No, this fragrance is not a tribute to the three screen legends Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift and Clark Gable, who were together in front of the camera for the 1961 film "The Misfits". The film - no cinematic feat, that's just a side note - went down in film history primarily for the fact that it was to be the last appearance in front of the camera for Monroe and Gable. Gable died of a heart attack shortly after filming was completed, Monroe a year later, presumably of a sleeping pill overdose.
I thought of this film, though, when I read about Arquiste's 'Misfit.'
But the carefully crafted story - it needs it today - goes like this: in 1877, in the city of Marseille, which already had a dubious reputation at the time, there are cashmere scarves lying around without men or women. Scarves that had enjoyed great popularity in bourgeois circles only a short time before, and which had been carefully packed, protected from vermin with patchouli leaves, and brought from faraway Kashmir. Now, however, the bourgeoisie, beset by the proletariat, finds itself on the defensive, and sees itself robbed of the aura of the avant-garde by a new social phenomenon, the bohemians: artists hungry for life, addicted to all kinds of debauchery, social 'misfits', outsiders. Scarves fall into their hands, and their patchouli aromas marry with the spicy, raw scent of southern French lavender.
As "olfactive signature of counter-culture" Arquiste promotes the fragrance.
Well, the story is quite nice, but to me it turns out more like Carlos Huber, looking at his Arquiste portfolio, realized that a patchouli scent would be quite ornamental. I suspect the elaborate convoluted saga was spun after the fact.
Inspiration is kind of a different story, but so be it.
'Misfit' is in any case a wonderful patchouli-centered fragrance that all those who love patchouli should try once. That one has a preference for this multi-layered, aromatic-woody note, however, is a prerequisite to be able to gain anything at all from this work. Not only two different patchouli essences are used, but also a patented by Givaudan, so-called 'Akigalawood', a synthetic fragrance building block that picks up the woody facets of the patchouli oils and complements them with peppery nuances.
That it is nevertheless not a patchouli soliflora, 'Misfit' owes to the participation of various other notes, some resinous, some balsamic, which give it a warm, comforting aura that fits well with the scarf association, but especially the lavender, which drives the patchouli a little in the parade and gives the fragrance a spin all its own.
Lavender and patchouli form a wonderfully contrasting yet harmonizing accord here, its herbaceous tips capped by dry-aromatic angelica root and the scent of earthy-sweet carrot seeds, while the brittle, creaky-woody heart is bedded on an ambery base of smoky styrax resin, labdanum, tolu balsam, and some tonka. Bitterly stale bergamot opens and frames the mostly somber fragrance painting, which is only wafted through now and then by a shy hint of rose and brightened by subtle ambrette chalkiness.
Pronounced citrus freshness, a floral bouquet, or even an aldehyde complex, which would let the fragrance soufflé-like rise, one looks in vain here, so that the fragrance could possibly be perceived as too heavy and burdensome because of its rather dense texture.
Here I like that.
But I'm also a big patchouli lover, like the complex scent of lavender, and the other contenders in 'Misfit' suit me just fine. Except for the tonka bean perhaps, whose matte vanilla sweetness for my feeling often drifts too quickly into gourmand realms. But since it appears here only as a nuance, giving the fragrance a little rounding down, I find it absolutely bearable.
The perfumer, Rodrigo Flores-Roux, also seems to be a big patchouli lover: before 'Misfit' it appeared clearly and accented with tobacco and animalic facets in 'Sandor 70's', then in the erotic leather dress of 'Palindrom II', and more recently in the delicate osmanthus chpyre garb of Galion's 'Bourrasque'.
'Misfit' is perhaps the most in-your-face fragrance in this patchouli series. It doesn't strike me as cluttered ('Sandor 70's' has that tendency), nor does any animalicism make it precarious ('Palindrome II'), or a richness of contrast particularly demanding (the osmanthus-patchouli-hyraceum combination of 'Bourrasque').
A kind of patchouli Buddha, which is certainly a little lacking in eroticism and bravado, but which effortlessly makes up for this lack with the comforting warmth it radiates.
The durability, especially on clothes (scarves!), is absolutely sufficient for my needs and the radiation is not overly offensive.
So 'Misfit' with its dark aromas splendor and civilized appearance has become for me a decidedly pleasant companion - especially now in winter!