Esxence 2019 Impressions

   Esxence 2019 was a roller-coaster of emotions and disappointments. This was my third participation to an exhibition of this kind and the second year in a row attending this event in particular. The affluence of bloggers, vloggers and Instagramers that took part in this year's edition was a bit overwhelming and made me questioning a few`s ethics and morals (on both sides, brands and the aforementioned). 

I left on Saturday, before Esxence 2019 closed its doors, with mixed feelings and in a sea of confusion. Is Esxence still about perfume? I'm not so sure. To me, although i was extremely excited about new niche offerings, it was more about the people i met on the way and the old friends I've gotten to see again. Besides spending some quality time with my lovely sister who flew from London to be in Milano with me, i finally met my wonderful, inspiring, skilful and talented to bits friend Dana from A Nose Knows, and so many other people in the community that i admire: Ida, my lovely, special and brilliant Ida, Elena from The Plum Girl, Łukasz from Chemist in a Bottle, Sebastian from Smelling Great Fragrance Reviews, Peter from Fragranceview, who is even more charming (if possible) in person than on screen, Pissara, lovely as always, Megan from Megan in Sainte Maxime and Atelier des Ors, Manny from CascadeScents, one of the most well spoken YouTubers i know, Tanja from April Aromatics - an angel of a person, same as Hiram Green and Johanna from NOT Perfumes, to whom i have to thank from the bottom of my heart for a priceless gift, Sultan, of course, who has gotten me feeling pretty emotional, Dani Pit, Zaza Tsatsral Tsegmed, artist and well regarded perfume blogger of Mongol origin established in Germany with whom I've finally met after years of online friendship, and many lovely perfumers and perfume brands owners. 

This year's Esxence theme was INSPIRATION FLOW - the inspiration as mother of creativity. The concept sounds and works well in theory, but when it came to apply it to the practice it most certainly did not flow.
90% of the so called niche and luxury brands exhibiting at The Mall Milano were offering mostly commercial and mass appealing fragrances that lack of creativity and show more interest in marketing and trade than in the art of perfumery itself. Fruity, florals and woods, aroma chemicals floating in the air around us, making the corridors smell like a not so expensive perfume laboratory. Niche took the path of mainstream, sadly. Excepting a few true in the niche vein fragrances, all you could find was "pretty". Yes, people, it's the return to the pretty. When it seemed that we are finally starting to see the light at the end of the oud tunnel the perfume market falls in another loop of uncertainty. Let's wait and see what will happen in the near future. 

As it's practically impossible to visit all the booths and smell every single a perfume house has to offer in four days i did my best to be as selective as possible and to deliver  this report. 

Many soliflore this year, focusing mostly on florals and citruses. Perris Monte Carlo presented two Jean-Claude Ellena`s creations - Rose de Mai and Jasmin au Pays. Two relatively new brands for me - Lucien Ferrero and Essential Parfums. First introduced three fragrances - Par Amour Pour Elle, Par Amour Pour Lui and Seringa Blanc - . The latest, Seringa, a white liliac soliflore composed as an accord of white florals dominated by jasmine and lily-of-the-valley that opens a bit harsh and synthetic and it calms down to smell a bit more natural. I wasn't impressed with their offerings. 
Essential Parfums teams with renowned perfumers, uses sustainable ingredients and eco-friendly packaging to create one of the most affordables lines of niche fragrances on the market (69€/100ml). Their offerings - Mon Vetiver, Nice Bergamot, Orange X Santal, Rose Magnetique, The Musk - are simple, not complicated and quite natural smelling fragrances. 

Two gourmands that fascinated me with their edibile-like, yet not overly sweet vibes as many other gourmands, were Universal Supreme from Blackbird, a strange accord to imitate a bitter cherry smell with a strange gourmandish side and a powdery / marzipan / almond aura (heliotrope`s secondary effects), and Perverso by Baruti a super realistic hazelnut accord covered in tobacco with a touch of booze and cocoa spread over woods.

One of the most original fragrances I've smelled at Esxence this year was Like a Jewel from Homoelegans (a Luca Maffei creation) inspired by Freddie Mercury. Like a Jewel opens sparkling and vibrant with ginger and lemon infused into a fruity accord with rose nuances and it loses its power into a sweaty (cumin?) metallic melange. Energetic, powerful, remarkable, only as Freddie was.

Masque Milano introduced two new fragrances to its line - Kintsugi to the Act. II, next to Hemingway, Luci ed Ombre and Mandala, and Love Kills to Act. III composed of L`Attesa, Romanza, Tango.
Kintsukuroi or Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold. Its philosophy is to repair something by showcasing its imperfections and making it even more beautiful rather than disguise it. The fragrance is a representation of a modern chypre without using oakmoss, one of the latest raw materials restricted by IFRA. Vanina Muracciole recreated a lovely oakmoss accord by using raspberry leaf, a material we had the chance to test at Esxence, in Milano, with a tart green leafy, slightly hayish, smell. The opening is a beautiful creamy magnolia surrounded by greenery and earthiness. The sweetness is potenciated by vanilla and a powdery benzoin.
Love Kills, inspired by Romeo and Juliet lovestory, is a bright and spicy rose, luscious and desirable, reinforced by geranium, that dries down in a tragic powderyness of a musky ending. I prefer it to Kintsugi, especially due to the interesting transition from bright to dark.
"Love won't take no reservations
Love is no square deal
Hey love don't give no justification
It strikes like cold steel
Love kills, drills you through your heart
Love kills, scars you from the start
It's just a living pastime
Burning your lifeline." 

This year's theme for Nishane is No Bounderies and it includes Florane (a floral/fruity) and Muskane (a powdery clean musk with floral/fruity facets) two demi-extraits from the Icons Collection, Nefs (Desire of the Soul) the first oriental of the line, Unutaman (Miguel Matos) from the Experimental line, Ani (Cécile Zarokian) and Saffron Colognise (Jorge Lee).
Ani is a ruined Armenian city now situated in Turkey, close to the border that separate the two countries. Its name was mentioned for the first time on the 5th century and it was described as a fortress in possession of the Armenian Kamsarakan Dinasty. In the 9th century Ani was capital of Bagratid Armenian Kingdom (almost the entire territory of the actual Armenia and eastern Turkey) and one of the biggest cities in the world. Known for its trade routes and religious buildings, fortifications and palaces, Ani was called the City of 1001 Churches. Sacked by the Mongols, destroyed by an earthquake, surrendered to the Byzance, captured by the Georgians, ruled by Turkish dynasties, passed from the Ottoman empire to the Russian Empire`s Transcaucasian region, Ani is now a a ghost town.
Nishane created the No Bounderies line as a statement of peace and understanding. The Turkish brand hired Cécile Zarokian, an Armenian perfumer, to create this fragrance for them. There are indeed no kind of boundaries and the message couldn't be more clear than this.
Now about Ani, the fragrance. In my humble opinion, nowadays no one works the spices better than Cécile does it. Ani is the epitome of the brilliant past of the city and the desolation of  present wrapped together under the sign of peace and love. A burst on energetic ginger with citrusy and bitter vibes meets the sweetness of a dark rose enriched by the rosy spiciness of a red pepper and they melt together into the slightly saltiness of a woody and creamy vanilla. Sweet, yet spicy and vibrant, Ani is one of Esxence 2019 highlights, next to Saffron Colognise, a Jorge Lee fragrance that adds more depth to the original Colognise. 

Honorable mentions

1, 2, 3, Stella! by Gabriella Chieffo - a really interesting salty floral sheltered by a citrusy veil with specks of cocoa and and powdery woodsy amber. 

Pomelo Riviera from the Riviera line by Atelier des Ors. A super realistic juicy and tangy grapefruit with bitter tonalities brightened by the green side of the jasmine.

Patchouli Souviens-Toi (Remember) by Papillon Rouge gives me the same feeling of desolation and seclusion as De Profundis by Serge Lutens does. Carnations and patchouli spread out over a desert cemetery at dusk, when the silence leaves room to the light. Despite the sinister image, Souviens-Toi is quite a nostalgic scent.

And this is were my Esxence 2019 report ends. I wish i could have had more perfumes to talk about, sadly i found only a small amount of creative material to write about.
But let's not lose faith in great fragrances and hope for more creativity!


  1. Lovely recap from Esxence and you know I agree with you on a huge part of what you said what's the general feeling of "trend" in niche <3

    1. Thank you, Lucas! Let's hope it's a passenger trend and this is a wake up call for the niche perfume industry.


Publicar un comentario

Entradas populares