Category: A Scented Blog
Weather is one of those conversation topics best saved for moments of pleasantry, like being in an elevator with a distant acquaintance; perhaps someone from your building or office block who you see too frequently to ignore but not frequent enough to engage in detailed conversation. ‘How is your day going? Are you enjoying this weather?’ These are usually my default questions. Just enough conversation to last the five floors of elevator travel before saying polite goodbyes.
Although I wouldn’t bore a close friend with my feelings on climate, I do enjoy the autumn season and it has definitely arrived in Sydney. From inside my air-conditioned building it looks like summer. The sky is blue and the sun is shining but outside the air is wonderfully crisp. You get the sensation of fine needles pricking your face when you step out from the warmth of your apartment into the autumn morning and suburban streets are lined with foliage that has turned from a spritely green into a colour palette of rich browns and buttery ochres.
It is at this point I start to look at my wardrobe. Am I prepared both from a practical and fashion perspective for the new season? It is … Read More »
This month Puredistance invited me to discover their collection of perfumes, which launched in 2008. Whilst a trip to the Netherlands, where the brand is based, was not possible at this point in time; through the magic of the Internet and international courier services, this reconnaissance was possible.
I first discovered Puredistance perfumes in 2011. As a perfume collector, I am always on the look out for new perfumes that speak from a point of difference. Before knowing about the brand’s story, smelling M, I knew I had uncovered something special. It is that immediate sensation you get from smelling something exceptional for the very first time that drives a collector like myself to explore and discover new olfactory experiences, whether they are bottled or simply in nature. This month I rediscovered M as well as three other perfumes that make up the Puredistance line.
The story begins with Puredistance’s creator, Mr Jan Ewoud Vos. It is a cosmopolitan brand with a main office and design centre in the Netherlands. Mr Vos engages perfumers in New York and London, namely Annie Buzantian from Firmenich and Roja Dove, Professeur de Parfums to create perfumes for his brand.
Puredistance is founded on a deep … Read More »
On the evening following Peony Haute Parfumerie’s launch of Arquiste Parfumeur I was invited to a dinner with Carlos Huber, the creator of Arquiste and Jill Timms, the owner of Peony Haute Parfumerie. Our host was Frances Peterson, the distributor of Arquiste here in Australia and New Zealand. Seated at a table scattered with picked gardenias in St Kilda’s chic Café di Stasio I was enjoying the diversity of the company I was sharing. We all came from very different backgrounds; we are all on different paths, each of us representing different elements of the perfume industry; the blogger, the retail entrepreneur, the distributor and the brand owner. Frances had offered me some time with Carlos at the bar to conduct an interview but I could see the conversation created by all four of us together was rich and well worth documenting. Putting the list of questions I had prepared for Carlos in my notepad aside I asked the table if they approved of me putting my recording device on the table and we continue our conversation over dessert.
Below is an edit of that conversation, which I hope translates well for you the reader, coming into our discussion towards the … Read More »
Event: Arquiste Parfumeur Launch, with special guest Carlos Huber
Venue: Peony Haute Parfumerie, 107 Auburn Road, Hawthorn
Date: April 11, 2013
Thursday was an evening of fragrance and exquisite company. Lovers of fine perfume and Peony Haute Perfumerie came together to celebrate the launch of Arquiste Parfumeur, a fragrance line created by New York based architect and fragrance designer, Carlos Huber. After writing about the each of the fragrances in the collection, I had the pleasure of meeting Carlos in person; he had travelled from New York to follow the launch of his collection in Auckland (World Beauty), Sydney (Becker Minty) and Melbourne (Peony Haute Parfumerie). At the event’s conclusion, Carlos treated remaining guests to a very personal discussion on each of the seven Arquiste fragrances, sharing his own journey, working with perfumers Rodrigo Flores-Roux, Yann Vasnier and perfume evaluator, Sophie Bensamou, which lead to the creation of Arquiste in 2011.
Gardenia is a scented flower that holds great mystery. Its petals are among the few nature has provided, which do not allow their odour to be extracted by methods used for flowers such as jasmine and tuberose. Essentially the flower must be reorchestrated by a perfumer, which allows a great deal of subjectivity and requires careful analysis and artistic creativity.
Arquiste’s gardenia is purposely masculine; the preliminary inspiration came from a gardenia boutonniere perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux made for his Arquiste colleagues as an accessory they would wear to a black-tie gala event in 2011. The brand’s founder, Carlos Huber was captivated by the flower’s scent and began researching the history of the masculine boutonniere. His research led him to the Belle Epoque. Men would attend the opera wearing a boutonniere, a fragile picked flower attached to the buttonhole of a formal suit. The captivating odour of gardenia made it a popular choice amongst men of this era as the perfumed flower gave off a social ambiance, capturing the attention of the fairer sex.
After his preliminary research and a year of development, Boutonniere No. 7 is the seventh fragrance created by Arquiste, following the initial six, launched in 2011. Carlos Huber takes … Read More »
Aleksandr is a story of Russia’s most revered poet and founder of modern Russian literature, Alexander Pushkin who died from a gunshot wound in 1837, near St Petersburg. The poet was notoriously sensitive about his honour and fought numerous duels in order to protect it. His success in these duels came to an end in 1837 when the poet was mortally wounded by a bullet from the firearm of a French royalist officer serving in St Petersburg. The duel was fought over Pushkin’s distain for the young Frenchman who had been pursuing his wife Natalya Pushkina, a woman of great beauty.
The fragrance, created by Yann Vasnier, takes its wearer on a journey through Pushkin’s last moments. Arquiste imagines the poet wearing a toilette water steeped in neroli and violet. He dons a heavy fur and polished leather boots, striding off through a forest of fir trees to a clearing bathed in amber light; his fate awaiting him.
Aleksandr is a dandified leather perfume with a gallant aura. The neroli and violet leaf notes have a vintage-like quality, making a big impression when the fragrance is first released from the botte. An ‘iced vodka’ accord gives Aleksandr a steely impression of cold … Read More »
Over the past week as I have been exploring Arquiste, one thing I have come to appreciate about the collection is the clever marriage between tradition and modernity. For Anima Dulcis, Arquiste’s founder, Carlos Huber, calls upon the vast skill of both Yann Vasnier and Rodrigo Flores-Roux to challenge the popular gourmand theme and find an unchartered expression.
Although cocoa notes have been used in perfumery before, Anima Dulcis tells a culinary tale that is uniquely Mexican. And the olfactory backdrop in which the narrative is presented is done in a sophisticated way, meaning there is no risk of feeling like a Cadbury chocolate bar after a few sprays, which is the sentiment some other cocoa laced fragrances fall victim to. On a backdrop of an oriental chypre, Anima Dulcis is as innovative as the story that inspired its creation. The year is 1695 in Mexico City and nuns of the Royal Convent of Jesus Maria are preparing a baroque recipe of spiced cocoa. Today mole is prepared with ground cocoa, at least two varieties of chilli pepper and dried spices such as cumin, cinnamon, cloves and nuts or seeds such as sesame. The spicy chocolate sauce is commonly served with … Read More »
Fleur de Louis and Infanta en Flor is an interwoven story of arranged love. Perfumers Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Yann Vasnier collaborate with Arquiste to tell an olfactive story of the meeting between France’s King Louis XIV and his wife-to-be, the Infanta Maria Theresa of Spain in June of 1660. Fleur de Louis is the work of Flores-Roux, which captures the young King’s journey to the remote Isle of Pheasants on the border between France and Spain. It is here he extends his hand in marriage to the Infanta, in the presence of his court and political advisors. Yann Vasnier constructs Infanta en Flor from the perspective of the future Queen of France as she ventures forward to meet her husband-to-be for the first time. Infanta is a title given to the daughter of a reigning monarch who is not the heir-apparent to the throne. By negotiating the Spanish Infanta’s marriage to the King of France, the ratification of a peace treaty between the two countries was ensured. Although the motives behind the marriage appear to be guided by politics, Maria Theresa’s devotion to King Louis XIV in the years that followed was never questioned and as a Queen, she is … Read More »
Fleur de Louis is an olfactory tale of the French Court in the days of King Louis XIV, two generations before the French Revolution and the demise of the monarchy. The year is 1660 and the location is Pheasant Island, a small isle in the Bidasoa River bordering France and Spain. What would the King of France be doing there, so far from the palatial grounds of the Tulleries or Versailles? This was the location arranged for the young King to meet his bride, the Infanta Maria Teresa. This was a political move, a symbol of a new peace between Spain and France. As the King matured, Louis XIV, or Le Roi Soleil (Sun King) as he was known, was a grand patron of the arts. His eye for beauty was one of the driving forces behind the expansion of the Chateau de Versailles, a palace that demonstrated the power of France to all of Europe. Within the Chateau grounds, the King’s orangerie, a 17th century glasshouse, inspired by the Renaissance gardens of Italy, was the King’s pride and joy. At this time, orangeries were a symbol of wealth and King Louis’ garden, which boasted approximately 3000 orange trees, was … Read More »
As the most prominent floral perfume Arquiste is currently offering, Flor y Canto radiates with exotic blooms that describes a story from Tenochtitlan, the ancient capital of the Aztecs, now Mexico City, the hometown of Arquiste’s founder, Carlos Huber. The Aztecs built Tenochtitlan on and around reclaimed swampland and the city was surrounded by a series of artificial “floating” gardens that supported a population of 200 000 by the start of the 16th century. Not only did the gardens provide sustenance, they also provided a diverse range of native flora, used for ritual and celebration. Flor y Canto is an olfactory portrait of an Aztec ritual, perhaps Tiaxochimaco, a festival during the summer month of August where flowers were offered to Huitzilopochtli, an Aztec deity and patron of Tenochtitlan. You can imagine a rich palette of colours and odours that would have been on show during such a festive occasion. Perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux is the engineer behind Flor y Canto. With Carlos Huber’s direction, the pair explore an opulent bouquet of subtropical flowers. The most prominent is tuberose, a native of Mexico before being introduced to Europe in the 16th century. The Aztecs called it omixochiti or bone flower.
It could … Read More »