Infanta Maria Teresa of Spain was the long-suffering wife of Louis XIV of France. Neither a great beauty, nor as sophisticated as the Versailles courtiers (and the king's mistresses), Maria Teresa was shy and retiring, but kind to those who showed her respect. It is hard to imagine today what it was like for the Spanish princess to leave her country and meet with her husband (they were first married by proxy) who was also her first cousin on both sides. At age 22 Louis was already a seasoned king, highly involved in politics and international intrigue. The Infanta had little to fall back on, other than her personal items she brought with her and still carried the scents of home.
Arquiste's Infanta en Flor is a homage to the princess, carrying a fan perfumed with orange flower water. Her travel trunks might have contained lace, Spanish leather and perhaps some incense. Perhaps they brought her some comfort in the court of the Sun King. The fragrance, developed as a collaboration between Arquiste founder Carlos Huber and perfumer Yann Vasnier, is a refined and delicate scent. It's predominantly a cleaned up orange blossom, over sweetened resins and light, skin-level leather. I was curious about the immortelle note, as it can be quite assertive, thick, and sweet; but there's no maple syrup here and immortelle-phobes should not fear and avoid trying this Arquiste perfume.
Infanta en Flor is first and foremost pretty. You won't smell the leather until you get very very close, and even then, it's a smooth and non-animalic note, with an almost sheer quality that allows the floral elements of the fragrance to take center stage. I'm guessing that spraying Infanta en Flor may produce a bigger sillage than dabbing it the way I did with the samples I had, but even so, the lasting power and the way the fragrance holds onto skin are impressive for something that appears at first sheer and delicate.
Notes: orange flower water, Spanish leather, cistus resin, immortelle.
Arquiste- Infanta en Flor ($175, 55ml EDP) is available from Aedes and Barneys. Some of the samples I had were supplied by PR.
Infanta Maria Teresa of Spain by Diego Velázquez, 1652-1953
Painting depicting marriage of Louis XIV of France and Maria Theresa of Spain by an unknown artist.