Anima Dulcis by Arquiste

arquiste anima dulcisNotes: cocoa absolute, Mexican vanilla, cinnamon, chilli infusion.

Anima Dulcis stands out as somewhat unique for a gourmand fragrance. There’s an element of sweetness here, just as you’d expect from a scent based around cocoa and vanilla. But Anima Dulcis is also savory, and even a touch bitter. That’s quite a few scent profiles to pack into one composition, but luckily it’s done here with a careful touch (or a careful nose) as Anima Dulcis is never overpowering. I get average sillage from this, which I think is just about right, anything more would be too much.

The immediate opening here is quiet on me. I sense a general bouquet of spices, but no one note stands out. Anima Dulcis takes its time, but I’ve learned it’s worth the wait. After about half an hour, it heats up very nicely. The chilli gives off an aromatic kind of heat, giving you a nice little bit of projection. I also detect a touch of cumin, although it’s not listed as a specific note.

I have to admit the fragrance is a little bit sweaty at this point, but this is where the bitter dark chocolate effect comes in. I absolutely love dark chocolate, so I really enjoy this aspect of the fragrance even though it’s not the typical creamy hot cocoa vibe that gourmand scents usually go for. And a bonus is that the bitterness has a drying effect, keeping the composition from becoming too humid-sweaty and veering into body odor territory. As a result, Anima Dulcis doesn’t read as a hugely animalic fragrance to me. Rather, the dirtiness here comes off as earthy, like rich soil. I suppose it’s the effect of the spicy/savory influences.

The dry down here is typical of sweet gourmands, with rich vanilla coming to the fore of the composition. It’s warm, appealing, and very cozy. Just a tinge of sweat lingers, and it’s a little bit leather-infused (perhaps this is the animalic effect?). Unfortunately for such a packed fragrance, Anima Dulcis doesn’t last much beyond five hours on me. But it’s a delicious journey while it lasts.

Above all, I appreciate the complexity at work in this perfume. You could easily classify Anima Dulcis as part of the Oriental fragrance family, because of the spice and the vanilla base. But there is more going on here, and I admire Anima Dulcis for stretching the boundaries of what we might consider a typical gourmand, and especially for being different than a typical chocolate perfume. I also like the way it takes time to heat up upon contact with the skin, as though Anima Dulcis needs a little time to get to know you before revealing aspects of its personality. It all comes together to make the wearing of this perfume a fascinating, challenging, and intensely personal experience.

Anima Dulcis is available directly from Arquiste and from Aedes de Venustas. Samples are available from The Perfumed Court. I got my sample from Aedes.

Image is from Fragrantica while info on the notes is from Arquiste.

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