A whirlwind trip to Milan has been and gone and hazy memories remain of perfume, people, displays, drinks and dinners. For the first time I worked for a brand (Atelier Des Ors) at Esxence and it was a great experience however unfortunately it did mean that there wasn’t much time to smell the other fragrances which for a perfume lover was a small torture that grew greater by the day. I was also asked to speak on a panel (gulp) which was a nice surprise but it didn’t quite go according to plan, so no words were spoken but it was fabulous to see perfumer Christophe Laudamiel’s magic scent show (more to come) even if someone behind me was not enjoying the session and grumpily talked throughout. Slap slap! Luckily I sat next to Saskia Wilson-Brown from Art & Olfaction and we got stuck into smelling 20 notes and scents including the wonderful silence the sea and paid no attention to whoever it was behind us.
What’s it like to work at Esxence? Only one word describes it. MENTAL with maybe a few words strategically placed in front of this. I must have talked for eight hours solid each day with distributors, retailers, bloggers, instagrammers, you tubers and hard core perfume lovers without pause, which is no mean feat. So now I have a better understanding of how brand owners and staff really give it their all for these shows. There’s a lot of preparation involved, you set up the stand the day before, have meetings scheduled and then hope the work has paid off and the show will be a success. Obviously it’s a good sign when a stand is busy and overall the experience was exhilarating, interesting and essential I believe to understanding perfume and consumer preferences as well as what retailers wish to stock. Usually with customers you could quickly tell that if someone liked one perfume, then you could select the others they would enjoy from the range. At first this was intuitive, but quickly became a formula with increasing certainty. There are of course no hard and fast rules with perfumistas though and some liked each and every one in the collection.
I enjoyed seeing the physical reaction when people really loved a perfume, the eyes rolling back or knees buckling. Others showed no reaction but would whisper they were in love with a particular fragrance. What is also interesting is how people sample perfume itself. Some lift the caps to smell inside these, others like to spray the mouilette, while a few bypass these methods and go straight to skin. Some even have a predilection for placing the whole spray pump right up their nose (as told to me by one incredulous brand owner). Yes one woman got that ole nozzle a hell of a way up her schnozzle. Thankfully I didn’t witness that abomination.
So onto the perfume people. I know only a small segment of people at the show but each year, more and more. Perfume lovers and those in the business are a good bunch and the problem is you would like to spend more time with everyone but a quick chat and photo usually suffice. What was new for me this year was meeting people I have ‘known’ through Instagram (my preferred Social Media) and FB and hearing about their perfume passion. So first up before I write about the few perfumes I got to try, I thought I’d include some photos of perfume writers, bloggers and social media people I met at Milan. Sorry I didn’t take photos of everyone but next time. Some visits were quick and I completely forgot to whip my phone out for a photo (Michelyn Camen, Val the Cookie Queen, Olfaction, Persefume and why did my shots with Jeremy Fragrance not turn out well? He also whipped out his viewer stats which were rather impressive it has to be said.
Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to say hello or try brands that I really love but at Pitti I intend to rectify this. Here are a few photos of other bloggers / writers / vloggers that I remembered to take photos of. It was a pleasure to meet them all, whether for the first, second or third time.
From top to bottom : Sebastian Jara from Looking, Feeling, Smelling Great : Olaf Schubert (vetyyver) and Silvia Sagawe (sabagne) from Instagram : Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies : Sarah Colton, the original Bad Girl : Ermano Picco from la gardenia nell’occhiello and magnifiscent on Instagram : Lucasz from Chemist In The Bottle with Ermano.
I also had a rapid fire meet up with Val The Cookie Queen and she generously gifted me the last drops of her beloved Kiki EDP (Vero Profumo) and some absolutely divine Armadillo cookies. I can confirm that these taste as good as they look on FB and Instagram. Absolutely delicious.
For my Part 2 Esxence Round Up I’ll get to the perfumes I smelt and some general observations about the show.