We are still under the influence of this year’s Esxence in Milan — the world’s biggest fair for niche fragrances and can’t wait to share our impressions with you. Thousands of fragrance devotees make an annual spring pilgrimage each late March to the futuristic exposition hall right at the heart of the North Italian metropolis, “The Mall,” to discover new brands, sample the latest perfume launches, scout essential scent trends, and exchange the latest olfactive gossip.
So here’s your very own “smeller’s digest” from Esxence 2017, the soon to be on sale scents that you definitely should look out for.
01. Aedes de Venustas: Pélargonium
The brand’s eighth offering showcases Egyptian geranium against a dusky, smoky background of resins and woods. Perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer describes geranium as “aromatic, with a crushed-leaf facet, less fruity and more balsamic than rose, almost incense-like”. On a base of vetiver, guaiac wood, and moss, this floral ingredient is escorted by the herbal sweetness of carrot, orris root, and elemi resin. www.aedes.com
02. Dusita: Le Sillage Blanc
Founder Pissara Umavijani grew up in Thailand in a home filled with books and poetry. In the brand brochure, a selection of her father’s beautiful haiku poems enhances the descriptions of the fragrances. Sillage de Blanc numbers among Pissara’s latest launches: a rebirth of the classic green floral featuring orange blossom, neroli, ylang ylang, and galbanum — with a distinctly modern (and masculine) leather twist. www.parfumsdusita.com
03. S.Ishira: PHI Safjaral
The brand was conceived by Shaikha Al Misned, a Qatari of stunning looks and sharp wit who stands out in her black hijab from the rest of the perfume crowd. Don’t be fooled by the glitter of gold and expensive flacons — these scents outstrip your standard Middle Eastern oud mélange by far. Our favorite is Safarjal: quince, pear, and dates along with rose, saffron, and tonka bean. And there’s a hint of overripe banana lingering on top of it all — something we found utterly sensuous. www.s-ishira.com
04. Anatole Lebreton: Grimoire
Autodidact Anatole Lebreton came to Milan to introduce his latest brain-child. It goes by the name of Grimoire, which in English means “book of spells,” and it did indeed hold us spellbound: sparkling with spicy and aromatic notes such as basil, atlas cedar, and lavender, miraculously a-float on oakmoss, musc, and patchouli. A dash of cumin might be the magic ingredient holding together this unusual concoction. www.anatolelebreton.com
05. Tiziana Terenzi: Ecstasy
Only in Italy will you find this rare blend of family tradition, exuberant creativity, and a dedication to craft. Talking to Tiziana Terenzi and her brother Paolo is a crash course in perfume passion: their enthusiasm is highly contagious. Producer of the finest candles, this company now in its third generation basically invented the scented candle. In 2012 the siblings decided to launch a line of personal fragrances. Our favorite is Ecstasy, an impressionistic portrayal of the moment you step out of summer heat into an ancient church: the cooling air, the powdery dryness of stones imbued with incense, the parched odor of timeworn timbers — it’s all there! www.tizianaterenzi.com