Picture yourself walking down the street on a cold winter’s night. Naturally your body is in search for warmth and your senses take over. Around the corner comes a sensational smell that invites you to follow it towards warm lights. That’s what happened late Thursday evening. Osswald’s Parfumerie took me into its hallowed halls, where elegance, fragrance, and pure genius join forces to create an atmosphere of nothing short of ecstasy.
I don’t know about you ladies, but I make it a point to smell good at all times. I don’t just mean cleanliness. Seriously, my perfumes have their special place in my room and they are organized by the seasons. It’s practically ritual that the last thing I do before I leave the house is spray my scent of choice on key places just for that simple reaction: “You smell good”. For me it’s like winning a gold medal. I’ve left my mark. So you can understand a parfumerie to me is simply heaven.
Last night was the launch of the newest fragrance, Boutonnière No° 7, by Carlos Huber and Rodrigo Flores-Roux. The keyword here: Gardenia. Its creation was inspired by an evening at the FiFi Awards, where Rodrigo wore the classic flower as a boutonniere. By the end of the evening, the flower was squashed from all the hugs of congratulations. They decided to extract the smell and create a gardenia fragrance for men. From there, the story was translated into a 19th century vision of 7 men gathering in Le Grand Foyer of L’Opera Comique in Paris in search of new flirtations. Various women are invited by the intoxicating smell of “crisp, green scent of the men’s gardenia boutonnieres, enlivened by the bergamot and lavender colognes they wear. As they draw closer, the ‘Opera flower’ exudes its elegant masculinity, the last breath of a bloom sacrificed on a black-tie lapel.”
Now most will not think masculinity is associated with the gardenia. Well think again, the gardenia boutonniere was traditional to black tie affairs way back when. Not to mention that Rodrigo designed Boutonniere No° 7 to seduce the senses by not overpowering with the gardenia scent, but simply inviting with the strong smell. But as time passes and the fragrance merges with your skin it draws out the scent of Oak Moss and Vertivert. This is no small feat since there is no such thing as gardenia oil. This smell must be created with other white flowers, such as jasmine, lily of the valley, and orange blossom. And this is where the genius of Rodrigo comes in to create a gardenia with masculine qualities.
Now there are several other fragrances to the Arquiste line each with its own story that creates a vision to transport you back in time: Aleksandr, L’Etrog, Infanta en Flor, Fleur de Louis, Anima Dulcis, and Flor y Canto. Aleksandr, in my opinion, is the most masculine by combining leather with a “whisper of gunpowder.” But my favorite I must say is Anima Dulcis. Inspired by Aztecan culture, its intensity and ingredients of chilies, cinnamon, cacao simply scream aphrodisiac. Still the most compelling story is that of Flor y Canto. Its main ingredient, tuberose, was once forbidden to virgins in 17th century France, in fear that it would create impure thoughts. It is also known as the rarest ingredient that possesses an active molecule that creates something in your brain. That molecule is indole and is found generally in white flowers, such as jasmine, orange blossoms, and of course, gardenias. What makes this interesting is that insects cannot see white flowers. Therefore, they must rely on their sense of “smell” to make contact. That tuberose (vanilla) invites the insects to pollinate them. Talk about fertilization!
Carlos Huber is actually not trained in parfums, but in architecture. He created the name Arquiste from the French words “artiste” and “architecte”. In studying the history of architecture, he discovered many stories that were detailed about the scents that were used in design. Inspired by this research, he created Arquiste. He teamed up with Givadaun Fragrance and Rodrigo Flores-Roux, another rare Mexican parfumer; they soon exchanged their similar stories. That is how they created Flor y Canto, Infanta en flor, and Fleur de Louis. Simply seductive, Huber and Arquiste leave you wanting more.
Many thanks to Clement Pichard for taking me through the story and creation of every scent.
Special thanks to Nick and Maryella for making me feel so welcome.
If you’re in NYC, check out Osswald Parfumeries.
Also, if you’re interested in luxury chocolates, check out Marie Belle. They provided us with some amazing hot chocolate.
Here are some more photos from the event: