Day 1 of any perfume exposition is a time for hugs, kisses, and handshakes as I renew my acquaintance with the best smelling people I know. The first moments of Pitti Fragranze 2015 were spent with one of those friends as I walked in with perfumer Vero Kern. I would finish my day with her but at this point we headed our separate ways.
My first stop was with Naomi Goodsir to try the new release Iris Cendre. This was as good a start to this year’s fair as I could have hoped for. Working with perfumer Julien Rasquinet, Mme Goodsir has developed an iris which has a distinctly green tint matching the color of the juice. It got the honor of being the first perfume sprayed on my skin. I am still enjoying the final stages as I write this.
Next up was Carlos Huber of Arquiste to learn about the room fragrance he did for the St. Regis Hotel chain. It is based on the fabulous parties the founding patroness of the St. Regis hotel, Caroline Aster, used to throw. It is called Caroline’s Four Hundred to represent the guest who would attend these soirees. The room scent captures the flowers present throughout the party and the wood of the ballroom while holding a flute of champagne. I was imagining how nice it would be to experience this as I walked up to check-in after a long day’s travel. I think it would have the desired pick-me-up effect.
I went to visit with Niclas Lydeen of Agonist where he showed me the new Blue North. This is a perfume which captures the dichotomy of the deep cold of his native Sweden in winter coupled with the ability to come inside and snuggle in the warmth of the home. After having done collectible glass sculptural bottles for the previous Agonist releases; for Blue North it will be a collectible piece of fabric with the star-filled sky of the Swedish night upon it. It also represents the cocooning one does in the depth of winter as you draw it close around you.
In between all of this I attended two panels. The first was from Mane. Last year’s exploration of their Jungle Essence process was one of the highlights. This year’s panel was a different introduction to the raw materials Mane produces. Lutz Hermann the creative director and owner of J.F. Schwarzlose worked together with artist Paul de Florian and nose Veronique Nyberg to create the new perfume Altruist. The panel then proceeded to breakdown Altruist into all of the raw materials that went into it. Cyril Gallardo explained the processes which produced each one followed by Mme Nyberg explaining the effect it produced in the fragrance. We were given a strip of Altruist to start with and that was followed by each of the twelve raw materials used. The ones which made the biggest impressions upon me were the fractionation of lemon where the citral was removed. It took that familiar note and turned it significantly greener and tarter. The Jungle Essence process was used on black pepper and it turned that material distinctly woody. Without knowing I would have thought it was some exotic new hardwood. The synthetic Aqual is a powerhouse new aldehyde. On the strip at 0.01% it still packed a punch.
The second panel was a discussion moderated by Chandler Burr between Francois Henin of Jovoy Paris and Franco Wright & Adam Eastwood of Los Angeles’ Scent Bar and online Luckyscent. It was a very lively discussion as the two businesses discussed the difference of selling fragrance in Europe and the US. One surprising takeaway for me was that the US business was primarily done online while Jovoy’s business was mainly done in-store. It definitively pointed out the difference in the willingness of the two sets of consumers to use the internet as their shopping space. I was also surprised that of the top selling fragrances at both there was not one American perfume brand to be found. Both have found a steadily growing trend of male customers visiting their stores. In LA it was noted the guys were more likely to be the ones who spent a couple hours in the store. The hour flew by with the exchanges.
I finally ended my day with Ms. Kern as she gave me a sneak peek at her new releases. All I will say is she has tobacco on her mind this time. What she is doing with that is something to be told another day.
On Day 2 I am starting it out with Andy Tauer to get my first sniff of Incense Flash. Until tomorrow, Ciao Perfumistas!