Arquiste Anima Dulcis

December Obsession: Arquiste Anima Dulcis

Arquiste - Anima Dulcis
Anima Dulcis by Arquiste

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:


8 thoughts on “December Obsession: Arquiste Anima Dulcis

  1. Oh lordie, I want to try this so badly now! And I say that despite my longstanding issues with regard to cumin. (See, e.g., my review of the Serge Lutens Serge Noire perfume from a day or so ago.) Cumin and I are not friends, and yet your description left me yearning to try this. I think I could deal with it if it really is as fleeting as you say this is.

    No, I want to try this without question. I just wrote it down. Next time I order from Surrender to Chance order, this will be in my basket. It may be a while (I’ve recently purchased at least 30 samples of things) but I will definitely try to get my hands on this! I assume you succumbed to a full bottle of this but did you start with a sample or were the notes so intriguing that you got sucked in from the start?


  2. It’s gorgeous. Don’t worry about the cumin note. On me it is really in the background and doesn’t last more than 10-15 minutes.

    I’ve established a process for purchasing fragrances. In the past I’ve bought too many I didn’t end up liking, so now first I sample them. That’s what I did with this one – I smelled it in the store first, tried a sample and waited to see if it would click. If I keep thinking about it in the days after I’ve sampled it and I keep craving it, then it’s worth the buy. If I like it when I wear it but I don’t crave it after, then it’s not worth the purchase. After all, there are thousands of fragrances out there and unfortunately I can’t buy them all ;).


    1. No, believe me, I’m tempted enough by this that I am going to look for samples on eBay so that I don’t have to wait to put in a full Surrender to Chance order. I liked your description so much I emailed a link to the post to a friend who is into amber scents — after the Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan was a bit too “safe” for her. And I may share it on FB too. (I have to be careful not to create a slight sensory overload for my friends with TOO many posts about perfume. LOL. It’s either all perfume, German shepherds or politics. I really need to vary it up a little).

      So, I’m gathering this Holy Grail of Christmas scents may qualify for a full bottle for you? You know what keeps catching my attention in your review? The bitter chocolate with Mexican chili. My God, does that sound good. I was thinking of ordering the Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille next, but your Arquiste scent just trumped that one. Have you tried the Guerlain one? A fellow blogger friend, Scent Hound (your names are far too close together!), had a great review for it that has stayed in my mind. If you’re interested, I can share the link but I’m not sure how you feel about links to other things on your blog, even if it’s just in the comments.


  3. Haha, the Holy Grail did qualify for a full bottle. Unfortunately, it comes only in 55ml. But then again, I’ll probably wear it mostly in the winter.

    Exactly the bitter Mexican cocoa is what got me in the first place. I love cocoa as a note and I did like A*Man by Thierry Mugler even though it was a little too sweet for me. Anima Dulcis is sweet too but much more balanced.
    I haven’t tried the Guerlain but since you recommend it, it sounds like it is worth a trip to the Guerlain boutique.

    Please do share the link. I’d love to add it on the bottom of the post, especially if it’s helpful to the readers to get a better idea of what the fragrance is like. Thank you, Kafkaesque.


    1. Oh, I haven’t tried the Guerlain, so I can’t recommend it one way or another. But the post by my blogger friend who is a fiend about ambery, cozy, lush scents got me so tempted. I think it was the use of the word “boozy” that did it. LOL! (I wish I weren’t kidding. I love “boozy” scents.) Scent Hound is definitely one that I’d recommend you following. Unlike me, he’s not verbose (but really, who is??!) but he really seems to capture what scents are like in a succinct manner. And he tries all kinds, though particularly niche scents. And he wrote a recent review for the much praised, much sought-after limited edition Musc Tonkin that you may be interested just to read, if nothing else. BTW, I think he’s another Terre d’Hermès fan, so you may have some taste overlap. I know he shares my dislike for Montale though. Heh. Here’s the link to his post on the Guerlain SDV:


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