Esxence 2015 Day 1 Wrap-Up: Defending Heritage, Lauding the New

This year‘s version of Esxence started with a panel on the pressures independent artistic perfumery faces. At last year’s edition the spectre of IFRA and the EU handing down potentially destructive decisions was real. One year later the panel hosted by Esxence co-founder Silvio Levi shows the beginning of a coordinated response by the niche perfume community. At the forefront are two national committees made up of a broad cross section of all sectors of perfumery in those countries. In France it is called Comite Josephine and in Italy, Asscociazone Caterina. They are working to first create a groundswell within each country before eventually banding into their own force to be reckoned with. We had five members of these committees speak about the pressures niche perfumery is under. There are many large hurdles to overcome but this roundtable made me feel that the people on this panel are ready to face them.

The other big panel was first a discussion between Professor Claus Noppeney and the Institute of Art & Olfaction’s Saskia Wilson-Brown on the value of a truly transparent award for the niche community. Ms. Wilson-Brown outlined the process this year’s entries went through and then after discussion with Prof. Noppeney on the beneficial effects of these awards. Much of this reseach is being done for Scent Culture Institute. The finalists for this year were announced:

IAO finalis1_layout_2

Artisan Category

A City on Fire by Imaginary Authors Perfumer: Josh Meyer

Eau de Celeri by Monsillage Perfumer: Isabelle Michaud

Foxglove by D.S. & Durga Perfumer: David Seth Moltz & Kavi Moltz

Tobacco Cognac by House of Cherry Bomb Perfumer: Alexis Karl & Maria McElroy

Woodcut by Olympic Orchids Perfumer: Ellen Covey

Independent Category

Ombre Indigo by Olfactive Studio Perfumer: Mylene Alran

Boccanera by Orto Parisi Perfumer: Alessandro Gualtieri

Pashay by Raymond Matts Perfumer: Christophe Laudamiel

Black Pepper & Sandalwood by Acca Kappa Perfumer: Luca Maffei

Skive by Canoe Perfumer: Jessica Hannah


Catalin for The Contemporary in Austin, TX Creative team: Charles Long, Carrie Paterson, Karen Reitzel, Seth Hawkins, Emery Martin, Michael Mascha.

Chroma for Denver Art Museum Creative Team: Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

Crime and Punishment for the Minnesota Fringe Festival Creative Team: Mike McGinley, Charles Mc Ginley, Noah Bremer, Ben Heywood.

Famous Deaths for the Museum of the Image (MOTI) in Holland Creative Team: Marcel van Brakel, Frederik Duernick, Wander Eikelboom, Caro Verbeek.

In Libro De Tenebris for the Maggs Gallery in England Creative Team: Paul Schultze

Once again, as it did in last year's inaugural edition, the extremely transparent and fair process has led to a stellar group of finalists. The winners will be announced on April 17, 2015.

Between my television duties and the panels I did get a chance to try some new perfumes.

My first stop of the day was with Francois Duquesne and he presented the new Aedes de Venustas Palissandre D'Or. Perfumer Alberto Morillas has composed a spicy woody fantasia

I was very excited to get a chance to smell the new Neela Vermeire Creations Pichola. My early impression is this has all of the exuberance of Bombay Bling but with white floral providing the fun.

The new The Different Company I miss Violet was composed by Bertrand Duchaufour and if you liked the green vegetal accord from Penhaligon's Ostara you will see a different application here as it is used to provide a foundation for violets to rest upon. A gorgeous new violet fragrance for me to enjoy.

At Etat Libre D’Orange I tried the new Remarkable People and it is a fizzy flute of champagne sprinkled in spices. Another delightful take on tried and true tropes with a flair from ELDO.

That’s just the beginning. I’ll be back tomorrow with all of the comings and goings from Day 2 as I dive headfirst into the Spotlight section featuring new brands.

Mark Behnke

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