A flowery niche perfumery

This 2022 edition was marked by the presence of floral notes. After two gloomy years, brands are encouraging us to see "life infused with roses". The queen of flowers dominated the launches of the first half of the year (Diptyque’s L’Eau Rose, L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Mémoire de Roses, Tom Ford’s three new roses, Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire Rose Rose Rose, Chanel’s Paris-Paris...). A trend confirmed at Esxence, where roses were ever-present, like Rose Ardoise by Atelier Materi, a blend of Centifolia and Damascena roses, with spicy notes on a mineral base, or Jardin des Avelines by Pont des Arts, a balmy, woody rose by Bertrand Duchaufour.

White flowers are not outdone, prized for their luminous and positive character, like Isabey’s Avant et Après, a lovely sunny composition refreshed by a salty breeze. Long shunned as "outdated", lily of the valley, a symbol of happiness, is making its comeback (Eau Guillerette, by Anatole Lebreton). Brands are continuing to explore the "feel good", sweet and reassuring side of orange blossom, which is very much in vogue.

Getaways in a bottle

But confinements have also revived the desire to reconnect with nature, a phenomenon that also applies to niche perfumery. Green notes are reinvented with a vegetal approach, to express a need for a breath of fresh air, a return to green areas. This thirst for exoticism also draws on the freshness of marine notes. For a few years now, aquatic notes have been making a comeback, in a play of contrasts with amber, woody and gourmand accords... This trend is enhanced by a strong presence of mineral and iodine facets reminiscent of summer days, from ocean spray to sun-kissed skins. Uermi’s Il Solo Dentra, by Pierre Guéros (Symrise), is a good example of this trend, combining sunny and salty notes with the green breath of geranium on a gourmand base.

Small bottles and layering

The time has come for olfactory nomadism. Brands have understood this and are focusing on lightness, offering 30, 20 or 10 ml bottles. Smaller sizes are more suitable for consumers who regularly switch from one fragrance to another. A trend that is also in line with the layering trend, which is very much in vogue at the moment. Indeed, "traditional" niche brands, such as L’Artisan Parfumeur or Parfums de Rosine, encourage their customers to combine fragrances within their range. This is part of the DNA of Olibanum, the new brand of Gérald Ghislain, founder of Histoire de Parfums, who presents incense notes combined with duos of ingredients, presented in 12 and 50 ml bottles, to layer according to one’s desires.

In search of naturalness

In perfumery too, the trend of naturalness is gaining momentum. Many brands claim to have 95% natural ingredients in their formulas, like Bastille Parfums. A bias that can be found in a growing number of brands, even if it is not their primary concept (Obvious, Cherigan...). Others are making the 100% natural their identity, like Floratropia, Parfumeurs du Monde or Hiram Green, an artisanal brand whose fragrances are surprisingly complex for this type of product.

A focus on technical innovation

Alongside the natural trend, there is a real appetite for technological innovations. Headspace, the new brand founded by Nicolas Chabot (Le Galion, Aether) made quite a splash in Milan. An original project, based on the headspace technique, a new extraction method that allows capturing the scent of a plant when it is impossible with classic extraction techniques. An opportunity to discover compositions that enhance skin headspaces, champagne, or nature after a storm...

Towards an ecofriendly perfumery

Finally, there is a growing number of brands with an ecological stance, in terms of packaging (recyclable materials, refillable bottles) and sourcing of ingredients (upcycling, biodegradable materials). This is the concept of the Obvious brand created by David Frossard, based on eco-responsible perfumery: organic alcohol, recycled and recyclable glass bottles, agglomerated cork caps from wine cork production waste, recyclable cellophane-free paper cases. Many brands are taking on this environmental issue (Cherigan, The Different Company, Stéphanie de Bruijn...).

A trend that is as commendable as it is unavoidable, although the frantic number of launches may call into question the paradox of this "sustainability". A pace that is not likely to slow down, considering the new products and labels that have marked this 12th edition of Esxence.