March 8, 2013

Arquiste Floral Perfumes

Perfumes that reference specific historical moments fascinate me, and enhance my appreciation of the fragrance. This line is steeped in stories that build around the past, creating an aura of austere romanticism, delicate and refined. There is much on the Arquiste site about the creative director Carlos Huber's background in historic preservation an approach to perfume as a way to connect to certain times in history.

Flor y Canto is inspired by the August of 1400 in Tenochtitlan (Mexico City). The major notes are Mexican Tuberose, Magnolia, Plumeria (aka Champa, aka Frangipani) and Marigold (aka Tagetes), all New World flowers. The name is taken from the expression “flowers and song”, which is the way the word for poetry was expressed in Aztec Mexico. The Aztec goddess who was the origin of all beautiful fragrance was honored with offerings of these flowers.

They are all naturally intoxicating but here they are handled with restraint and delicacy. There is something soothing embedded within this perfume; I will go out on a limb and speculate it could be an element within the magnolia that ties everything together. It’s got a candle flame kind of presence. While the tuberose exerts a dominant influence the rest of the flowers join to create a cloud that restrains the tuberose tendency to overwhelm. There is a sense of purity in the effect, as it clings to the fabric around the wrists as well as the skin. It will reveal its full effect after the initial show of strength only by coming in close. This could be a personal signature kind of perfume, in that it is wearable everywhere, creating an atmosphere of freshness and purity. It only becomes extravagant upon intimacy, when its passionate dimension is fully unveiled.

Diego Velázquez [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Infanta en Flor is meant to evoke the June 1660 meeting of Maria Teresa of Spain, best known through her Velasquez portraits, with her fiancé Louis XIV, the Sun King; both of them youthfully romantic and hopeful while enacting an arranged marriage for the sake of peace. This perfume shows you the national fragrance style she brought with her, as symbolized by orange flower water, Spanish leather, cistus resin and immortelle. The floral carries a musky amber effect of heated blushes beneath powder, with a Moorish Spanish influence from the orange flower held together with smooth suede gloves.

A faint dusting of powdered caramelized sweetness is behind the orange flower, which maintains a sense of youthful freshness. For all the infinite softness this is not a casual perfume, there is a sense of gala held within it, more right for a personal ceremony like a wedding or a party that requires formal attire.

Fleur de Louis on the other hand, might be what emanated from the youthful Sun King as he presented himself to the Infanta. Iris, rose and jasmine, white cedar wood and orange blossom, reversed his match’s perfume to emphasize the wood over the floral. Louis XIV could never get enough of perfume and would most certainly be enveloped in personal fragrance. This one has the cool iris and cooler white cedar wood together melting into the warmth of skin to join with it completely.  This makes an impression that the scent your own skin gives off is simply a sophisticated and subtle impression of refinement and elegance. I find the florals are background elements that serve to smooth the surface of the wood to a satin feel. On me this perfume is an invisible aura of elegance that wraps the animal self in silk velvet.

The two perfumes above would be perfect for a couple, to complement and enhance each other’s aura.

The masculine aimed Boutonniere no. 7, is a green floral representing the “opera flower” gardenia traditionally worn in the lapel with evening dress, along with the colognes of bergamot and lavender as often worn by gentlemen attending the Opera Comique in Paris, May 1899.

Fred and Adele Astaire
This fragrance was part of a limited edition of boutonniere and silk knot cuff-links sets that could be infused with the perfume, that quickly sold out. This fragrance would represent the crushed boutonniere giving up its last fragrance in the embrace of the first kiss of the evening, against a background of crisp masculine cologne. I did not realize the use of a flower in the lapel was to enhance a potential personal connection in this particular way, which makes it all the more charming.

In this fragrance, even if not in black tie, you are wearing these olfactory references. The gardenia will become most apparent upon a closer embrace, while the sense of crisp green glamour will enliven the atmosphere in the meantime. Notes include lavender, bergamot, Italian mandarin, gardenia, genet, vetivert, and oak moss. While this is a traditionally masculine note list, it can definitely be worn by a woman who prefers a green gardenia held on equal footing with sparkling astringent notes.

This line is meant for those who prize the effects of refinement and elegance in perfume above all else, and especially for those who appreciate layered references to the past.

I received a set of samples at the Elements show in New York earlier this year.  Please visit the Arquiste site for stockists or more information.

The opinions are my own and not compensated in any way.
Copyright 2013 Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

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