Hello perfume people and welcome to my condensed run down on Esxence. I’ve already shared my thoughts on what it’s like to work at Esxence here and I’ll admit that I managed to get to only a handful of brands as I was working there and was limited to quick wanders on the odd break or two. So without further ado, let’s start on the quick sniff walkabout.
The perfume I was most looking forward to smelling was Naja from Vero Profumo, the jubilee tobacco fragrance that didn’t disappoint, and a review is up next. I also finally had the pleasure of meeting Vero in person for a short chat and she is as I had imagined, a very cool woman with a wonderful sense of style.
Masque Milano is one of my favourite perfume houses and I was very keen to see what they have up their sleeves for 2017. Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi are both welcoming and prepared to go into depth discussing the accords that make up their perfumes. Their two new fragrances couldn’t be more different. One is a hardcore, spicy incense from Christian Carbonnel that smells better on skin than on the mouilette. It’s named Mandala and the harmonious sound of overtone chanting by monks is its inspiration. The other fragrance is a lipstick mash-up of sweet memories of neon lights, traffic jams and food vendors called Times Square. Signed by Bruno Jovanovic, it has a lovely hazelnut accord and osmanthus flourish.
Another perfume house that I admire is Puredistance. It has some classically beautiful perfumes like White (little fluffy clouds) and M (Bond personified), two polar opposites but both exquisitely crafted with elegance. Warszawa is a Polish exclusive for the moment. It’s a floral tinged chypre styled perfume with a lovely interpretation of violet and is another great addition to their range. Plus it’s always a real treat to see the Puredistance team as they are very hospitable and a special shout out to Mary Gooding.
Mert Güzel and Murat Katran from Nishane are two great guys that I love visiting and talking to. I like what they do with their brand. They create long lasting, interesting fragrances in conjunction with perfumer Jorge Lee, that are rooted in the history and culture of Turkey. They had a new trio of perfumes at Esxence inspired by the ancient art of shadow play. Mert demonstrated a shadow play show that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a simple, yet very effective way to get the concept across. Hacivat and Karagoz are more masculine leaning perfumes but my favourite is Zenne a feminine blend of citrus, fruits and soft woods that is really lovely. It’s non demanding which is a good thing in my mind as it means I can wear this perfume often. Zenne pays tribute to beauty, self-confidence and flirtation. The bottles are also new for the brand, they are opaque and provide a logical thematic change from the other perfumes in the range.
Jul et Mad introduced three new perfumes. Bella Donna is signed by the hardest working man in perfume at Esxence Luca Maffei and is centred on the magnificent magnolia. The other two perfumes are created by Stephanie Bakouche. She previously signed two perfumes that I think are very good – Invasion Barbare for MDCI and Rose Privée for L’Artisan Parfumeur. She is now an independent perfumer based in Grasse and her two new creations for Jul et Mad are well done and I’m happy to see that Stephanie is back in the game. All three fragrances are very pleasing to the nose and Fugit Amour is possibly the more interesting of the trio with its contrast of spicy notes and a clean feel. Mon Seul Desir is characterised by a full leathery, amber footprint, lightened with touches of osmanthus, a flower that seemed to be rather popular at Esxence this year.
Etat Libre d’Orange have a new perfume You Or Someone Like You under the creative direction of Chandler Burr, based on his book of the same name. From memory this was an easy to wear musky scent that had a fresh appeal. The notes aren’t released as Burr is not a fan of this reductionist way of talking about perfumes (for clarification on this check the listing for this perfume on Fragrantica as he comments there). Personally I rather like knowing notes and accords for a fragrance for guidance, although I prefer to smell the scent as a whole rather than wanting to read or hear a blow by blow account of how the perfume plays on one individual, one accord at a time. Each to their own though. In the photo is Thomas Lindet who I have met a few times now and is a great fit for the Etat Libre d’Orange brand and who I always find uber knowledgeable and great company.
Parfums de Nicolaï showcased their new release Rose Royale, a youthful fresh, fruity rose with a thorny blackcurrant edge. This smells very pretty and is perfect to wear now in spring. It has a lovely freshness that works well. It was great to see Damien Flynn again who is the sales and PR representative for the brand and who hosted me on a fabulous tour of their head office last year.
Grimoire is the new release from Anatole Lebreton and it’s a beautifully crafted incense centric perfume. I think the entire collection is stunning and Monsieur Lebreton is clearly talented. Did you know that Anatole was originally a blogger specialising in vintage perfumes, then started experimenting to construct his own perfumes. His fragrance friends told him that his creations were actually very good and voilà now he has his own line.
Jacques Fath is a range that I am aware of but hadn’t actually yet smelt. The brand has a long history and has been brought back to life. There are two perfumes from the original line that are considered classics – Iris Gris and Green Water. The first four fragrances in the new collection are signed by Cécile Zarokian and include an update of the classic Green Water that has been well received. The second release of four perfumes introduced at Esxence are signed by Italian nose Luca Maffei and I think there will be fans of Lilas Mauve, the lilac fragrance, as this flower can be very difficult to get right. Luca managed to do it amazingly well. I also liked Rosso Epicureo, a sweet white floral with the sunshine appeal of succulent citrus and I must add that the range is rather eye-catching with each perfume shining in a vibrant colour, matching the scent. This will attract or repel I imagine but personally I rather liked the effect and the fragrances stand out with the vibrant colours paired with a streamlined bottle.
Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger showcased Eau de Virginie, a heady blend of white florals that packed a lovely punch. I’ve previously written about a select few of the perfumes in the range and overall the collection is very well executed with a classic feel. Favourites in the collection are Neroli Blanc EDP, Eau de Madeleine and Lavande Ombrée. The Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger team of Virginie Roux and Philippe Constantin (also of Maison Incens) are always welcoming and it was lovely to see them again.
Unum had an eye catching display as per usual. This year they had new perfume Io Non Ho Mani Che Mi Accarezzino il Volto on show. I only had a few minutes there and it was very busy and I couldn’t get to the bottle to smell the perfume so I took a photo of Filippo Sorcinelli instead!
Pissara Umavijani from Dusita was incredibly busy this year and it’s hard to believe that it was only one year ago at Esxence that she launched her inaugural range of three perfumes. She is now a niche star and has been nominated for an Art & Olfaction award to boot for Melodie L’Amour. You can read reviews of her latest fragrances Sillage Blanc and La Douceur de Siam here.
Neela Vermeire’s stand is always buzzing and for good reason. Her perfumes are well crafted and it’s always a pleasure to see her. Rahele is Neela’s latest release and is rather beautiful. It’s definitely worth trying if you haven’t already. It was one of my favourites from 2016 and I described it as a smoothly elegant and refined osmanthus rich perfume with leather and oak moss for the road.
Victor Wong from Zoologist Perfumes was not showing at Esxence but was visiting nonetheless. I saw him walk by and promptly introduced myself. I follow his Facebook group so like to see what he is creating even though I have never smelt his perfumes. Luckily he had samples with him. I relayed that I was a fan of Shelley Waddington‘s work and have now had the pleasure of smelling Civet created by this talented perfumer. Civet has also been nominated for an Art & Olfaction award this year.
Indie perfumer Andy Tauer, creator of niche cult classic L’Air Du Désert Marocain and other gems such as Le Maroc Pour Elle was there too, although not showing. I had a quick chat with him and hopefully he will have new treasures at Pitti for us to smell. I have to say that I’m a huge fan of his Amber Flush perfumed body oil. The fragrance in the oil lasts all day and you don’t need to wear anything else (perfume that is) when you smooth this on.
Superstar perfumer Cécile Zarokian was present at Esxence and it was great to catch up with her again. She had a number of perfumes at Esxence including three for Evody. My favourite Zarokian creation is still Tango by Masque Milano. I really need to write about this perfume because I feel as though she let unleashed her creative flow here. Other talented perfumers that I bumped into were Christian Canali who has been nominated for an Art & Olfaction award for Romanza this year and the wonderfully talented Luca Maffei who has signed L’Attesa, one of my favourite iris perfumes of all time.
As I said I was really disappointed I couldn’t get to many brands that I wanted to sniff including Stephane Humbert Lucas 777 whose oriental middle Eastern styled perfumes I enjoy, particularly O’Hira and Khol de Bahrein. He introduced three fragrances at Esxence, Wish Come True, Panther and Lufu that saw a shift to floral territory. Mendittorrosa was another line that I wanted to get to but unfortunately didn’t make it. New releases Rituale and Archetipo looked to be interesting works. I also missed Naomi Goodsir‘s new perfume Nuit de Bakelite as it was showcased over the road from Esxence. I’m sure the new fragrance from wonderful perfumer Isabelle Doyen is good. I have many Annick Goutal favourites that she has created. I also didn’t make it to Aedes Venustas or Nomenclature but was keen to try their new perfumes – Pelargonium and Shi-sõ respectively.
So now it’s my mission to track down all the samples that I forgot to bring back with me and to investigate further those that were packed in my suitcase. Hope you enjoyed the rundown.
Is there anything you’re wanting to try from the show?
Notes : All photos by Megan In Sainte Maxime