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Anima Dulcis – Seductive Soul – October 11, 2013 New Fragrance Listing

Photo - Arquiste - Anima Dulcis EdP

Sometimes after only one sniff, the very first sniff, a fragrance will whizz past any conscious thoughts your brain might be trying to form, directly into your pleasure centre, and then jump right into your heart and soul This is an acknowledged phenomenon in the perfumista world and the particular scent that inspires it is different for everyone, but there’s no mistaking the sensation of instant love, a lightning bolt connection, a coup de foudre, as the French call it. For me, Anima Dulcis from the niche brand, Arquiste, is one of those fragrances.

Arquiste was created 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 as the Parfum d’Empire and Histoire de Parfum brands, which focused on past empires, and important historical figures The team he hired to make his concept a reality was Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Yann Vasnier, who have created scents for Comme des Garçons (Pallisander), Parfums Delrae and Le Labo, as well as Donna Karan (Black Cashmere), Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, and the list goes on.

The name Anima Dulcis translates from Latin 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, only that it's been described as a gourmand scent, I’m thinking an ethereal waft of sweet scented pastries, perhaps topped with violets or lavender, 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 sensual – it has that smell of intimate warmth. Hints of smoky incense and salted caramel swirl up from the base, and 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.

I definitely know that Anima Dulcis is not just instant love for me, but true love. I can’t get enough of it. It seems that Huber, Flores-Roux, and Vasnier raised the bar for themselves when they created Anima Dulcis

Anima Dulcis is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.