Now we’re onto the third day at Esxence but in reality I was only there for one full day and two half days. You can read about the perfume writing people I encountered, Day One and Day Two if you’re so inclined. There were many more perfume stands I could have visited, however I was happy that I found some lovely new fragrances and have enough to sample for quite some time. There were probably 160 perfume stalls to visit that I hadn’t yet been to. Mmm well that was a challenge I wasn’t going to take on. So let me take you on a whirlwind tour of what I did see. This way ladies and gents.
Aedes de Venustas have a strong, cohesive range of perfumes. They smell good and possess a modern elegance. I had a sniff of Cierge de Lune by nose Fabrice Pellegrin but I didn’t pick up a sample so am going from memory. From recollection it was a spiced up vanilla, that played softly on my skin. Another brand that I’m drawn to is Carner Barcelona. Their new perfume Costarela is a citrus marine scent that is aromatic on top before the marine feel shines through.
Now onto the Renegades. Here we have the dream team of Geza Schoen, Bertrand Duchaufour and Mark Buxton. Do these guys need an introduction? They all broke free from the shackles of perfume corporate life and were the first to go solo. Well actually Duchaufour told me there was one guy before them, but what’s to hold back from a good story. Schoen is behind the game changing Escentric Molecules and Lucky Scent’s best seller Molecule 01. He also signs Ormonde Jayne’s perfumes including one of my favourites Vanille d’Iris and Volume 2 Precision & Grace from the Beautiful Mind Series. I’m sure many of us have a Bertrand Duchaufour perfume in our collections. On my shelves stand Vanille Absolument and Timbuktu from L’Artisan Perfumer amongst others. And then there’s Mark Buxton, the creator of one of the first niche perfumes I ever smelt back in the 90’s (and way before my perfume obsession was triggered) – the clove centric original Comme des Garcons scent.
Renegades is the line of perfume from these guys and the space was absolutely buzzing. They’ve created one perfume each and a caricature of their face in the form of a silver magnet sticks to the bottle. A bit gimmicky but fun nonetheless. I talked to Bertrand and Geza briefly and they both spoke about injecting some playfulness and a sense of light heartedness into the perfume world. I firmly believe there is room for more brands such as this that can shake things up a bit and take a less serious spin on perfume. The fragrances are named after each perfumer and they’d long since run out of samples by the time I got there, but from memory I believe I liked Geza’s the best with his trademark pink pepper up top.
I visited Jul et Mad briefly and had a few words with Madalina Stoica Blanchard, one half of the power team behind the brand. They had no new releases at Esxence and are happy to cement what they have. I’m a big fan of Les Whites collection and was happy to hear that the perfumes are selling well too. Plus Néa, signed by Luca Maffei has been nominated for an Art & Olfaction award. By chance he popped by and it was lovely to meet him and his colleague Brandusa Paulescu. Maffei in my opinion is a talented perfumer at the start of his career but already he’s gaining accolades for his work. Last year he won an Art & Olfaction award for Acca Cappa with Black Pepper & Sandalwood and this year he’s created the beautiful L’Attesa for Masque Milano.
Jean-Philippe Clermont of Atelier des Ors has a strong collection of perfumes. I’ve gone through various favourites since I first tried the range and my current love is Lune Féline, the vanilla to satisfy them all. Jean-Phillipe had a new iris perfume to add to the collection, that is as delectable as the other scents in the range. It’s a slight shift in tone from the original releases, it feels less dense, and not as geared towards Middle Eastern tastes, however without doubt it’s another beautiful perfume. The name for the scent is not yet finalised but I can say that it’s a well constructed iris and musk. He also showed me another fragrance that he’s working on that I really loved too, perhaps more that the iris. I’m not sure if that one will see the light of the day but hopefully we’ll find out more soon.
Anatole Lebreton makes perfumes that I first saw on Instagram via the Belgian blogger Dominque Archambeau. Dominique posts elegant photos on perfume and tea and so I was intrigued to finally see the perfumes up close. I learnt that Dominique actually takes the photos for Anatole that are great by the way. Interestingly Anatole said that he previously wrote about vintage perfume on Civette au bois Dormant before moving on to make his own scents. His perfume friends told him they were actually quite good, so he decided to take things a step further and sell them. Anatole lives in Marseille which I have to say was another point in capturing my attention as it makes a change of scene from the abundance of Parisian perfume houses. Anyway the perfumes are excellent, all four of them. Bois Lumière is full of honey and immortelle and L’Eau De Merzhin stuns with its green sheen and exquisite hawthorne. L’Eau Scandaleuse is a tuberose lovers dream while Incarnata plays as a lipstick scent with a delectable raspberry note. Each perfume tells a beautiful tale and these are high quality scents and very beautifully made, that live without an abundance of storytelling or marketing subterfuge.
A new brand that caught my eye was Extrait d’ Atelier with Chiara Ronzani and co in white lab coats (just like the Margiela staff in Paris). The concept behind the brand is the atelier and the creativity and savoir faire that is contained within, so the perfumes are aptly named : Maître Chausseur, Maître Couturier and Maître Joaillier. The perfumes were all light to my nose and quite clean in that not a perfume way.
French perfumer Cécile Zarokian (oh how I love Tango, one of her best creations in my opinion made for Masque Milano) has been brought on board for two new additions to the Uermi perfume house with its Collection Extroadinaire. Their perfumes are inspired by textiles and I’ve written about the range here. White is inspired by the ‘bio-futuristic’ textile based on milk protein that feeds your skin and the perfume is an interesting blend of tonka, orris, orange blossom and leather. The second fragrance is OR Cashmere, which is not to be confused with the original in the line (AB Cashmere). This is a new interpretation and in my opinion holds a stronger appeal. It’s amped up from the original, with a rum and amber late night boozy feel. It was my favourite of the two new perfumes.
I popped by to see what Micallef had on show this year, as I was really impressed by last year’s Akowa and it seemed quite a departure for this perfume house based in the South of France. They have an upcoming fragrance called Osaito, in the same series as Akowa, that takes us on a trip to Asia and is a spicy light scent. It’s not yet released but I’m looking forward to smelling this one. They had Pure Extreme on show, a white floral with hints of rose. While I don’t love all of the Micallef bottles I will say that I adore their gold portable sprays that have a vintage lipstick vibe.
Next it was onto Nishane. I’m a fan of this Turkish perfume house and Murat Katran showed me the two new perfumes. Rumi the mystic inspired these scents and Fan Your Flames is a rum soaked woody tobacco scent that just gets better the longer it’s on skin. Hundred Silent Ways is a sheer gourmand with a hint of that sweet tuberose that I’m fond of in Tubereuse Couture from Parfumerie Generale. I know many have preferred Fan Your Flames but I have to say that Hundred Silent Ways has grown on me, especially after the initial full force has subsided. If you’re not a fan of sweet perfumes, then this will probably not be your cup of tea, but I’m falling for it more and more.
I said hello to Paul Emilien and only had time for a quick sniff as I was really starting to run out of time. HIs new perfumes are Cuir Rustique, Gardenia Tropical, Orchidée Charnelle and Vetiver Indien. They’re a strong addition to his current collection. His home diffusers that I had a sneaky smell of were fantastic.
My last and all too brief visit as I had to leave quickly was to The Different Company. I fell in love with I Miss Violet last year and it was one of my favourites of 2015. New perfume Adjatay is a tuberose soaked leather that had me from first sniff. It’s not rough, but it’s potent, far more so than the demure I Miss Violet. I’d be happy to spray Adjatay at all times of the day, without hesitation.
And that’s a wrap folks. I know it’s taken a while to get this down. Thanks for persevering with me. It is a bit of a thrill to get to Esxence and Italy, even though it was a last minute decision. I met some great people, smelled some beautiful perfumes and ate some great Italian food washed down by bubbles. All up it was a great time. Did I say how much I love Italy?
Notes : Images all Megan In Sainte Maxime except for a press image from The Different Company