Getting to Know Arquiste – Reviews: Arquiste Infanta en Flor, Fleur de Louis and Anima Dulcis

By Tara

Until a recent bloggers’ jaunt that included Bloom Perfumery in East London, Arquiste was a hole in my far from complete perfume knowledge. I have since learnt that there are currently seven perfumes in the line which are all eau de parfum strength and come in 55ml bottles with a nifty invisible spray tube (current price £125). Established by Carlos Huber, a former architect specialising in historic preservation, Arquiste seeks to use fragrance to transport us back in time to a specific time and place in history.

arquiste2

I obtained samples of the following three perfumes:

Infanta en Flor

The time and place: June 1660, Isle of Pheasants on the Spanish-French border.

The moment in history: “Maria Teresa, the Infanta of Spain, is offered to Louis XIV in exchange for peace between the two nations.”

Notes include orange flower, bergamot, rose, jasmine, Spanish leather, cistus, immortelle, tonka bean, musk and benzoin.

First of all I get an incredibly top quality orange blossom accord which is positively swoon-inducing. Sunny, slightly soapy and natural smelling, a good orange blossom like this can be a thing of beauty. However, all too quickly the freshness fades and it turns to orange scented powder. Although it still smells good, I can’t help missing that radiant opening.

Even in the late dry down, I can’t detect the normally strident notes of immortelle and leather (although some others notice a very soft suede). I would have liked these two notes to be much more present and therefore act as a contrast to the powdered orange blossom. Infanta en Flor is an elegant and romantic perfume but not as striking and complex as I had hoped given the materials listed.

Fleur de Louis

The time and place: June 1660, Isle of Pheasants on the Spanish-French border.

The moment in history: “…in a golden aura of Iris, Rose and Jasmine, emerges a young Louis XIV, all starched and composed, eager to catch a glimpse of his new bride, the Infanta Maria Teresa.”

Notes include neroli, bergamot, cypress, galbanum, cloves, orange blossom, jasmine, rose, Florentine orris, amber, labdanum, cedar and vetiver.

Fleur de Louis is groom to the bride of Infanta en Flor. It starts with a brief splash of tart neroli and then a bouquet of fresh spring flowers (most notably hyacinth though not listed) with green foliage. It settles into a delicate white floral on a bed of powdery iris and pretty much stays that way. Fleur de Louis is refined, feminine and very spring-like.

Louis XIV was known as “the sweetest smelling monarch” because of his great love for orange blossom, but to my nose it is actually Infanta en Flor which showcases the note. Up close I can pick up a thread of floral sweetness in Fleur de Louis that is probably orange blossom, but it’s not distinct. It may not be ground-breaking but to be fair it is trying to re-imagine the fragrance of a by-gone era. Like the other two fragrances I tested, it is extremely long-lasting and very good quality.

Anima Dulcis

The time and place: November 1695, Mexico City.

The moment in history: “Deep inside the halls of the Royal Convent of Jesus Maria, a group of reverent nuns prepares a Baroque recipe of spiced cocoa.”

Notes include cinnamon, oregano, sesame, clove, cumin, jasmine, cocoa absolute, Mexican vanilla and chilli.

When we tried this at Bloom a couple of the others found it rather too light for their tastes and expressed a preference for the similarly chocolatey Parfumerie Générale perfume Musc Maori. Personally I find Anima Dulcis quite rich and more complex than the offering by Pierre Guillaume.

The first hit is savoury with soft spices and a scattering of dried herbs which remind me of the start of Ambre Sultan. The cinnamon isn’t of the jarring, spiky variety but a soft, sweet dusting which along with the chilli, clove and cumin gives you an overall impression of foodie spice.

The cocoa becomes more apparent as the spices settle. It is unsweetened, raw and powdered. A tender jasmine note works really well and doesn’t feel out of place at all. A smoky vanilla comes through more and more the longer you wear it. Perfect for warming you up on a cold day, Anima Dulcis is an interesting spiced gourmand which doesn’t give you toothache. I admire it a lot.

Have you tried any fragrances from Arquiste? What has been your experience?

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28 Responses to Getting to Know Arquiste – Reviews: Arquiste Infanta en Flor, Fleur de Louis and Anima Dulcis

  1. Dubaiscents says:

    Wonderful reviews Tara!
    I own and love Anima Dulcis and have tried a few others from the line (all really, really high quality as you mention).
    A short, sort of relevant story for you… I was honored to meet Ramon Monegal here in Dubai yesterday and he was telling me that while leather is his favorite note in perfume he also really enjoys chocolate notes and I mentioned how one of my favorite scents is Anima Dulcis by Arquiste. He didn’t seem to recognize the name (maybe because my Spanish is awful and I am completely mispronouncing it!) but when I mentioned Carlos from Mexico he knew right away and said that he admired his work. And he added that it would make a lot of sense that someone from Mexico would do such good work with chocolate or cocoa with the origin of the plant being from that region.
    I can’t wait to see what Carlos comes out with next in his line, it really is amazing!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I have to butt in here: So great that you met Señor Monegal! How did you like the Dubai exclusive perfume?

      • Dubaiscents says:

        I really enjoy it – I wore it again today and noticed that it lasted a good 6-7 hours with decent sillage. It starts quite sweet and fruity but, that doesn’t last too long before the drier woods come through mixed with a touch of soft leather and a nice creaminess which, I think is the sandalwood. I don’t get much spice or oudh. If I had to say why it represents Dubai I would go with that it seems like a mix of cultures (just like we have here). It is not over the top Arab style and yet not too clean and fresh. I love the nuances of it and find it easy to wear during the day cause it is not overly heavy. One of those where you catch yourself wondering what smells good and then you realize it is you! It definitely fits his style and the rest of the line.
        And of course, Mr. Monegal was completely charming!

    • Tara says:

      Thanks! How cool you got to meet and have a chat iwth Ramon Monegal. Anima Dulcis also reminded me of Mexican mole, the savourty chocolate based sauce.

      It’s great how such high quality the fragrances are. Even if they’re not your thing you can’t deny that fact. I look forward to trying the others in the line and agree it will be interesting to see what Carlos comes up with next.

  2. Sandra says:

    Great reviews Tara. I wish i got a gourmand from Anima Dulcis – I get lots of chili pepper on a bed of exquisitely dark chocolate. His florals are beautiful and I wear them come spring and summer.

    • Tara says:

      Sandra, the spices are pretty strong and the vanilla is low-key for most of the development it’s true. I think those looking for a sweet gourmand are likely to be disappointed.

      I’m glad you love the florals though. They are radiant.

  3. Fab reviews, Tara! Like you I’m new to the line too. I love the idea of Infanta en Flor and Fleur de Louis telling two sides of the same story and it really shows in each perfume. Infanta is the stand out for me, I love that leather base!

    • Tara says:

      Why don’t I get that leather base? No fair!

      Good to know some people get it though and it’s just either my nose or skin at fault.

      I loved Boutonniere No.7 on you, Thomas. Stunning.

  4. cookie queen says:

    Great reviews Tara. I cannot believe that I left Bloom with precisely 1 sample of something. (which sucked – no I won´t say what in public!). Should have taken some of the Arquistes. Should have taken lots. Oh well. Next time. Lots of love.

    • Tara says:

      Val, I am kicking myself for not getting samples of Mito and Rubj Voile d’Extrait so you’re not alone. Hopefully we’ll get to go back together before too long.

  5. Jordan River says:

    Tara, you are having Big Fun. Don’t forget the candle as it is not an iteration of the perfumes but a stand alone scent. Are you on tomorrow or do we have to wait a week?

    • Tara says:

      Thanks for the heads-up about the candle Jordan. I assume it’s Merida by Arquiste for Cire Trudon. The smell of a guava tree you say? Yes please!

      I have a review of Zelda for next week. I loved your post about it.

  6. Zazie says:

    I’m the lone dissenter here… Arquiste did not really work for me – I loved the descriptions, the notes and visuals of many of their perfumes (and should I mention the very tempting reviews?) but my skin (and/or blotter) tests were epic fails.
    My wallet was thankful for this absolute lack of chemistry! ;)

    • Tara says:

      I glad you mention this Zazie because I’m perplexed as to how others get suede or leather in Infanta en Flor and I don’t. It would make the perfume so much more alluring for me. Likewise, I don’t get much of a base with Louis de Flor. I wonder if it is anosmia or a skin chemistry thing. You’re right though, money saved at least!

  7. Figuier says:

    Thanks for the mini-reviews! I have only tried one of the Arquistes, Anima Dulcis, and I adore it; for me it’s unique in its blend of spice, booze, cocoa and vanilla. The only problem is that it’s not super strong and I find the development from top to heart notes so addictive that I keep reapplying. I worked through my 2ml spray sample in next to no time. And given the small bottles and high price, I’m not sure I can justify a FB. Usually 50ml lasts me many years. This I suspect would be gone in a matter of months.

    The other Arquiste I’d really like to try is Etrog; a good citrus is hard to find :)

    • Tara says:

      I think the subdued nature of Anima Dulcis is an issue for some people. It’s a shame you can’t justify a full bottle because of it. I must say that wasn’t a problem for me but it does wear close to the skin.

      You’re right, a good citrus is hard to find. I must try Etrog too.

  8. Vanessa says:

    Enjoyed your reviews very much and feel I have a good idea of which ones I might like to investigate – just Anima Dulcis in fact. I really love the backstory of nuns cooking up some cocoa, hehe. Now I don’t think I tried this in Bloom – I only recall Boutonniere on Thomas and subsequently on me, because I liked it a lot on him. ;). Hmm, I did also try a leather scent, but don’t know if it was this line. Too much people meeting excitement!

    • Tara says:

      I know, people took precedence over perfume that day. We all missed something I think but it was worth it.

      The nuns and the cocoa is a great back-story isn’t it? Do check out Portia’s review of Anima Dulcis – very funny.

  9. Eddvard says:

    Reviews are great, but I am not impressed 100% when I tried it in public, I was very curious and I went with my SO, she was on the other side really impressed! :)

    • Tara says:

      It does seem that some of the fragrances really work for you or they just don’t. Very odd!

      Thanks for reading Eddvard.

  10. Ines says:

    I haven’t given them enough nose time so can’t say which would appeal to me but I did fall in love with Anima Dulcis. I really love that one. :)
    Great reviews Tara! :)

  11. Fleur de Louis sounds like the most interesting of them all. So it was orange blossom that made Louis XIV known as “the sweetest smelling monarch!”

  12. All of them seem to have some relation to the historical events here. Well, a great collection Tara.

  13. Pingback: Getting To Know Phaedon: Reviews – Sable Marocain, Lentisque and Dhzari, Phaedon Paris | Olfactoria's Travels

  14. virginie verstraete says:

    I totally agree on Infanta en Flor. It has a real fresh opening of orange blossom, but soon goes into a soft, soapy ending. Longetivity is very poor ( but this is very personal of course).
    As a conclusion, I back you up on the fact that I expected just that little bit more, seen the “story research” and the price tag.

    • Tara says:

      Sorry to hear Infanta en Flor didn’t live up to your expectations.

      I loved the opening but soapiness is just not my thing. I know some people love it.

      I haven’t tried the whole line yet but Boutonnière no.7 is great if you like gardenia.

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