French Riviera

When I read your Mediterranean inspired blog (Paolo), I was reminded of an exhibitor at the Esxence niche perfumery show I attended earlier this year in Milan – “ALEX SIMONE”. During the 4-day exhibition, I was accompanied by my perfume-oil supplier and now good friend, Gerard. Gerard calls both Paris and Grasse home as he treks between the two, and works with the best perfumers in the world. So during our passage around the exposition, I was compelled to keep my mouth shut and my hands behind my back. Smiling politely and nodding obediently, I soaked up all the new smells and sponged priceless knowledge from Gerard and his tremendously skilful colleagues. I couldn’t believe my luck! Milan, expert perfumers and a plethora of wonderful smells puffing from beautiful stands. It was like I won the trifecta! Moving from stand to stand Gerard would strike conversation with the owner asking them what their “story” is. (I believe in stories behind design. Obviously it is a source of inspiration, but more than that, it is the honey on your toast. It is what the end user needs to complete the persona he or she intends to portray. In perfumery, a great smell is fundamental but a good story (or aura) alongside it makes the fragrance irresistible.  Marketing 101!) Although I was amazed by the talent at the exhibition, I was a bit concerned for these little niche companies as there were far too many for each of them to get the attention they desperately need to be appreciated. I guess this is where the “story” becomes vital. And this is where I felt most of the companies failed. Some “stories” were quite boring and passé, some were totally irrelevant and confusing, while some were so pretentious and contrived it made me cringe. There was one “story” though that was clean and uncomplicated; it was well balanced with a beginning a middle and end; it was natural and familiar. Furthermore, it was communicated honestly. The company is: Alex Simone, and the collection they were presenting was “Collection French Riviera”. The set consists of 6 fragrances, collectively taking you on a journey of the perfect day (between two lovers) on the French Riviera.

The first fragrance in the collection is Villa Simone: this fragrance represents the smell of the sunrise on the Riviera. the top notes of Bergamot and citrus blossoms, combine comfortably with jasmine and marine notes. It is fresh and invigorating as is a summer morning in the Med

The second fragrance is Tellement Bleu: this fragrance represents a late morning rendezvous with your lover, walking hand in hand to the beach. The aromas of plants that line the winding road to the coast is represented very well with this scent’s composition of bergamot, Guaiac Wood and Cardamom.

The third fragrance in the collection is En Terrasse: lunch on the terrace. The composition’s grapefruit top is toned down ever so slightly with a pinch of patchouli and a smidgen of sandalwood. It is a good representation of a lazy light lunch hiding, under a creeper-covered-terrace, from the scorching midday-sun

The Fourth fragrance is “encore un peu”: here the lovers spend the afternoon spread out on deck chairs under stripy beach umbrellas. Of the 6 fragrances, this is the most smoothly blended as the top notes of rhubarb, the heart of iris and the dry down of woods become one scent that perfectly transports you to the refined and sophisticated “stabiliemento” on the beach. SPOT ON!

The fifth fragrance is “Apres Vous”: the lovers spend the night at the bar. A feminine fragrance where the Powder and coconut top notes aptly represent an elegantly dressed woman sipping on a delicate cocktail. The amber, iris and woods at the end round this fragrance off nicely

The sixth fragrance is “L’Inviation”: the lovers go back to the hotel room and spend the night together. This is my favourite of the 6. It is more masculine than the others and the most modern. It has all the ingredients that are trending, but put together in a most original way. Giving it quite an unique personality. Rose, Pink pepper on the top work very well but it’s the incense and patchouli in the heart which gives it that masculine mystery. The labdanum at the end is right on time giving it a mild animalic dry-down giving it much desired sex appeal.

The 6 fragrances work very well together and have a truly attractive story. I was given a box and grateful to add them to my collection, however, as individual fragrances, L’Invitation is the only fragrance in the collection I believe is outstanding.

In conclusion: of the abundance of niche perfumeries vying for attention at Esxence, Alex Simone got mine. Had it not been for their beautiful presentation and charming story, I would never have given them a second look. Well done!