Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Exsence - The Scent of Excellence

With Luisa Tessadri & Tiziana Terenzi
I discovered “Exsence” when I learned more about my absolute favourite scents house, “Tiziana Terenzi”. I was so happy to hear that they will be present at the fair this year as well! I’ve been counting the days.

Exsence 2014 exceeded my expectations: it was a senses and mind blowing experience! It’s hard to describe in words. To me, it was the first introduction to this fascinating world, I knew very little about the concept and niche perfumery. But once you get to know it, you won’t like anything too commercial anymore, it’s simply addictive.

The meeting with the Terenzi family was very emotional and touching. In fact, I couldn’t believe that they were present at the stand! I assumed that they will be represented by a team but they actually came to get in contact with everyone interested in their amazing creations. They are so warm hearted and fine people! Tiziana is absolutely fascinating, Paolo is very gentle and sensitive, Luisa (from the sales department) is constantly smiling and already feels like a friend. Tiziana’s son and nephew were so lovely! There, I was also introduced to beautiful Isabella Falbo, independent art critic and curator, she was very friendly and interested in my work.

Tiziana Terenzi launched four new fragrances at Exsence: “Laudano Nero” and “Arethusa” – for the regular line – and “Casanova” and “Chimaera” as part of a limited edition in honour and memory of Evelino Terenzi, the father of Tiziana and Paolo (you will find the letters “T E” on every Tiziana Terenzi box, Italian for “For You”, but also representing the name of their father). I could test all four, and again, I love them all!

The fair brought to my attention many scents and products, I am falling in love with natural room sprays or diffusers, scented candles or the cool scented tubes from RPL Maison. Everything I discovered was “wow”!

Another very interesting house is “Profumi del Forte” we’ve been lead into a dreamland by Dario Torre, he was so accurate and focused on our interest. All their perfumes are incredibly special and captivating.

A pleasant surprise was to meet the Molinard house leaders (Célia Lerouge-Bénard and Jean-Pierre Lerouge-Benard), I am so proud that I had the chance to visit one of their The Tarinology Workshops in Grasse on the French Riviera about 10 years ago!

Below, you can see all the photos that we captured in our 3 days visit, from the arrival in Milano till the time we returned to Vienna.

For the first time ever, my husband brings an addition to my blog by writing his impressions. Thank you, darling!

Guest comment by Patrick

I can trace back my interest in fragrances and perfumes roughly twenty years. There was a short lived “Axe”-phase, but soon enough I heard a good friend of mine talking about Kenzo Homme, so I went into a perfumery close to my high school and bought a bottle, without even testing it. My first signature scent. Fast forward ten years and I’ve tried a couple more (mainly Kenzo) scents in the meantime. But there was another development that took place during this decade: the Internet became ubiquitous and with it came easy access to information. From my chair I now quickly could discover new things and deepen my knowledge. You just type in a few words and off you go. In this case, it led me to artistic and niche perfumery, something that, like a beautiful and vast subterranean lake – with interesting caves, aquifers, and springs – exists under the surface of so-called mainstream perfumery (designer brands etc.*).

And “Exsence” is a great entrance point to that world. You will find many different labels under one roof, you can test their perfumes and – in many cases – talk to the creators or heads behind the brands. In general, I was positively surprised how approachable and open most of the exhibitors were, the atmosphere was casual, not stiff at all, and I felt good there, sensing a feeling of shared passion with many people around.

Maybe also importantly, Exsence is not a sales fair, you don’t feel pressured to buy. And the entrance is free. Apart from that, Milano is a city of rich history and cultural and economical importance, so it’s worth a visit on that grounds alone. The risotto is great, too.

At the fair, we had the chance to talk to people like Jean-Pierre Lerouge-Benard of Molinard, Keiko Mecheri, Joaquim Carner amongst others.

For example, we sat down with Dario Torre of “Profumi del Forte”, he kindly showed us almost his whole collection, gave us the background story to each fragrance and some insight on the (great) working relationship with perfumer Bertrand Duchafour. One and a half week later I am still trying a new sample of the line every day. My current favorite is “Boisé“, a woody, delicately floral and slightly sweet scent with a nice fresh opening, it’s an elegant and refined fragrance, but it is not too formal, it’s perfectly balancing the classy and the dynamic. Dario is a good example of what I meant before, he was extremely open, welcoming and enthusiastic.

From the opposite side of the Italian peninsula, from Cattolica, in the very south of Emilia-Romagna, comes the Terenzi family (a family with the most interesting story, that can be traced back to pre-imperial times of Rome). Without them, we probably would never even have come to Milano. On a personal level, meeting the family and Luisa, is a precious memory that we will always carry with us, they are incredibly warm, kind and caring, intelligent and passionate.

Being innovators in the field of waxworks, the company produces a wide array of scented candles, lamps and diffusers, under their own name but providing their expertise also to others. Their most personal work is released under the brand “Tiziana Terenzi”. As part of this line, Tiziana and her brother, Paolo, create perfumes that I consider amongst the most inspired and soulful fragrances available. Usually, testing new fragrances can become quite analytical to me, I am trying to recognise certain notes (trying to get better at it!), I am trying to recognise certain “schools” of perfumery, trying to make connections in general. Here, with the work of Tiziana and Paolo, the emotional aspect comes first. Clearly, these perfumes are done in a masterful way, the note pyramids are fascinating and complex and often unusual, but in smelling the fragrances all these thoughts come second. As a wearer you sense, that these perfumes are done out of passion and love, out of a deep understanding of live and it’s different aspects, there are darker moments and brighter moments, reflected in the fragrances. They are usually even released as couples and you can also see it in the bottles that mirror this idea: round and square, gold and black. “XIX March” was the one that I was feeling closest to around the time of our visit to the fair (you can read up on the tradition that inspired the fragrance on the net, I am already taking over Patricia’s blog with too many of my own words!) – only later I realized that this was almost exactly the time of our stay in Milan: we arrived there on the 21st of March! So, if you have the chance, try Tiziana Terenzi’s Extraits de Parfum, I cannot imagine anyone not finding a scent to her or his liking – of the new releases “Chimaera” and “Arethusa” made it on my virtual list of all-time favourites immediately.

As a closing note one observation that, I have to admit, is satisfying to me: even in the field of niche fragrances there is a certain distinction to be noticed between brands that focus more on the artistic aspects of their products and those that focus on the marketing. It was good to see, that the booths of some of the brands of the latter category were quite abandoned by visitors (at least during the time when we where there), whereas elsewhere there was always talking and testing going on. A certain brand that claims to brew the most expensive perfume in the world (what pretentious nonsense, by the way) was completely void of visitors.

I am looking forward meeting Tiziana and Paolo, and of course Luisa, again, and maybe I will have the chance for a longer talk with Tiziana’s son, who is studying Neuroscience in London, which, of course, is a fascinating subject, especially in the context of olfaction.

* I still love my Gucci pour Homme I and there are other greats amongst the designer brands, please don’t get me wrong.

Arrival in Milano at Midnight
Early Morning, Preparing For The Visit To The Fair
Loved This Coffee Place in Triennale:
You Can Have Delicious Snacks, Amazing Coffee And Buy Art Pieces

Meeting "Tiziana Terenzi"

With Luisa Tessadri
Handmade Chocolate By Tiziana Terenzi
With Luisa Tessadri and Paolo Terenzi
Profumi del Forte
With Dario Torre, Profumi del Forte
At Molinard
Loved Their Products, RPL Maison
Sooo Happy :) 

No Eataly For Us...
The Hotel Room View On Sunday Morning: Cold & Cloudy

On The Way To Milano Malpensa
At Home :)

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