I think I have found the Holy Grail of Christmas scents. Warm, festive and incredibly interesting, Anima Dulcis by Arquiste recreates sense of Christmas. The intense dark cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla and spice are masterfully blended to lift the spirit and take us in the winter wonderland we all wish to experience during the holiday season.
The interesting thing about Anima Dulcis is that it was not conceived to be a holiday scent. Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Yann Vasnier tried to recreate the scent of exotic spices wafting through the halls of the Royal Convent of Jesus Maria in Mexico. Carlos Huber, the man behind Arquiste, wanted to create a fragrance that would transport the wearer to the Royal Convent where the nuns spent their free time concocting hot chocolate recipes. According to Arquiste’s website, one of the most popular recipes featured rich cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon and Mexican chillies. Not by accident perhaps, these are some of the ingredients we find in Anima Dulcis.
Anima Dulcis opens with a very bitter fresh cocoa powder. It is similar to the waft of high quality cocoa you get when you open a pack of the highest quality undiluted dark cocoa powder. Even though the opening has a tinge of sweetness, it is predominantly fresh and bitter. The sweetness fades into the background.
The most interesting aspect of Anima Dulcis is the animalic cumin note that appears almost immediately after the fresh waft of dark cocoa. The sweaty note shows up only briefly, as if to say hi, and quickly disappears. The first time I smelled it, it caught me by a complete surprise. As it is short-lived, it adds an interesting touch but does not define the character of the fragrance.
As the fragrance dries down, a boozy vanilla note starts to emerge. It adds sweetness to the bitter chocolate. The vanilla is well balanced and does not overpower as in other fragrances, such as the chocolate and vanilla heavy Thierry Mugler scents. The Mexican chili note is also present but hard to pick out on its own. It adds to the booziness of the vanilla and renders a warm sensation to the scent.
Those of you who tend to get spray-happy with their fragrances, should be careful with Anima Dulcis. I find the projection to be quite strong. Through trial and error, I figured that four to five sprays is just about enough. I put 2 sprays on the chest and 2 on the neck. Because Anima Dulcis is so seductively delicious I often find myself adding another spray at the risk of going overboard.
What makes Anima Dulcis the perfect Christmas scent is the mix of cocoa, vanilla and warm spices (cinnamon and chili). These are essentially the flavours of the most quintessential holiday drinks – hot chocolate mixed with cinnamon, warm cognac or brandy, vanilla bean latte, etc. Regardless of whether you drink hot chocolate or brandy over the holiday season, Anima Dulcis is definitely going to put you in a festive mood. You can find it and give it a try at select department stores and, of course, on Arquiste’s website: arquiste.com.