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Be a MISFIT, not just a follower

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Be a MISFIT, not just a follower

The latest launch from ARQUISTE parfumeur


MISFIT is centred on the idea of things going in and out of Fashion; of fads that go from the mainstream to the fringes of society, and from the outside back in.

It is about making the undesirable, desirable once more. Instead of following a trend, this fragrance is about being a misfit and reclaiming the elegance of Patchouli on one's own terms.

September 1877, Port of Marseille, France.
In a bedroom in the City of Flesh, a Kashmiri shawl drapes decadently over the bed. Once extremely coveted, the shawls are now out of fashion with the bourgeois, their distinctive patchouli scent a victim of their downfall. Adopted by bohemians and courtesans, the fragrance mixes with French lavender, musky ambers and exotic balsams. With a new edge, and in the hands of misfits with style, the ‘undesirable’ becomes desired again.

Top notes: Calabrian bergamot essence, carrot seed essence, angelica root essence, French lavender essence.

Heart notes: Bulgarian rose essence, ambrette seed absolute, Akigalawood™, styrax.

Base notes: Patchouli (proprietary combination of two fractioned essences), Spanish cistus concrete, Venezuelan Tonka Bean Absolute, Tolu Balsam.

Discover MISFIT

Pogostemon cablin

The scent of patchouli first reached Western noses with the Kashmir-style shawls fashionable in the late 18th century and early 19th.  The fine wool shawls would have patchouli leaves in its folds to protect them from moths and insects during their journey from Asia into Europe. The distinctive scent became a mark of their artisanal quality and origin.

Around 1808, the first shawls of this kind were being produced in Paisley, Scotland. Shawls were also produced in other Scottish cities and in France. French manufacturers then asked perfumers to create a scent that could be added to the shawls, to make them pass as authentic.

The popularity of these shawls with the elites declined in the 1870s, due partly to a reduction in price and increase in availability, and also to a change in women's fashion: the addition of the bustle, meaning that a shawl would no longer drape in the same manner. The Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) also prevented the export of shawls from Kashmir.

The shawls then became fashionable amongst courtesans and prostitutes, who would wear them undressed or seductively draped over furniture. Becoming popular in fringe circles, the scent of patchouli, reminiscent of Orientalist fantasies of odalisques and evocative of earthy pleasures, became the scent of decadence, of ‘taste professionals’ of dubious reputation.

Later on, in the 20th century, hippies would re-appropriate patchouli for its connection to India, its association with European misfits, and for a potency that would mask cannabis. It became the olfactive signature of counter-culture.



A scent is a time capsule. It can invoke our most intimate memories and dreams, and open doors to distant worlds.
Curated by Carlos Huber, an architect specializing in Historic Preservation, ARQUISTE is a fragrance collection that transports the wearer to evocative moments in history.
Meticulously researched using authentic sources and crafted with only the rarest of ingredients, each fragrance restores the olfactive experience of a particular time and place, allowing both women and men to unlock personal revelations and experience history in a most intimate way.


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