Gold and scented pixie dust!

Just a week ago we were impatiently heading towards the Esxence fair in Milan, in anticipation of all it has to offer…ah! Sweet and fragrant memories!

I would like to share with you my impression and personal experience of visiting the 10th Esxence – The Scent of Excellence Fair in Milan 2018- for the first time.

The Plum Girl blog started just around a year and a half ago, so this was a kind of debut for me. First impressions about the fair itself? Here it goes, I give you a survival guide for Esxence:


A fair? I would rather call it an exclusive exhibition of the finest niche perfumes. The 10th edition of Esxence – The Scent of Excellence in Milan made sure that you feel like you are entering a sacred place when walking inside The Mall building. The Mall is located on Lina Bo Bardi square. She was an Italian born, Brasilian modernist architect, famed also for her furniture and jewelry design.

The contrast of a bright sunlit April day and the entrance hall dressed in black, featuring Esxence 10 years sign (gold!) accentuated the perfect Insta photo hot spot:

This black and gold combination, together with spaghetti curtains did its job. Like in all temples, you must walk through a niche or grotto before you enter the shrine itself.


I went down the hole. Ops! there goes my meticulously drafted plan of the first-day visit- poof! in air. Scented air. A lot of scents filling the air. I lost it, right then and there. A slight panic attack. I had just stepped out of my car after seven hours of driving, parked and plunged straight into heaven!

My thoughts: ok. I can do this. Just start slowly, from the left side and take it from there…you’ve got time before scheduled meetings…yap.

Feeling like Alice in Wonderland. Crazy Ice Age squirrel in a barrel of nuts!

Such an abundance! Any niche perfumes geek’s dream come true…

This is a world where most of the business cards are scented, “juice” doesn’t refer to a diet drink, sniffing is not an illegal activity and spriz…well, it’s not Aperol Spritz. Not here.

The first day was meant to give me an insight and full coverage of terrain, on the second and third day I executed previously planned visits and meetings and Sunday was just a quick recap. I did make a mistake: being too overwhelmed, I mostly forgot to take photos. Which is fine, really, because I focused on meeting people, sniffing, sampling, networking and having very interesting conversations. Next time I’ll fail better…

Special thanks to Meganmeganinsaintmaxime and JakubPersefume! They are ever so kind, helpful and sharing. As Megan said when I thanked her: “Someone helped me on my first visit to Esxence. I am helping you. You will help someone as well. Isn’t that wonderful?”


You have a chance of meeting and talking to some of the most renowned people behind the perfumes you love! Art Directors, Noses, Creative Directors or Perfumers.

It gets even better when you don’t connect names and faces (I am a lousy perfumer/Nose groupie), this happened to me twice in Milan. Yep, I am learning from my mistakes. Even so, that turned out to be really cool because I was really relaxed while having a conversation with those two VIP’s (half an hour later, when I connected the dots, I was like: okeeey. Aha.)

This wonderful man I did recognize at once. I am a big fan of Aedes de Venustas and their new perfume is one that I fell in love with immediately!

Ralf Schwieger::: Perfumer (he doesn’t really like to be called a Nose…) and Musc Encense! for Aedes de Venustas. The list of perfumes he signs is quite impressive. I enjoyed our little chit-chat ❤️

Luca Maffei – sparkling personality, patience in presenting and renowned creativity, at Olibere Parfumes press launch:

If you are following my FB account, you can find more photos (the ones I managed to take – prepare yourself for the next Esxence) 🙂


The first day I wore heels for an hour. Spare flats were a relief. On the second day, flats were fully in action. Third and fourth day? Business Casual with -sneakers (I seldom wear sneakers if not practicing adequate sports activities…). Be gentle to your feet: you have 200+ stands to cover, starting at 10 AM until 5 PM …and all the fun doesn’t stop there.


Smile, sincerely. You are in heaven, after all.

Wait patiently for your turn at stands to talk to brand representatives. Schedule your meetings.

Network proactively.

We are all here because of perfumes, right? Enjoy them!

Use wardrobe services. I dislike walking around with a bunch of bags in my hands. It’s not practical and I don’t think it’s polite to drag heaps of promo materials from one stand to another.


Note to Organiser: Chapeau! You did a wonderful job!

Thank you, Agnese from the Press Office for having patience with me: hug!

Note to Exhibitors:

Feedback: (as one of my friends, a public speaking coach, likes to say: feedback is feedback. There’s no feedback to feedback. The purpose of feedback is to improve things!)

First, allow me to say that in my corporate days I did create, organize and manage quite a few stands on international fairs and trade shows. On the other side of the stand, as an Exhibitor, so I pretty much know what I am talking about.

I met truly amazing, wonderful and helpful people who treated my Press accreditation with respect and did a great job in representing brands. Thank you!

On the other hand, a few brand representatives’ behaviors can only be described as simply rude, uninterested, arrogant and haughty.

As a coach, I see possibilities for your improvement, guys. Do prepare yourself for fairs and trade shows.Train/coach your brand representatives or hosts/hostesses. It pays back. Yes, things get busy, yes, it is tiresome to take care of a stand all day long, day in, day out and talk to hundreds of people asking thousand of questions, but – hey! This is brand building at it’s most direct form. Besides being press people, we are – customers as well, right?

First impressions are made in 7 seconds and last for a very, very long time. Do mind that bloggers and press people exchange their impressions and that a repeated faux pas might really affect your brand reputation. Do you boast about your brand’s core values? Live them. It’s called authenticity.


Esxence makes this world a better place.

It is truly an amazing, international display of fine perfumery at it’s best! Such a whirlwind of amazing fragrances. I highly recommended it! If I might help you next time I’m there – just let me know!

I am thankful for meeting so many simply wonderful people! That is the greatest benefit. Secondly, I did take home some new perfumes to review, for you! Some more should arrive by post, so this will provide material for more reviews for you to read!

Just follow #theadventuresofacuriousnose!

P.S. On one of the stands, their brand representative told me that I am a Meryl Streep look-alike. Maybe I am, but apart from looks I also share this statement:

“I no longer have the patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship, I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience”. -Meryl Streep

See, I didn’t write about perfumes at all 🙂

Will do, will do, soon…

See you next year in Milan!

The Plum Girl

Photos: ThePlumGirl, Olibere Parfums (Luca Maffei)


(I used storytelling drama structure principle, based on Aristotle’s “Poetics”)

The Plum Girls goes to Esxence!

All the lucky stars have aligned themselves in a perfect constellation and yes, I will be there! Finally.
With a little help from my friends, I plan to conquer The Mall 😀

I solemnly swear to share all the adventures of my very curious nose with you, as much as I can, all I can. I will post on Instagram for instant insights, FB live for live events and take notes for more detailed blogs to follow!

Some peek previews and expected debuts are already given out by Persefume, the Media Partner of Esxence, as teaser info:
New Neela Vermeire Creations, Parfums Paris fragrances, Olibere Parfums with three new extraits and a new line: Les Insoummises – the “Romance Collection” comprising of four Eau de Parfums inspired by four romantic movie characters -will have an official debut at Esxence! Atelier des Ors also told me something new is brewing!

Since I am having an official debut at Esxence as well, I just hope to cover as much ground as I possibly can in these four days!

Let’s start now, two weeks from the official fair start, with some general information:

Esxence – The Scent of Excellence: Milan, 5-8. April 2018.
Facts&Figures 2017. (Esxence was named „Garden of Eden“):

– 212 Exhibitors
– 7410 Visitors&Operators, from all over the World
– 30% Italian brands, 70% international brands (out of which 60% from France)
– 5000 m2 exhibitors’ space in The Mall

Esxence, celebrating its tenth edition, is now internationally acknowledged as the world’s leading event devoted to artistic perfumery. In ten years, Esxence has contributed to writing some crucial pages of history that only artistic perfumery, whose roots delve deep into nature and its priceless raw materials, is capable of translating into notes with the potential to capture all our senses.

Esxence is not just another trade fair. In fact, it is not a trade fair at all: it is the moment when all the elite of the sector – perfume houses, noses, connoisseurs, researchers, buyers, specialists, distributors, professionals and aficionados – get together in Milan in the name of the most authentic, refined olfactory culture. Esxence is the quintessential international stage: it is here that all the new ideas are launched every year… and it is at this incubator of talent that new brands and young people want to take their first steps, knowing that they are showing themselves to the leading names in the field.

More than 200 perfume houses – both well-established ones and newcomers – will be present at Esxence directly or via their distributors, representing the excellence of the international artistic perfumery sector. These brands have passed the hurdle of strict selection by the Technical Committee – eight anonymous experts, plus a president – based on the quality of their olfactory suggestions, the criteria of their distribution and the match between their concept and the world of creative perfumery, pursuing the aim of giving visibility to excellent quality and offering visitors none but brands that express great respect for the art of perfumery. As a consequence of this painstaking, detailed selection process, Esxence is in a position to offer its visitors an excellent array of interests for new business and discoveries every year, confirming Milan’s role as the world’s artistic perfumery capital. On the one hand, there are the Main Brands, names that have long had a stable presence in the market (40% of the brand list), while on the other Esxence fulfills its function as an insightful scout in its sector, drawing up a list of new proposals, dubbed ‘Spotlights’ (60% of the total), the best of the emerging new brands. This significant factor confirms the Milan event as the most prestigious setting for venturing forth officially onto the international stage. Foreign brands in fact account for 70%, most of them coming from the rest of Europe, although some also come from the United States and the Middle East, once again illustrating the salon’s international leadership and vocation.

With determination, Esxence pursues the objective of giving visibility to excellence, through high-level requirements based on quality and coherence, which perfectly represent the Art of Perfumery and its creativity.

In addition, it is committed to welcoming other expressive forms of quality in fields such as, Home Fragrance, Toiletries, Cosmetics, and Make-Up, which have creative and distributive affinities with Niche Signature Perfumery.

Esxence aims to become an international and solid reference point over time for all of the brands who stand out for the quality of their offerings, marketing choices, and their distinctive distribution of Niche Signature Perfumery.
The aim of Esxence is to create a meeting opportunity for the producers of Artistic Perfumery, therefore only the parent companies are authorized to exhibit.

Workshops, analyses of new markets and new trends and debates about progress made and challenges to be faced will all feature international experts, authors of important publications and magazines, researchers and scholars.

Lastly, for the fourth year running, Esxence will host the announcement of the finalists in the Art & Olfaction Awards, the prestigious Los Angeles-based award for independent artistic perfumery. ”

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook! I will do my best to bring Esxence in all it’s excellence closer to you and to provide an insider’s view on a daily basis!

Esxence 2018 BRAND LIST

Source: Esxence 2018 Press Release
Photos: Esxence Press Material