Post by Anslie Walker
Arquiste at Peony Melbourne’s Event
Carlos Huber is director/curator of Arquiste perfumes. I got to have a lunch with him in Melbourne, moments before the Australian launch of new fragrances L’Etrog Aqua and Architects Club at Peony Haute Perfumerie.
Arquiste: Carlos Huber Interview 2014
You are studied Preservation Architecture, did you also study perfumery?
I started as a Preservation Architect and also worked for Ralph Lauren. I met a perfume evaluator who introduced me to perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux. I became friends with him, spending a year studying with him as much as possible. We share a love of history, so he understands my passion and interprets my visions well.
How did the range develop?
I came up with 6 stories, moments in history for the perfumers to translate. I choose places I have visited and connect with deeply to ensure the fragrances are authentic. The aim is to bring olfactive references to life. They are historic moments in time, yet I did not want them to be vintage, I wanted them to be modern concepts where we are dropped in that moment, not have the moment brought to us. We also use the most modern of ingredients to create hyper real experiences.
Tell me about the Arquiste signature bottles?
I love these, they are Italian made, solid and round and if you look closely on the inside you cannot see where the glass and perfume begin and end. I just had the lids remade so they are heavy in the hand. The new fragrances are in 100ml only and the originals are in 50ml, eventually they will all be available in the 100ml size.
Overview of the range with quotes from Carlos:
Woods and Citrus:
Aleksandr is an amber leather developed by Yann Vasnier that interprets a Russian love story in 1837. Violet and neroli is the fired-up lovers after shave products, as he gets ready to leave the house for a dual. He dons his fur coat and leather boots and heads outside amongst the snow-laden fir and birch trees, where in a clearing ahead, the fateful duel awaits him.
Architects Club by Yaan Vasnier “this fragrance is set in The Fumé-the jewel of Claridge’s and has 3 phases – the first fresh icy gin martini phase with juniper, angelica, lavender, clary sage and coriander, the second comfortable woods and amber where oak, guaicwood and sensual ambermax settle on skin and thirdly the dry smoky vanilla tobacco, old books and leather phase. I love wearing this fragrance!!”
L’Etrog is a citrus chypre developed with both Rodrigo and Yann. It’s inspired by Jewish harvest festival Sukkot, which occurs in October. “L’Etrog is Hebrew for Citron and is the balmy sweet night time in Calabria, Italy 1175 where farmers gather after a day in the citron fields. Dried date accord and scents from the wood cabin mix with the intense citron leaving a velvety powder dry down after the zest has died down.”
L’Etrog Aqua is an Eau De Cologne style yet contains 15% perfume concentration!! It’s the morning after L’Etrog, where dew is heavy on the citron fields, green, tart, wet, juicy and cool, it sheds light on aspects of the original and highlights them. “This fragrance contains more myrtle than any other fragrance, along with lavender, rosemary, vetiver and pistachio, which is like a dry cedar.”
Anima Dulcis was developed by both perfumers and is definitely worth a try. Carlos describes it as “a baroque gourmand” combining cocoa, Mexican vanilla, cinnamon and three types of chilli to interpret a convent in Mexico City in 1695 where a group of nuns prepare recipes of bread puddings and hot chocolate.
Fleur De Louis is a woody floral developed by Rodrigo Flores-Roux’s. It’s the French perspective in 1660 on the French and Spanish boarder, where Louis XIV is about to capture a glimpse of his new bride, Maria Theresa. Orris, jasmine and rose represent the French as they peer from a pavilion made from freshly cut pine and cedarwood. Orange blossom wafts from the Spanish infant’s clothing.
Infanta en flor is a floral musky amber and is Yann Vasnier’s take on the same time/place as Fleur de Louis, but from a Spanish perspective. Maria Teresa, blushes, fans herself and steals a look back at the gallant King as he lays his eyes on her for the first time. Cistus, Spanish leather and immortelle dance with the innocent scent of orange flower water, rose-rouge and rice powder.
“The French perfumer did the perspective from the Spanish border and the Spanish from the French!” Carlos marvels.
Boutonniere No7 was Rodrigo Flores-Roux’s work and is a green floral fragrance made with the brief of “How does a man wear a flower?” Carlos explains “The answer is that men wore white gardenias on their lapel to the opera in Paris in 1899 to seduce women. We originally wanted it to be at the end of the night – it became quite sickly and did not work so we went for the first intermission at the opera combining gardenia with cologne ingredients such as lavender, vetiver, oakmoss, mandarin, bergamot and then added an ultra dose of jasmine”
Flor Y Canto meaning “flower and song” was developed with Rodrigo Flores-Roux and is a fresh, green opulent white floral “mixing Mexican originated flowers of tuberose, magnolia, marigold and frangipani with incense of Tenochtitlan, Mexico in August 1400 to represent a festival of flowers called Tlaxochimaco where flowers are offered on temple alters for the gods and the dead.”
Which are favorite fragrances for you?
My favorites are Cologne Bigarade by Jean-Claude Ellena for Frederic Male, D’Orsay’s Le Nomade, Tom Ford’s Champaca Absolute and Neroli Portofino.
Of the Arquiste line – what do you wear the most?
I have been wearing a lot of the Architects Club lately (I have to say it smells FANTASTIC on Carlos!) and also Fleur de Louis is my other favorite.
In winter in New York I also like to wear L’Etrog /L’Etrog Aqua on my scarf and under layers as they contrast with the winter in a nice way.
Can we have a glimpse into the next story/moment in time you will bring to us with the next fragrance?
I can say it is based between 1614 and 1622 and is based on special cargo that traveled between Mexico, Europe and Japan.
Ainslie Walker x