Avant Versailles; Arquiste’s Fleur de Louis

arquiste fleur de louisNotes: iris, jasmine, African orange flower, Virginia cedar, orris, pine, rose.

Fleur de Louis opens with a wicked sharpness, a blast of cool pine and orange blossom. I initially thought I had applied the wrong perfume, since this wasn’t at all what I expected. Where is the floral? I wondered. If this doesn’t sound appealing, don’t worry, the opening is very short-lived. The harsh greenness melts away as quickly as it arrived, letting iris and jasmine unfold in its wake.

Frankly, I don’t mind the opening. It’s fitting since this fragrance is inspired by royalty: the Sun King, Louis XIV. It’s as though the brashness of the pine serves as a trumpeting signal to wait for the iris, the true star of this show.

A soft powdery floral atmosphere settles in, casting a spell of quiet comfort and lasting for the rest of wear time. This has a luxurious feel, but it’s not the gleaming luxury of Versailles. Fleur de Louis is not about opulence. There are no aldehydes in this composition, so the powdery effect remains subdued throughout wear time. Nothing about this composition is particularly loud or sparkling, and yet it’s not exactly sweet either. There is a bitterness from the orris, and I like the way this functions as a subtle reference to the sharp opening. The cedar and the rose are here to add some depth as wear time goes on, but neither note is particularly dominant. It’s an extremely well-blended composition.

Fleur de Louis is meant to represent the moment Louis and his bride, Maria Teresa, first met before their marriage. At this time, Louis was not yet the Sun King that we know from history. Indeed, the opening of this fragrance perhaps suggests the brashness of a young man, while the softness of the iris might convey a flicker of nerves upon meeting his bride for the first time.

There is a traditional feel to Fleur de Louis – it’s no trendy fruity/floral or rose/patchouli. This classic feel makes it easy to imagine the traditions that come along with royalty. The good thing here is that you don’t have to be a Bourbon king to pull off this fragrance. It’s extremely wearable, even in these dog days of late July.

The real effect of Fleur de Louis is the mood it sets. This fragrance is beautiful, but in a quiet, almost contemplative way. There is nothing boastful here, which makes it interesting that it’s based on Louis XIV. Fleur de Louis is not the fragrance of someone in the full-seat of absolute power, this is Louis before Versailles. Once it settles into the skin, it’s a quietly beautiful perfume that leaves the wearer time to think, to consider. It is a fragrance for someone on the cusp of bigger things.


Full bottles of Fleur de Louis are available from Barney’s. I got my sample with a purchase from Aedes de Venustas.

Image and info on notes is taken from fragrantica

7 thoughts on “Avant Versailles; Arquiste’s Fleur de Louis

  1. It looks like Arquiste isn’t my brand. Some of their perfumes are fine on me but not a single one made me reach for my wallet. But I’ll keep testing: so many people I know like them, I have to figure out why.

    1. Aww, the silver lining is that at least you’re not being tempted into spending too much. I like Fleur de Louis a lot but, on the other hand, L’Etrog Acqua did nothing for me. I’ll have to keep exploring the rest of the line to form more of an opinion!

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