I plunged in head over heels, and here are my best first impressions I’d like to share with you. There’s more – bonuses are coming up!
Call me crazy, but amidst a personal crisis, I decided to spend ONE DAY at Esxence 2023. I needed to fuel my batteries, I desperately needed hugs from my fragrant family, and I needed the beauty of perfume as an art form to soothe my soul.
Let me walk you through my discoveries of Esxence 2023 during this brief stay! I apologize to all the brands, perfumers, brand owners, and dear friends I didn’t manage to meet, hug or just say hello to: there was so much I wanted to do, and so little time.
Trends? During such a short stay I couldn’t single one trend out, so I would say it felt like diversity is the main trend. And although climatization was working at warp speed in the morning hours, later in the afternoon the inevitable and invisible thick clouds of Ambermax and similars seemed to roll in unstoppable waves toward the entrance. So, yes, the strong and everlasting power fragrance trend is still very present, and still not losing its firm footage – even in collections of tenderly budding new perfume brands. Lesser it is, but still present.
We can start the quick tour around the fair with the Esxence 2023 Spotlight Brands section, featuring new and emerging brands. Some of them were so new that they didn’t even have a functional website, others had no perfume samples packed for the fair, and some came fully prepared and eager to make an impact. These are the ones I managed to single out:
I somehow missed or skipped trying them up to now. I like the idea, the concept, bottles, and names (the line is called Molecules and it consists of 7 perfumes – Oxytocin, Gaba, Adrenaline, Dopamine, Kisspeptin, Serotonin, and Endorphin), and that was the main reason why I wanted to know/smell more.
One or two resemble certain popular fragrances at a first sniff, and amber-y/cashmere/musk bases are present, persistent, and in some fluffy.
If I had to pick one only, that would be Gaba, the newest release – the hormone of calm, or Gamma-aminobutyric acid. It opens with a burst of freshness, moves into the musky, fluffy, and calming direction, and settles down in a nest of soft woods.
Gaba is linear in development and easy to wear. It matches the name and meaning, and feels calming, with a soft and gentle texture.
HEDONIK – OBSESSIVE DEVOTION (by Francesca Bianchi)
I received a sample of Obsessive Devotion from Francesca Bianchi months ago, and I was thrilled! The second fragrance in her Hedonik collection is revolving around Champaca, interpreted in Fra’s way, and what a good way it is.
It’s dark, it’s funky, it’s sensually fruity, and floral, and it takes you to places where you want to drink, dance, breathe, and live, but also stretch out moving slowly, in a feline way. A big YES to Champaca done this (unusual) way! Call me devoted and obsessed, in a good way.
FRANCESCA BIANCHI – BYZANTINE AMBER
Yes, I got a sample of this new release some time ago, wore it, enjoyed it – and haven’t reviewed it yet – but I just had to stop by and make this my SOTD of the first Esxence 2023 day!
The third release in a series dedicated to raw materials, Byzantine Amber is not only a personal and emotional interpretation of the famous accord, but a poem written in gold, comfort, light, and shadows, and a feeling of inner calm turning into relaxed sensuality. The kind of Amber I want to keep spraying on, and on, and on…
This is a brand I really wanted to get to know better. Made in Japan, developing themes of traditional Japanese fragrances, with nice and clean lines of presentation – all this felt interesting. I did try three fragrances at their stand (Soft Skin, Sumo Wrestler, and Honey and Lemon), and all seemed finely blended, sotto voce perfumes.
Alas, they had no samples (I truly fail to understand this approach to exhibiting at a perfume fair like Esxence 2023), so I’m left with first impressions only, for the time being. Interesting and different, do try them if you get a chance.
As I recall, I liked Sumo Wrestler at first sniff, it moves with notes of orange, eucalyptus, anise, heliotrope, violet, orange flower, labdanum, sandalwood, patchouli, and jasmine. They also presented Aurantium Jasmine – with jasmine and pomegranate, a new fragrance, and again, there were no samples so I can’t dive in deeper.
Their fragrances shall soon be available on the EU market, and I hope that will change.
LE JARDIN RETROUVE – OSMANTHE LIU YUAN
Esxence 2023 was a great chance to meet again with Clara and Michael Gutzatz, and I was looking forward to trying the newest addition to their line of perfumes, Osmanthe Liu Yuan, composed by Maxence Moutte who tried to capture the essence of a Southern Chinese garden. This is an EdP, tender and shiny, with a lovely apricot accord and just a touch of orris to shift it into the soft suede direction.
Le Jardin Retrouve’s stand was one of the most original and artistic ones, with lovely decorations full of extraordinary details, created by Cristian Marianciuc – known as @icarus.mid.air on IG. Please check out his work, it is amazing!
PARFUMS DUSITA – ROSARINE
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