Magpie Goes To Esxence: Part 2

Magpie Goes To Esxence: Part 2

Can you believe it? Magpie actually smelled at least 160 perfumes in 3 days. | Illustration by The Perfume Magpie


Toward the end of Day 2, I finally met Megan from Megan In Sainte Maxime in front of Nishane stand. Megan was such a lovely bubbly person. Wish we had more time to catch up! Originally I thought it shouldn’t be difficult to find someone in the same building but I was so wrong. I was hoping to have some chat time with Jakub from Persefume and  a few more perfume people as well but finding someone there turned out to be an impossible mission like trying to find a black cat in the moonless night.

After saying goodbye to everyone on Day 1 and Day 2, my Day 3 started with meeting Miya Shinma from Miya Shinma Parfums. I visited her stand at 10:30 and I guess I left there around 12:00-ish. It was great to have good chats about perfume in Japanese for a change. Miya was elegant and warm, and so were her perfumes. I needed to try Yuki (snow) since we share the same name and I was quite surprised by her interpretation of snow. Yuki was kind of snug and luminous at the same time, and I rather like its woody & musky drydown. All of Miya’s creations reflect her feelings towards nature. Other favourites of mine were Tsubaki (Camellia) and Tsuki (Moon).

Next stop was Extrait d’Atelier. I instantly fell in love with the concept of this new brand. As the brand name suggests, perfumes by Extrait d’Atelier poetically illustrate the ateliers of craftsmen, and Chiara Ronzani certainly captured the essence of such workshops in 3 new releases: Maitre Chausseur, Maitre Couturier, and Maitre Joaillier. My favourite was Maitre Chausseur with comfortable incense and leather.

They didn’t have anything new but I had a quick stop at Orlov to try a few I hadn’t had a chance to sniff before. Star of the Season was truly gorgeous and it was the winner for me; a perfect combination of sandalwood, rose, iris, and vanilla. It definitely has a Dominique Ropion feel.

Anatole Lebreton was another new discovery (to me). He is a fascinating guy, not to mention his lovely smiles, he used to be on stage, selling imported tea, blogged about vintage perfumes, and then self taught himself to create perfumes. I tried all four of his line: Bois Lumière, L’Eau de Merzhin, L’Eau Scandaleuse, and the newest Incarnata. All of them are totally different to each other but have solid shared back bones – daring and artistic. One biggest aspect I really enjoyed about his creations was imageries his perfumes evoked – especially Bois Lumière.  Honey is the dominant note in Bois Lumière but it doesn’t give out sticky sweet vibes thanks to other aromatic notes. This, to me, was the smell of Spanish countryside in summer – hundreds of bees buzzing over wildflowers and the hot air carrying the smells of trees and browning grass baked in the scorching sun… It made me feel like doing oil painting again.

After visiting this relatively new perfume brand Anatole Lebreton (since 2014), I went back in time over 200 years and stopped at Rancé 1795 (yes, since 1795). Their classic and vintage looking bottles were so attractive and I expected their perfumes to be also vintage-ish.  I was quite wrong.  They smelled relatively current and contemporary in style – in good ways. I need to revisit some samples again soon.

Coming back from my little time travel, I embarked on a different kind of olfactory tour at Olibere. I visited Rome, Bali, Kuala-Lumpur, and Istanbul through their  5 perfumes: Il Mio Segreto, Balinesque, Escapade a Byzance, Midnight Spirit, and Paradis Lointains. Olibere created these perfumes in collaboration with Bertrand Duchaufour and Amelie Bourgeois, and each one is accompanied by a mini film. I was most taken to Balinesque as I liked its energising opening with ginger, orchid, cardamom, and bamboo. I also had a little sniff of the not-yet-released 6th perfume. This new one will be released in September coinciding with the Fragrance in Motion Awards during Milano Film Festival.

My next stop was M. Micallef. Last year’s release Akowa was a great hit, and now they present a new perfume called Osaïto. The perfume was in a similar stylish bottle to Akowa, only in grey. The opening of Osaïto was bright with plenty of citrus, then slightly spicy herbal notes stepped forward. This would be rather nice in summer.

I dropped by Atelier Flou’s stand. No new releases but recently they changed their bottle design.This new design was inspired by 19th century inkwells and the gold or silver latticework encasing the bottle looked pretty impressive. I have to admit, I was quite drawn to this decadent looking bottle. I own samples of women’s line but never had the opportunity of trying men’s line, so  I decided to go through all five. I liked Amarcord most; it was spicy and incense-y.

Of course I had to visit Renegades. Three kings of the perfumedom — Mark Buxton, Geza Schoen, and Bertrand Duchaufour — contributed a perfume each to this project. Everything was different with Renegades;  nameless perfumes and quirky bottles. OK, the bottles were not my cup of tea but the idea was fun. Unfortunately samples were all gone by the time I got there, so I had to sniff them out there and then. They all seemed to feature pink pepper but in different styles to each other. Hail the Master Perfumers.

Malbrum extended their eclectic line even further. Now on top of original three Psychotrope, Shameless Seducer, and Tigre Du Bengale, they added new Bagheera, Safariyah, and Wildfire. While I was listening to the hunk Creative Director Kristian Hilberg talking about the concept behind his perfume line, I was thinking that he looked kind of like a well polished version of Crocodile Dundee. No, I didn’t mention it to him. This line strongly reflected his “air” and looks.

Bali is the island I would go back in a heartbeat. The little baskets of offerings were one of the first things I fell in love with while I was wandering around the streets of Bali. Une Nuit à Bali’s 5th perfume Murmure des Dieux was these Balinese offerings in a bottle; gentle scents of frangipani, jasmine, some spices were entwined with a very noticeable rice note.

If you think Le Galion as a stylish and sophisticated older brother, Aether Parfums is a geeky, modern-day younger sibling. Aether is a contemporary perfume brand that uses synthetic molecules only. Among 5 of their new releases, surprisingly I rather liked Rose Alcane. It was an airy metallic rose.

Toward the end of the day, I had a pleasure of meeting Abderrazzak Benchaâbane from Les Parfums du Soleil. He is an ethnobotanist, a photographer, and a perfumer and I’ve been fascinated by him as a person since these are the fields I’m also into. He was a soft spoken gentleman in his signature hat and didn’t look too comfortable being at Esxence. To be honest, his stand had a totally different air to the others. He didn’t have anything new and had only one perfume on display – Soir de Marrakech. It was simply beautiful — not fussy, an unadorned beauty.

As it was getting close to the end of Esxence 2016, I headed for a few more stands for quick sniffing sessions before the show ended. I tried Atelier des Ors, Sammarco (I was quite taken to Ariel and Bond-T), Antonio Alessandria (classic and opulent; I liked Noir Obscur and the last year’s release Fleurs et Flammes), Alchimista, Gri Gri, Cristinana Bellodi, and a few more but by this time, quite a few stands had already packed up and gone.

I decided to say goodbyes to Neela Vermeire, Nishane guys, Puredistance team, Tanja Bochnig,and other lovely perfume people I met in 3 days. I left The Mall with bagsfull of perfume samples and great scented memories.

The 8th Esxence is over and now a month has passed but I still haven’t sorted out all the perfume samples I received in Milan. I  guess I wasn’t at all prepared for the numbers of exhibitors there.

To give you some ideas, here are the official statistics of Esxence:
* 7.083 people, including operators and visitors, attended this show from 5 continents.
* 206 brands showcased their products (+25% comparing to 2015), of which20 were skincare & cosmetic brands attending the second edition of Esxkin – The Excellence of Beauty.
* 75% of the total number were the exhibitors.
* Exhibiting brands came from 17 Countries (Italy, France, UK, Spain, Germany, USA, United Arab Emirates, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Norway, Morocco, Denmark, Ireland, Turkey, Qatar).
*…and they all gathered in this more than 6.000sqm of exhibiting area in Milan.

On top of above official numbers, I should also add my own as well:
* According to my notes, I sniffed at least 160 perfumes in 3 days (which exclude the ones I tried at Campomarzio 70 and other perfume stores). I say “at least” because my note-taking wasn’t quite up-to-date.
* I sprayed only one perfume on my wrist at Esxence – which was Cierge de Lune.
* Brands I visited at Esxence were somewhere around 43 -46.

Well, I tell you, it was really an eye-opening experience.

Smile, smile, smile... What incredible 3 days! Even the coffee I had at the end of Day 3 reflected my feelings! | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

Smile, smile, smile… What incredible 3 days! Even the coffee I had at the end of Day 3 reflected my feelings! | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

26 thoughts on “Magpie Goes To Esxence: Part 2

  1. Amazingly detailed report. My immediate question is re Neela Vermeire’s Take Two versions of Bombay Bling and Ashoka and possibly her others. What are the differences from the original?

    • Thanks Lindaloo! Take Two is basically two 15 ml bottles in one pack. The bottle is quite cute and I think, at the moment, you can buy Ashoka, Bombay Bling, or Pichola. They are handy for travelling or sharing one with someone else. 😉

  2. …. and breathe! Girl, you did well – gosh so many perfumes and beautiful bottles. Loved all your photos and you look darn gorgeous as well! 🙂 You mentioned you may start oil painting again… Do it, it sounds like something you really enjoyed! I’m sure the perfumes were all gorgeous but by all accounts you really enjoyed the experience and had great conversations as well. Thanks for sharing it with us! 🙂 xx

    • Thank you Patsi! I did very well, I must admit. 😀 To me, the most enjoyable and meaningful experience there as actually talking to perfumers and directors. It was far more worthwhile than actually testing perfumes. It was exhausting but great! xxx

  3. I loved reading your report; I would have loved to have been there but it’s nice to experience through your eyes. Bali is my favorite place in the world! Living in Singapore 1/2 the year I get to go at least yearly. I should do more far flung travel but it keeps calling me back! Let me know if you ever go again and want recommendations. I was curious when you said you only sprayed once. How did you test at the show? I’ve always thought this would be hard, but for whatever reason smelling scents on fragrance gives me no real idea what they smell like. How did you handle this? Thanks! PS Love your artwork

    • You are Bali lover too! I love that island; the atmosphere, the beauty of the place, people, I love everything! I envy you living so close!!
      You are so right about the smell of the perfume being different on the paper and skin. I normally prefer testing them on my skin so that I can get the real feel of the perfume but at the show like Esxence, it is literary impossible to spray every single one you are interested in on your skin. Also I didn’t want to be “carrying” scents around on myself so that when I test the next one, I don’t get the whiff of the previous scent. A lot of stands had some containers or scented ceramic discs to smell the base notes and used blotter paper to try the top notes and possibly the middle notes. For the further testing, use samples at home. 😉

  4. I’m with Cookie Queen, it would be too overwhelming for me, how great that you’re there to write such a vivid report, that it is like being present anyway 🙂
    Thank you! And yes, one of those coffees for me please.

  5. This is just wonderful – a perfectly distilled synthesis of the rest of the highlights from Milan, and you have intrigued me about half a dozen of the scents you sniffed. Notably Star of the Season, Bois Lumiere and both Balinese-inspired perfumes sound beautiful. I always think of my nose as pretty tuned out these days, but there is still new stuff out there to delight and enthrall and I am grateful to you for doing the legwork! And most of all I was excited to read that you had got to meet the owner of Les Parfums du Soleil. I came across this line in a craft shop in Bruges of all places in 2009, the only B & M outlet outside Morocco at that time, and really liked Soir de Marrakech too. Came very close to buying a bottle indeed. At last I have met another fan!

    • To tell the truth, I’m not too keen on trying out something new that much these days but when you are at Esxence, well, it just happens. 😀 Talking about legwork, I thought I should have had a pedometer with me. It would have been interesting to know what sort of distance I covered there.
      I’m so glad to hear that you are also a fan of Soir de Marrakech! You would have loved meeting Abderrazzak Benchaabane; he is a person who really loves life. Now I really want to travel to Marrakech and visit the garden. I’ve got to do it one day.

  6. Really enjoyed properly going through your thorough report, Yukiko. I can imagine it was nice to chat about perfume in Japanese for a change. So your name means moon? In India, mine means star 🙂

    I was interested to read about the Renegades project and I fell in love with Bali when I visited 20 years ago so those perfumes sound good to me too. I don’t suppose you remember anything about Incarnata? I was lemming it after the review by Jtd Jtd but then Luca Turin compared it to black olives and that put me off.

    I will echo others and say you did brilliantly well for your first Esxence, testing 160 perfumes. You really made the most of it!

    • Actually, my name means snow. 😉 Tara is also the name of a goddess, isn’t it? I read about Green Tara and White Tara somewhere.
      I vaguely remember Incarnata but I don’t remember it to be like black olives… I remember it was really makeup powdery through. You made me feel curious, I’ll dig the sample out tomorrow and have a good sniff. 😉

  7. Glad you had a fabulous time and such a whirlwind of fragrances all around. I was really pleased to meet you and have you as a companion to smell all the goods.
    We got to repeat that in Florence for Pitti now ! 😀

    • It really was a whirlwind, Lucas. Have you already tested through samples?I took a few out but most of mine are still in the paper bags. 😀
      I enjoyed our sniffing sessions together too. Now I need to start thinking about Florence. 😉

  8. I loved your report! 160 perfumes in 3 days? Wow… I hope you’ve got enough samples to re-visit at least some of them later because even from a less intensive experience I know that it’s impossible to properly process all those perfumes on the spot.
    Great pictures! Thank you.
    Was there any single perfume that you know you’ll be getting?

    • Thank you Undina! I got some samples but not all. 😉 Those ones I couldn’t get samples, I’ll go through the list again and decide if I want to have further testing, then I might buy samples or decants. Seriously through, there are just so many perfumes there, so unless the perfume has some special aspects and not just “nice”, it fades away and gets lost in oblivion.
      I certainly found a few I really liked and would like to get at least some decants for further wearing. After that, I’ll make up my mind if I want a full bottle or not. To name a few, the ones I liked were Melodie De L`Amour and Issara from Dusita (I already have good amount to enjoy for a while), Cierge de Lune from Aedes, Violette Sacree by Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger. There are a few more which made good impressions, so I’ll test samples again. 😉

  9. Hello there. Wow you smelt a LOT! You did much better than me I have to say. It was so lovely meeting you and such a shame that we didn’t get time to have a proper long chat and walk around. Next time hopefully. Interesting to see your favourites right down the bottom too. Florence? x

    • Thank you for popping by, Megan! At least we managed to meet!
      Yes, I did try a lot. 😀 The trouble is I smelled so many, too many maybe, and a lot didn’t leave much impression on me. Definitely I could do with good sampling sessions at home now.

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