a journey of the senses by FLACONNEUR
THE ARCHITECTS CLUB – 2014 – ♂
Notes: Juniper Berry Oil, Angelica Root, Lemon Peel Oil, Bitter Orange, Pepperwood, Guaiac Wood, Oakwood, Vanilla Absolute, Amber
Perfumer: Yann Vasnier
Price: $190 for 100ml bottle
The house of Arquiste Parfumeur was launched in the Fall of 2011 in New York. The company’s creator, Carlos Huber, set out to bring the world perfumes with historical references that have relevance for modern times. Huber is a trained architect by day, perfumer by night. His architectural specialities are in the realm of historical preservation. This experience has allowed him to bring the concept of time and space to the world of perfume. Huber’s collaborative efforts with Rodrigo Flores-Faux and Yann Vasnier, have produced many fine examples of Huber’s encyclopedic storytelling. I have sampled many perfumes from Arquiste, and I’ve decided to review one in particular: The Architects Club.
Let’s set the stage, The Architects Club historical reference is described in the words of its creator:
Cocktail time, March 1930, London.
A group of architects gather for cocktails at Mayfair’s smartest Art Deco smoking room. As they settle in the warm interior of dark woods, leather and velvet, London’s bright young things burst in, frosted martinis in hand, surrounded by a cloud of laughter, white smoke and fine vanilla.
The Architects Club opening wastes no time setting up with an herbal gin martini to get the party started. The spirited scent of juniper berry is garnished with a generous curl of lemon peel. Like many great openings, this combination is pleasant but fleeting. The perfume continues to transition from opening to heart with the introduction of a melancholy spice accord. I find this shift a bit perplexing. The spice seems to be cinnamonesque in nature, hiding timidly behind the remains of a frail, musty oak barrel. This brew could have been an interesting transition to an exceedingly woody heart but was underdeveloped and then abandoned. As this failed attempt concludes, the heart transitions once more to a less decrepit sheer woody accord. The accord is dominated by guaicwood and a drier, more aromatic oak. This accord tries its best to be recognized, but get steamrolled by an intoxicated, tyrannical vanilla absolute, frightfully alcoholic and pungent. The vanilla is relentless and never-ending, dominating the attempted wood accord and the base of the perfume. After a few hours, I found the dry down of The Architects Club downright intolerable. I entertain the idea of some relief by a satisfying spice, a nutty pepper or a heavier aromatic. Where was that leather note mentioned in the story line? A leather note would have definitely helped this incapacitated heart. There is no doubt that the vanilla is the star of the show at The Architects Club. The vanilla is so intense that you don’t have the opportunity to fully enjoy the warm amber base, so insubstantially suggested.
I initially had very high hopes for The Architects Club after reviewing the creator’s story. Those hopes were dashed by the unsuccessfully matching of iconic references. I am very familiar with the Art Deco time period. So much so, that it’s impossible for me to be otherwise convinced that everything was dripping in some objectionable sweet vanilla cotton candy, peppered with a bit of diluted woods. I find the premise of The Architects Club to be bit of a failure. When re-reading Arquiste’s story line, I think the aroma of vanilla should be very dry and sophisticated, played entirely in the background. It would be better suited supporting a strong woody amber accord as suggested in this perfume’s classification. The storyteller mentioned a “warm interior of dark woods.” The woods that were detected were unimportant at best. I imagine strange aromatic scents such as teak, rosewood or ebony, maybe even Spanish cedar. The types of woods you would find as tasteful choices for materials used in the construction of a striking, modernistic humidor. The story further proclaimed “leather and velvet” but I didn’t recognize anything that closely resembled either element. How about one of “London’s bright young things burst in” with a whimsical Champagne cocktail instead of a frightfully common gin martini. The martinis in hand left my nose dizzy and inebriated. The Architects Club completely missed the opportunity for “a cloud of laughter” when not including a much-needed aldehyde note. You can almost guarantee that one gentleman in that group of architects was enjoying the smoldering aroma or “white smoke” of a fine Cuban cigar but no cigar here.
Please do not get me entirely wrong, The Architects Club is not a bad perfume. If you like persistent vanilla scents, this fragrance is worth sampling. I found that after what seemed an endless 24 hours, I had absolutely no desire to be around any perfume that even had vanilla in the list of notes. The longevity in The Architects Club is fantastic, so you certainly get your money’s worth there. At day’s end, there has been much better storytelling done by Arquiste’s creator, Carlos Huber, but we’ll leave those thoughts for another review from this house.