Viva La Sniffa, baby! Day 1
It has been the most delightful experience attending Sniffapalooza's Spring Fling 2013 that has just happened during the weekend of May 4 & 5. An overwhelming amount of fragrances, great people - all obsessed with perfume - and special treats of meeting renowned perfumers, new niche brands and their makers… A sensory overload in the best sense of this word! Here is a (not so short) story of my first event (as well as a few tips for getting the most out of your next Sniffa in the very end).
The intention behind this blog post is for you to get a feel for what it’s really like to attend Sniffa, therefore I’m supplying you with all the details and tales. Hope you enjoy!
(Photo: by Xenia)
So, what’s Sniffapalozza? It is THE fragrance event that is an absolute must for those, who consider themselves perfume fanatics, and a great treat for the rest, who fancy a fragrant tour of “the best and the newest”. The 2-day perfume extravaganza takes place twice a year in NYC, over a week-end in late Spring and early Fall. Started in 2002 by Karen Dubin, and joined shortly thereafter by Karen Adams, Sniffapalooza grew to an internationally-recognized fragrance event that launches major perfumes, hosts perfumers and brings people together from all over the world to celebrate (and indulge in!) perfume. This Sniffapalooza was #18 (!) and Team Karen, as they are collectively known in the circles, have no intentions of stopping any time soon. Viva La Sniffa, baby!
Day 1. Upper East Side.
If you are planning to attend the swanky department store day, signing up early and getting Bergdorf’s Breakfast is a must, since it’s limited only to the first 60 people who register (hint! hint!).
(Photo: courtesy of Karen Adams, via Sniffapalooza.com)
Bergdorf’s Breakfast is as close as you could come to actually having Breakfast at Tiffany’s, alongside with the first-hand experience of meeting the most dedicated bunch (and the Sniffapalooza founders!). While you feast on the breakfast yums, presenters take you on a fragrant tour of their latest launches, with blotters and blotters of fragrances. During Spring Fling 2013, the following labels greeted the sniffers with their newest: Prada, Tom Ford, Hermès, Annick Goutal, Guerlain, Chanel, Jo Malone, by Kilian, Antica Farmacia, Histoires de Parfums, Francis Kurkdjian, Creed, The Olfactive Studio, and Atelier Cologne, to name a few. The biggest surprise however awaited us in the very end. Everyone’s heart stopped as a lavishly dressed man entered the room - it was Roja Dove of Roja Parfums, who has finally crossed the Atlantic from London!.. The crowd exploded in awe - Roja Dove is the world’s sole man who carries the title of Professeur de Parfums, bestowed by Guerlain, where he started his path as a perfumer. It was a rather emotional moment for me as Roja Parfums, alongside with a few other renowned perfume encounters, have started my own perfume journey at Harrods, London… Roja told us his story of working at Guerlain and building his own perfume empire, while sprinkling it all with the the insight into his creative process. The perfumes by Roja are not for a shy bunch - the scents, like their names (and the maker!), are seductive and dangerous: Fetish, Enslaved, Scandal, Danger, Innuendo… with notes of leather, oud, ambergirs, castoreum and civet… Oh, but honey, they smell divine!
(Photo with Roja Dove: courtesy of Mark Thompson)
At the end of our breakfast, the crowd spilled to the perfume department at Bergdorf’s, while being joined by the rest of the Day 1 attendees. I was completely smitten and overwhelmed to sniff much, as it was just too good: Les Exclusifs de Chanel; a huge selection of Annick Goutal at the counter with Tom Crutchfield, who rumors say, has been instrumental in Karen Dubin’s own perfume journey; sampling the Roja Parfums, and The Olfactive Studio, with their amazing photography-inspired fragrances, presented by Kim-Van Dang. Lumière Blanche, condensed of pure light itself, and smelling of gorgeous woods, cardamom and iris (an olfactive symphony by my beloved nose, Sidonie Lancesseur), had to be taken home with no further thinking. Follow the nose, as they say - and I did! My face got a quick pampering at the Sisley counter as Becky has treated me and two other lucky sniffers to a quick facial.
(Photo: by Xenia)
Off we went to lunch, during which we heard several presentations on all things olfactive. One of my favorites was an introduction of a new perfume by Elena Knezhevich of Fragrantica. Enchanted Forest, the fragrance with the notes of freshly picked blackcurrant, smelled exactly as if they just have been picked off the bush, with the fuzz, the leaves, and the roots! This perfume has been inspired and co-created by Elena and the famous perfumer, Bertrand Duchaufour. Incredible fragrance, an absolute must for any Slavic perfume junkies out there - it smells like… childhood!
(Photo: courtesy of The Vagabond Prince)
Some of other presentations included Trendincite, a perfume trend company, who revealed the latest fragrance trends; Raymond Matts presented Cinquième Sens, the fragrance program launching a series of perfume classes with The Pratt Institute; Scenterprises, an organization behind creative olfactive events told us about building stronger teams with the help of fragrance; and Women in Flavor and Fragrance Commerce (WFFC) were launching a mentorship program for professionals and enthusiasts, to name a few.
Henri Bendel was our next stop. An overwhelming amount of divine fragrances! The biggest highlights for me were the creations by Union Fragrance, presented by the nose (aka the creator), Anastasia Brozler, who was there meeting and greeting everyone.
(Photo: courtesy of apetogentleman.com)
Being a marketing nut and the biggest advocate for aspirational shopping, I am always incredibly sensitive to the sales pitch situation (in fact, I would love to completely reinvent the fragrance shopping experience). Anastasia was amazing, telling us about her quest for natively grown ingredients in the British Isles and was attentive to everyone, independently of our purchasing intentions, which was so refreshing. Although I did not take a Union fragrance home right then, I got intrigued enough to ask for samples (which were kindly provided) and should be returning… for Holy Thistle! Holy rolling hills of Essex, it smells great!.. It’s an amazing herbal/green fragrance, which my nose had to learn to appreciate over time. Amen! Next!
Off we went to Krigler at the Plaza.
(Photo: courtesy of Krigler, via Examiner)
This was my first introduction to the shop. One of the iconic scents that captured my heart was Krigler #14, Lieber Gustav, the perfume worn by Francis Scott Fitzgerald and, if I remember correctly, Marlene Dietrich. Not surprisingly, it’s a gorgeous woody aromatic man’s fragrance with a hint of lavender and leather. With so many more Kriglers to sample, my nose (and my feet!) plead for mercy and I had to take a break with some yummy Kusmi tea and Caneles by Celine, which were kindly prepared for all the sniffers. It was 5 o’clock, time for tea! Krigler, I will be back!
Last trip of day 1 - Lord & Taylor, with the special presentation by The 7 Virtues perfumes. Four fragrances with the raw materials sourced far from the quiet meadows, mainly Afghanistan, Haiti, and the Middle East. This was truly a remarkable story how the founder, Barb Stegemann, came up with the idea of her business. The 7 Virtues really lives their motto: Make perfume, not war. I got an amazing token from this presentation. Being an Anglophile, I love this clever WW2 motivational poster, which The 7 Virtues took to the next level. Thank you so much, ladies!
(Photo: by Xenia)