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Anima Dulcis


Arquiste is the niche brand conceived by Carlos Huber, a young Mexican architect whose background in historical restorations inspired the concept behind his line, which launched in 2012 with six fragrances. Each fragrance represents a specific moment in a day, month, year at a specific place, a similar creative approach to Parfum d’Empire and Histoire de Parfum brands, which focused on past empires, and important historical figures.
The name Anima Dulcis translates as “sweet soul”, but I’m not prepared for what I smell in that first divine introduction. Not having read much about this perfume beforehand, I’m thinking an ethereal waft of sweet scented pastries, perhaps topped with violets or something, not the strangely faceted accord that is making my knees weak. There is dark bitter chocolate with its unmistakable sour, almost rank overtones, scented with orange zest, dusty powdered cinnamon, and dried hot chili peppers. This is exotic, warm and moist like chocolate ganache in the pan, spicy and sweet but in a very controlled way.
An unusual jammy note floats through, replaced by a cumin and leather edge that becomes amber and rich boozy vanilla. The sweet note is still there, the bitter chocolate returns, but now layered with the vanilla and amber, it takes on a musky animalic vibe, becoming almost carnal, and most certainly seductive – it has that smell of intimate warmth. Hints of smoky incense and salted caramel swirl up from the base, wafts of woody resins and even patchouli, and as the dry down replays these tantalizing layers, Anima Dulcis lulls me with its creamy soft sillage, and I’m astonished by its beauty. It is opulent  but not heavy, it’s sweetness is so perfectly balanced by all the other notes, it has a seductive call, with a somber voice faintly calling in the background.
The historical reference for creating Anima Dulcis is described on the Arquiste website:
“November, 1695, Mexico City
The scent of exotic spices floats throughout the halls of the Royal Convent of Jesus Maria, where a group of nuns prepares a Baroque recipe of Cocoa infused with an assortment of chilies. After centuries of obscurity, the convent’s secrets are exposed in a rich experience for the senses.”
It’s described as a baroque gourmand, an Oriental vanilla scent. I don’t know if it’s baroque, but it is darkly seductive, almost sinful in its appeal. I wouldn’t call it gourmand – the chocolate and spices aren’t foody, rather they convey an aura of decadent indulgence.  If the chocolate alchemy in the evening cocoas in the Convent was as seductively potent as the scent of Anima Dulcis, I’m certain those nuns said their prayers, then drifted off to sleep with big smiles on their faces.
Notes: Cocoa Absolute, Mexican Vanilla, Cinnamon, Chili infusion.
Type: EdP
Parfumeurs: Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Yann Vasnier

Price: $6.00