In the House – Brand Spotlight on Arquiste Parfumeur


In the House is a feature on EauMG. I’m collecting my experiences from years of perfume sampling and putting together a quick brand overview. There are so many perfume lines out there that it can be overwhelming. My goal with this is to quickly introduce people to niche and indie lines that may be of interest to them.

Carlos Huber

Who’s in the house? Arquiste Parfumeur

The History & Perfumers: Arquiste is a newer perfume line by fragrance aficionado, creative director and architect,  Carlos Huber. The compositions are meant to “transport” the wearer to different times and places throughout history (Huber himself specializes in Historic Restoration). The perfumers behind are professionally trained, “superstar” perfumers Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Yann Vasnier.

My impressions of the brand: The style of the perfumes are “lush” without ever being heavy. These are the type of perfumes that one can wear in warmer climates. And many of the perfumes are what I call “dapper florals”.

I have always thought of Rodrigo Flores-Roux as this god of orange blossoms (Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, all the John Varvatos). And within the Arquiste line, I can smell his sense of pride for his art, his culture and his heritage in these perfumes. I love that there is a heavy Mexico-centric focus in the Arquiste line (Huber and Flores-Roux are both Mexican). It’s a beautiful country that should inspire the perfume world with its heritage, history and abundance of aromatics.

Yann Vasnier is a versatile perfumer creating perfumes for niche brands like Parfums Divine and Parfums DelRae as well as big hits like Marc Jacobs Bang and Lola. I’ve always admired Vasnier’s ability to adapt to the brand that he is working with. You can see a sample of his range within the Arquiste line – delicious gourmands to citrus chypres.

And to disclose some of my bias, I’ve met all three men in person and they are incredibly charming. And they love perfume. Sales associates in New York have told me that Huber is a “real perfumista” and you get that when you speak to him.

Elements Showcase

Brand’s strengths: Sophisticated “daily” fragrances. Approachable without being dull. I also think these are great perfumes for warmer climates. If I lived somewhere like Florida or Texas, these are the perfumes that I would wear.

Brand’s weaknesses: Price. Which as you know is subjective*. This could also be a strength or a weakness, but most of the line consists of florals. What I’m saying is that the brand’s strength could also be its weakness depending on if you like this style or not.

Arquiste Perfumes

I have tried: All of them except for the ones being launched in the summer of 2014.

My favorite/s from the line that I’ve tried: Aleksandr. I think I’m in the minority here because it seems that most people love the gourmand Anima Dulcis. Anima Dulcis is great but there is something about the coolness in Aleksandr that I love.

My least favorite from the line that I’ve tried: Anima Dulcis. This doesn’t mean that I dislike it. I have reviewed it and I find that my skin amps up the sweetness making it chocolate syrup on me. I have smelled it on others and its much more complex on them! I hate to pick a least favorite and for me, this is it. But, I do think it’s the best luxury chocolate perfume on the market.

Comparable brands in style: Annick Goutal, Maria Candida Gentile, Byredo, Diptyque, and L’Artisan Parfumeur.

You may like some of the perfumes in this brand if you like: white florals, citrus florals, fragrances for warmer climates or if you are looking for a well-crafted “everyday” fragrance.

Does the brand offer samples or a discovery set? No. There isn’t a official discovery set or sample set. However, many of the retailers of this brand offer samples for purchase.

Available products by this brand: EDP perfumes. There is a candle collaboration with Cire Trudon.I love this Merida-inspired candle.

Price range: Perfumes come in 1.85 oz bottles with prices ranging from $165-$195. The candle collaboration retails for $90.

Where to buy:,, Barneys, and Osswald. The brand is available all around the globe. Check the store locator for locations.

 Arquiste Anima Dulcis

My Top 3 “must-try” picks:

Anima Dulcis – It’s a sophisticated chocolate. And one of the perfume community’s favorite from the line. If you have to only try one, try this one.

Aleksandr – A cold violet leather for dandies. My personal favorite.

*Flor y Canto – A big tuberose with bitter marigold, a Day of the Dead altar.

*Infanta en Flor – If you don’t like tuberose, substitute Flor y Canto for this “summer leather”.

You can find Arquiste on Facebook and Twitter. I also recommend following Carlos Huber on Instagram. Viewing his Instagram is like taking a much needed vacation. You find yourself stumbling into little cafés across the globe or enamored with quaint cobblestone lined with moss. It’s that delightful feeling of being lost in a faraway city and loving every second of it. Also, he’s cute. There, I said it.

*Update 6/5/14 – I’d like to say that the price is set and it’s objective. But, worth is subjective. I also think words like “expensive” are subjective. Anyway, what I should have said is that the price will deter people. This was brought up in the comments. See below.

Want more of EauMG’s In the House?


*Logo and product pic from Fragrantica. Carlos Huber pic from Ca Fleure Bon. Elements Showcase pic (Rodrigo is the gent with the mic, Chandler Burr is next to him). Gorgeous Anima Dulcis still-life is from Arquiste.

26 thoughts on “In the House – Brand Spotlight on Arquiste Parfumeur

  1. this series is so well done! brava!

    so i have a little Rodrigo Flores-Roux envy, but i’ll manage. 😉

    now this house goes on my must try list!

    1. I have Rodrigo envy. He’s f’n adorable. And he wears cool suits.

      I look forward to trying the 2 new ones as well. Hopefully our Barneys will get these in so I can schniff ’em.

  2. I was going to request a mandatory photo of Mr. Vasnier with every post but I will need to expand my request to include Mr. Huber as well. In fact, all three men seem to be quite decorative (not to mention very talented) and are welcome to drop by my place with samples any time they care to ;). I had been able to convince myself that Flor y Canto (the only one that interests me) would be too heavy for Texas but I guess I will have to bite the sample bullet some time. The house reviews are really a helpful idea.

    1. I really should include one of Yann 😉

      There really needs to be a “Men of Perfume” calendar, don’t ya think?

      Being in Seattle for 6 years, I’ve forgotten how hot “hot” actually gets! But, in my mind Flor y Canto would work. It’s floral but has some bitterness, fruitiness as well. Would be a good “date night” fragrance for sure!

  3. Great column! Very helpful, and I’ll look forward to future installments. But I really must disagree that price is subjective. It’s the most objective thing you can say about a perfume. It’s a number! And it’s high, objectively high.

    1. I guess it could be rephrased. Price is objective. But worth is subjective. So even “high” is difficult here because some people may not think that.

      It’s always been difficult for me to give suggestions when someone asks, “Do you have any inexpensive recommendations for a tuberose perfume?” because I have no clue what they consider inexpensive and it’s always weird for me to ask. I wish people would ask something like “Do you have any recommendations for a tuberose perfume that retails for under $100?” I do think that words like “expensive” and “inexpensive” are very subjective.

      1. Certainly, worth is subjective. For some people, a certain perfume is not worth the high price. For other people, it’s worth the high price because the stuff is very valuable to them — that’s completely subjective. For some people it’s worth the high price because high prices don’t make a dent in their budgets. (That’s why it certainly would be helpful if people specified for you what price range they are looking for, of course.)

        But it’s still a high price compared with, say, the cost of the materials, distribution, even marketing. I’m not sure who’s taking home all that extra, but it’s pretty clear that it’s not the people producing the raw materials, or the people driving the trucks, or the people ringing up your purchase. So I call that a high-priced item, whatever it may be worth.

        1. I also think there is a group that think it is “worth” it because they are told that it is or believe that it is because of the high price! But, that’s luxury marketing. People believe it is valuable/better/whatever because it costs so much. Many people care more about $$$ or names than they do quality. I see this happen in many other hobbies as well. Like someone feels insecure about their knowledge or tastes and buy the most expensive thing because they assume it is better and will give them “cred”. Anyway, that’s a little off topic but ideally people should be buying stuff that they like but I think many people don’t (I think people buy pretty bottles, hype, etc.). I also think that certain brands are successful because they charge high prices.

          I don’t know the brand’s finances (or any other brand’s) and I’ve never owned and operated a perfume company, but I do have a basic understanding of the industry and business in general. Some “expensive” brands are expensive because of the materials they use, the packaging, the labor…and some are expensive because they can be, it’s luxury marketing. I’ve actually had buyers tell me that the $250-$300 niche perfumes are what are selling the most these days. They aren’t even interested at looking at any that sell for under $120!

          Sort of off topic, I do think there can be a high-quality brand with full-size bottles that retails for under $80 but we don’t see them. And I think we don’t see them is because right now “budget friendly” ins’t a priority. The niche stores want to pick up the “luxury” bottles because for some reason in the niche perfume world, these are the ones that are selling. I do feel this will change in the future.

          1. Victoria, thank you for responding so thoroughly and thoughtfully.

            I guess I am mystified by this information that lower-priced bottles aren’t selling. They are the ones selling to me! If I go into a niche perfume store, I’ve most likely looked up their brands ahead of time, identified the lowest-priced bottles they sell, and thought about which of their ‘low end’ products I am most interested in. It’s still very expensive!

            I do understand that if people don’t know what they want, then they might buy what seems like it would be good. But how does perfume end up in that category?

            On one hand, it makes sense, because it takes time and thought, in my experience, to find out what scents I really want. That would make it easier to scrap my preferences and follow some other set of motivations.

            On the other hand, it makes no sense, because no one has to buy perfume at all. So, if I don’t know what I want, and I’m not interested in spending a lot of time finding out as my obsessive hobby ;-), then maybe I just don’t bother with the product at all.

            So then I have to consider perfume as a pure status symbol. It seems like an inefficient one, at best. If I want conspicuous consumption, I will purposely waste a lot of money on my house, my car, my clothes: the things that are most conspicuous. How conspicuous is perfume? How much of the audience I’m playing my over-the-top spending to will be capable of attaching status to my over-priced perfume when they may not even smell it when I wear it, may not be able to tell that I am the one wearing it, and may not recognize it and know its price range?

            Or is there an idea that my audience will recognize ‘expensive-smell’ per se? I don’t know how that would work.

            Or is it that I might believe my status is judged by perfume although it probably isn’t? But why would I think that, if I am not able to judge others in this way?

            Unless my main audience is the staff at the perfume shop?

            Or the internet-based community of perfume lovers?

            Those are two sobering thoughts.

          2. I have no idea and of course, I could write a post and interview people that know more than me, it would be interesting to see what buyers of department stores are saying vs. independent perfumers vs. the perfumistas. I’m sure it’s all the luxury market (which is a whole different world of marketing). Some people buy stuff because it is “fancy”, they like that they don’t need it, makes them feel rich. There are different luxury customers, those that want the labels and to walk around with the LV logo plastered bags or those that want luxury with no label – only those “in the know” know its price. I think some people that care about the “visual” stuff also care about “luxury” invisible stuff too. We live in this world of online reviews. Everyone thinks they “deserve the best” – from takeout to computers to hotels. I think a person that cares about what they look like, their care, etc. would buy an expensive perfume as well because they are interested in expensive things/exclusive things/brands. But, I also know plenty of people that spend big bucks on luxury (and obscure) clothing labels and could care less about perfume and wear stuff like Chanel Chance (which is more creative than a lot of niche perfumes!).

            A few thoughts:
            People (including non-perfume people) often use the word “cheap” to describe the way a perfume smells. People have some idea of “cheap” smells but I don’t think they can articulate what they mean by that. I think, even the non-hobbyist, has some idea of “cheap” and “expensive” smells (but I’m not saying it is consistent or even makes any sense at all). (OH, and they know “old lady” too, lol)

            I know many people that will not sample perfumes they consider to be expensive because they don’t want to even be tempted to buy something in that price range. I don’t blame them. It is starting to feel like many new niche lines are super expensive for the sake of being super expensive. I hate that somewhere along the way (perfume lovers, brand lovers, stylish magazine readers…) have (most likely accidentally) supported this sort of pricing. Who would have thought that Serge Lutens would become a “great value”? I bet if we all stopped buying the crazy expensive stuff, we’d see prices drop.

    2. Also, I want to add that I’m defending these prices. I’m just saying that some people don’t flinch at spending $200 on a bottle of perfume, others (me included) are most likely not going to purchase a bottle of perfume in that price range.

  4. This Brand is HOT!Carlos Huber is one gorgeous man!And I managed to finish a bottle of Flor Y Canto in no time.Anima Dulcis on my wishlist!If we do a calender,can I please add Jerome Epinette and Pierre Guillaume??;-))

    1. He really is. Plus, he’s super nice which will always double someone’s attractiveness (just like being mean takes away attractive “points”).

      Flor y Canto is great. It really does well in our humidity (I find that “green” white florals usually do).

      Um, of course! And Ben Gorham, Francis Kurkdjian, and we can’t forget the indie hottie Brent Leonesio 🙂

Comments are closed.