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“In the beginning there was earth, wood, stone, metal and leather…”

These are the primal elements according to Mr. Bertrand Sonnier, owner of this artisan perfumes company for twenty years. The work of Jardine de France began more than 100 years ago in Amboise: still manufacturing, still featuring an in-house perfumer – Justine Brivet, always giving tribute to Burgundy/Bourgogne, the heart of France – a magic place with a long and proud history.

Jardin de France is all about tradition, authenticity, craftsmanship and the quality of raw materials.

Sources d’Origine Collection features Terre Initale, a woody-aromatic-fruity tribute to Mother Earth, Bois Premier – a woody-spicy-green ode to ancient woods and primordial trees, Pierre Originelle – a woody-spicy-powdery fragrance, Metal Absolu – a woody-aldehyde-spicy perfume and Cuir Eternel – oriental-woody-leather eau de parfum.

Some months ago I received two samples of new Sources d’Origine perfumes. They did present them at ESXENCE Milano earlier this year, I remembered. The package was interesting. Simple glass vial samples. No perfume notes written, no inspirational text, no interpretations or suggestions: just fragrances and a note saying that these two will complete the collection in September 2018. I like that, that’s how I prefer to meet new perfume: in my own time, exploring it and listening to its fragrant story. Giving the perfume a chance to speak for itself.

Primal elements. When I think about primal elements, I automatically think about the ancient concept of the famous 4: earth, water, air and fire. All ancient cultures had their lists, trying to understand and explain the world surrounding them, paving way for modern science.

Another association: scenes from the Luc Besson movie “The Fifth Element”! I think we all remember the Diva/Plavalaguna song!

Which leads me to say: with perfumes, WE are the fifth element! 

Air. What does air actually smell like? Air itself has no smell. Well, it does to you, regardless of what chemists say. Yes, it is odorless – odors we feel are produced by airborne particles released by things in the environment around us.

It all depends on your perception, place where you live, your surroundings and olfactory impressions. It might smell like fresh grass, wildlands, seaside, woods somewhere high up in mountains, mornings just before snow falls or moments after rainfall. You might already have your set of associations due to all the perfumes with “Air” in their name you ever smelled, too.

Fire. What does fire smell like? The fire itself has no smell, but things it burns give it smell we feel. If you try to imagine or recall the smell of fire, what will you feel? The scent of dry wood burning in the fireplace, paper vanishing in flames, rubber in clouds of smoke, autumn leaves, mrryh or tobacco: some are pleasant, some not…

Your perception. The olfactory impressions you gathered in your life. They matter.

Your skin, mood, feelings. 

An olfactory impression of fire and air? You are the fifth element defining it!

Let me tell you more about these two fine perfumes: I feel that Jardin de France really should be mentioned more! Sometimes it seems to me that the same names, houses, and perfumes are constantly talked about, and some really fine perfumes almost neglected, not given enough attention.

I think Jardin de France deserves it and these were my impressions after several wearings:

AIR ELEMENTAL

Well, this will certainly make you stop thinking “fresh and light” when you see “air” in the name of perfume in the future! This air is breathing heavy, like wet earth during a storm! Thunder and lightning and that sensation when you are looking at a storm approaching, even before it starts to rain. You see dark clouds moving in, the wind rises, thunder is rumbling above your head yet it feels so good to sit beside an open window and breathe this moment in before lightning bolts scare you and heavy raindrops start hitting on the window glass. This potent rumbling of thyme with pepper notes is pleasing but what I find most enjoyable is this tuberose -ginger relationship! I will say this now: whatever. Forget the notes list and just follow your feeling! The opening felt impressive, but let me reassure you: the smooth and hugging amber dry-down will soothe your soul.

The Perfumer’s Note: “If the creation of an air-themed perfume was obvious, we wanted to take the opposite of the fresh and light air that everyone expected to create an intense and powerful “air” which astonishes and disturbs”.

Notes: Bergamot, Thyme, Pepper – Tuberose, Ginger – Patchouly, Amber

FEU PRIMITIF

Very uplifting at the beginning, a wake me up call, quite sparkling. Later on, it becomes quieter in a very refined way, and I can’t explain why it feels like Indian Summer to me: there’s warmth and there’s coldness. Rose is felt in the air, with a surprise: you cannot see roses in your garden anymore, it’s too late in the year for that, yet that makes you enjoy even more the one you bought this morning at your local florist’s. This rose is big, pink, and just when you are placing it in a vase you can feel a small whiff of its scent. That makes you feel good as you look at it, hoping it will last for more than a couple of days.

Incense dances slowly around it, swirling in the background, a back vocal on a small and intimate stage, like a thin, silver, functional picture frame. What I feel is a deliberate play with light and shadows, bitterness and sweetness, finely blended with evidently high-quality ingredients.

The Perfumer’s Note: “Timut Pepper is used for its frank and fresh attack that perfectly illustrates the bright and sparkling element that I wanted to create. I also tried to break the codes of incense in order to get away from the sacred aspect that is often associated with it.”

Notes: Timut Pepper, Orange, Elemi- Black Tea, Rose – Incense, Cypress, Cedar of Virginia

These two new additions to Le Jardin de France’s Sources d’Origine Collection are presented at Pitti Fragranze 2018:

These two new additions will be available from October 2018. You can find their chosen retailers on Jardin de France website!

Do take a look at my Instagram account: I will report from Florence! My Pitti Report will follow as well.

Elena Cvjetkovic

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl archive, Le Jardin de France

Samples: Provided by Le Jardin de France, opinions of my own.

Disclaimer


“So, what exactly are you writing about?”a friend asked me directly. “With so many great perfumes coming up in a year, what’s all that niche buzz?” And more: “If my sales lady at the XY store knows all about the newest perfumes, why would I need you?” and “Niche? That sounds so snobbish to me!” I love questions, there’s no wrong question. This conversation greatly helped me with QandA’s for my blog: here are some of the A’s:

The word niche is becoming very present: niche perfume brands have grown in number and in the past few years, their constant growth lessening the market share of mainstream brands, has risen rapidly: 60% since 2005. Which, of course, means that mainstream brands made less money. When you think about billions of the Euro’s worth of a pie, oh yes! – niche is cutting seriously in it.

When did all this niche jazz start? Actually, you may say that niche perfumes existed long before mass production: kings and queens had their olfactory signatures, their own specially designed formulas. Nowadays, you don’t have to be royalty to have your very own special perfume. I think that niche is a counter action to mass, the result of the growing population of olfactory connoisseurs after the economic shock of 2008. and focus on individuality. As with, for example, wine, chocolate or coffee, consumers are now increasingly keen to learn about composition and provenance, fair trade included.

Definition(s)

The Fragrance Foundation (TFF, NY) once categorized fragrances as “niche” or “mainstream” based on the number of doors they were supported in (that is, the number of retail outlets stocking a specific scent or brand). This would generally mean that the majority of scents you find in large retail franchises and department stores are classed as mainstream or “designer” scents, such as those launched by fashion houses.

The Fragrance Foundation now categorizes Niche Fragrances as Indie Fragrances, the smaller, successful, entrepreneurial brands not supported by a large company. The Foundation defines an Indie brand as “one that has been on the market for at least two years and is distributed in 1 to 25 doors.”

Niche perfumes provide an interesting and special kind of scent that is difficult to find, using higher concentrations of perfume extracts. Yes, they usually come with a high(er) price but nevertheless, perfume lovers find great value in every drop. You also might say that the purpose of niche perfumes is to tell a story and evoke memories through scents.

Basic niche brands principles: 

– They have own perfumer in charge of the fragrances of the house, just like it used to be.

– A selective approach to the distribution of products: no mainstream retail stores.

– No advertising, apart from chosen magazine articles and interviews with prominent media. Independent bloggers are welcome. For them, a good reputation is the best way to promote their perfumes.

One step further…

Niche, indie or artisan? I don’t want to confuse you, but here comes more terminology:

Niche: everything that is not a designer. Niche originally implied something different than what you find at department stores, but the term has become less meaningful as the niche market has exploded.

Indie: niche, but are smaller, independently owned brands.

Artisan: A subset of indie that refers to brands that produce artisan-made products – artisan means handmade, in-house. The best artisan products are original and creative, and they contain a piece of the creator, a touch of the artist’s hand. Creators matter.

Why Niche? 

Niche people often argue that boutique perfumes offer the consumer the opportunity to reward oneself with a scent that is both uncommon and individual. Many might reason that niche equates to quality; in that greater attention to detail has been given to the construction of the perfume, and that components are of the highest caliber. Many prefer to pay more for the privilege of not smelling like someone’s ex-husband or mother-in-law… Also, they want to know the person behind their perfume, the artist of scents, the composer. Last but not least: the point is to express yourself.

Why Designer? 

The designer brands also have an edge. What they lack in terms of exclusivity, they make up for in price and mass appeal – the consumer buying into the lifestyle that these designer brands represent. More and more designer brands are creating their own niche brands. In some of their high-end boutiques, you can also use the services of a personal fragrance adviser.

What’s In It For You?

As consumers, we win. Not only do we have full access to our designer scents in any and every mall, but niche perfumes, thanks to the internet, are now becoming more accessible.

Salespeople are getting more and more perfume-educated. To sell. Designer brands provide them with precise how-to instructions, which is great. But what advisers like me do is something different. Personal. Holistic.

I believe that your fragrance is an expression of who you are, your personality, your feelings, passions, emotions and how you present yourself to the world.

The Plum Girl
Photo: © Kornwa Dreamstime

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:

Intro

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.

Plot

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?”

Bonus

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) 🙂

Knot

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.

Suggestions?

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.

Reversal

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.

Recognition

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”)

While I was in Milan with my team, attending Esxence – The Scent of Excellence, The FF Awards Finalists’ Luncheon was held on Friday, April 6, 2018.

Here are the results! Yassss, Cuir de Russie by Le Jardin Retrouve review was indeed among the TOP 5 Finalists for the award Editorial Excellence – Online!
I was like:

The top five finalists for The Fragrance Foundation Awards and winners in Editorial Excellence, Social Media Campaign, and 360-Degree Media Campaign were unveiled!

Editorial Excellence in Fragrance Coverage awards was presented for three categories including Article, Online, and Feature. ELLE Magazine won both the Article and Feature categories with “Dream Catchers” and “This Is Your Brain on Vetiver,” respectively, both written by April Long. The Cut won the Online category for “It Took 150 Tries for Dior to Make Their Next Hit Perfume for Millennials” written by Kathleen Hou.

ONLINE
Winner
THECUT.COM – It Took 150 Tries for Dior to Make Their Next Hit Perfume for
Millennials


Finalists (In alphabetical order)

ÇAFLEUREBON.COM – Perfume, Poetry, and Rock: The Scented Intersection of
Transformation
ELLE.COM – Notes From Underground: Can a Fragrance Help Us Embrace Mortality
FRAGRANTICA.COM – Gold As a Parfumistic Concept
THECUT.COM – It Took 150 Tries for Dior to Make Their Next Hit Perfume for
Millennials
THEPLUMGIRL.COM – Cuir de Russie, by Elena Cvjetkovic

Parfums Christian Dior’s campaign for Miss Dior Eau De Parfum won the award for the Best Social Media Campaign, while Gucci Bloom by Coty was voted as best 360- Degree Marketing Campaign.

Ann Gottlieb, celebrated perfume strategist and founder of Ann Gottlieb Associates, was announced as the 2018 Hall of Fame Honoree. Ms. Gottlieb is widely recognized in the fragrance industry for her masterful ability to translate brands and personalities into fragrances that are both captivating and enduring. Ms. Gottlieb, whose work spans across every fragrance and market category, helped create iconic fragrances such as Daisy Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior J’Adore, Calving Klein Eternity and countless others.

“I adore fragrance,” said Ms. Gottlieb. “I love this industry and the people in it. So I
am thrilled to be honored by my peers for my life’s work, which has brought me so much joy and fulfillment.”


Olivier Cresp
, Master Perfumer at Firmenich, was announced as the recipient of the Lifetime Perfumer Achievement Perfumer award. Both Ms. Gottlieb and Mr.Cresp will be honored by the fragrance industry at The Fragrance Foundation Awards.

“The Foundation’s mission is to inspire the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance,” said The Fragrance Foundation president Linda G. Levy. “Every single winner, finalist and honoree announced today has played a central
role in helping to achieve this mission, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize their contributions.”

Victoria’s Secret Angel and IMG model, Romee Strijd was awarded The Fragrance Foundation’s Face of the Year, presented by Greg Unis, CEO of Victoria’s Secret Beauty.

The winners for Fragrance of the Year and all other categories will be celebrated at The Fragrance Foundation Awards hosted by award-winning actress, Jane Krakowski, on Tuesday, June 12th at Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall.


THE FRAGRANCE FOUNDATION AWARDS 2018 WINNERS

FACE OF THE YEAR
Romee Strijd

SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
Winner

MISS DIOR EAU DE PARFUM – Parfums Christian Dior

Finalists (In alphabetical order)
GUCCI BLOOM – Coty, Inc.
KATY PERRY’S INDI – Coty, Inc.
MISS DIOR EAU DE PARFUM – Parfums Christian Dior
TOM FORD FABULOUS – Tom Ford Beauty
Y, YSL – YSL Beauté


360-DEGREE MARKETING CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR

Winner
GUCCI BLOOM – Coty, Inc.

Finalists (In alphabetical order)
CAROLINA HERRERA GOOD GIRL – PUIG
GUCCI BLOOM – Coty, Inc.
EMPORIO ARMANI – Giorgio Armani
MISS DIOR EAU DE PARFUM – Parfums Christian Dior
VICTORIA’S SECRET LOVE – Victoria’s Secret

EDITORIAL EXCELLENCE IN FRAGRANCE COVERAGE
FEATURE

Winner
ELLE MAGAZINE – This Is Your Brain On Vetiver

Finalists (In alphabetical order)
ALLURE – The New Fragrance Frontier
ELLE MAGAZINE – This Is Your Brain On Vetiver
MARIE CLAIRE – Into The Wild
MARIE CLAIRE – Popping Bottles
MARIE CLAIRE – Something’s In The Air

ARTICLE
Winner
ELLE MAGAZINE – Dream Catchers

Finalists (In alphabetical order)
ALLURE – Going Rogue
ELLE MAGAZINE – Dream Catchers
ELLE MAGAZINE – Scent-Sational
MARIE CLAIRE – In Her Own Words: Haley Bennett
MARIE CLAIRE – In Her Own Words: Jennifer Aniston

TOP FIVE FINALISTS
(All finalists listed in alphabetical order)


FRAGRANCE OF THE YEAR
WOMEN’S LUXURY

BYREDO VELVET HAZE – Byredo
GABRIELLE CHANEL – CHANEL
TIFFANY & CO. EAU DE PARFUM – Coty, Inc.
TOM FORD FABULOUS – Tom Ford Beauty
TWILLY D’HERMÈS – Hermès Parfums
MEN’S LUXURY
ACQUA DI PARMA COLONIA PURA EAU DE COLOGNE – LVMH
GOLD KNIGHT – By Kilian
L’ENVOL DE CARTIER – Cartier
VIKTOR & ROLF MAGIC SAGE SPELL – Viktor & Rolf
TOM FORD OUD MINÉRALE – Tom Ford Beauty
WOMEN’S PRESTIGE
BLACK TULIP – NEST Fragrances
CAROLINA HERRERA GOOD GIRL – PUIG
GUCCI BLOOM – Coty, Inc.
JUICY COUTURE VIVA LA JUICY GLACÉ – Revlon
NARCISO RODRIGUEZ PARFUMS-FOR HER FLEUR MUSC – Shiseido Fragrances
WOMAN BY RALPH LAUREN – Ralph Lauren Fragrances
MEN’S PRESTIGE
COACH FOR MEN – Interparfums
HUGO BOSS, BOSS BOTTLED TONIC – Coty, Inc.
JOHN VARVATOS ARTISAN PURE – Revlon
PRADA LUNA ROSSA CARBON – PUIG
Y BY YSL – YSL Beauté
POPULAR
ELIZABETH ARDEN WHITE TEA – Revlon
GLOSSIER YOU – Glossier Inc.
ORIGINAL PENGUIN ICONIC BLEND – Falic Fashion Group
SHAWN MENDES SIGNATURE – Revlon
VICTORIA’S SECRET LOVE – Victoria’s Secret
PERFUME EXTRAORDINAIRE OF THE YEAR
FIRMENICH
GIVAUDAN
INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS & FRAGRANCES
MANE
ROBERTET
BREAKOUT STAR
DIOR SAUVAGE – Parfums Christian. Dior
MAISON MARGIELA REPLICA BEACH WALK – Maison Margiela Fragrances
MIU MIU EAU DE. PARFUM – Coty, Inc.
PEONY & BLUSH SUEDE – Jo Malone London
TORY BURCH EAU DE PARFUM – The Estée Lauder Companies

INDIE FRAGRANCE OF THE YEAR
ARTIST – Phuong Dang
MAISON TRUDON PARFUM IN BRUMA
MAISON TRUDON PARFUM IN II (DEUX)
MAISON TRUDON PARFUM IN MORTEL
POTENTIA AMBER GOD – House of Potentia


PACKAGING OF THE YEAR

WOMEN’S
CAROLINA HERRERA GOOD GIRL – PUIG
JASON WU EAU DE PARFUM – Parlux, LTD
TIFFANY & CO. EAU DE PARFUM – Coty, Inc.
VICTORIA’S SECRET LOVE – Victoria’s Secret
WOMAN BY RALPH LAUREN – Ralph Lauren Fragrances
WOMAN IN GOLD – By Kilian
MEN’S
COACH FOR MEN – Interparfums
GOLD KNIGHT – By Kilian
GUCCI GUILTY ABSOLUTE POUR HOMME – Coty, Inc.
JOHN VARVATOS ARTISAN PURE – Revlon
Y BY YSL – YSL Beauté
MEDIA CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
WOMEN’S
CAROLINA HERRERA GOOD GIRL – PUIG
GABRIELLE CHANEL – CHANEL
GUCCI BLOOM – Coty, Inc.
MISS DIOR EAU DE PARFUM – Parfums Christian Dior
TWILLY D’HERMÈS – Hermès Parfums
VICTORIA’S SECRET LOVE – Victoria’s Secret
MEN’S
ARMANI CODE COLONIA – Giorgio Armani
ETERNITY CALVIN KLEIN – Coty, Inc.
PERRY ELLIS FOR MEN – Falic Fashion Group

HOME COLLECTION OF THE YEAR
COMMODITY HOME and BODY – Commodity
DIPTYQUE 34 BOULEVARD SAINT GERMAIN – diptyque Paris
MAISON MARGIELA REPLICA CANDLES – Maison Margiela Fragrances
SUGAR COOKIE COLLECTION – NEST Fragrances
TOCCA VOYAGE HOME FRAGRANCE COLLECTION – Tocca
BATH & BODY LINE OF THE YEAR
AROMATHERAPY COLLECTION FROM BATH & BODY WORKS – Bath & Body Works
DIPTYQUE DO SON FRAGRANCE GESTURES – diptyque Paris
JO MALONE LONDON EXFOLIATING SHOWER GEL – Jo Malone London
MAISON MARGIELA REPLICA BEACH WALK BATH LINE – Maison Margiela
Fragrances
VICTORIA’S SECRET ANGEL GLAM COLLECTION – Victoria’s Secret
HOME HOLIDAY/SEASONAL SECENT OF THE YEAR
LES CONSTELLATIONS – diptyque Paris
GREEN ALMOND & REDCURRANT CANDLE – Jo Malone London
HOLIDAY LIQUIDLESS DIFFUSERS – NEST Fragrances
HOLIDAY PAJAMAS – philosophy – Coty, Inc.
CONSUMER CHOICE AWARDS
WOMEN’S

AT THE BEACH – Bath & Body Works
CAROLINA HERRERA GOOD GIRL – PUIG
KATY PERRY’S INDI – Coty, Inc.
KKW CRYSTAL GARDENIA – KKW FRAGRANCES
LA VIE EST BELLE L’ECLAT – Lancôme
VICTORIA’S SECRET LOVE – Victoria’s Secret
MEN’S
COACH FOR MEN – Interparfums
HUGO BOSS, BOSS BOTTLED TONIC – Coty, Inc.
PRADA LUNA ROSSA CARBON – PUIG
FRAGRANCE VLOG OF THE YEAR
5 REASONS TO WEAR FRAGRANCES – Jeremy Fragrance
10 FRAGRANCES YOU NEED IN YOUR COLLECTION WHEN STARTING OUT | MEN’S
DESIGNER FRAGRANCES – Sebastian Jara
HOW TO BE MORE ATTRACTIVE | 4 LIFE HACKS THAT WORK! – Edward Zo
TOP 12 FORMAL OCCASION FRAGRANCES WITH REDOLESSENCE – Carlos J Powell
and Steven Gavrielatos
FRAGRANCE HALL OF FAME
CUCUMBER MELON- Bath & Body Works
CURVE FOR MEN – Revlon
PHILOSOPHY AMAZING GRACE – philosophy – Coty, Inc.
TRÉSOR – Lancôme

The Plum Girl
Source: TFF Press Release, 6th April 2018., TFF Photo by Casey Kelbaugh

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

„Born from a passion for French Haute Parfumerie, Atelier des Ors presents a capsule collection of exquisite fragrances. Dedicated to using only the most precious essences and exclusive raw materials, each eau de parfum presented by this unique boutique brand is an imaginative interpretation of traditional perfumery. Inspired also by the art of gold gilding, each bottle features a breathtaking design glittering with a burst of gold.“

Atelier des Ors is a French niche house, present since 2015. with a debut of five eau de parfums, adding later on two more, six of which I proudly present to you.

Atelier des Ors founder is Jean-Philippe Clermont who is also the artistic director for the brand. The „Nose“ behind the perfumes is Marie Salamagne. These fine perfumes come in glass bottles cut in an Art Deco design and filled with 24k gold flakes.

Ladies and gentlemen, here they are, as presented on my Instagram account, short, emotional reviews as follows:


Day 1: Rose Omeyyade

Just as a lush rose in full bloom needs to breathe in the fresh air, this rose needs your skin. As I sprayed it on a paper strip, pink pepper was present at first whiff, smudged over raspberry in traces. Then rose arose and swooned me away!

Immediately, impatiently, I offered it my skin. On a cold winter day, it made me daydream about a very specific place I’ve traveled to, feeling the soft blow of the Levant wind in my hair and golden rays of sunshine touching my face. (the Levant is specific for the Mediterranean, once you’ve felt it blow, you will know exactly what I’m talking about…

Usually gentle and damp, the Levant frequently brings clouds and rain, you can literally smell the rain coming). Destination: Port of Haifa, Israel…

Gold and a desert rose (I managed to find the one I dug up in desert), this is my visual presentation of Rose Omeyyade!

This rose is plump, ripe, ambered, dusky and sprinkled with caramel thick brown sugar. I would say quite unisex too, it has that darkish woody-oudy touch, sensual sugar&spice/I smell so nice vibe in the drydown.

I definitely suggest that you try it on your skin and let it play its music, please don’t rush this perfume!

Day 2: Iris Fauve

Not the iris you might expect, Aphrodite-like, sensual soft and curvy Iris…
This fine perfume opens with fluffy flowers with a gentle touch of warm spices. I feel Iris but it stirs and sways and mingles ever so gently. It is also much darker, muskier and more complex then I expected it to be. There’s plenty of woodiness and it’s just resinous enough as not to become overly sweet. Like I’m floating on a soft cloud, puffy cotton cloud!

If you are not usually iris-attracted, I suggest you try the Iris Fauve by Atelier des Ors. On your skin, of course. This is not an overly complicated perfume but it is finely blended and quite elegant. And yes, it is definitely unisex!

Did you know that Iris is the national flower of Croatia? On the island of Brac I enjoy watching the wild Irises bloom in May…

Day 3: Cuir Sacre

Destination: Andalusia. I managed to find my souvenir from Sevilla: castanets, palillos, preparing to give my full attention to this perfume.

I tested it on my skin. Green at the first whiff, resembling oleander leaves, dry and sharp, very herbal. I let it breathe for fifteen minutes and soon enough warmth moves in, a creamy vetiver takes over. This is not a Russian leather perfume by no means if we are talking leather – this is suede, well dried and carefully crafted, like a pair of soft cream-colored, goatskin suede gloves I had. It shifts subtly, moves in shadows. Half an hour later, I feel vetiver being touched by smoke, like incense burning somewhere far away from me and the wind carried the traces of incense smoke closer to me. It feels even quite woody, not forest-like, but rather like pieces of shaved wood scattered over the floor you are walking on. Other spices emerge too, not overly prominent, appearing and disappearing into this soft suede envelope. The vetiver I feel is warm, like sunshine on my skin on a late May afternoon… Did I just feel cardamom dance in? Or is it tonka? Or both? Hmmm…Interesting.

This is a close to skin perfume, elegant and not flashy – regarding the projection. Unisex, definitely, I will wear it for a business meeting tomorrow.

I think I will enjoy it most sometime later in May, after sundown, sitting somewhere outside… I don’t know why but I just thought that I’d probably be drinking a glass of dry white wine to go along with it.

Day 4: Lune Feline

Moon inspired, they say…If so, this Moon is completely illuminated by Sun, taking on different shades of red, orange or gold, like the Moon we see during a total lunar eclipse: it opens with a great wave of spices, then splashes of vanilla, cinnamon and cardamon sail in.

Dark, dry woods are in the background of this spicy gourmand fragrance. I don’t know why, but the painting “Red Vineyard at Arles” by Van Gogh is what I visualized. Destination: Amsterdam!

Its breath is warm and furry, like the breath of a large cat resting at sundown…I feel vanilla and amber from start to finish and yes! Just a hint of smoke is present…Three sprays and it remained very close to my skin for hours, tempting me to bury my nose in my wrist every now and then, just to feel that hugging, the golden aura of seductive warmth. Something to wear during Winter definitely!

Day 5: Aube Rubis

Like the dawn of a new summer day, it opens with rays of the light green, fizzy smell of grapefruit, cool and fresh. Then pink and orange colors paint the sky as it gets warmer and I feel smooth patchouli rising, iris and violets adding a refined, luxurious touch.

Light of a new day spreads across horizon, calmly bringing a very gentle touch of saffron. There’s just enough woodiness present to remind you of this note in all Atelier des Ors perfumes. An intriguing dance of sage and vetiver is what catches my attention, sage and vetiver and sporadic puffs of patchouli!

The dry down is a bit quieter, softer although what surprises me is that even after a couple of hours occasional whiffs of grapefruit emerged again, unexpected but very welcome in their outfit made of fruit and berries. An intriguing fragrance, writing its own story on your skin…It reminded me of September mornings in California…

Day 6: Larmes du Desert

Intentionally left to be the last to sample, postponed for days. Expectations were high, I admit. If you know me by now, you also know that I am a desert lover, traveled to many and plan to visit many more. This is why I was looking forward to it. I was a bit selfish, I admit. One day was not enough: I enjoyed it for a couple of days before sharing this.

Larmes du Desert. Tears of the desert…is this what it sounds like when myrrh trees cry? If a desert, then this desert is not scorching, hostile and dusty environment we usually associate with deserts. When I took in deeper breaths, it felt so familiar, like a deja vue. As I recalled all the deserts I’ve been to, a memory surfaced. The perfume took me back down the memory lane, images resurfacing, vivid and colorful. Gold, myrrh and frankincense! Gifts of the Three Kings.

The exact spot? After taking a quite long bus ride on a dusty desert road inside Sinai, a fortification appears upon the hill: the Saint Catharine’s Monastery, Mount of Sinai looking at adjacent Jebal Musa (Mount Moses). I remember it well. I feel resinous notes, a touch of olibanum, dark and seductive amber shot with a whiff of cinnamon. In the Monestery’s shades, a mix of dark sweetness, dry but layered upon forest woods, cedar toned. Sparkles of greenery, a trace of smoke: I remember looking at the „burning bush“ – a bramble (Rubus Sanctus), covering one wall with its lush greenery. The bush that was on fire but not consumed by flames…Rare and scattered Joshua trees can be seen in the distance.

Embracing softness of frankincense rises, dragging me deeper down into clouds of earthy balsamic and spicy tones, soothing as I take off my flip-flops and walk upon this ground with bare feet (anyone entering the chapel is required to remove their shoes…), feeling a warm breeze coming from the mountain and scattered rays of sunshine touching the skin on my arms and feet, adding it a very subtle golden glow…my skin breathes patchouly.

This is why it took me days to get over it, I cherished this memory. There are perfumes that make me cry, and Larmes du Desert is one of them.

As for this photo, I found my silver Hamsa hand pendant: it can be traced back to the people of Phoenicia, some say that it was present even before, in ancient Egypt. An ancient symbol of protection, bringing happiness…so I share it with you, together with my impression of this wonderful perfume!

Thank you, Atelier des Ors!

P.S. See you in Milan next month – Esxence is a place to be! Please email me for appointments as my schedule is quite busy there 🌹

The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl Archives, Atelier des Ors
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