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How I Learned to Wear Perfume

The newest additions to my vanity, all from boutique scent-creator Arquiste.

I’ve never been a big perfume wearer. Fragrances have always intimidated me, partly because I’m worried they’ll be overpowering and I’ll smell like my over-spritzed French tutor, and partly because I never understood that I could choose more than one. I assumed I should just find a signature scent and stick with it. Since starting at Birchbox, though, I’ve learned that fragrances should change with your moods. I can have musky ones for days when I want to curl up in a warm blanket, citrus-y ones when I need a shot of energy, or floral ones when I’m feeling extra romantic. This summer, one of the beauty adventures on my to-do list is building up my fragrance collection. (Not sure how to start? Check out our great tips on picking a perfume here.)

At the top of my wish list: Arquiste scents. Aside from the fact that I’ve been digging the bright, spirited notes of L’Etrog, which cut right through icky New York humidity, I also love the company’s story. Founder Carlos Huber was a successful architect who spent his free time deconstructing perfume compositions. When he met veteran perfumers Yann Vasnier and Rodrigo Flore-Roux, both from famed Swiss fragrance house Givaudan (the biggest scent and flavor creator in the game), Huber began studying with them. He later tapped both to help him develop his own niche fragrances for Arquiste.

Arquiste founder Carlos Huber. Photo:

The result is a line of history-inspired scents, which—as a big nerd—I fully appreciate. My favorite, L’Etrog, was designed as an homage to the medieval family harvest celebrations in Calabria, Italy. The fruity notes make me feel like I’m strolling through a vineyard in Southern Italy (free of cell phones and traffic jams!). How’s that for a transporting smell? I’ll be adding this to my snazzy new fragrance wardrobe to keep me zen during the sometimes suffocating New York summer, and as a go-to spritz on days when I need a bit of energy.

Have you ever been intimidated by perfumes? Do you have more than one that you wear? Tell us in the comments!


Need more perfumes to try? These fragrances will help you travel the world while you stay at home.

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