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.