Esxence 2023, a bright edition under an iridiscent illumination

2023 . 04 . 20 | written by Laurence Arrigo Klove

Add to my selection

Essencional's original content


Fragrance lovers


A luminous ouverture with record breaking numbers. A sparkling display of innovation and creativity in niche perfumery fuelled a positive confidence in the future.

During Esxence, the irisdescent dream comes true. The aspiration to promote innovation & high creativity in niche perfumery and cosmetics becomes real. The 13th edition numbers are mesmerizing with 10'300 visitors, 298 brands and 26 conferences. The Essencional observatory survey fuels further the level of confidence in the future. During the event, experts’ panels colourfully lit up faces and the one-on-one brands talks ignited the level of enthusiasm. It was a very good year.

While colour lights up your face, dance the irisdescent blues.

A twist of David Bowie song ‘let's dance. put on your good shoes…’ seems appropriate for the high level of energy experienced throughout the whole event. From the start, bright coloured lights were switched on and made our eyes sparkle under the iridescent dream.

At the inauguration, I was able to catch Silvio Levi who cunningly expressed his positive outlook like a magician spell:

"Be happy and confident in the future. A new and high level of creativity is happening. The most talented perfumers want to focus on niche perfumes". Silvio Levi
Esxence iridescent outside panel

When I was thirteen, it was a very good year.

Let's talk numbers. Precise. Impressive. Innovative.

The 13th edition demonstrates that the love of fragrances continues to grow. Esxence 2023 showcased 298 brands, 30% Italian, from 30 countries, Ukraine-Singapore-Croatia for the first time, across 11’000 square meters. In total, 10’300 visitors from all over the world, and 26 conferences orchestrated between 2 conference rooms. The Essencional team was proud to act as the creator and moderator of most of the conferences including the one disclosing the results of its major annual survey.

The Essencional Observatory. 2023 temperature check.

Under the guidance of Silvio Levi, for the last 4 years, Essencional undertakes annual research on the evolution of artistic perfumery. In addition to the Essencional team members Chiara Toniello and Karen Marin, two experts chipped in, Marco Ricchetti from Blumine and Filippo Andolfatto from Develon Digital. The data findings are full of very positive insights. For niche brands, Marco showed a robust level of revenues, 20% above the pre-pandemic level, with profit margins higher than 10% and growing. Filippo explained that niche is growing faster to the mass in terms of searches. Karen showed the untapped opportunities of the rising interest emerging from new areas such as Africa, Latin America, and Australasia. Chiara outlined the importance of social media such as Instagram, and Tik Tok for brands to be visible with digital communications through influencers or content creators. Silvio expressed his buoyant opinion as follows:

"I believe that we are experiencing a new renaissance of artistic perfumery. There is a new public non-conformist, and curious of new experimental olfactory expressions. For artistic perfumery brands, it is important to be authentic and dare."
Silvio Levi

Expert tricks for navigating calmy through Esxence

With 290+ brands, Esxence is a bountiful adventure that can be dauting. This year to sail along nicely, Sarah Colton asked the expert advice of four experienced skippers, a perfumer & brand owner (Andreas Wilhelm), influencer (Sebastian Jara), evaluation & communication manager (Clayton Iholahia), and niche perfumery retailer (Claude Gratianne). Their sharp recommendations keep us away from unstable high seas and let us gently cruise along without being overwhelmed:

"Prepare in advance. Spend time doing research to come up with a 30-brand name short list. Evaluate with clear decision factors". Claude Gratianne
"Study ahead. Sharing gossip gives me the perfume trends. I spend most of my time smelling and decomposing fragrances to categorize them." Andreas Wilhelm
"Use a perfume kit. Qualitative smelling lab strips and envelopes to preserve fragrances. Take plenty of notes to keep the essential takeouts." Clayton Iholahia
"I want to find the most original & unique brand. My advice: keep free time in the day's agenda. Study the event map to avoid missing out on brands." Sebastian Jara

What you have been waiting for. Access to Experts.

The success of the conferences led to the addition of a new colorful room. This year, the turquoise and orange room competed against each other in terms of appeal. Experts from Givaudan, Mane, Firmenich, l’Osmothèque, olfactive neuroscience therapists, marketing agencies, the new Italian Perfumery Institute, the Art & Olfaction Awards, top level perfumers and more, rivaled in terms of excellence and audience. Some conferences were so full people chose to stand up or simply leave as it is possible to watch all the YouTube recordings afterwards.

Get ahead of the game of the future of perfumery

We stepped inside the ‘perfumery of the future with Scentmate by Firmenich’ and learned how creativity and science challenge each other and mix together. A client told us precisely what it means in an articulate and appealing way.

Open Mind on Diversity. No Limit to Creativity.

We got inspired by a conversation between talented perfumers, handling a variety of projects from different perspectives and with distinct day schedules: office teamwork, or home-alone, with or without AI. A mesmerizing dive into the life of perfumers.

Be in the know of the power of our sense of smell

With ‘Scents as a therapy’, we understood how we are unaware of it. We learned the types of olfactory dysfunctions, how they are measured, what health issues they signal, and how scents possess a deep healing power, all based on scientific research data.

IPI, the new Italian Perfumery Institute. It matters.

The school important cultural mission must be underlined. Created in 2022, IPI fills the absence of a perfumery school in Italy. Courses are tailored to different age segments, profiles, and levels. The school based in Milan benefits from a strong connection with companies to generate direct and immediate employment. During the presentation, Maurizio Cavezzali, the school founder, asked the alumni to express their authentic opinion on the classes. It was awesome to see, feel and hear their individual and collective enthusiasm.

IPI Conference

Open Mind on Diversity. No Limit to Creativity.

This could be the essence of Esxence. It also fits some conferences topics. A heated debate took place on China and Korea, lands of opportunities and their different paths for good fortune. The specifics of Korea were outlined. A long list of don'ts in China were shared when choosing the right partner and when developing and marketing fragrances. I picked two powerful quotes:

"There is no taboo in China." Matthieu Rochette Schneider
"A strong competition with local brands is good. Next year there will be Chinese brands at Esxence". Michel Gutsatz
Ella K parfums, Sonia Constant, the founder and perfumer

Esxence Unplugged. A curated selection of Brands.

Welton parfums, Jean-Paul Welton, the founder

I decided to ask seven brand niche founders about their take on Esxence this year. I chose different brand profiles on purpose to get a good feel of the PULSE. I fired blunt questions at them and gave them very little time to think of their short answers. An unplugged and spontaneous performance. Unquestionably Upbeat.

What are they here for at Esxence?

Ella K: to tell the story of my fragrances says Sonia Constant.

Electimuss: to grow the Empire.

Experimental Perfume Club: kick start the international distribution (home base is London)

Nissaba: to present our new brand concept.

Ojar: to keep up introducing our French oriental brand.

J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin: meeting the ‘family’ made of other brands. finding partners for the Middle East and Asia.

Welton: to spread the love and take home more happiness.

Nissaba, Sébastien Tissot, founder
Electimuss, Claire Sokell Thompson, creative director

What do they like most about Esxence?

Ella K: meetings with fragrance lovers.

Electimuss: see old friends and make new ones.

Experimental Perfume Club: the high quality of the visitors who take the time to fuel their perfume passion.

Nissaba: the passion of fragrances shared across all actors.

Ojar: to have the world of perfumes under one roof.

J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin: the diversity of the audience and its friendly spirit.

Welton: to meet people in love with fragrances.

Experimental Perfume Club, Emmanuelle Moeglin

What are the perfume trends in their opinion?

Ella K: gender fluidity and musc notes.

Electimuss: shift towards self-expression and experimenting.

Experimental Perfume Club : personalization, tailor made fragrances.

Nissaba: our focus is on clean fragrances, with natural ingredients from preserved harvests

Ojar: high consumption, layering and a focus on ingredients.

J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin: more artistic, creative, and experimental.

Welton: new gourmands, new oriental notes.

Ojar, Julian Musette, EVP

What is their favourite out of the Esxence iridescent colours?

Ella K: Red, the Blood of China, the colour of passion.

Electimuss: Regal Purple.

Experimental Perfume Club: Neon Yellow.

Nissaba: Brown, the color of earth.

Ojar: Blue, the colour of the Oman sea.

J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin: Black.

Welton: The Indian peafowl Blue.

J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin, Frank Hoffmann, Director