Arquiste Ella

My samples arrived. I’m afraid only one is a recent release.

I dislike the shop I bought them from. Of the three places it’s easiest to get samples from in London, this is my least preferred. Once on a sniffing expedition there with a friend I watched the SA lamely spray something into a vial without using a small metal or plastic funnel, wasting a huge amount of perfume. When I ran my online shop, the sample offering was a big deal and I had a rotation of metal funnels I used which were easy to wash and reuse. It’s not that hard.

Anyway, rant done for now.

I had a period after my shop closed down when I didn’t wear perfume. Couldn’t bear it. At the tail end of that period I visited my father in New York and went to Twisted Lily in Brooklyn (it looks like their shop is closed but things are still available online – don’t know if that is Covid-related or an economic choice) to do some sampling and get some things for a friend in the UK.

I noodled around what was (is?) a very nice space. The SAs were good – after asking me if I needed any help, when I said no, they left me alone, didn’t hover.

I smelled a lot of stuff that day and bought some things as samples. I can’t recall now what they were.

What I do recall is sampling Arquiste Ella, which I’d read about (launch 2016) and sounded like it might be awesome. In general, Arquiste fragrances haven’t moved me and that sampling of Ella didn’t change that.

For some reason, I decided to throw Ella into my recent sample order and I’m really pleased I did.

What got me curious about Ella originally was a number of reviews saying it was a chypre and a throwback to the beauties launched years ago, that it had a very ‘70s vibe (I did teenagerness in the ‘70s). I’m not sure why I didn’t get that last time round but am getting it this this time.

In shop-that-will-not-be-named’s description the notes list reads: Heart – honeysuckle; rest of notes – ambergris, angelica root, ash (what?), cannonball tree flower (see pic on right/source: Wikipedia), cardamom, carrot seeds, chypre (so, tree moss? This is so lame), civet, honey, jasmine, patchouli, rose, Turkish rose, vetiver.

Yup, definitely honeysuckle. Adore honeysuckle but never found a fragrance in which I thought it worked as a main note. Definitely old-school chypre feel (how come it didn’t have that first time round?) – that wonderful sharp powderiness, the sense of flowers, the underlying pong.

In feel, of more ‘modern’ fragrances, this reminds me of the sadly gone Theo Fennell Scent.

So, well. This gets added to ‘I want (but can’t have because mostly they are way too pricey)’ list, along with Cartier l’Heure Fougeuese, Malle Carnal Flower (still thinking about a travel size) and Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle.

I seem to be a broken record when it comes to the subject of retrying things.

Have you tried Ella? Do you love Arquiste’s offering?

PS The featured pic is by someone named Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

PPS I really wanted to use a pic of Harry Styles in his Watermelon Sugar incarnation (he seems to have morphed from mostly forgettable cutie in boy band to someone worth paying attention to). I wasn’t sure I could use a video here, so have a look on YouTube.


  • Patty says:

    Ella was one of my Arquiste faves, along with Anima Dulcis and Flor Y Canto. Flor was theoretically amazing, not one I wanted to wear, but I liked smelling it!

  • HeidiC says:

    I really wanted to like Ella because so many were raving about it, but while I thought it was pretty, it wasn’t great on me. However, I am IN LOVE with Nanban!

  • SpringPansy says:

    I don’t know Ella, but Arquiste has not worked for me so far. As far as honeysuckle, I do love my Annich Goutal Le Chevrefeuille. It’s absolutely charming – like a walk through a garden in the fresh morning dew.

    • SpringPansy says:

      That should be “Annick”…

    • Cinnamon says:

      Aren’t a lot of Annick Goutals that work for me, sadly. I think there’s a great review of l’Heure Exquise in The Perfume Guide which makes me want to try it.

  • Musette says:

    Barneys (Oak St, Chicago) carried Arquiste and I remember…. absolutely nothing… about the line. Possibly because I was overwhelmed by the volume of niche lines …. ???

    I am throwing my two cents into the ring, though, for Carnal Flower. You will not regret it! I have the shower gel, the crème, the perfume AND the hair mist – and on a Humphrey Bogart day, in 90F, I will wear them ALL!!!


    • Cinnamon says:

      I am still overwhelmed by the volume of niche/independent releases. sigh. I thought Arquiste’s marketing was very good but so far Ella is really the only one I like and that clearly was second time around.

      I’m still holding back on CF. I’m not sure why.

  • Dina C. says:

    I haven’t tried any of the Arquiste line (so lame of me!), but this sounds very nice. I like honeysuckle and really like chypres from the 70s. Thanks for the heads up Cinnamon!

    • Cinnamon says:

      Alas, no one else seems to get honeysuckle. So, if you do try it please let me know if you do. I think it has a really lovely ‘feel’ — definitely of the ’70s.

  • Ariel says:

    I love Arquiste’s The Architects Club. One of my favorite vanilla fragrances- alas, it doesn’t last on my skin. 45m at best. Ella sounds right up my alley, but I don’t think I’ve sniffed it yet.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I recall reading about The Architects Club years ago. Arquiste names and concepts are compelling. I may well have smelled that on the TW trip years ago. Might need to give it another go.

  • Cynthia says:

    I really like Ella, and it is because it does remind me a little of 70s scents. I wrote about it in my blog a few years ago, featuring the cannonball flower note. I was living in Singapore at the time, and I walked Botanic Gardens every day and these trees with their huge flowers were so spectacular! I like Ella a lot, although unlike some 70s scents, it doesn’t stay “big” on my skin but starts calming down after a couple of hours.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I need to learn more about cannonball flowers. They look beautiful. When I lived in Brooklyn, years ago, there was a mimosa tree on a street nearby. It smelled glorious. I was never, however, able to find a mimosa fragrance which was anything like the flowers on that tree.

  • Kathleen says:

    I blind bought Ella when it was first released and wore it as a “going out” fragrance initially. I get all the noted hot Fragrantica described it, but I didn’t get honeysuckle. I haven’t worn it for so long, thank you for the reminder!

    • Cinnamon says:

      You are very welcome. I have it on again today (and should return to being warmer here — it was back to late autumn for a few days — really annoying) and find I am very much enjoying it.

  • filomena813 says:

    I have two Arquiste fragrances, one is NanBan (which I really like) and the other is Ella which I blind-bought because I read all the hype about it and thought I would really like that one as well. I was very disappointed with that blind buy but as time went on, I liked it more. I was also disappointed in Chanel’s Gabrielle, which I liked better when coupled with the body lotion. Now I’m thinking that those two fragrances are somewhat similar,

    • Cinnamon says:

      How are they similar? In feel? I’ve smelled NanBan as well — came up Band-aids on me which is very interesting but not what I want to smell of. I think I’m going to try and get a large decant of Ella. While I do really like it I don’t like the bottle much. The other, clear Arquiste bottles are much nicer.

  • Tara C says:

    I didn’t care for Ella, but I do love their Anima Dulcis, a spicy vanilla.

    The original owners of Twisted Lily sold the business to someone else who is now operating it as online only. It was a business decision that happened before Covid broke out.

    • Kathleen says:

      I was wondering about Twisted Lily’s story, thank you Tara C for the explanation. I new the shop closed, and was surprised to see the new online website and didn’t know the story.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Tx, Tara. That is interesting. I realise it is a lot less expensive to ditch the bricks and mortar outlet, but it’s too bad. The shop on Atlantic Ave was really inviting and well laid out.

  • Bee says:

    Not a fan of Arquiste generally but you got me curious about Ella cos I love honesuckle. However the notes of Fragrantica are: angelica, carrot seeds, turkish rose, jasmine, cardamom, honey, ambergris, patchouli, civet, vetiver and smoke. And then again on the Arquiste website it’s similar to the shop – lots of stuff inc. the Canonball flower (? ) but still no honeysuckle Sounds like the shop got it only half right. Perfume shopping in London is sadly very hit & miss and getting samples is a pain even when you pay for them. I just don’t have the knack of getting them for free sadly. Still if Ella smells like honeysuckle regardless of what’s in it I might be tempted to try it when I get out into the world again.

    • Jo says:

      I got NO honeysuckle from it at all. Nice white floral. Very polite, refined. I didn’t find it held a candle to my actual vintage fragrances.

    • Cinnamon says:

      You see, this is interesting. None of my other samples have this sort of Heart: listing on the labels. Just a notes list. I guess it was a mistake on the part of whoever put the Ella label on, but it’s now stuck in my head. I put Ella on again today and I’m still getting that honeysuckle … so, I’m thinking my brain now won’t let it go. I smelled the honeysuckle in the village on the dog walk this AM and, yup, there it is. Maybe it’s just a ‘sense’ of honeysuckle, like in something Portia wrote about a ways ago the name had rose in it but there was no rose in the perfume — just an attempt at a ‘sense’ of rose. In any case, I’m just making excuses for myself. But, I still like this a great deal.