At Esxence there were a number of seminars and workshops running throughout the event. These all sounded interesting and I intended to attend many more than the one I actually managed to get to. I went to the seminar along with Michelyn Camen from CaFleureBon, where the finalists of The Art and Olfaction Awards were announced. The awards are the brainchild of Los Angeles resident, Saskia Wilson-Brown. The Art and Olfaction Awards are rare in perfume award land due to their transparency and the fact that entry is open to everyone as long as the house is artisanal, independent or working outside the traditional perfume landscape. Brands and perfumers can enter the awards even if they are new to the industry or relatively unknown. The entry fee is only $US45 and talk around the room suggested that the money required to enter other established perfume awards is prohibitively expensive for smaller houses. Winners receive a golden pear award and the awards ceremony where the winners will be announced will be held in Los Angeles on the 17th April.
Perfumes are blind tested without branding at the Art and Olfaction Awards. Currently there are three categories, however Saskia said she may tweak the Independent category next year.
1) Artisan : Everything is run by the perfumer including distribution. There will be two awards in this category.
2) Independent : Perfume houses that hire perfumers (click here for more details). There will be two awards in this category.
3) Experimental award : Sadakichi, where perfumers are working outside the traditional context. There will be one award.
The judges score on four factors:
- First impressions
- Intentionality and
Each category is scored through 1-5 and judges are asked to choose their top five perfumes in each category.
The Artisan and Independent awards have separate judges for the preliminary and final stages. The preliminary panel is comprised of eleven judges, while Sadakichi has the same panel of five judges throughout both stages.
In the final evaluation phase of the Artisan and Independent awards there are five judges including the well known Luca Turin and Mandy Aftel.
(Photo of one of last year’s winners : Tanja Bochnig with the golden pear)
For more details on the actual perfumes please click through here to The Art and Olfaction site.
Artisan Category :
A City On Fire : Imaginary Authors : Perfumer – Josh Meyer : Portland, Oregon, USA
Eau de Céleri : Monsillage : Perfumer – Isabelle Michaud : Montreal, Canada
Foxglove : DS & Durga : Perfumers – David Seth Moltz and Karl Moltz : New York, USA
Tobacco Cognac : House of Cherry Bomb : Perfumers – Alexis Karl and Maria McElroy : New York, USA
Woodcut : Olympic Orchids : Perfumer – Ellen Covey : Seattle, USA
Ombre Indigo : Olfactive Studio : Perfumer – Mylène Alran : Paris, France
Boccanera : OrtoParisi : Perfumer – Allessandro Guialtieri : Amsterdam, Holland
Pashay : Ray Matts : Perfumer – Christophe Laudamiel : New York, USA
Acca Kappa : Black Pepper & Sandalwood : Perfumer – Luca Maffei : Treviso, Italy
Skive : Canoe : Perfumer – Jessica Hannah : Austin, USA
The Sadakichi Award
Catalin : Charles Long, Carrie Paterson, Karen Reitzel, Seth Hawkins, Emery Martin, Michael Mascha : The Contemporary Austin
Chroma : Dawn Spencer Horowitz : Denver Art Museum
Crime and Punishment : Mike McGinley, Charles McGinley, Noah Bremer, Ben Heywood : Minnesota Fringe Festival
Famous Deaths : Marcel van Brakel, Frederik Duerinck, Wander Eikelboom, Caro Verbeek : Museum of the Image (MOTI)
In Libro de Tenebris : Paul Schutze : Maggs Gallery London
Saskia Wilson-Brown freely admits she has little experience in the perfume world and I think that in this case it is a strength not a weakness. Her background in film adds a fresh perspective to the industry. She has instigated an award that will gain traction over time. This will hopefully provide a platform for new up and coming perfumers to garner interest in their work and cement a following.
Luca Maffei made the shortlist as one of the finalists in the Independent category and is a young perfumer that was generating buzz at Esxence. He has just signed two perfumes for Jul et Mad : Néa and Garuda that are simply stunning, top notch creations. Both were fabulous but I fell hard for Néa, which is a gorgeous gourmand floriental with nuclear staying power. It’s simply beautiful. If you want to read more about Luca, CaFleureBon has published an interview with him here.
Prior to Saskia taking the stage to present the finalists in the awards, Professor Claus Noppeney from Bern University of Applied Sciences & Scentculture Institute regaled us with his findings from his research into niche perfumery. He ascertained that the blogsphere had provided education to the consumer and featured quite a few blogs that were known to me as well as several non English speaking blogs in the presentation. CaFleureBon and Now Smell This were among those featured as the English language perfume sites. I am a Senior Contributor to CaFleureBon and read Now Smell This as often as I can. They are very different in look and feel but both have strong communities and provide unique spins on fragrance. If you already know a lot about niche perfume you will not have come away with any huge surprises but I did find it interesting that someone was researching this in an academic setting as a worthy body of work.
I’ll be posting more Esxence updates, so make sure to come back and visit. I know I’m taking my time with them …
Notes : Main pic : Mine : Tanja Bochnig : Art and Olfaction Awards : Luca Maffei : bespokemagazine.it :