Esxence – The Scent of Excellence is the unpronounceable trade fair held once a year in Milan, Italy, that specialises in niche and artisan perfumery. We were lucky enough to be able to attend this year’s event and loved every moment of it. As we wandered around the booths though, certain brands leapt off the stands at us and we thought it was only right to share a few of those impressions with you so you are primed and ready to check them out.
Presented in no particular order:
- Jardin de France
Why? Jardin de France have been making niche scents for almost a hundred years, so they must know what they are doing, right? Yes. Definitely they do. They were presenting the five existing scents from their Sources d’Origine collection plus two new scents which will arrive in the summer. Their stand wasn’t the biggest, nor the flashiest around, but it didn’t need to be because their quality spoke volumes. The presentation of their scents is elegant and understated, but their perfume inside oozes sophistication. Jardins de France epitomises luxury and craftsmanship, their scents are confident, accomplished, elegant and really, really good. They have a clarity in their composition which is a delight to behold, and we loved every one of the scents they were kind enough to show us.
The scent to try: We loved them all, but in particular Metal Absolu was like no other metallic perfume we have tried.
Why? Blackbird are a hyper-modern brand from the USA which positively crackles with millennial creativity. You can feel the electricity as soon as you sniff their creations. Their scents are intriguingly weird, in the best possible way, and will draw even the most cynical old hat to the brand’s powerful intersection between art and science. Blackbird are definitely a brand to watch, especially if you enjoy the sense of excitement from edging closer and closer to the wood-chipper. They could turn out just about anything next and you can be certain that whatever it is it will not be boring and it will not be like anything else.
The scent to try: YO6-S would be the easy one to pick, but Broken Glass had, for us, a real spine-tingling energy.
- Wide Society
Why? Everyone in perfume land is always using travel as the inspiration for new scents which in itself is nothing new, however, Wide Society have taken that a step further and will be providing perfume solutions to travellers alongside a range of high quality scents, all at a reasonable price point. Having spent a good ten minutes deciding what perfume we would be taking with us to Esxence, having the freedom to pack a travel solution would be ideal and we can absolutely see ourselves using their products. The line is so fresh that it hasn’t landed quite yet, but will be available very soon.
The scent to try: Nubes is just gorgeous and feels like a really accomplished and elegant fragrance to travel with.
- Santi Burgas
Why? Everything about Santi Burgas was thoughtful: packaging, design, visuals, presentation. It struck us as a range of scents for deep thinkers, and those who wanted to uncover a bit more from life; introspective but in a way that wasn’t stuffy or forced. Their scents also felt as if they would be very easy to wear and would suit many different tastes.
The scent to try: Palindrome 3 is something really special. It raised the hairs on the backs of our necks when we sniffed it the first time. That’s all you need to know really.
Why? Homoelegans cloak themselves in dense, perfume marketing speak but their scents are – under all that impenetrable waffle – really interesting. They draw their inspiration from a range of historical characters including Frida Kahlo, Edith Piaf and Francis Bacon. When they told us that they had a perfume inspired by an English pub, we were poised, ready to dislike it (not because we dislike pubs, far from it, but they aren’t the most fragrantly delightful places even at the best of times) but actually it won us over and a scent that can overcome a preconceived idea has to be good.
The scent to try: Quality of Flesh is the name of the scent that was inspired by pubs (and Francis Bacon). It’s worth trying to see how the artistry of good perfumery can reinterpret something like that and turn it into something new.
- Olfactive Studio
Why? If you’re a regular reader of The Sniff, you will know that we have already reviewed perfumes by Olfactive Studio, however, they’ve made this list because their newly launched scent Flashback in New York has to be one of the best they have produced. That and we really enjoy their approach of using photographical images to inspire perfumes. It’s a nice approach.
The scent to try: Flashback in New York is a fantastic scent if you can’t decide between hot or cold notes. It’s really interesting how the scent moves between the two.
Why? The formulas of perfumes are kept very secret within the industry in case rival firms steal the recipe and make knock-offs of the prized scent at a cheaper price. Perfume.sucks is different in that the brand describe their scents as ‘open source’ and print the ingredients on the bottle. It’s an unusual approach for sure. They don’t even describe their creations as perfumes, instead preferring to refer to their ‘alcoholic solutions’. We found it exciting to see a brand doing something so contrary to the way in which things have done in the past, because challenging established behaviour can take us to new and exciting places.
The scent to try: We thought Green was an easy wear, but that Red kept us intrigued.
- Waters and Wild
Why? This Irish brand places emphasis on using natural, organic ingredients and is heavily inspired by the Irish coastline. There is a purity and a cleanliness to these scents which are all limited edition and made in small batches, but they also have a bit of magic and sparkle about them too, an indefinable quality that will keep you going back for more.
The scent to try: Sweet Basil and Bergamot is a lively creation, full of energy.
It’s a great time to be interested in perfume, there are so many fascinating brands coming on to the market and the niche and artisan sector is growing so we can only hope to see more of these excellent standards in years to come. How exciting!
Did you spot anything at Esxence that you thought was exceptional? Do drop us a line and let us know. We are now available on Instagram as well as ‘thesniffwebsite’.