Esxence - The Scent of Excellence.

Milan-based artistic perfumery show Esxence — The Scent of Excellence is turning 10.

Running April 5 to 8 and held at “The Mall” venue in the city’s Porta Nuova district, the landmark 10th edition will showcase more than 200 niche fragrances brands, 60 percent of which are emerging labels showcased in the dedicated “Spotlight” section.

“We want to keep pursuing our mission of scouting international brands,” said Esxence’s cofounder, Maurizio Cavezzali. “Our show is based on research and this is a key asset we want to continue to develop, also considering its high potential.”

“It’s our duty to give opportunities,” echoed Cavezzali’s partner Silvio Levi, underscoring that showcasing emerging brands will help fuel the market, which is facing a positive momentum and increasingly attracting new customers.

In particular, in 2016 niche perfumery sales grew 60 percent in Italy compared to the previous year, totaling more than 200 million euros and accounting for 2 percent of the sales generated by the country’s cosmetic business.

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Levi credited masstige scent manufacturers and big distribution for drawing consumers to niche fragrances. “In general, there has been an exponential increase in the fragrances consumption and the audience has expanded. So every day, a client of masstige fragrances stop alimenting the 98 percent of the industry and switch to our 2 percent,” said Levi, explaining how such transition may not impact the sales of the former but “is influent on our 2 percent.”

Levi also noticed that, in return, the masstige market is assimilating some signature features of the niche category. “A couple of years ago, [advertising] was all about a status symbol, while it is now shifting in communicating a more intimate and emotional dimension.”

“There’s no conflict [between mass and niche scents makers,]” said Levi. “Artistic perfumery is the research and development of masstige. Everything that is trending now and generating big sales, it was usually offered 15 years ago to a selected circle of scent experts and enthusiasts.”

The global appeal of niche perfumery is also shown by Esxence’s ability in attracting international exhibitors — almost 70 percent — coming mainly from Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East.

The upcoming edition will enhance another signature feature of the fair, which has been originally conceived not only to favor business opportunities, but also to promote and spread the olfactory culture.

In particular, a range of free and open-to-public lectures, talks and workshops have been scheduled during the four-day show. Members of Versailles-based international perfumes’ conservatory Osmothéque will focus on tracing the history of chypre, while another series of talks will encompass trends and changes in niche perfumery over the last 10 years. Additional lectures will analyze the Chinese market; the influence of Instagram and social media on scent creations; the relationship between e-commerce and niche perfumery, and the importance of the packaging in artistic perfumery, a 90-minute talk that will be hosted by members of the Packaging Premiere trade show.

In keeping with the educational mission, the logo of the show has been restyled to combine a golden representation of Milan’s skyline with a blue, stylized circle.

“The graphic recalls the concept of the agora — a place of gathering, growth and sharing,” explained Levi. “Because there’s no growth without sharing experiences and mistakes.”

Esxence's logo.

Esxence’s logo.  Courtesy Photo