the life that you once had. With a touch of incense, radiating from the church in the middle of the village which no longer exists. Warm and sweet like relief that you and your dearest ones are alive. Quiet and skin-close musky like when you accept all your losses and fight to find traces of hope in your soul again and take one step at a time through all stages of loss and acceptance before you are even capable to start thinking about new beginnings. There’s a certain brightness in all this: a spark of new life…Thanks, Filippo: once again you made my eyes swell with tears, and my heart race faster! A full review is coming up!
That same evening we headed off to Duomo and had dinner at this rooftop restaurant overlooking it:
You’d think we had enough. No. Together with Chemist in the Bottle I went to La Rinascente Perfumery to check out their niche department.
And voila! Take a look at perfumes they offer, some exclusive ones only to be found in Milan:
No, it’s never enough!
I’m happy. I’ve found perfumes to write about in months to come. By closing up this Milan chapter, I already look forward to the new one: my registration for Pitti in September is submitted, and a nice and cozy apartment in Florence booked well in advance. Florence, oh, Florence is always a good idea!
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl, Esxence Official