Sniffapalooza Spring Fling 2014 Preview

One of the things about writing about the world of fragrance is my calendar tends to have some important events that mark each season. None of these events is more enjoyable to me than the twice-yearly event known as Sniffapalooza. Sniffapalooaza was created, and continues to be run, by Karen Adams and Karen Dubin. They are affectionately referred to as The Karens within the industry and among perfume aficionados. The Karens began as one of the latter but over the years the impact of Sniffapalooza has made them part of the overall industry. That being said they have never lost the enthusiasm for perfume that led them to create this event, and it shows.

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Karen Adams (l.) and Karen Dubin

Sniffapalooza Spring Fling 2014 will take place on Saturday and Sunday May 3 & 4, 2014 in New York City. It begins with breakfast at Bergdorf-Goodman where we are greeted every year by the fabulous Tom Crutchfield of Roja Perfumes who ushers us through the empty store down to the café. This is the beginning of the scenes which get repeated at every Sniffapalooza as perfumed friends re-connect and those who we might have only known through Facebook or a perfume forum is standing there in real life. The morning is jam-packed as every line in Bergdorf Goodman presents their latest and greatest. Once we are done we spend time on the beauty floor getting better acquainted with our favorites.

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Tom Crutchfiled at Fall Ball 2011

Lunch is an opportunity for presentations from a varied roster representing almost every corner of the fragrance world. I will have the great opportunity to introduce Colognoisseur to this audience. After lunch we visit Henri Bendel and Krigler Perfumery at The Plaza, and finish day one at Molton Brown.

After a night of sleep we gather for more sniffing downtown at Osswald. This is followed by visits to two new fragrance initiatives that are very exciting to me. The Fragrance Republ!c is a subscription service and community which produces a new perfume every month for their subscribers. The Scentsorium is the brick and mortar home to Sue Phillips who has spent years teaching classes to enthusiasts on how to make their own bespoke perfume. Now there is a place where this can happen any day. Then my favorite part of Sniffapalooza comes next the lunch called Emerging Artists Uncorked where new indie perfumers present their creations. I was so enthusiastic about this The Karens have allowed me to be the keynote speaker and MC of the lunch. I love the opportunity to share the best new indie fragrance with this group.

The final part is free form wandering in The Fragrance District downtown as we visit MiN New York, Diptyque, Le Labo, and Atelier Cologne. Over the rest of the afternoon we share our last moments together and the best smelling group of people board various modes of transportation back home. I will be covering everything from this year’s Spring Fling right here on Colognoisseur. Viva La Sniffa, Baby!

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Esxence 2014 Final Wrap-Up Part 2- The Top 10 New Fragrances I Tried

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By my count I tried 68 new fragrances over the three days I spent in Milan at Esxence. This doesn’t include the ones I had already tried before Esxence like the nu_be Mercury and Sulphur, Neela Vermeire Mohur Extrait, or Maria Candida Gentile Finesterre all of which probably would have made the list if this was the first time I had tried them. Keep in mind these are all the most initial of impressions as I rationed my skin space like I was Scrooge McDuck. Over the upcoming weeks you can expect much more detailed reviews of all of these because these are the perfumes which have me the most excited to wear over the next few days. In alphabetical order here are my Top 10 New Fragrances from Esxence 2014.

Ann Gerard Rose Cut by Bertrand Duchaufour– Rose Cut refers to the name of a jewelers cut of a finished stone. The fragrance Rose Cut displays itself like a brilliant jewel with sparkling facets and reflective depths throughout. Right from the start, M. Duchaufour mixes an opening accord of aldehydes and rum which sparkles and mesmerizes simultaneously.

architects club

Arquiste The Architects Club by Yann Vasnier-Creative Director Carlos Huber sets the place as 1930’s Mayfair in London. M. Vasnier first sets the mood by embellishing the clubby aspects of dark woods and leather which all changes in a flash of citrus, juniper, and cardamom. The Architects Club goes from staid to wanton in the blink of an eye and the olfactory transition is as dynamic as lemon twist added to a dry martini.

David Jourquin Cuir Altesse by Cecile Zarokian– David Jourquin has followed up his two 2011 releases with two more leather focused creations. Cuir Altesse was probably my favorite fragrance by Mme Zarokian in the entire show and considering how many fragrances she had on display that is not faint praise. The cardamom opening flows into a magnificent cumin and jasmine heart before going all leathery in the base. Cuir Altesse strummed all of my fragrant pleasure centers.

Humiecki & Graef Abime by Les Christophs– Abime is meant to be the perfume of pain. Les Christophs use an overdose of narcissus to achieve a perfume equivalent of that tightness I feel in my forehead when I am fighting off the dull throb of aches. Once again Humiecki & Graef’s creative team of Sebastian Fischenich and Tobias Muksch allow Les Christophs the freedom to create something which exposes the beauty of every facet of “la condition humaine”.

Jul et Mad Aqua Sextius by Cecile Zarokian– The story of creative directors Julien Blanchard and Madalina Stoica’s relationship is the story of Jul et Mad perfumes. For Aqua Sextius we visit Aix-en-Provence where a wedding will take place. Mme Zarokian sets up an altar of green and citrus notes draped over a woody frame. It feels like a summer day in Provence full of life and love.

Le Galion Whip– If I wanted to make this list easy I could’ve just listed the nine fragrances in this collection and added one more and been done. Le Galion was easily the most buzzed about line at Esxence this year, justifiably so. Owner and Creative Director Nicolas Chabot has resurrected this perfume house which went out of business in the 1980’s. With the blessing of the surviving daughter of the family of perfumers behind the brand M. Chabot has, perhaps, made the best Retro Nouveau re-creations yet. Each of these feel like perfume the way it used to be done but with some added modern twists of current materials. It adds the Nouveau to the Retro and it has been done exquisitely across the line. Whip’s spiced citrus leather concoction grabbed me the most but this truly was the booth I walked away from with the biggest smile on my face.

Naomi Goodsir Or du Serail by Bertrand Duchaufour– Naomi Goodsir Parfums impressed me with their first two releases but the third completely obsessed me. Ms Goodsir was the very first booth I visited and the strip of Or du Serail I walked around with all day got sniffed over and over. M. Duchaufour, under Ms. Goodsir’s and partner Renaud Coutaudier’s creative direction, created the most textural perfume I tried with tactile depths and olfactory wonders which languidly unfolded delightfully over hours and hours

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Olfactive Studio Ombre Indigo by Mylene Alran– Creative Director Celine Verleure gave perfumer Mme Alran a picture of a person of indeterminate gender wading into shadowy water (seen above). The resulting perfume which also carries the deep blue liquid to go with the picture is a study of shadows. Tuberose, saffron, vetiver, papyrus, and leather form a shadowy conclave of mysterious beauty.

Parfum D’Empire Corsica Furiosa by Marc-Antoine Corticchiato– It has been over a year, since the brilliant Musc Tonkin, for perfumer M. Corticchiato to dazzle me again. With Corsica Furiosa he seems to gather every shade of olfactory green together to form a pastiche that continues to plumb the depths of what it means to be green.

The Different Company Nuit Magnetique by Christine Nagel– Creative Director Luc Gabriel assures me this is Mme Nagel’s last fragrance before taking up her new position at Hermes. She delivered it to him on March 4th and started her new job on March 6th. If anyone wonders why I think she is so special Nuit Magnetique might convert some doubters. The top note pairing of ginger and blueberry is captivating only to be followed by another weird but wonderful pairing of jasmine and prune in the heart. Nuit Magnetique exerted a pull over me I couldn’t shake.

There were so many good fragrances at this year’s Esxence that I had a very hard time narrowing it down to ten. Full reviews of these and many others will be coming over the following weeks. Leave a comment if there is one you are particularly interested in and if there is a consensus I’ll move it up the list.

Mark Behnke

Part 1 of my Final Wrap-Up can be found here.

My live wrap-ups for Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

Colognoisseur Esxence 2014 Final Wrap-Up Part 1- The People

It has been about 48 hours since I left the Triennale di Milano for the last time. Since then all of the scents and sounds of the weekend have been macerating in my memory. I am going to split my final wrap-up of the 2014 version of Esxence into two parts. For this first part I’m going to go through the people who make writing about perfume so much fun.

michael edwards

I have to start with my interview subject of Saturday morning, Michael Edwards. The opportunity to work so closely with Mr. Edwards was a very special honor for me. He is an invaluable resource to the perfume community and it was a lot of fun watching him have the SRO crowd in the theatre leaning forward to listen to every word.

bertrand duchaufourcecile zarokian

When it came to the perfume on display it seemed like there were two perfumers who were the unquestioned stars of Esxence 2014; Bertrand Duchaufour and Cecile Zarokian. Both of them were circulating among the many different perfume lines they produced new releases for. As it seemed I couldn’t walk two or three steps without running into one of them or one of their creations I realized there was something very similar about both of them. As independent “guns for hire” they both seem to excel at meshing their personal style with the brand aesthetic of whoever they are working for. While M. Duchaufour is, and has been, a known quantity I reiterate what I said earlier this year; 2014 is going to be a breakout year for Mme Zarokian. I suspect we will look back to this 2014 version of Esxence and realize it was The Bertrand and Cecile Show.

The very lovely Sarah Colton, the Paris Correspondent for Beauty Fashion, introduced me to perfumer Thomas Fontaine. M. Fontaine is the perfumer responsible for reformulating the classic Jean Patou perfumes and we had the opportunity to talk about what’s next. In response to what he was working on he told me it was a new version of Vacances. I am very hopeful that he is the right man for the job not only for what he has done for the first three Jean Patou re-releases but also for the work he has done recreating another old perfume house Le Galion. The Le Galion line was the most buzzed about new fragrance collection at Esxence as Roja Dove and Michael Edwards both called it out as one of the best things they tried. You can add me to that list, too.

I met Etienne de Swardt of Etat Libre D’Orange for the first time and I admired the passion which he still has for his perfume line. Many perfume lines have come and gone since 2006 but M. de Swardt keeps ELDO going strong with an engaging smile and a laugh. I wish more people exuded as much joy as he does.

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I renewed my acquaintance with Naomi Goodsir and Renaud Coutaudier of Naomi Goodsir Parfums. As we spoke about their latest release Or du Serail they told me they let their personal instincts help them decide when M. Duchaufour had finally delivered a finished mod. So far this method has produced three very individual olfactory statements and I know that they will keep allowing their line to develop based on these instincts.

I don’t speak French and perfumers Marc-Antoine Corticchiato of Parfums D’Empire and Anais Biguine of Jardins D’Ecrivains don’t speak English but my body language and large smile communicated my pleasure at their latest releases without any language barrier.

This barely scratches the surface of everyone who I spent time talking to. Some of these conversations planted some seeds which I hope will sprout into some future stories for Colognoisseur.

For Part 2 tomorrow I’ll let you know what I thought the top 10 new fragrances were that I tried at Esxence 2014.

Mark Behnke

My daily live wrap-ups can be found here for Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

All photos courtesy of Esxence Facebook page by Michele Dell'utri

Esxence 2014 Day 4 Schedule and Live Viewer

I may be flying home but Esxence still has one more full day to go. If you need a wrap-up of Day 1 check out my story at this linkThe Day 2 Wrap-up can be found hereMy Day 3 wrap-up is here. Below is the live stream to watch today's panels. The schedule for Day 4 (All times EST) is:

5:30AM Tribute to Sandrine Videault with Michael Edwards, Saskia Havekes, Sabine Chabbert, Laurence Ferat and Silvio Levi

6:00AM Book Presentation- Parfums Rares- Sabine Chabbert and Laurence Ferat interviewed by Tessa Williams, Author, Cult Perfumes

9:00AM Contest -Award Ceremony-The Art of Scent

10:00AM Workshop by Mouillettes & Co Olf'Evolution with Maria Grazia Fornasier and Emanuela Rupi

 

Colognoisseur Esxence 2014 Day 3 Wrap-Up- Hope & Pain, Love & Roses, A Junky, A Magnet & A Jigsaw

Buongiorno Perfume Lovers! Day 3 is also my last day at Esxence 2014 but before I could go out and make my last visits I had a little interview to host. Michael Edwards the man behind the perfume reference standard Fragrances of the World was celebrating the publication of the 30th edition in 2014. For that occasion it was my great pleasure to ask the questions which allowed Mr. Edwards to delight the audience with his view of 30 years of the perfume business. What tickled me most is he finally shared many of the tales he has told me personally with a much wider audience. It was fun watching the audience lean in to hear his answers.

After the presentation it was back onto the exhibition floor to tie up some last loose ends as some of my favorite brands had new releases I hadn’t yet tried. First was visiting with Sebastian Fishenich of Humiecki & Graef. Humiecki & Graef are some of the most creative perfumes I own and the two new ones are worthy additions to the line. Abime is meant to evoke la condition humaine of pain. It is accomplished with an overdose of narcissus which is magnificent. Les Christophs absolutely achieve the olfactory equivalent of pain and it is fabulous. The converse emotion of hope is found in the other new release Nouveau-ne. Les Christophs take an incredibly deep honey note as the linchpin for the positive perfume.

Graine-de-Joie

I then moved onto my second Sebastian in a row as Sebastian Alvarez Murena of Eau D’Italie showed me the latest release, Graine de Joie. I think I’ve seen more perfume which does not have the typical light yellow, pale pink, or amber color at this year’s Esxence than ever before. Graine de Joie is a deep red color befitting a fragrance featuring pomegranate. Perfumer Daphne Bugey has made a fruity floral I will be happy to wear, as after the pomegranate; freesia and a lovely praline accord come together. It is another winner for Eau D’Italie.

I also finally got around to trying the fourth fragrance from jeweler Ann Gerard. Her Rose Cut is signed by Bertrand Duchaufour which should have been enough to get me over there but it took Lila Das Gupta of Basenotes who e-mailed me from the airport to finally put myself in front of Ms. Gerard. Rose Cut is meant to refer to a rose cut of diamond. The perfume sparkles with the brilliance of a precious jewel from the aldehydes on top to rose bolstered with peony in the heart. One of my two favorite roses in the entire exhibition.

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M. Micallef Puzzle Collection No.1 & No. 2

With time growing short I had to dash through my last three lines to visit. At M. Micallef I was shown the new Puzzle Collection No.1 and No. 2. It will be no puzzle to anyone that these are both amazing and I love the bottles with the jigsaw pieces on the face of them. Anais Biguine of Jardins D’Ecrivains showed me the latest, Junky based on Beat Generation poet William Burroughs. Mme Biguine uses hemp as a keynote and then just creates a Beat tone poem of fragrance. I thought Christine Nagel’s last fragrance before taking up her new duties at Hermes would be for Jo Malone, but I would be incorrect. Luc Gabriel of The Different Company convinced Mme Nagel to turn in her new fragrance for him, Nuit Magnetique, just two days before she started. Nuit Magnetique shows off every wonderful facet of Mme Nagel’s skill from a ginger and blueberry top note pair to a jasmine, rose, and prune heart note that is unreal in how good the prune makes it. If you had any doubts about Mme Nagel going to Hermes Nuit Magnetique should make them dissipate.

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The Bus Stop in front of Esxence

I finished my night at the movie theatre for the showing of the documentary "The Nose" on Nasomatto perfumer Alessandro Gualtieri and his experiment in turning a conscious mistake into a perfume and calling it Blamage. Blindfolded he picked six ingredients off his wall and has spent over a year turning them into Blamage. After the film was over they asked us to sniff the handkerchief draped on the back of out chair. One of us had one that smelled different and that person would win the only bottle of Blamage that exists. A local Milano woman was the winner and she was beseiged by people who wanted to get a sniff. It was a fun way to end my Esxence experience for 2014.

For the third time now I am amazed at the level of creativity on display at Esxence. Founder Silvio Levi has once again demonstrated the best show in all of artistic perfumery in the world takes place in Milan every spring. My thanks to Valentina Cagnola and Caterina Gianoli for hosting me and making me feel so welcome. Also my thanks to all the other perfumers, creative directors, bloggers, and other perfume lovers who filled my days with wonderful words of encouragement on the success of Colgonoisseur. I am so very much looking forward to sharing all that I discovered this weekend over the coming weeks with my readers. For the last time from Milano, Ciao Perfumistas e Colognoisseurs!

Mark Behnke

Live from Milan! It’s Esxence 2015! Day 3 Schedule and Live Viewer

Esxence 2015 is back on the air for all four days of the exposition.

Below is the live viewer which will stream all of the panels. If you also keep watching you will even see me interviewing the people involved in this year's event.

 

Here is the schedule of events for Day 3:

11.00 a.m. local/ 6:00 am US ET

Book presentation

Dillo con un profumo (ed TEA). The Scent of Design

The Author Mariangela Rossi talks with Laura Maggi, Managing Editor at Elle Decor and with Giorgia Martone Art Director of Magna Pars Suites Milano, the first Hotel à Parfum

 

12.00 a.m. local/ 7:00 am US ET

Workshop by Mouillettes & Co

Invisible Messages

The language of fragrances is invisible but it always tells us a story

with Maria Grazia Fornasier and Emanuela Rupi

 

2.30 p.m. local/ 9:30 am US ET

Book Presentation

Le lacrime di Mirra – Miti e luoghi dei profumi nel mondo antico

by Prof. Giuseppe Squillace, University of Calabria

 

4.00p.m.local/11:00amUS ET

Conference Perfume Wardrobe

with Marta Siembab, Senselier

 

5.00 p.m. local/ Noon US ET

Book Presentation

La sua voce è profumo

The Author Giovanna Zucconi introduced by Maddalena Scagnelli (voice and violin) and Franco Guglielmetti (accordion)

Colognoisseur Esxence Day 2 Wrap-Up- How Green Can You Go?

Buongiorno Perfume Lovers! The start of Day 2 was the panel on creating a harmonious relationship between brand and retailer moderated by Sarah Colton of ThePerfumeMagazine.com and Beauty Fashion Magazine. This was really a continuation of the panel Ms. Colton hosted at last year’s Esxence. This year there was a strong consensus that clear communication between brand owners and retailers on their goals are the biggest key to a fruitful, and profitable, relationship. This was once again a fast moving thought-provoking panel and much of the credit must go to Ms. Colton for steering her panelists into the more notworthy aspects of this relationship.

After the fast moving ninety minute presentation it was time to go visit Marc-Antoine Corticchiato at Parfum D’Empire where I was introduced to the new Corsica Furiosa. This is the first new Parfum D’Empire since 2012’s Musc Tonkin. The tagline for this is “furiously green” and while I wouldn’t use furious as an adjective this is a kaleidoscopic green fragrance ever revealing new shades throughout the time it develops on skin.

architects club

Next was Carlos Huber who had two new Arquiste releases to debut. The first is called L’Etrog Acqua which is a variant on the original L’Etrog. Perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux decided he wanted a more summer version of L’Etrog and so he ditched the dried fruit accord at the heart and replaced it with lavender, myrtle and more woods. The result is a much fresher and greener fragrance bursting with sunshine. The other new fragrance is called The Architects Club as Mr. Huber asked perfumer Yann Vasnier to create a fragrance capturing a Lost Generation 1930 club in Mayfair London. The early going is all textural effects before they get doused with all of the ingredients of a dry martini. There is a fantastic inflection as The Architects Club goes from Parlor to Party almost in the blink of an eye.

acqua sextus

Perfumer Cecile Zarokian seemingly has a fragrance around every corner at this year’s Esxence. One of her creations I was most excited to experience was also the fourth chapter in the olfactory love story between Julien Blanchard (Jul) and Madalina Stoica (Mad); or more colloquially know as Jul et Mad. When last we left them they were on a Palazzo in Venice. For the fourth chapter, Aqua Sextus they are in Aix-en-Provence where they will marry. Mme Zarokian has created a collaboration of green notes for the fields, watery notes for the 100 fountains, and a bouquet of florals for the bride. This is one of Mme Zarokian’s most assured constructions and it captures all of the lovely emotions of Jul et Mad.

le-galion-perfumes-1963-whip

If there is one thing I have learned in attending my third Esxence is when someone you respect suggests you check out a line, I go check out that line. Roja Dove said the best new line he tried was Le Galion and so it was on my schedule today. What pushed it closer to the top was running into perfumer Thomas Fontaine who helped compose many of the Le Galion line and told me these were right up my alley.  Brand owner Nicolas Chabot kindly showed me all eight of the fragrances and this collection is everything one could want in a Retro Nouveau line. By finding modern alternatives to original vintage recipes many of these Le Galion perfumes straddle the old and the new simultaneously.  I can’t wait to spend quality time with all eight of them but the spiced citrus of Whip and the incredible abstract rose of La Rose will be top of the list.

The ever lovely Sara Carner of Carner Barcelona gave me a sneak sniff of the upcoming El Born and it is a licorice and chocolate bundle of energy.

Tomorrow I will be finishing the rounds but before I do that I have the great pleasure of interviewing Michael Edwards on the occasion of the 30th Edition of Fragrances of the World. I think I need my beauty sleep.

Ciao Perfumistas e Colognoisseurs!

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Esxence 2014 Day 1 Wrap-Up- The Happy Hours

Buongiorno Perfume Lovers! As I am now attending my third Esxence I have come to realize the days of my walking the expositions without seeing someone I know are long gone. That is not a bad thing as I traversed the brand new location the Triennale di Milano sharing kisses on both cheeks and wide smiles of recognition. For an exhibition devoted to artistic perfumery having it in a museum devoted to cutting edge design seems like a natural fit. The layout this year of one long winding road with the best artistic perfumery has to offer is a delightful change as I often felt as if I was on the road to discovery.

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Naomi Goodsir Parfums Display

My first stop was at Naomi Goodsir Parfums. Why? Because besides fabulous fragrances Ms. Goodsir makes the most amazing hats and her display had a condenser in it. This appeals to the perfumista, the hat wearer, and the chemist all at once. What really appealed to me was the new fragrance, Or de Serail. For this third fragrance in the line perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour has created a densely textural tobacco fragrance. This has all the complex design elements of one of Ms. Goodsir’s hats and the same unique aesthetic offered by the first two fragrances. This was the strip I kept smelling all day as it just kept evolving into something different every time I revisited it. Can’t wait to wear it when I get home.

I renewed my friendship with perfumer Mark Buxton and although there is nothing new to add to the Mark Buxton Perfumes line he did give me a sneak preview of something very special. For the new Wes Anderson movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel” he created a classic cologne for the character played by Ralph Fiennes, Monsieur H. Monsieur H never leaves his room without spraying on “L’Air de Panache”. This is a throwback to the old 50’s style of cologne but redolent of high quality naturals. This is the epitome of what cologne can be when great materials are used. L’Air de Panache was only produced in small quantity for the movie premiere and is not available for sale. Why am I telling you about this? Because just steps away another perfume house was going to scratch the perfume itch Mr. Buxton started.

When I walked up to Etienne de Swardt at the Etat Libre D’Orange Booth I saw this advertising tag line, “We’ve given you decadent, we’ve given you outrageous, and now we give you nice” for the simply named Cologne. As I longed for a return to the 50’s style of cologne here was that fragrance. This is simple cologne construction done extremely well. Which makes it better than just nice.

ombre indigo

I think the fragrance I knew was going to be here that I was most eager to try was the new one from Olfactive Studio, Ombre Indigo. The azure colored juice delivered a one-two punch of tuberose and leather surrounded by shadowy notes like saffron, papyrus, benzoin, and plum. They capture the shadows inherent in the photographic inspiration, by Gustavo Pellizzon, seen above. New perfumer Mylene Alran of Robertet has combined a host of the singular Robertet palette of natural raw materials to produce a feast of visual and olfactive delights. It is captivating in every way.

In between all this sniffing there were three panels to attend. Prof. Claus Noppeney spoke on the different ways Perfume & Art are intersecting. The thesis is the collaborations open up the concept of “Perfume As Art” to the general public.

Mustafa Sebbagh took us on an explanation of the images he chose for the nu_be advertising campaign. It was something he said though that really resonated with me. He was talking about how the essential odor of something holds the truth about it and when he meets someone he takes in their odor because, “Your smell doesn’t lie.” Something to ponder.

Happy Hour

Pouring the Rochas Femme Cocktail

The final panel was Edmond Roudnitska Happy Hour as Marika Vecchiattini, of Bergamotto e Benzoino, and Patricia de Nicolai shared M. Roudnitska’s classic fragrances Rochas Femme, Eau D’Hermes, and Diorella. Paired with each of these was a special cocktail to attempt to mimic the fragrance. The one which went with Femme was the most successful as by using wine it recreated the classic prunol base in drinkable form.

As I walked away from Happy Hour I realize the entire day spent at Esxence wasn’t just a single hour of enjoyment they were all Happy Hours.

I’ll be back tomorrow with reports on some other new perfumes I can’t wait to try from some of my favorite lines and Roja Dove has directed me to a brand new line which has impressed him.

Ciao Colognoissuers e Perfumistas!

Mark Behnke

Elements Showcase February 2014 Wrap-Up- Finding the Right Teammates

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It seems like the perfume year really doesn’t get underway until the winter version of Elements has kicked us off. Coming the week after the Super Bowl had consumed New York City it was an interesting transition from football World Championship to, sort of, the opening of the 2014 perfume regular season. What really struck me was the efforts which really stood out were team-ups of olfactory art and another kind of art. So stretching the sports analogy until it breaks I’m going to let you know which rookies captured my attention in the early moments of 2014.

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The first thing that caught my eye were the striking bottles from Suleko. The atomizers sit inside individual sculptures three of which were designed by Joelle Fevre and the fourth one by Alain Fichot. Owner and Creative Director Anastasia Sokolow teamed up with the talented perfumer Cecile Zarokian to complete a Big Three team-up of sculptor, creative director and perfume which has resulted in a fantastic collaborative effort on all three fronts. The bottles were easily the most visually impressive thing on both floors of the Elements Showcase. The perfume inside, meant to evoke one of the seasons, equally impressive. From first impressions Baba Yaga’s spicy energy is more attention grabbing in the early going but I think Albho’s high altitude impression might win me over when I spend more time with them.

Olivia Bee Quiet

Quiet by Olivia Bee

Another collaborative effort came from Ulrich Lang as he debuted his fifth fragrance under his Ulrich Lang New York label called Aperture. There has always been a strong photographic inspiration to this line of fragrance, with Aperture the connection is made even stronger. Mr. Lang asked 19 year-old photographer Olivia Bee to come up with the photograph which accompanies the fragrance. The picture above came from Ms. Bee’s series “Quiet”. The silhouette against three strong bands of color almost mirror the pyramid of peppery aldehydes on top, a deep heart of tobacco, jasmine, and cedar, and an intensely blue base of vetiver, ambergris, and civet. All proceeds from Aperture will be used to support the Aperture Foundation.

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Chef Rene Berges (l.)

The novel “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” by Patrick Suskind has been the jumping off point for many fragrances. The latest, by Absolument Parfumeur, is Le Trezieme Note Femme and Le Trezieme Note Homme. The Thirteenth Note, in the novel, is that which turns perfume into legend according to Baldini, the perfumer who teaches the protagonist Grenouille. Founder and Creative Director Pascal Rolland teamed with Chef Rene Bruges to create a fusion of food and fragrance for the thirteenth note. The Femme version, inspired by a dessert, is a fruity floral on a honeyed ambery base. The Homme version, inspired by an entrée, is an herbal wonderland with a wormwood heart which nods to the first Absolument Parfumeur fragrance Absinthe. The Homme version was particularly enjoyable and only time will tell if either will become legendary.

Sydney Australia floral designer Saskia Havekes presented her first two fragrances inspired by magnolia. Using the same name as her floral design business Grandiflora she convinced two of the more itinerant perfumers on the planet to create two visions of magnolia. Michel Roudnitska and Sandrine Videault, in her last fragrance, created Magnoila Grandiflora Michel and Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine. These two perfumers have turned in singularly magnificent interpretations of magnolia under Ms. Havekes’ creative direction. She also told me the third Grandiflora fragrance will be based on Madagascan jasmine called Stephanotis Floribunda and will also be composed by M. Roudnitska. Based on these first two fragrances it is my most anticipated new fragrance coming out of Elements Showcase.

I also got some advance peeks into the future of some of our favorite brands. Union’s Anastasia Brozler will be taking us to the Garden of Eden, Union-style, with the release of their sixth fragrance later this year. Douglas Bender of Charenton Macerations is currently hard at work on two follow-ups to last year’s Christopher Street. Designer Christian Siriano will be releasing his first perfume, Silhouette, in the next few months and it mirrors his fashion designs full of volume and intensity. Rouge Bunny Rouge has two new releases Muse and Allegria coming out very soon. The new Parfums de Marly Darcey was very nice and it is just starting to be released. I also got a sneak peek at the new boronia fragrance from Nomad Two Worlds, Raw Spirit: Desert Blush. It is another very beautiful fragrance born of an indigenous ingredient to Australia.

Elements Showcase continues to evolve and under the steady hand of Frederick Bouchardy, Ulrich Lang, and Jeffrey Lawson it will continue to present the best of the newest fragrant offerings. I’ll be back in August to see what they have for the mid-season showcase.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur is Going to Esxence 2014!

I am very pleased to announce that Colognoissuer will be attending Esxence 2014. Esxence is one of the premiere, if not the premiere, perfume expositions in the world. This will be the third time I have attended Esxence in their six year history. One of the things that makes this such an exciting exhibition of artistic perfumery is it is a rigorously curated event. Every exhibitor has to pass through a curatorial process before being admitted to the expo. This leads to a very high quality experience. The lists of exhibitors get released in waves leading up to the opening on March 20, 2014. The first group of exhibitors for Esxence 2014 have just been announced and they are :

  • AA Absolument Absinthe
  • Alyson Oldoini
  • Baldi Firenze 1867
  • Bois 1920
  • Bond No. 9
  • Cale Fragranze D'Autore
  • Clive Christian Perfume
  • Cowshed
  • Cuarzo the Circle
  • Du Bois
  • Eau D'Italie
  • Emmanuel Levain
  • Eternal by Ajmal
  • Eutopie
  • Fleur de Cafe
  • Franck Boclet
  • Geo F. Trumper
  • Giulietta Capuleti
  • House of Sillage
  • Hugh Parsons
  • La Manufacture des Chateaux
  • La Parfumerie Moderne
  • Le Galion
  • Les Parfums Keiko Mecheri
  • Mancera Paris
  • Mariella Martinato
  • Memo Paris
  • Mendittorosa Odori D'Anima
  • Montale Paris
  • My Inner Island Parfums
  • Naomi Goodsir Parfums
  • Nu_Be
  • Panama 1924
  • Pantheon
  • Parfums D'Orsay Paris
  • Parfums M. Micallef
  • Paul Emilien
  • Philab
  • Pineider
  • Profumi del Forte
  • Profumi di Pantellaria
  • Prudence Paris
  • Rance 1795
  • Rose & Co. Manchester
  • Rouge Bunny Rouge
  • Teatro Fragranze Uniche
  • Teo Cabanel
  • Tiziana Terenzi
  • Torre of Tuscany
  • Ulili Moroccan Scents
  • Ulrich Lang New York
  • Vanessa Tugendhaft
  • Washington Tremlett
  • X-Pec

Along with this exciting line up of artistic perfumes there will be a contest to design the bottle to hold the perfume which won last year’s “The Scent of Esxence” contest, Etoilegance by Alexander Lee of Mane. This is especially fitting since Esxence 2014 will be taking place in the Triennale di Milano which is an institution devoted to promoting contemporary design, art, and architecture. This will be an exciting extension of last year’s contest to see which flacon best represents Mr. Lee’s fantastic fragrance.

There will be announcements of panels and additional exhibitors as we approach the opening day and I’ll be sure to keep you updated as those details come in.

Mark Behnke