Intermission: Sad Sniffer Seeks Solace: Thoughts on Anima Dulcis by Arquiste

photoSalvador Dali for Women (1985)

For the past few weeks I have experienced anosmia due to a bad cold. You realize how much you miss something when its gone. Anosmia wore me down almost as much as the fatigue and aches of my overall malaise. Undina’s recent blog post asks the question “Does smell affect your mood or is it simply an ornamentation?” I fall solidly into the first group, relying on scents, both subtle and outstanding to add a dimension to my daily experience which goes deeper than aesthetics. It’s like the soundtrack of a movie that teases you along, evokes emotion, invites you to harmonize in the dance of events, only this soundtrack is a scenttrack that plays out in the ongoing fluctuations of aroma. Come to think of it, I can much more easily tune out a noise than a smell, which may be true for most of us.

Coming to my rescue this week was a humble little decant of Anima Dulcis perfume by the house of Arquiste. One of my basenotes buddies adores this fragrance and so I suspected it would appeal to me, but little did I know what an impression this unique gourmand would make. Granted, my first sniff was compromised, I’m not fully recovered, but if it’s this good now, I’m sure it’s a keeper. IMG_1243

Anima Dulcis is a concoction of dark cocoa and hot red chile infusion in a nest of vanilla and amber. I generally don’t prefer to wear fragrances that lean towards edible – I’d rather eat them – but there is something else here, a light cumin note of salty sweat that saves this from being simply a gourmand creation. It’s alive. It has a kind of creature spirit. (did I spend too long at the Pueblo?) The chocolate note here is bitter, dark and powdery, without its own sweetness. Any sweetness is offered up from the creamy vanilla and amber.

Some compositions are single minded and linear. Not this one. It takes me walking down a road, a cool, shaded earthy trail, with patches of luminosity.IMG_0304

The hot chile note is the first to turn my head, with the cumin following more gently than I have ever experienced cumin…like a whisper or a glimpse. And for me, this is what describes the image of sweet animal to me – a wild thing, but gentle, poking its nose, saying, I’m here! After some time the animal moves on and the sweet base emerges, brushed with the cocoa, ending in a mix of cream and powder. IMG_0594

On an interesting interior note, the word Anima is associated with the inner feminine personality in Jungian psychology. Dulcis means sweet in taste or smell. Put this together with the inspiration behind the making of this fragrance, a story involving medieval nuns concocting chocolate recipes in the Royal Convent of Jesus Maria in Mexico City, and you have a plethora of food for the imagination. (Garceus, my friend, are you listening?) IMG_1250

There are some wonderful reviews of Anima Dulcis at Bois de Jasmin and Scent Bound which discuss the fascinating backstory. 55mls can be had from Aedes or Barneys for $165. My impressions are from a rather small and leaky but gorgeous decant.
Anima Dulcis has moved to the top of my wish list and may stay there for some time since I am saving pennies for a trip to New Orleans. Though I know a bottle this size could last me several years, it’s hard to justify the expense. Bottle splits anyone?Last year I discovered that I adore Iris. This year I may need to explore chocolate notes. (Or at least eat more chocolate!) What other fragrances with  chocolate or cocoa notes ring your bell? Have you tried Anima Dulcis? Is it Love, Hate or Meh?

Images: The first photo is of an unrelated fragrance, Salvador Dali’s Woman, which I chose for the nose image, Detail from Mes Femmes, oil on panel, somewhere in central park, our not very wild pet rabbit, Hot Fudge Gee Willikers.

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About reneetamara

Writing about death, mental illness, spirituality, art and perfume. Because beauty feeds the soul, and love is beyond what we think.

13 responses to “Intermission: Sad Sniffer Seeks Solace: Thoughts on Anima Dulcis by Arquiste”

  1. hajusuuri says :

    Oh boy…so many samples to try, so little time! I’m pretty sure I have Anima Dulcis…have to move it up the list. One of my favorite perfumes with cacao notes is TokyoMilk Dark Bittersweet – it is chocolate cake batter goodness. I also have the Nobile 1942 La Petit Chocolatier set which hasn’t gotten any love from me yet. (P.S. I will include some for you to try – it sure is taking me long enough to get the package together!)

    I hope you feel better!

    • reneetamara says :

      thanks, dear… two other scents with chocolate that I can appreciate are the subtle notes in Iris Ganache, and the “in your face” Angel, which I simply cannot wear but appreciate on others, I think it’s very pretty – at a distance.

    • hajusuuri says :

      Eeek, I checked my samples stash and discovered (ha!) that I do not have Anima Dulcis! – I must remedy this STAT (well, on my next foray to Barney’s).

      There is one other chocolate perfume which may be of interest as you explore chocolate in perfume — Pacifica Mexican Cocoa. I don’t have a bottle and now regret not including it the last time I ordered from Pacifica.

      • reneetamara says :

        Thanks for the tip – I suspect that I like my chocolate in scents when it is combined with something unexpected, like the iris in Iris Ganache, the chili pepper in the Anima Dulcis and the patchouli in Angel. That sweetness needs balance for me to appreciate it more fully.

  2. Undina says :

    First of all, I want to say that I’d be devastated if I couldn’t smell perfumes. So while wearing my wonderful perfumes add a small bit of joy to my life, not being able to wear or enjoy them would have a huge negative impact on me. I hope you’ll be back to normal soon.

    Now to your question. I think I smelled all perfumes from the line on paper but I was so annoyed with the fact that this new brand had launched 5 perfumes at the same time that I wasn’t too predisposed to like any of them. I need to revisit them now.

    Chocolate note… I like Thierry Mugler Angel Taste of Fragrance. And I want to test a new limited edition Jo Malone – something about chocolate and orange. Lutens Borneo 1834 has it as well but it’s not one of my favorites.

    • reneetamara says :

      Anima Dulcis is the only one I have encountered from Arquiste, but the descriptions are intriguing, especially the historical contexts that inspire them. I do love a story!

      I’ve never tried Taste of Fragrance, but I enjoy my decant of Lutens Borneo 1834 when I crave something deep and lush.

  3. Garce says :

    yes i am listening. (Like that Salvador Dali thing, for the ladies indeed. Someone once asked him “Have you ever taken LSD?” and he said “Sir – I AM LSD!”

    That is interesting about Animas. I can smell scents and taste tastes in dreams too. I wonder what my anima smells like . . .


  4. Yvana says :

    From all of the Arquiste samples (except the last fragrance that wasn’t part of the sample pack), Anima Dulcis spoke the loudest. Instead of a FB I only saved extra pennies (euro-cents) for a decant. Most of the time, a decant will be enough to satisfy cravings 🙂 . It did for me..

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