If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air…
… stop what you are doing immediately and go hunt down a sample of this scent!
Sandalwood, minerals, coconut husk, driftwood, narcissus absolute, frangipani, jasmine sambac, seaweed, ambermax, sea salt.
Arquiste are an interesting brand. Their scents are conceived as time capsules, transporting you to particular moments in the river of human history. Carlos Huber, the brains (with an emphasis on BRAINS) behind the brand was an architect specialising in historic restoration, so he should know more than a little something or two about how historic moments may have smelled.
Arquiste are one of those brands that there is always a murmur of admiration for amongst the perfume community and their name is synonymous with quality and clever construction, so we were delighted to be able to take a deep dive into their newest release: Sydney Rock Pool.
In many respects this is a really easy perfume to review: if you love the smell of coconut sun tan lotion then you will probably love this scent as that is what it smells a lot like. But, if you did that you would miss the more grown-up and less synthetic nuances that this delightful perfume contains.
The top of the scent starts with a gorgeous coconut accord. It’s warm, woody, dry and sexy. Immediately it evokes holidays and clean holiday skin. The coconut is really pleasant; unlike the coconut you get in hand washes or shampoos, this coconut isn’t too sweet and has nothing of the saccharine goo about it that you get in every day products.
The coconut is bolstered by a lovely floaty sandalwood. It’s dry and woody yet very smooth. Behind it you can smell the sea – like it’s in the background – an impression of salty waves rather than the seaside stench tinged with rotting seagull carcasses that the actual seaside can sometimes deliver.
In the heart a very pretty and almost watery narcissus. It’s so gentle and coupled with the gorgeous jasmine sambac, that vibe of beautiful, sexy skin is enhanced. Jasmine sambac is one of those wonderful ingredients that can smell floral and pretty or much more complex and sensual, depending on how it is handled. Here the perfumer has skilfully included just enough so that you get the simulacrum of clean skin, but not so much that it becomes skanky or dirty smelling, or even overly floral. The balance is perfect.
The resulting impression of this perfume for us was that it melds perfectly with your skin, so you end up smelling great rather than just your perfume smelling great. When scents do that, becoming almost an extension of your own body, something particularly lovely occurs.
Imagine this: you’re on your favourite beach on a the first warm day of the year. you’re the perfect temperature, not hot and sticky, just nice. You’ve taken off your shoes and can feel the sand between your toes. Earlier, you covered yourself in good suncream, and when you move you get wafts of delicious coconut rising from your body. A zephyr comes off the sea and you can practically feel your skin relaxing as the sunlight hits it for the first time this year. Ahead, a little stream runs down to the sea, and the breeze brings you hints of the wet pebbles, where fresh water meets saline. Your whole body smiles as you relax into vacation mode. This is what Sydney Rock Pool smells like, and it is beautiful.
Specifically in the base we get the addition of the more mineral vibes, wet pebbles, salty air, but it’s not overworked and never becomes overpowering. The coconut persists and at times has a slightly soapy nuance which gave a sense of cleanliness.
Sydney Rock Pool isn’t the most complicated scent but what it does it does beautifully well. You know on cooking shows when they tell the contestants “If you’re going to bake a Victoria Sponge, it better be the best example of that we have ever tasted”? Well Sydney Rock pool is that in perfume form. Arquiste have taken a set of notes we all know and made what is essentially a familiar scent out of it but it is done really, really well. The fragrance is balanced, it’s grown up and the notes are elevated beyond the familiar into something luxurious rather than humdrum.
The other stuff
We love the presentation of the Arquiste fragrances. A really discerning eye has opted for beautiful round bottles that sit pleasingly in the hand like a lover’s buttock. Well, sort of. The cap is pleasingly heavy and solid atop the spherical glass. It’s a thing of beauty indeed.
The sillage of Sydney Rock Pool tends to stay fairly close to the skin, projecting to handshake distance at most. Get in close though and it surrounds you like your own summer glow.
The longevity of the scent was really good, it lasted from 7am to 7pm at least, perhaps even longer. Although it does fade throughout the wear, what you are left with in the last few hours is a beautiful woody coconut hum which was very enjoyable.
We felt that Sydney Rock Pool was beautifully unisex and we could see it working well on people of all genders. It’s not to sweet, and not too woody, perfect for anyone who likes these sunny, summery scents and luminous skin.
Although it would be tempting to save Sydney Rock Pool for the summer months, we found it performed really well now, and the holiday vibes it gave us were a real boost to getting through these dark winter days.
Sydney Rock Pool is available from Bloom Perfumery London, where it is priced at £145 for 100ml. Bloom very generously provided us with a sample of this scent, but that is going to serve them well as our Editor is quite clearly going to have to add a full bottle of this to her collection very soon!
You can also buy Sydney Rock Pool from the Arquiste web boutique.