It is hard to believe how far the Elements Showcase, created by Frederick Bouchardy, Ulrich Lang, and Jeffrey Lawson, has come in two short years. The recently completed fifth edition showed the breadth and influence this show has created in such a quick amount of time. Besides all of the perfumes on display there were three events spread over both days. Monday ended with the awarding of the 2013 Fragrance Foundation Indie Award to By Kilian Amber Oud. The new president of The Fragrance Foundation, Elizabeth Musmanno was on hand to give out the award and she has asked that they no longer be called FiFis but Fragrance Foundation Awards. Tuesday saw two panels, the first was from Robertet on ylang-ylang. Like last August’s panel on rose three perfumers were asked to use the different sources of Robertet ylang-ylang to make new creations. Robertet Senior Perfumer Olivia Jan created Evening at Goldeneye a beautiful walk through a Jamaican floral milieu. David Moltz of D.S and Durga showed us an early version of a fragrance called Speyside which used the less refined ylang-ylang oil to help create a fragrance reminiscent of a Speyside single malt. Sarah Horowitz-Thran was the third perfumer and her creation was called Eau de Light, I’ll be reviewing it next week but the short form is this is ylang-ylang exploding with luminosity. The other panel was on “Niche Insights” but it unfortunately restated a lot of the same old insights about “What is niche?”, “I need a good story to sell.”, They missed the opportunity to talk about the effect, or lack of, the new IFRA regulations will have especially on the US independent perfumers. Even when a member of the audience asked the question there was no acknowledgement of the impact of this new set of rules which was disappointing.
The perfumes on display were much less disappointing. There were a number of lines on display who were here trying to make their first US inroads. There were a number of exciting discoveries to be made and here are a few of my favorites from the show.
Best of Show: I had already had the chance to experience it prior to Elements but Majda Bekkali Mon Nom est Rouge by perfumer Cecile Zarokian was still the best thing in the entire exhibition. Mme Zarokian was on hand for the show and I really enjoyed hearing her describe her creative process on this fragrance. My biggest surprise was that she used very little rose in a fragrance that has such a pronounced rose quality in the heart of it. I spent so much time talking with Mme Zarokian, EIC Michelyn Camen accused me of having a “scent crush”.
Favorite New Fragrance: Nuhi was sitting all alone and when I sprayed a bit on a mouillette the very early opening was sort of generic but oh the drydown was captivating and kept me going back again and again. When I found out my other “scent crush” Sidonie Lancesseur was the perfumer I understood why.
Most Desired Upcoming Fragrance: I’m still put off by all the mystery about who the perfumer is behind the Thirdman line of neo-colognes. The one thing I am not put off by are the fragrances themselves and the new one called Eau Nomad will be available in about a month and this cardamom laced cologne can’t get here soon enough.
Favorite Backstory: Simone Cosac Profumi had a great story to introduce the three fragrances created by Sonia Constant for the line. Mme Cosac and her husband bought a house in Florence and as they delved into its history they found out a Medici love story had played out there and that inspired Mme Cosac to create a complete line of fragrances to capture the history and the villa itself. They also had the best bags; as you’ve probably heard of pearl-handled revolvers but they handed out pearl-handled shopping bags to carry away our samples.
My Perfume Autobiography: When I walked up to the Nomaterra booth to try their city-based fragrances I almost had to feel they were made based on my life. First I was handed Miami (my city of birth), then East Hampton (where I spent many summers), Washington DC (my current home). They had a fragrance in an unmarked bottle they handed to me and I looked at them completely joking and said “Boston?” and she said “how did you know”. The fourth fragrance will be called Boston and that was my home of 18 years before moving to DC. My life played out in snazzy travel atomizers.
Favorite Bottles: it seems unfair to always pick them but M. Micallef always produces stunning flacons to hold their perfume. The one in front is for the new Rose Extreme and to the left the new collaboration with couturier Denis Durand.
l. to r.: Edward Gochman, Mark Behnke, Carlos J Powell, and Victoria Jent
As always there were people, people, and more people to talk with. Celine Verleure sprayed some of the new Olfactive Studio Flash Back on me, which only makes me want it more. Carlos Huber was standing next to his Arquiste Parfumeur fragrances which were joined by the cut crystal Fashion Group International Rising Star 2013 Award he won the week before. Finally meeting the creative director of Tommi Sooni Steven Broadhurst who made the trip from Australia who told me there will be a new perfumer for the upcoming sixth release in the line. From bloggers to creatives and even a Goodsmella or two it was two days to immerse myself in all things olfactive. I’ll be back in August for Elements Showcase VI.
–Mark Behnke, Managing Editor
All photos courtesy of Carlos J Powell from his Facebook page.