Pitti Fragranze 2014 Day 2 Wrap-up- The Heart of Perfume

Buongiorno perfumistas!

On day 2 of Pitti Fragranze the public is invited to attend. This gives a different energy to the fair from Day 1 which is industry only. It is enjoyable to watch young perfumistas discovering brands and meeting the perfumers behind them. Their attendance today will light a fire in their heart which will burn for many years to come. I still had some work to do catching up with some of my favorite brands and exploring some new brands.

I didn’t recognize Pierre Guillaume with his new short haircut and as a result I kept looking past the tall man standing next to his display. Maybe because it was first thing in the morning but I finally realized that tall man was M. Guillaume. Another perfumer who I had never met in person before. He showed me his latest release for his Huitieme Art Parfums line Liqueur Charnelle. This is a rich cognac perfume that made me feel as if I needed to be wearing a velvet jacket next to a fireplace. I also got a preview of the next new release Mojito Chypre. You might think the name tells you all you need to know but M. Guillaume includes a wonderfully surreal strawberry note in between the lime and the chypre. This felt like perfume made with a wink and a smile.

Perfumer Cecile Zarokian has been having a tremendously successful year and I was able to try her two latest releases; Laboratorio Olfattivo Patchouliful and Jacques Zolty Van’lle. The press art for Patchouliful captures a king sitting on a throne in shorts and flip flops. It is an apt description for a fragrance which uses patchouli in a lighter opaque application. It is another example of Mme Zarokian’s ability to find new ways to interpret notes we all think we know. Jacques Zolty is meant to be an entry brand into niche with a bit of niche sensibility. Easy to wear but with some unique aspects added to it. Van’lle is just that a rich light amiable vanilla. It doesn’t cloy it swaddles you in sweet comfort.

I also connected with Olivier Durbano and tried his tenth release, Promethee. M. Durbano delved into the Greek myth of Prometheus. My first impression is this might be the best fragrance M. Durbano has released. Promethee captures the fragrant touchstones of the myth and it is housed in a temple of resinous components. This is confident perfume made by a perfumer who has developed over the last ten years into one of the best independent perfumers we have working.

John Molloy of Memo walked by and asked me when I was going to drop by and get a sneak preview of the next release from them. Before I sprayed it on he told me to imagine a woman dressed in a leather skirt who carried that ineffable air of a Parisienne wearing rose perfume. The upcoming French Leather is that rose and leather combination with the style of Paris imposed on it. It will be released early in the fall.

ChandlerBurr_RobertGerstnerFragranze12_027Chandler Burr (l.) and Robert Gerstner

Time for the presentation by Chandler Burr interviewing Robert Gerstner and Miguel Briceno of Aedes de Venustas in New York City. For the first part of the interview the talk centered on how the selections in the store are curated and what it takes to have the full package necessary to be included in the store. They figure they get approached by one new brand a day and over the course of a year they might only find one or two which they would like to add to the inventory. It was a fascinating candid look behind the scenes in a premiere niche perfumery and how decisions are made.

Now I went to spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the section called Spring for new fragrances by small independent brands. I saw most of them and there were two which stood out to me.

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Peccato Originale is an inventive brand which bases their packaging, perfume names, and inspirations on old pharmacy artifacts. What you see above is a first aid kit from sometime in the 1920’s. Two new fragrances were introduced at Pitti, Tintura Spiritosa and Antidoto. Silvia Monti has taken her previous life as a pharmacist and used it to make perfumes which feel like blend of old style chemist and new style perfumer. Antidoto is my favorite of the two new releases as it has a very long-lived top note combination of intense citrus. It takes hours before mate tea followed by rum push it out of the way. This kind of juxtaposition was really interesting to wear and I enjoyed the languid development which is still continuing twelve hours after I applied it.

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The best new brand I have seen through the first two days of the show is Map of the Heart. Pierre Dinand designed heart shaped bottles which look like they came out of the television show Once Upon a Time. These fragrances are no fairy tale as the three fragrances Clear Heart, Black Heart, and Red Heart form a diverse collection from Clear Heart’s easy wearing affability through to Red Heart wearing its tuberose on its sleeve. The one real stand out of not only the line but the entire show is Black Heart. This is a descent into all of the dark places most perfumes fear to tread. It is not for those who like their fragrances lighter. Black Heart is simply fascinating to wear.

One day left and eight hours to try and cover everything I haven’t so far. See you tomorrow.

Ciao perfumistas!

Mark Behnke

Pitti Fragranze 2014 Day 1 Wrap-up- Old Friends, New Tricks, and a Mozart Ball

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Buongiorno Perfumistas!

Every perfume event I go to it seems like the first day is all about checking in with those who have become friends over the years. This began on the sidewalk outside the Stazione Leopolda in Florence, Italy the site of Pitti Fragranze 2014. Francois Duquesne emerged from his cab and I asked him if there were any new Aedes de Venustas fragrances coming. He pulled out a sample vial of Copal Azur the new release coming in the fall. This is composed by the man I call The High Priest of Resins, Bertrand Duchaufour. Copal Azur is one of the most resinous fragrances I have smelled in a long time and it is tuned expertly by a perfumer who seemingly can do this at will.

They finally let us inside and I began by walking the entire room to see what is here. After my reconnaissance was done and many hugs and handshakes exchanged I stopped to introduce myself to Andy Tauer who I met in person for the first time. We discussed the Sotto La Luna line and I asked what was next and he told me the formulas for the next two are finished. We have Sotto La Luna Hyacinth and Sotto La Luna Tuberose to look forward to. Based on our conversation I am particularly excited to see how Hyacinth is realized.

Next stop was with Jeroen Oude Sogtoen who was presenting the new bottle designs for Mona di Orio Perfumes. One thing I was delighted to see was Oud has been renamed Oudh Osmanthus. Mme di Orio used osmanthus as the perfect unusual floral foil to oud at a time when too many perfumes were just throwing it in to fragrances with no thought. Oudh Osmanthus showed there was a different, and better, way to go. The new bottles feel like they were designed to nestle in your hand perfectly. Finally I had the opportunity to try the new release Myrrh Casati by perfumer Melanie Leroux. Mme Leroux captures the shadow play Mme di Orio was known for and this looks to be a worthy continuation of the legacy. One last thing for those who were missing the original fragrances Lux and Nuit Noire are now both available again in the new packaging.

As I walked into the next room the team from Masque Milano were standing in front of a giant samovar. It will be no surprise to you that the fifth fragrance from Masque Milano is called Russian Tea. The perfumer is Julien Rasquinet who made this his last work as an independent perfumer before accepting a job at IFF. While I fully expect M. Rasquinet to produce more great fragrances Russian Tea was a great one to finish this phase of his life as a perfumer. It is smoky and it has a surprising grace note of mint which works surprisingly well. I kept returning to this strip throughout the day and the development and the way it evolved rewarded me every time. I am looking forward to wearing this on my return home.

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I then attended two presentations in the conference hall that were back to back. The first was from Mane all about their supercritical fluid extraction technique named Jungle Essence. This form of extraction gathers all a natural source has to give without having to be heated up. There is a video they used to show this process that I hope I can share with you in the future because it did the best job of showing how the process works. The best part was they passed around examples of raw materials captured via Jungle Essence and more traditional ways. It was striking how much more nuanced the Jungle Essences were, especially when comparing side by side. For me the most surprising was the difference between cardamom absolute and cardamom Jungle Essence. The absolute has a raw green quality which the Jungle Essence has but it is much softer.

The second presentation was by perfumer Maria Candida Gentile who presented the three fragrances in the “Il Volo del Calabrone” (The Flight of the Bumblebee) collection. Using three different versions of beeswax form three different countries she complemented each one with different notes. In Kitrea it is lemon. In Leuco it is tuberose. In Synconium it is fig. The different style of honey is apparent on first sniff, it really adds a dimension to a note which can be difficult to balance.

On my way down the hall I met the lovely Valerie “Cookie Queen” Sperrer. Now you would think I would say she gave me a cookie but she also had some new tricks to share and instead I got a Mozartkugel or as we call it in English a Mozart Ball. It was yummy after dinner tonight. Thanks Valerie.

Final stop of Day 1 was to meet the team at Grossmith and try the new Fortnum & Mason exclusive, Sylvan Song which is a fabulous floral fantasy as only Grossmith can do as they continue to create perfumes which feel like classics reinvigorated. I think I might have to arrange for someone to visit Fortnum & Mason for me as this is truly exclusive and will not be sold anywhere else.

It was off to dinner as I rode into a beautiful sunset over the Arno river.

I’ll be back tomorrow as I concentrate on the section of the exposition called Spring which has gathered a number of new brands.

Until then Ciao Perfumistas!

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Is Going to Pitti Fragranze 2014!

Colognoisseur is heading to Pitti Fragranze in Florence, Italy. For those who don’t know this is the Fall perfume expo which is in its twelfth year. I will be attending all three days from Friday September 12 through Sunday September 14, 2014. You can look forward to full coverage of all of the new releases and events at the fair. I will be posting a daily wrap-up each day throughout the weekend and once I return a full overview. I will navigate the over 240 brands that will be represented at the fair looking for the newest releases from well-known brands and especially looking for the debut brands which surprise and delight me.

Here is a partial list of the brands who are exhibiting:

Aedes de Venustas, Agonist, Aj Arabia, Amouage, Arquiste, Bakel, Blood Concept, Bois 1920, Bruno Acampora Profumi, Calé Fragranze d’Autore, Carner Barcelona, Caron, Castle Forbes, Cire Trudon, Comptoir Sud Pacifique, Couto, Coquillette Paris, Dr Gritti, Dr Sebagh, D.S. & Durga, Eau d’Italie, Etat Libre D’Orange, Farmacia SS Annunziata dal 1561, Floris, Frapin, Fueguia 1833. Patagonia, Heeley, Histoires de Parfums, Honoré des Prés, House of Sillage, Humiecki & Graef, Il Profumo, Illuminum Fragrance, J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin, Jul et Mad, Laboratorio Olfattivo,  Le Galion, Mariella Martinato, Miller Harris, Miriam Quevedo, Mona di Orio, Montale – Paris, Neela Vermeire, Nobile 1942, nu_be, Odin NY, Officina delle Essenze, O’Driù, Olivier Durbano, Pañpuri, Parfums de Marly, Profumi del Forte, Puredistance, Roads, RPL Maison – Atmospheric Perfumes, Scentbar, Simone Cosac Profumi, Six Scents,  The Different Company, Tiziana Terenzi, Ulrich Lang New York, Welton London, Xerjoff.

Please check back in all next weekend for the latest from Pitti Fragranze.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Release Clive Christian “L” for Men & “L” for Women

One of the things that happened when I attended Esxence that I was sworn to secrecy about was I got to get a sneak sniff of the next new set of perfumes from Clive Christian. Unlike many perfume houses Clive Christian does not release new perfumes every year, the last release was 2012’s “V” for Women and “V” for Men. This always makes it exciting when a new release is announced. Here is the press release for the new Clive Christian “L” for Women and “L” for Men which will be released exclusively to Harrod’s on August 15, 2014 and sell for £ 225 for 50 mL.

As his loyal fans will have noticed, it’s not every day that Clive Christian launches a new perfume. Not for him the endless stream of the “new”, the “fashionable” and the “latest”. He waits until he finds something that he completely loves, a perfume that captures something of his spirit, that is truly beautiful and that, as always, is made up of only the most precious of materials in their purest form.

Joining his “C” and his “V” Perfumes in the Private Collection, Clive has selected the letter “L” from his name to become the final addition to what is now a trilogy of luxury perfumes. The Private Collection consists of perfumes that are amongst his great personal favourites – “C” for Clive, “V” for Victoria. And now “L” for Love, the most important, yet also the most invisible ingredient in every relationship. Love is the perfect emotion to bind this collection together.

“L” for Women – a Fruity Floral perfume with classical ingredients of Damask Rose and Jasmine  at  the  heart. The rose was seen as a symbol of beauty and femininity by the ancient Roman noble women; they used to wear garlands of roses around their necks, bathed in rose water and perfumed the soles of their feet with rose oil. The perfume is spiced up and modernised by the addition of Pink, Black and White Pepper notes at the top, together with green foliage and dried fruit notes of Davana, bringing to mind images of a darkly romantic dense green jungle. Base notes of Vanilla and Cedar add a smooth sweetness, whilst Patchouli, Vetiver and Musk add depth and a nicely contemporary touch of something a little edgier and woody.

“L” for Men – a Spicy perfume with a glorious celebration of precious woods. It takes the wonderful smokey-green aroma of Vetiver and combines it with Cedar Atlas and Fir Balsam to add rich sweetness, with some Musk for sensuality and spices to bring the whole base notes alive and enhance the beauty of the Vetiver – the oil of tranquillity.At the top of the traditional pyramid, Grapefruit leads the way with a bright citrus note, which also livens up the natural green-citrus notes, whilst tones of Oud, Rose and Petitgrain Mandarinier round out the whole and give it a nice modern, distinctive edge. During the Roman Empire, the rose was a symbol of power and was used to honour returning armies and later to perfume sophisticated celebrations.

I hope to have samples soon to review this.

Mark Behnke

Snifapalooza Spring Fling 2014 Wrap-Up- Re-starting My Engine

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It is usually right about this time of year the first four months of new fragrances have left me losing my mojo. Thankfully it is also this time of year that the psychic jumper cables known as Sniffapalooza Spring Fling happens. After spending a weekend with my fellow fragrance fanatics I return tired, but refueled, to cover everything new I saw while in New York City for the weekend.

What has become a bit of a tradition for me is I arrive the afternoon before Sniffapalooza starts and visit my friends at Atelier Cologne. I was going to get the premiere of Blanche Immortelle the next morning but I also got the chance to sample the other new release Santal Carmin. The final part of our biannual ritual is for me to get a sneak peek at the next release. All I can say is it is one of my favorite notes in perfumery done Atelier Cologne style.

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Roja Dove

Saturday morning saw us all gather at Bergdorf Goodman for breakfast and the presentation of new releases. The highlights were a new Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique meant to be a cooling splash for the summer. Two new Tom Ford Private Blends which will be released early in June as part of a collection extrapolating off the vibe of Neroli Portofino. I got a preview of both and one of them is going right to the top of my summer wearing list. As mentioned above Atelier Cologne premiered Blanche Immortelle and for those who find immortelle a bit tough to approach Atelier Cologne has once again transformed the way you look at a difficult note by making it a part of a cologne architecture. The breakfast finale was the irrepressible Roja Dove who spoke about many within his Roja Parfums line but the newest release is Lily Extrait. As with all of the soliflores in Mr. Dove’s collection it continually makes you ask “Is it real or is it Roja?”

From Bergdorf Goodman we headed to lunch at Brasserie 8 ½ and while we rested and recharged we were treated to the fragrances that were created by a chef and an interior designer. The chef is Roble Ali and his fragrance is called Clique by Roble and Chef Ali wanted to present a three course meal of the olfactory.  It is a finely tuned gourmand that does indeed feed the senses. The interior designer is Tobi Tobin and she presented the four fragrances which accompanied the debut fragrance Crow. Ms. Tobin translates her chic style of interior design deftly into a collection of fragrances which exemplify her aesthetic.

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Henri Bendel Fragrance Mezzanine

The next stop was a little sad as we bid a Sniffapalooza adieu to the fragrance collection at Henri Bendel. By the time Fall Ball arrives in October Henri Bendel will only be carrying their own private label fragrance. It was a little melancholy standing shoulder to shoulder on the mezzanine where I’ve discovered so many new things and realized that this was very likely my last visit to it. From there it was back to my hotel to rest up for Sunday.

We gave Soho a Sniffapalooza wake-up call as we convened bright and early on Sunday at Osswald. Awaiting us was the entire Stephane Humbert Lucas 777 line in its US debut. I had a lot of fun introducing people to the line especially the fabulous Kohl de Bahrain. The fragrant caravan then traveled to the Fragrance Republ!c to be introduced the latest release 01/07. This was followed by a visit to the Scentsorium which is Sue Philips’ home to her very successful custom perfume business which previously was a traveling show. With the Scentsorium her unique custom perfume experience is open for business in a space which surrounds one with creativity.

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Introducing Michael Edwards (r.)

We all needed a break and lunch had arrived in the nick of time. It was my turn to entertain the group as I emceed the Eau de Sniffapalooza lunch where I had the great pleasure to introduce the perfumers behind the brands Code Deco, Jazmin Serai, Suleko, Phoenecia Perfumes, Nomad Two Worlds, Arts & Scents, and Neelu Kumar. It was also my great pleasure to introduce Michael Edwards as special surprise guest to wrap everything up as he spoke about the excitement and passion the independent perfume movement brings to the world of fragrance.

My final stop was at MiN New York where I got acquainted with the new Perris Monte Carlo line; but the most interesting thing was a door. I asked about this fabulous looking door that looks like it leads into a wizard’s keep or medieval castle. The cryptic smile and the “we will be letting everyone know what is behind the door in a couple of weeks” has me as curious as the proverbial feline.

It was time to get in my last hugs and head for my train back home. Once again the event was a smashing success due to the hard work of Team Karen and everyone who joined in this celebration of all things fragrant. I am now back to 100% charged until I get my next boost at Fall Ball in October.

Mark Behnke

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

micallef jigsaw

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.

xerjoff bus stop

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