Mexico’s Fine Fragrance Scene Marries Culture and Artistry

Carlos Huber, the founder of Arquiste, is a classically trained architect with a master’s degree in art preservation from Columbia University. He consistently pays homage to Mexico, with scents “El” and “Ella” draw from his parents personas, recreating the essence of a ‘70s disco night under Acapulco’s silver moon at Armando’s Le Club. “Flor y Canto,” on another hand, finds its roots in the Aztec ritual of floral offerings to the gods. Huber’s mission is to showcase an elevated persona of Mexico, one that effortlessly blends with the world’s diverse tapestry.

This sophisticated side of Mexico is also what House of Bô founder, Bernardo Möller, conjures through his perfumes, too. Growing up between Guadalajara and the beach town of Sayulita, Möller’s specific early memories have made their way into his perfumes. For example, eating pomegranate with lime and chili evolved into the scent “Rosario;” the Agua de Colonia we were both doused in as children matured into a much more sophisticated “Agua de Santos.” The deeply personal “Espiritu” pays tribute to Möller’s late father via notes of leather, sage, and maculis oakwood, an unexpected note Flores-Roux added to his concoction because it surrounded Moller’s father’s Guadalajara home. 

Veronica Peña, founder of Xinú, wanted to not only delight the nose but also the tactile senses as well with her brand. The name does it literally, evoking the Otomanguean word for “nose” from the Otomi people of central Mexico, artfully weaves indigenous culture into the very fabric of its brand, becoming an emblem of respect for Mexico’s roots and timeless olfactory ingredients. For the exterior, Peña collaborated with esteemed interior designer and architect, Héctor Esrawe. The result: a minimalist vessel so exquisite in its simplicity it deserving of a space at the MoMa. (And its “Copála” eau de parfum would fill the room of its smokey essence, of course.) House of Bô embarked on a parallel journey, seeking to marry artistry and functionality. Each fragrance bottle and cap is hand made in collaboration with artisans hailing from Mexico City and the Yucatan Peninsula. Each fragrance feels important in your hand, which was Möller’s intention. “Luxury is not meant to be seen, it’s meant to be felt,” he notes.

Givudan’s Flores-Roux has lent his talent to all four brands. Because of this, he’s able to underscore their captivating distinctions between them. “Their vocabulary, styles, and intent are very different,” he says. To me, they embody different facets of Mexican cultural richness and taste.”

Now, the world can begin to understand that richness I’ve always known and experience facets of my culture with an effortless spritz. Levy notes that Mexican fine perfumery is just debuting, and that “the arena is open for many more to join.” And I, for one, am ready for every note.