Before I went to Mexico City for MXScent and the opening of the new My Scent Journey store, I couldn’t possibly have imagined just how many inspirations I would encounter, and just how many fantastic perfume enthusiasts, perfumers and creatives I would meet. Between jetlag and the amazing perfum'd cocktails, it was an exhausting week. But, in the best possible way.
MXScent is Mexico’s premier niche perfumery event. Co-founded by Eduardo Garcia de Alba, one of the Spanish-speaking world’s most respected fragrance reviewers known under his moniker of My Scent Journey on his social channels for some time—and now also the proud owner of an amazing perfume boutique.
I was at the MXScent to support our fragrances being presented by My Scent Journey. MXScent 2023 took place in the cultural district of the historic center of Mexico City, a stone’s throw from renowned museums and theaters. It was totally fitting because MXScent, technically a niche perfume trade fair, felt more like the exuberant joy of an opening night at the opera or a swanky exhibition private view.
I rapidly came to realize that fragrance in Mexico is a very social affair. Eduardo and his wife Ana built their business through weekly catas, or "tastings", events where they invite the perfume community to join them to discover new fragrances. Now that their store is open, these popular social events will continue in the beautiful store setting.
Besides generally presenting our house’s perfumes to Mexican audiences, I also decided that MXScent and Mexico City were the perfect places for the world premiere of the Flame & Fortune extrait de parfum.
Eduardo was delighted. I was even more delighted—and rather touched—by all the supporters of our fragrances who turned up over the two days of MXScent. Enthusiastic, welcoming and warm, I had such a great time meeting so many new people from Mexico’s perfume community. It was a real compliment to be asked to sign so many bottles!
There were even beautifully designed t-shirts celebrating perfumers and perfume houses. I couldn’t resist getting my hands on the designs that celebrate our house and a couple of the perfumers that we work with, Christian Carbonnel (Chris Maurice) and Miguel Matos.
My Scent Journey
The other reason I was in Mexico was for the opening of the brand-new My Scent Journey perfume boutique. Again, nothing could have prepared me for what I discovered. Located in the leafy, chichi Benito Juárez district just to the south of the historic center, it’s simply one of the most beautiful fragrance stores I’ve ever visited.
It’s very theatrical, which shouldn’t be a surprise: the interior was designed by Adrián Martínez Frausto, who trained as an interior architect but later focused on working as a set designer. His talent has seen him commissioned to design for theater, opera and musicals internationally.
Walking into the My Scent Journey store is like walking into an Agatha Christie novel packed with mystery, intrigue, drama, exoticism, eroticism, and murder.
There was definitely a sense of theater at the launch party with a real buzz of excitement, only fitting for such a stunning new destination on Mexico City’s aromatic map. That evening we enjoyed smells and conversations and bespoke cocktails created by perfume cocktail curator (and t-shirt designer!) EL de los Perfumes Raros—including one inspired by our Jungle Jezebel fragrance—well into the early hours.
I particularly enjoyed hanging out with Eduardo’s brother Manuel Gorka, the noted baritone whose beautiful voice saw him perform in opera houses around the world and put out five albums. These days, Manuel is focusing on acting. We had much to talk about given our shared passions for performance, perfume and storytelling. And that was something I got from many of those present: enthusiasm and a deep interest in all forms of culture.
“I don’t sell perfume. We sell experiences.” - Eduardo Garcia de Alba
Entering My Scent Journey is like walking into an explorer's cabinet of curiosities, a destination that encourages exploration and thoughtful consideration. You step into an Agatha Christie novel packed with mystery, intrigue, drama, exoticism, eroticism, and murder. Stylish and authentic, never scared to embrace the more extreme in olfactory art, whether Gothic horror, the animalic or other forms of erotic excess, from scents evoking big stinky cigars and racecar drivers, to bullfighters, three different forms of ambergris or an overdrive of fruity aromas, though always manifest in new, considered and interesting ways.
At the same time, while there are all these evocative, nostalgic touches in the store's design—such as Turkey rugs, old National Geographic magazines, framed maps or a carefully placed antique chart case—this is a very open, airy space. It’s not a cluttered aesthetic. Nothing is as obvious as pith helmets or mosquito nets. Rather, amidst this restrained romanticism, you get a sense of that famous Mexican Modernism in the clean lines, in earthy tones such as those of the burlap wallpaper and the stylish simplicity of the distressed furniture made in interesting materials, all of which responds to the modernist style of the architecture itself. I will be copying the elegant and brutalist poured-concrete plinths for POS merchandising!
And, if you watch the video below, in which Eduardo talks more about the concept behind the store, you'll understand why. He talks about not being interested in "cartoons", of avoiding clichés, whether in the design of the store or the fragrances he's interested in offering within it.
The next day, I returned to the store to make a video with Eduardo. As he explained during the walk-around, while we explored the distinctive creations they stock, the idea behind the store was to evoke the Golden Age of exploration, some of the fabrics evoking tents. He and Ana intentionally wanted to suggest camping out in the jungle, coming upon strange new worlds, but with a certain romantic nostalgia for the elegance of a bygone 19th-century age of discovery without doing so in an overly obvious way. As Eduardo explains: “I don’t sell perfume. We sell experiences.”
And what experiences! I, for one, found fragrances that will be joining my collection. Eduardo introduced me to things I would never have otherwise accessed; things that are rare, genuinely rare fragrances. Eduardo is truly an explorer of singular, niche and indie fragrances. He takes you on an impassioned tour of the fragrant curios that he's collected from around the world on his own scent journey.
"I can’t wait to return. And, if you are lucky enough to find yourself in the vibrant megalopolis that is Mexico City, I strongly recommend you head for My Scent Journey."
As an artist, I’m suspicious of the overuse of the word “curated” in retail. But there is no more accurate term to describe My Scent Journey. It really is a lot like going to a museum in a distant city and discovering amazing works by artists you've not previously encountered.
Art is also a bit of a theme. As an artist-run house, we feel particularly comfortable to be presented in a store where a number of the brands are created by artists, where you can feel that sensibility that makes them a bit different from mainstream perfumery. More importantly, the overall experience of My Scent Journey—the whole of the store plus the perfumes it showcases and the people who run it—confirms that Eduardo and Ana have a real sensitivity for art and literature. Hey, it seems like even most of their family and friends are in on that art-loving journey.
This tactile, sensorial idea of discovering unique and distinctive fragrances from all over the planet, beautifully curated in the display concept, is mirrored perfectly in the physical space that also features a large area with wraparound banquette seating created specifically for catas events.
I can’t wait to return. And, if you are lucky enough to find yourself in the vibrant megalopolis that is Mexico City, I strongly recommend you head for My Scent Journey.
To get a full insight into the My Scent Journey and to learn about the amazing fragrances it showcases, take a look at the video below Eduardo and I made during my magical trip to Mexico.
Gracias a todos por hacerlo tan inolvidable. (And, yes, of course, I did that with Google, so forgive any comical results from someone whose not a Spanish speaker).