One day at Esxence 2023 in Milan. Five hours. Hundreds of greetings, hugs, and fragrances. More than 300 perfume brands, with many new ones exhibiting for the first time.
Mission impossible?
Let me share with you how much can be covered in a single day!

It’s always hectic for a single person. Navigating such a large-scale fair is a challenge, and Esxence 2023 was truly overwhelming. Tip: better not use a step counter, it would go crazy!
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.

Esxence 2023 MiCo Milan
An early bird view of Esxence Gate 16, MiCo Milan. Time to be Iridescent!

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:


Hormone Paris stand Esxence 2023

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 Perfume

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.


Byzantine Amber Francesca Bianchi

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…


J-Scent perfumes

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 Osmanthus

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 Retrouvé stand

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!


Dusita Rosarine perfume

Oh, what a joy! The best news of Esxence 2023, and I’m not talking about perfume!
I was waiting for a rose-themed addition to the Dusita collection, dreaming about something like the rose accord in my love of all loves – Oudh Infini, and here it is! Rosarine EdP, meaning “queen of roses”, in all its glory. An ode to May Roses, it will launch on May 23, 2023.
Rosarine is simply beautiful, and if you are a rose lover like I am, I’m certain you will adore it as much as I do. It’s a double-faced rose, one side exhibiting fruity and green notes, and the other side is dark chocolate-patchouli infused – not a gourmand, but a deep, deep, finely blended, and quite elegant rose interpretation.
Coreterno FREAKINCENSE Perfume
Luca Maffei has been very active this year, it seems, and here is his new perfume created for quirky Coreterno. I love the name – Freakincense! If you are expecting frankincense, yes, that’s about it, but in a peppery, cool way.
Refreshing frankincense in the opening, sparkly with red pepper and cold spices, gradually turns into a warmer composition – very smooth, vetiver-labdanum softness, but keeping the bursts of sparkles in its depths. Interesting and amusing.
I was really looking forward to smelling the new UERMI – first of all, it’s Luca Maffei again, and secondly, I was intrigued by just how this perfume interprets this rebellious, inspirational, and vibrant period.
And it’s a blast of oranges and yellows in the opening, hot and cold spices, vibrant chocolate which seems so natural and flows easily alongside patchouli, holding hands and kissing in the open air.
The mood is set a-haa, and I like it – a non-gourmand gourmand, joyful and slightly dangerous, it’s fun, and it’s festive!
Rosae Virtus Perfumes
One of my best discoveries of Esxence 2023! I’m so happy that I spent some time at their stand, listening to the inspiration behind the line and perfumes – but as you can see, it’s all about roses, in different seasons. There’s Spring Rose, Summer Rose, Autumn Rose, and my first-sniff favorite Winter Rose – Rosa Hiemalis.
Therefore, we have the spring rose La Rosa di Maggio, the festive golden rose with champagne La Rosa d’Oro, the autumn rosehip with dark flowers La Rosa Ruvida, and the Chinese winter rose under the hoarfrost La Rosa Ghiacciata. I loved this idea, so dear rose lovers – keep your eyes open for this new, Italian fragrance brand.
Rosa Hiemalis features an accord of a frosted rose, Old Blush Chinese rose(Rosa chinensis), icy and cool in the opening, but the perfumer bonds this lovely and tender, mild rose with Narcissus, gently transitioning to Spring.  Beautiful, and I will write more about these fragrances.
Nissaba Perfumes
Yet another wonderful discovery of Esxence 2023! Nissaba – a new Swiss-based perfume brand, with a great approach to helping farming communities, and advocating the use of naturals – they mean it, and they are doing it.
Nissaba is an ancient Sumerian grain goddess and the patron of writing. Fragrances in the current collection are: Grande Ile, Sulawesi, Chaco (the forest in Latin America), and Tierra Maya – each one is named after a specific location from which specific raw materials are sourced. It all makes perfect sense, and their fragrances are lovely – make sure to check them out here, and I’ll be writing much more about them sometime soon.
These are my first fragrant impressions from Esxence 22023 – and there’s more!
Stay tuned for Part II – Exhibitions, Off Esxence 2023 experiences, and exclusive interviews with Jean-Claude Ellena (featuring Laboratorio Olfattivo), Patrice Revillard, and Jean-Christophe Hérault (for Jacques Fath)!
Jean Claude Ellena at Esxence 2023
Monsieur Jean Claude Ellena – and Elena!
A lot can be done even in one day, five hours at Esxence 2023! Let me know if I did well.
The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic
Photos: Elena Cvjetkovic

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