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Misfit, a gorgeous amber-woody unisex EdP from indie fragrance house Arquiste, has been in heavy rotation around my place for the last few months.  But any discussion about this EdP must begin with patchouli – that bushy, green herb with small pink flowers native to Indonesia and Malaysia but now grows throughout China, India, and the Philippines.

Patchouli has gone in an out of fashion for centuries and it’s this in-and-out-of-fashion cycle that is the inspiration for Misfit. The Arquiste website says: ‘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…With a new edge, and in the hands of misfits with style, the ‘undesirable’ becomes desired again.’

Misfit opens with bergamot, bright and bitter, followed by carrot seed, musky and earthy. Angelica root has a muskiness that boosts the carrot seed while adding a whiff of sweetness before French lavender shows up. On me, it's fresh, camphorous and smoky. As it settles, I get hints of patchouli from Akigalawood™, a synthetic that smells like patchouli with aspects of pepper and agarwood.  Bulgarian rose, rich and lush, adds opulence to the juice. Ambrette extends the rose and echoes the muskiness at the opening, while balsamy resins complement the rose and the woodiness. At the base, patchouli is the star where a combination of two patchouli essences are used. The patchouli blend is earthy and a perfect counterpoint to the Akigalawood™. It's also a very uncomplicated patchouli. It's not dirty, spicy, dark or camphorous but smooth and sophisticated. This is a patchouli I have never smelled before. Woody and herbaceous cistus add those dimensions to the patchouli, while tolu balsam, sweet and balsamy, joins with creamy, sweet tonka bean to counterbalance the earthiness of the patchouli. In Misfit, everything is in perfect balance.

The drydown is refined and surprisingly seductive, making Misfit a must-have fragrance for me. Arquiste should get a prize for taking something old and making it new again. Oh, wait, they already did - Fragrance Foundation 2021 Awards Winner for Indie Fragrance of the Year: Misfit.

Notes: Bergamot, carrot seed, essence, angelica root, French lavender, Bulgarian rose, ambrette seed, Akigalawood™,styrax, patchouli, cistus, tonka bean, Tolu balsam - a sweet amber balsamic fragrance.

Type: EdP

Parfumeur: Rodrigo Flores-Roux


Price: $7.00