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.

Naomi goodsir

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