Best of Esxence 2019

Every year in April, a host of perfume brands, representatives and aficionadas descend on Milan for Esxence, the niche and artisan perfumery trade fair. We were very lucky to be able to attend for a second time this year and have selected some of our favourite scents from what was a very strong field.

Miller et Bertaux

Why?
This beautiful brand are full of chic modernity. They are the perfume equivalent of beautiful Scandinavian designs, apart from the fact that they are from France. Their scents are exquisite, but quiet, humming a pared down melody of clean lines, crisp composition and quiet invention.

The scent to try
Menta y Menta is the new release of Miller et Bertaux and it is fantastic. The sort of scent that draws you in from across the room. It is a triumphant fragrance which uses exquisite mint notes but in a composition which couldn’t be further from shower gel or toothpaste.

Carner Barcelona

Why?
Carner are a brand which keep getting better and better. We’ve enjoyed them for a while, having reviewed Palo Santo, Tardes, Latin Lover, Besos and Sweet William, but their latest collections have launched them into stratospheric levels of good. They have a freshness about them, and a cohesive identity. Carner are a brand which it is easy to imagine bright young Spanish things wearing to go to exclusive parties.

The scent to try
Megalium from their Oriental Collection is superb: rich, inviting and utterly moreish. A ‘love at first sniff’ type of scent. Black Calamus from their Black Collection is like the most decadent, debauched and exciting night out you’ve ever had.

Papillon Rouge

Why?
Papillon Rouge were a happy discovery from Esxence this year. They’re typically French fragrances, created by an independent house with an excellent pedigree (their founder was a former Guerlain fine fragrances director). We found them to be accessible, chic and really easy to wear and fall in love with. Their bottles have a really pleasing heft and cap too.

The scent to try
With it’s intoxicating mix of heliotrope, tobacco and oud, Reine de la Jungle¬†from their Butterfly Collection was an immediate hit with us. It evoked that fuzzy, disorientating hedonism of walking into a glasshouse on a sunny day. Also, we really like butterflies.

Strangers Perfume and Parfum Prissana

Why?
We’re including these in one batch as they are by the super talented and prolific perfumer, Prin Lomros, who we also had the pleasure of meeting whilst we were in Milan. Strangers is the youthful, zeitgeisty, rebellious line of his scents, and Parfum Prissana is Mr Lomros being all grown up, serious and more introspective.

The scent to try
From Strangers, Cigar Rum is an intoxicating blend of cigars and, well, rum. It’s got a heady sweetness to it which it’s easy to imagine going well with a summer’s evening in hot climes. From Parfum Prissana, Ma Nishtana is really quite spectacular, a spicy incense, smoky woods, and saffron concoction which feels utterly exotic and is beautiful work.

Pierre Guillaume

Why?
This stalwart perfume house do not get the recognition they deserve for their accessible, friendly, and interesting scents. We’ve reviewed absolutely tons of their line including the magnificent Bois Naufrage, Jardins de Kerylos, Musc Maori, and Cuir Venenum, amongst others. Their new White Collection is the brand’s latest evolution and it feels fresh, optimistic and uplifting in dark and treacherous times. Wearing any of their new line will make you feel like you have a personal shot of sunshine with you all day.

The scent to try
Sunsuality from the new White Collection is a beautiful, languid mix of kumquat, ginger and sandalwood. It’s stretching out by the pool and letting the rays of sunshine dance across your skin.

Santi Burgas

Why?
Santi Burgas are a brand with a beautiful, well thought out design ethos and concept. They impressed us last year, and we couldn’t wait to review Palindrome III once we returned. This year they have pushed the envelope even further with their new Primal Waters range. All the scents are gorgeous, and we’d happily wear any of them. Santi Burgas are definitely a brand to watch.

The scent to try
N from Primal Waters is a lovely crisp, citrus composition which is both timeless and fresh all at once.

Bedeaux

Why?
Bedeaux are another of the avant guard flank of houses who are gaining traction in the world of niche perfumery with their thoughtful compositions and disrupting-the-establishment vibes. Best known for the Art and Olfaction Award winning, Chienoir, Bedeaux are now showing that they are more than a one-trick pony.

The scent to try
Chouette is one of two scents named after owls (Chouette being a type of owl in French, Hibou being the partner scent) and it is a gorgeous, soft floral musk. Wearing it makes you feel like you are snuggling up in the fluffiest of duvets. It’s delicate, comforting and beautiful.

Angela Ciampagna

Why?
Wearing an Angela Ciampagna fragrance makes us feel like we have stumbled across a magical potion. Somehow, this inventive house manage to capture something so intriguing, so rare, in their fragrances that they give us goosebumps. We’ve reviewed Miracula, Materia and Ignes on The Sniff before, and, quite frankly, it’s thrilling that we are going to be able to review more.

The scent to try
Liquo is our newest discovery from this brand, and boy is it special. Liquo has the most opulent liquorice note which is so incredibly showstopping and unusual that we were rendered speechless by its rich and mystical beauty.

M.INT Parfums

Why?
Mint perfumes are synonymous with luxury. Their presentation is beautiful and unique, and the scents contained within are thoroughly distinctive and classy. Wearing a Mint scent will almost certainly make you feel empowered, distinctive and elegant. What more could one ask for in a fragrance?

The scent to try
There are so many scents in the Mint line up that there is bound to be something in there to suit everyone, however stand outs for us are Meek Passion for its incredible fruity opening, and Affecting Mind for beautiful nutty vibes which are so addictive.

January Scent Project

Why?
It’s impossible to not feel something in response to the brand voice of January Scent Project. The fragrances have personality in spades and it’s clear that they are made for the love of the craft and not just to shift units. They’re of the new stable of niche lines being made my people outside the establishment no longer respecting the ‘closed shop’ vibe of perfumery of the past. This is scent at it’s most raw and electric.

The scent to try
Smoulderose is the most well known of the January Scent Project line up, and it’s easy to see why the rose-on-fire identity appeals to those wanting to stray away from pretty, powdery, floral concoctions. That said, Burvuvu, with its experimental cedar composition really beguiled us.

The other stuff

All the brands mentioned above gifted us samples or full bottles over the time of the trade fair. No strings were attached to these gifts and we have selected our favourites based entirely on what stood out to us and nothing else. We thank the brands for their generosity and willingness to spend time discussing their creations with us.

Many of the brands mentioned above are available from the wonderful Bloom Perfumery London, including Carner Barcelona, Strangers, Pierre Guillaume, Angela Ciampagna and M.INT.

 

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