Esxence 2024: It’s Almost Showtime!

2024 . 02 . 29 | written by Karen Marin

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Fragrance lovers

In just a week the Artistic Fragrance Community will make the annual pilgrimage to Milan to renew friendships, to make new contacts, to talk business, to attend workshops and lectures, and, above all to smell fragrance. Yes, it’s time for the fourteenth edition of Esxence, the Art Perfumery Event, and it’s going to be a blockbuster.

What’s the theme this year? METAMORPHOSIS! How perfect when you think that everything is always changing and evolving, and that certainly resonates with perfume. The inspiration and the concept morph while raw materials are sourced to make the idea a reality. The project continues to unfold as design elements and storytelling come into play. There is the metamorphosis of how the fragrance develops on skin….which is unique and different on every individual. And let’s not forget that fragrance takes us on an olfactory journey where the emotions and memories it triggers transform our psyche and alter our perception of our environment.

Metamorphosis - Esxence 2024

What can you expect at Esxence? Let’s start with a new location at the Allianz MiCo Milano Convention Centre (Gate 5 – Hall 4) where everything will be on one level. This space has increased the show’s capacity from last year’s 8,000 square meters to over 14,000 – almost doubled!

More space means more brands! Indeed the number of exhibiting brands has grown to a whopping 360 (vs 260 last year), so be sure to pack comfy shoes….and scope out the exhibitor list ahead of time to make your plan of attack. Newcomers this year include brands from Australia, Estonia, the Netherlands and Korea, proving once again how international Esxence has become.

More brands require more days for professionals! Esxence listened to the feedback, collected from exhibitors and attendees, and decided to add a day for the professionals which is why the event begins on a Wednesday. Doors will open to the general public on Saturday, the final day. Sunday becomes a day of rest for everyone before heading back to the office to follow up on networking, leads, and new ideas. After all, one of the best parts of Esxence has always been making contacts and exchanging with like-minded people.

What am I looking forward to smelling? One of the first booths I’ll visit in the Main brand section is SORA DORA who will reveal YLOP, a new skin-scent whose story centers around the apricot and the transformative emotions behind falling in love. Next, I’ll head over to VERTUS in the Spotlight section to get a whiff of ANKA, a new release named after the phoenix from Arabian mythology. The woody-spicy fragrance is described as bringing together the subtle sweetness of ripe peaches and the exotic charm of saffron, ending in an ambery sandalwood base. Sounds fabulous! However, I’ll have to keep moving, because I also want to see HIRAM GREEN to smell Philtre, a name that always intrigued me and sounds like a modern day love potion.

Vertus Anka
Hiram Green Philtre

Which brands do I want to discover? Well, there are so many! I’ll start with SASVA from India who I met briefly at Pitti last year. I’m curious about HIMA JOMO, a brand inspired by natural scents found in the Himalayan mountains, and Dubai-based GHAWALI, whose fragrances cross cultural heritage with modern times. Then there’s BOITOWN: founded in Shanghai, this brand was a pioneer in using a domestic perfumer to create a range that celebrates local olfactory style.

I knew I’d only scratched the surface, so I reached out to some insiders to find out who they were planning to visit. Felice Di Maio, alias DUFTBUNKER, shared his short list with me which includes KINETIC from Barcelona and SIKELIA from Sicily. “One of our absolute new discoveries is definitely BOTANICAE, who have just launched their brand new Elixir series. The fragrances are unique and highly impressive. We are very much looking forward to these three brands and of course for new ones to catch our attention.”


EternalScentJourney’s Rahul Agarwal has a few brands on his radar that he must see starting with Boujee Bougies, a brand that started off with candles and has now ventured into fragrance. Their open communication and transparency on sustainability is refreshing. He is also keen to see Parfum d’Empire of which he says “They have this classic French DNA but still manage to be very modern and contemporary. Considering all this, the fragrances have a very attractive price point and are quite accessible to everyone.” Then there’s BornToStandOut, a Korean brand whose unconventionally named fragrances are the works of top noses. Shall we smell Dirty Rice by Olivier Cresp?

Rahul Agarwal of EternalScentJourney

Simon French, Fragrance Strategist and Consultant at Perfumistics, will head over to Australian brand GOLDFIELD & BANKS as well as British brands EAUMG plus and fragrances, a brand with a disruptive approach and call to action (“…let’s unstink the world”).

Eduardo Garcia of MyScentJourney, based in Mexico, like me, is also interested in Hima Jomo. He told me about Maison Incensé, who will be revealing three fragrances at Esxence: Osmanthus Shiborii, Santal Wagasaii and Rose Umeii. Another brand he mentioned was Cristian Cavagna and his tuberose collection. And then there is Les Indemodables and Bastille Parfums…and so many more!

Eduardo Garcia with the author at Esxence 2022

Aside from discovering brands, what else can you do? This year’s lineup of workshops and panel discussions will not disappoint! There is an impressive roster of big names coming to Esxence this year! Industry icon Calice Becker will speak to us about her career as a perfumer, as the Director of the Givaudan Perfumery School and about her role as co-President of the International Society of Perfumers-Creators. Then we’ve got representatives coming from Circana, the world leader in providing consumer insight (formerly NPD), to talk about the state of the global fragrance market, others from IPSOS to speak about Augmented Reality in Beauty and the President of IFRA Italy will talk about how her organization can help build understanding in the niche fragrance market. If that’s not enough, learn about the power of Sacred Woods with Givaudan’s Arnaud Guggenbuhl, Head of Global Marketing, Insight & Image Fine Fragrances and historian, Eugénie Briot.

Essencional is deeply involved in hosting and moderating workshops on hot topics including Edu-tainment, the post-pandemic retail model, the Middle East and Asian markets plus AI. In our Observatory we will share our key takeaways on the M&A activity of 2023 as well as our findings on how the niche fragrance sector is evolving.

Check out the full program through the link.

If you need a break and some fresh air, don’t hesitate to sign up for one of two olfactory walks with the energetic and charismatic Ernesto Collado of Bravanariz. He’ll take you on a fragrant walk around the grounds adjacent to CityLife which will open your senses to the language of plants while he reveals what they can tell us. Space is limited for this unique experience.

For information and registration:

Talking plants with Ernesto Collado

In addition, the Osmothèque, Nez magazine and MasterParfums, the educational fragrance game, will be present to add to the learning aspect of the show. In fact, fostering continuous learning is one of missions of our community and one other brand Rahul pointed out to me is the Experimental Perfume Club (EPC). I’ve been watching this brand since pandemic times and am so excited to see they’ll be at Esxence. Rahul explained it well “I would love to understand what their offerings are in terms of workshops, bespoke perfumes, perfume ingredients, and more.” See you at the stand!

How can you fit it all in? Now that’s the big question! Study the brand list and make appointments if you can. Reach out to your contacts now to set a time to meet and catch up. But don’t plan every minute! Esxence is proven to be the incubator of fresh ideas and new concepts, so be sure to leave yourself time to wander the aisles, to sniff with abandon, to see innovative concepts and to expect the unexpected. As DUFTBUNKER said to me, Esxence “brings the likeminded and truly passionate people near to each other – it will be so spectacular to experience that and to create sweet memories through it.

See you next week!

And here’s a shameless plug for my workshops!


14.00 The State of the Global Fragrance Market and 2024

Representatives from CIrcana will provide a global overview on trends, key drivers for market growth as well as thoughts for the future in regards to the Global Prestige Fragrance sector. Circana, created in 2022 when Information Resources, Inc. (“IRI”) and The NPD Group (“NPD”) merged, is the world leader in providing consumer insight.

14.30 Essencional Observatory

Since 2019 the Essencional Study Center, in collaboration with Marco Ricchetti, host a panel discussion to provide insight into the impact economics have an our sector while also analysing data culled from a year of web listening and digital monitoring. I’ll be a participant on this panel chaired by Silvio Levi, co Founder of Esxence and Director of Essencional.

17.00 Encounter with an Industry Icon - Calice Becker:

In this one-on-one interview, I’ll ask Ms Becker about three pillars of her career: from her life as a perfumer to the fresh approach to learning that she has implemented as Director of the Givaudan Perfumery School to her mission as co-President of the International Society of Perfumers-Creators.


11.00 Edu-tainment: Bringing the Fun into Training Staff & Educating Consumers

Chi Wai Tang, Founder and Consultant, Fragrance Connection

Samuel Gearing, Director at SG Brands & Fiole

Josh Carter, Director at SG Brands & Fiole

Training and educating have never been more important than now, but how to do it effectively while also making it engaging? In this discussion panelists will tackle the topics of how to create brand ambassadors (staff and consumers), how to engage through storytelling and how to be entertaining while educating.

14.00 Unveiling the Middle East’s connection with Artistic Perfumery

Rawya Catto, General Manager CPL Aromas

Saeed Alnuaimi, Founder/Managing Director, Scent Library Group

The Middle East is a region where fragrance is deeply rooted into the culture and the traditions. Scent is ever-present in the day to day life and plays a crucial role in hospitality, grooming and rituals. Consumers are increasingly sophisticated, worldly and interested in discovering new olfactory experiences. For too-long there has been a nearly exclusive connection to oud, but there is a whole other world of ingredients where native fruits, flowers and spices take center stage. In this workshop we explore the cultural heritage and the current state of this market where tradition gets a modern twist


10.00 The Power of Sacred Woods: A spellbinding tale by Givaudan of iconic raw materials. Revealing their history and power. Awakening today's 'beauty in the woods'.

Arnaud Guggenbuhl, Head of Global Marketing, Insight & Image Fine Fragrances

Eugénie Briot, Historian

Learn about the magic and the history behind Sacred Woods, iconic raw materials which have both symbolic and olfactory powers. Explore how different civilizations used these ingredients which enchant and inspire.

14.00 Roundtable with Rising Star Perfumers:

Isaac Sinclair, Perfumer, Symrise

Maya Njie, Independent perfumer & brand owner, Maya Njie

Sofia Bardelli, Perfumer GRC Parfum

A dynamic group of rising star perfumers comes together to discuss the challenges of standing out in an ever-growing market while pushing the creativity envelope and crafting beautiful fragrances that respect the demands for sustainable, luxurious and innovative scents.

And here, the workshops where Essencional contributor Laurence Klove is moderator:


11.30 Asia The encounter of two civilizations. The perfume expedition to China

16.00 A practical immersion in an Artificial Intelligence perfume day


17.00 The new rules for a winning perfume retail model