Just a week ago I was making many thousands of steps a day during my first encounter with Beautyworld Middle East 2023 in Dubai. My eyes (and nostrils) were wide open, impressed, shocked, and amazed: the largest show in the region is still intensely on my mind. Let me take you on a tour of the fair, and share my impressions!
Dubai…a city that shines brightly and never sleeps. WTC Dubai was THE place to be, for more than 45000 visitors during three days of Beautyworld Middle East 2023, 1790 companies from 66 countries, and EVERYONE was there. This means all the existing perfumery raw materials houses, a plethora of perfume and cosmetics brands, big companies, and small ones, from all over the world.
If I were to start a perfume brand here and now, this fair would definitely be a must-visit. If I already had a perfume brand – I’d be there. If I wanted to learn more about regional brands (and I’ve always wanted that) – I’d be there. If I were a perfumer – I’d be there. If I were planning to visit Dubai – I’d be there!
In just a couple of words, Beautyworld Middle East 2023 was and is a large and impressive one-stop shop, offering it all. If you have ever wondered how big the perfume Industry really is – this fair makes you well aware of its proportions, but also of the size of the Middle East market.
For my readers and friends visiting Esxence in Milan, for example: imagine that fair x 10!
I’ve decided to take you for a walk around the fair, so let’s start from the beginning. Beautyworld Middle East 2023 took place at WTC Dubai, located close to the Museum of the Future.
There are quite a few hotels close to the fair, meaning walking distance is close – and Dubai wasn’t made for walking. The gates open at 10 AM, so after a really great breakfast and cappuccino I had at my hotel (25Hours Hotel) I would walk to the fair, passing by plumeria trees in full bloom!
Architecture is breathtaking, and Dubai is so photogenic that any photo you take anywhere looks instantly Instagram-happy and amazing.
Beautyworld Middle East 2023 was open to general public visitors, free of charge, and all you need to do is to register online to get your printable badge.
This is great, but considering the size and number of exhibitors I wanted to visit, maybe it would be even better if at least one day was B2B only! Or maybe, it’s just me: a first-timer.
One other thought I had after the first day is that it would be really good if it lasted a bit longer – maybe it’s because this was my first visit, and I was overwhelmed, maybe because the fair has grown compared to the last year, but I did leave with a feeling that four days would give me a better chance of covering even more events and 364 companies in the Perfume Sector of the fair.
Let’s walk together through these sectors: Quintessence – dedicated to niche perfume brands, International Country Pavillions (I’ll explain why), Fragrance Compounds and Finished Fragrance, run through Supply Chain and Services and Prestigepack, and I’ll share what I heard at Next in Beauty Conference area.
When you take a look at this photo, it all seems pretty simple, and that’s what I naively thought when I entered the fair. 12000 steps later, I realized that I’ve only scratched the surface.
QUINTESSENCE – THE ART OF PERFUME
This sector of Beautyworld Middle East 2023 is devoted to niche fragrances! Inside a bespoke, luxurious environment, showcasing 35 brands from all over the world (France, Qatar, India, Italy, Romania…) – a ballroom for niche perfumes, how appropriate!
This is where I’ve spent a good deal of day 1, and following brands were exhibiting: Scarucci (Hungary), Anatoline Perfume House (Turkiye), Areej Le Dore (Indonesia), Bois 1920 (Italy), Attar Al Has (Turkiye), Blue Vision Fragranze (Italy), Bortnikoff (Thailand), Eila (Turkiye), Elixir Signature Scents (India), Emperor Blue (UAE), Epico Parfum (Italy), Habibi New York (USA), Karakash Perfume (Turkiye), Len Fragrance (Switzerland), Maison Douze (France), Majouri (France), Memoirs Of A Perfume Collector (UK)
Nicheend Parfum (Turkiye), Monreale, Alendor Parfums (Germany), Omniscent Fragrances (UAE), OUDER PARFUMS by DOASTUDIO di Cafagna Giuseppe (Italy), Parfum de MAHZEN (Turkiye), Patek Maison (USA), Royal Glory Perfumes (UAE), Shauran Paris (Turkiye), Regalien Istanbul (Turkiye), Superz. Budapest (Hungary), TEAB ALATER (Qatar), Toskivat (Romania), Two Mark (Saudi Arabia), Unique’e Luxury, Very Important Notes (by the Arabian perfume house SARIB®), and Villa Erbatium (Korea).
I’ve discovered quite a few brands new to me and finally met with some brand owners I was already in touch with, and this is my first selection of perfumes/collections that caught my attention:
Created by perfumers Michel Almairac, Mark Buxton, and Mirella Pomina (8 fragrances) for the brand owner Jelena von Olnhausen, and focusing on love stories.
For the latest four launches, LEN worked with a group of young perfumers. In 2019 LEN’s creation JEUX DANGEREUX won a FiFi award in Germany (created by Almairac, and I rather liked this jasmine-rose-vanilla-centered fragrance). I do have samples, so I’ll test and wear more perfumes from the new collection, and let you know more.
I visited Toskovat to say hello – they did exhibit during Esxence Milan 2023, not long ago. David-Lev Jipa-Slivinschi told me that they are really doing well in the Gulf countries market, better than in Europe. You might already be familiar with this brand with quirky fragrance names, and my favorite is Annacamento (Eau-de-memoire collection, released in 2023), a creamy and smooth, refreshing and nicely fruity fragrance – this first-sniff choice of mine might be influenced by the hot weather outside the fair (+38C).
Maison de Noya (Omniscent Fragrances)
Now this was a totally new brand for me, and quite an interesting one. 8 fragrances created by 8 different perfumers were all launched in 2023, and I loved The Velvety Musk ( Grapefruit, Pineapple, Coffee, Cypress, Cardamom, Orris, Patchouli, Dry Woods, Vanilla, Tobacco, Leather) – so smooth and soft! Nice presentation, too.
Maison de Noya is based in Dubai, and it was for me one of the most interesting discoveries at Beautyworld Middle East 2023.
Three new fragrances were shown, blended specially for Beautyworld Middle East 2023: Dream, Rich, and Marrakesh (loved the Marrakesh!) plus the announcement of a new collection being prepared – so keep your eyes and noses open and ready!
Areej le Dore
I just had to stop by, say hello to Russian Adam, smell and spray on my skin – especially Civet de Nuit, created by Sultan Pasha. And what a beauty this is! It’s retro, it’s twisted, it’s sensual, and it’s swirling around – giving high five to classics.
Color me Bleue and impressed! I was happy to be finally able to try it! This fragrance is not a song, it’s a symphony!
While chatting, I was also given a deer musk pod (the real thing) to take a sniff: while the wet animal side of it didn’t surprise me, once you get past it, it turns heavily musky with undertones of – chocolate. Or, better said, cocoa, like when you open a new bag of Nesquick.
Anfasic Dokhoon / Emovation Lab.
Visiting this stand allowed me to create my own perfume. The process consisted of choosing one among four ready-made fragrance blends, and then further blending/layering it during two additional steps.
The final result is actually smoothly blended and nice, this was fun, and a great interactive addition to the show.
Fragrance Compounds and Finished Fragrance
Moving out of the ballroom where niche fragrances were, it was quite shocking to enter Sheikh Saeed Hall right across the narrow passage. Not only one hall but Sheikh Saeed halls – one, two, and three! My steps counter went berserk.
Things immediately got big, luxurious, and impressive – I don’t know if my photos do justice to show you just how huge some of the stands there were! All right, big players had big stands, but still…I was impressed: 35 companies in the Compounds category only!
This asks for a separate Report, but let me walk you through this section briefly: EVERYONE was here, MANE, Symrise, Givaudan, IFF, Eurofragrance, Iberchem, Argeville, CPL Aromas, Firmenich, Moellhausen, C de la Niche (Christian Carbonell) etc etc etc! I believe that going thoroughly through this sector only would take me three days, from 10-18!
New captive materials, bases, off-the-shelf compositions featuring these materials – they were out to impress with everything they can do, and in different categories! Now, that was overwhelming (again)! Maybe I’ll get used to it next year, or at least I hope so. You can only imagine the size of the market all these companies are aiming at.
I ran into Julien Rasquinet, visited the CPL Aromas booth first, and witnessed a great presentation, involving – cocktails! The coffee and rose one was my choice!
Along with the big players, there were many smaller raw materials suppliers, like BLH France for example – distributors of Firmenich, Symrise, IFF, Bedoukian, etc, naturals and synths, with no minimum purchase quantity (min 50 EUR).
I also liked Luzi (Switzerland, fine fragrance, cosmetics, household, and industrial products producer) – if you like gourmand fragrances, this presentation surely tingled all the sweet spots!
It would be strange to roam around Beautyworld Middle East 2023 and not run into – oudh! I’ve never seen more oudh in one place, chips, gallons of chips, branches, nearly complete moldy trees, coming from China, India, Vietnam, and I think all the possible places on Earth where there’s agarwood. Oils too, ranked by age, location, quality, and price, and this felt like being in Oudh heaven!
Ambergris as well – just take a look at this piece!
I also visited some luxury brands and was surprised by Dubai-based Rasasi and their newest collection presented to me by Asma Siraj Kalsekar. She also spoke to me about heritage, younger audiences, and the ancient art of layering fragrances.
This collection is constructed in a way that each and every fragrance can (or not) be layered with each other, all fragrances are unisex, and very different from the standard and well-known fragrances in their portfolio.
Seven new fragrances in seven colors, with a message and a meaning behind them – AURA Collection is all about making your aura shine, well-being, individuality, and personalization. Since this was a soft launch, I don’t think these are available online yet, but I’m certain that you’ll be able to sample them soon.
I enjoyed wearing Trust – the bright yellow one, with beautiful citruses in the opening, sharp and bitter, developing smoothly and effortlessly into a silky cloud of tender florals and musks – with an exceptional staying power. I will give these more wearing on the skin, and tell you more about the Aura collection.
Moving further and deeper into the Finished Fragrance sector, I stumbled upon clone houses. I called this part “Empire of Clones & Dupes”, and this is exactly what it was – numerous brands offering dupes, clones, copies, you name it,
I was surprised by how large this segment of the market is. At one booth I was handed a catalog, listing 800 dupe fragrances offered – and that’s not all folks! – if you can’t find what you’re looking for, just say so – and they’ll make it. I had better things to see/smell/visit, but if you’re into clone fragrances – there you go.
I walked through the Beautyworld Middle East 2023 Supply Chain and Services, and the Prestigepack sector, and this was fascinating too – a universe of bags and pouches, perfume bottles, sprayers, labels, primary and secondary packaging, and equipment!
Pavilions by Countries
Moving on to the next array of halls – featuring beauty and fragrance products by countries! This was interesting to me because some perfume brands, that would normally belong to the niche category, were exhibiting under their countries’ flags – simply because their presence at the Beautyworld Middle East 2023 was co-financed.
This part of the exhibition was also huge – I managed to find Jorum Studio (UK section), and smell their Bespoke creations – in case you didn’t know, they do provide bespoke fragrance creation too. Then I wanted to reach sector France – and got lost in China, impressed by the size of Korea, dazzled by India, so it took me more than half an hour to reach my destination. I’m aware that I probably missed visiting some brands, but as I’ve already noted – it is humanly impossible for one person to cover the whole Beautyworld Middle East 2023, and we’re talking about fragrance-related sectors only!
I stray – moving back to Beautyworld Middle East 2023 halls and sections by countries, and France: there was, among all those sophisticated beauty products, this incredibly sweet niche fragrance brand called Maison Sambin with three perfumes (for now) in their Yoruba collection – Shango, Oya, and Osun.
Name Sambin originates from a French town located in the department of Loir-et-Cher, in the Centre-Val de Loire region but this is also an African commune located in the province of Bazėga in the Centre-Sud region of Burkina Faso. The founder is also Sambin: Erold Sambin-Penhard, an ex-rugby player.
Oya, with notes of Eucalyptus, Bergamot, Aldehyde, Mint, Marine Note, Davana, Apple, Cardamom, Patchouli, Cinnamon, Amyris Base, White Musk, Amber, Elemi, and Licorice was my favorite at a first sniff – again, please note that I might be influenced by outside temperature in Dubai, and seeking for fresher fragrances, but Oya is lovely.
Very refreshing, slightly tropical, marine in traces – misty-marine, with a bite of Cardamom and light and fluffy musks. Easy to wear and very enjoyable!
Next in the Beauty Conference
I managed to attend two events, one of which was a panel:
Building sustainable bridges in perfumery: Grasse expertise meets GCC for sourcing, production, and knowledge transfer, with speakers – Emma Barber – Director, Dgrade, Carole Biancalana – Founding member of the association Les Fleurs d’Exception du Pays de Grasse, Perfume Plant Producer, Domaine De Manon, Julien Maubert – CSO, Robertet Group, Ali Junaid – Owner, Junaid Perfumes, Xavier Blaizot – CEO, PCW France.
It was lovely to meet with Xavier (who came back home with a large lump of ambergris), Carole (whose roses I always wanted to pick), and Julien Maubert who told the participants that Robertret is installing a factory in Saudi Arabia, to process Taif rose, Galbanum, Juniper, Frankincense and other raw materials – in 2024.
Ali Junaid spoke about the need to reinvent heritage, implement sustainability, and support creativity and originality.
This was something I often heard, openly or between the lines, while chatting with my new fragrance family members from the Gulf states. THIS!!! I hope to see more of THIS!
You can also find my report about the Beautyworld Middle East 2023 Awards here.
There was..more. Much more. Prepare for my occasional flashbacks, more info about Beautyworld Middle East 2023 and fragrances, funny things that happened in Dubai (Nick Gallivant, visiting and on his way to -guess where – Abu Dhabi, of course, was right about our dinner together: What happens in Dubai – stays in Dubai!), including sightseeing, souks, spices and food impressions.
And…there was more. I met wonderful artisan perfumers from the Gulf region, true fragrance lovers, passionate about their work and perfume – as an art form. Talking about heritage, sustainability, and originality. The future is bright. You guys know who you are!
I am grateful to the whole Beautyworld Middle East 2023 team for having me in Dubai, and congratulations on a great job! See you next year in Dubai!
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