Okay...It was driving me CRAZY because Anima Dulcis smells very much like another scent I am familiar with, but I could not put my finger, or nose, on it. And just now, it came to me--Hanae Mori H.M. At least on my test strip, Anima Dulcis exhibits a similar blend of Chocolate, floral accents, and a touch of something citrusy. I would say that the biggest difference between the two is that the lemon note in H.M. is much more pronounced, and the chocolate in Anima Dulcis is drier and not as sweet...
But then I spray it on my skin and it develops much differently. Here are the cinnamon and chili pepper notes that are supposed to be in this fragrance--I was wondering where they were! They open immediately and become rather dominant. The fragrance takes on a fantastic warm, spicy quality and now it barely reminds me of HM at all. Wow...this is really nice. Proof that there is a big difference between skin and the test strip. On the test strip, AD smelled good, but I was also wondering if it was a touch too feminine (and since it smelled like HM there's no way I'd ever pay 6 times the price for a bottle of it). However, on my skin, it becomes more masculine and suited for me. I like this a lot. The chocolate note is great--it's not too sweet and it's kind of dry, but rich too. And the cinnamon and chili pepper notes are very well blended--not over powering--there's a good balance between them and the chocolate. I also find myself comparing this to A Taste of Fragrance (which I own and like) because of the chocolate and chili pepper notes--and this is just on a completely different level--more refined, more mature and subtle, and probably a better scent overall. But I'd really have to compare them side by side first, before I can say for certain. As long as the longevity proves itself, I don't think buying a bottle of Anima Dulcis is out of the realms of possibility--I wouldn't mind selling some of my gourmands just so I could get a bottle of this. Nice recommendation!
Pure Distance M
It's true--this stuff smells expensive. Spicy, masculine, expensive leather. I've never been that interested in leather frags, so my experience with them is limited--but M reminds me a little bit of Bel Ami. However, Bel Ami is sharper, and the citrus notes are more apparent in the opening. M is rounded and lush and deep. And you talk about warm--M is like an electric blanket next to a fireplace in your favorite robe and slippers. And it's enveloping in its warmth. This is a fragrance with a real and significant texture to it. And up close there's something musky and very comfortable and relaxed about the way it feels. This is not what I expected. I expected M to be cold and alienating for some reason (the price?), but it's not. And the patchouli note is beautiful--and I usually don't like patchouli. I'm very impressed. If I was a ten or twenty frag guy I'd put this in my wardrobe and wear it a lot between October and April. But I'm a 55 frag guy, and at this point I could not do a fragrance like this justice were I to buy a bottle, so maybe I'll get one when after I reduce my collection (which a few of these samples are telling me it might not be a bad idea to do). Very nice--and the only leather based fragrance I'll consider at this point.
This has been a lot of fun! Thanks for the recommendations.
One thing sampling makes me consider is reducing the size of my collection. If I can get ONE gourmand that does exactly what I'm looking for, to replace 4 gourmands that do some things that I like but some that I don't....Or one "warm" fragrance that perfectly captures that spirit to replace several other frags I purchased in pursuit of that quality, then isn't that what I should do? I'm not sure exactly, and I don't know if I'll ever do this, but it's something I think about when I sample and encounter new, really good scents such as Anima Dulcis, Vetiver Extraordinaire, Sel Marin, and M.
For example, I could see the following scenarios:
I ditch Rive Gauche, Eau des Baux, Burberry London, Carbone de Balmain, and M7 and instead get a bottle of M.
Or I get rid of Givenchy Play Intense and A Taste of Fragrance and something else and go with Anima Dulcis.