High-low: Dark, mysterious unisex perfume

High-low: Dark, mysterious unisex perfume

We take two séance-worthy scents—Arquiste Anima Dulcis and Lush Death & Decay—and find out what makes them so irresistible.

Dizzyingly rich and dripping with obscurity, Arquiste Anima Dulcis and Lush Death & Decay will have you whispering sweet nothings in next to no time.

HIGH: Arquiste Anima Dulcis


First Launched: 2011

First Impression: It’s like you baked a chocolate cake, putting chili powder in it to make it inedible, then actually liked it once you tried it.

Top: Cocoa
Middle: Cinnamon, vanilla
Base: Chili powder, paprika

Back Story: This “soul of sweetness” was inspired by the cooking of 17th-century Spanish nuns discovering Mayan and Aztec flavours in their Mexico City convent.

Best For: Dinner in a dark corner of a tapas restaurant, before absolute certain sex.

Biggest Fan: The bold and mercurial person who likes to smell both delicious and “hot.”

Arquiste Anima Dulcis EDP, $190 (100 ml), www.arquiste.com

LOW: Lush Death & Decay


First Launched: 2014

First Impression: Lilies just about to go off. The Addams Family with a dash of Death Becomes Her.

Top: Lilies, ylang ylang
Middle: Rose, jasmine
Base: Tonka bean

Backstory: One of nine scents from Lush’s heady Death, Decay and Renewal collection.

Best For: A box seat at one of those long operas where everyone dies at the end.

Biggest Fan: A fruit bat. Or that person who charges through life with a dizzying, stop-at-nothing attitude.

Lush Death & Decay EDP, $50 (30 ml), www.lush.ca

Feature_HighLowPerfume_OldSchoolLooking for more high/low pairing? Try old school scents for men, green tea or heady citrus.

PHOTO: FlickrCC/Josep Ma. Rosell
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Doug Wallace is a Toronto-based writer who began his fragrance wardrobe with a bottle of the now-iconic Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel and hasn’t looked back. A big fan of scents by houses Lalique and Boucheron, he is currently having a fling with all-things-British, including Clive Christian, Floris and Penhaligon’s. He treasures the dusty shoulders of some of his more aged bottles just as much as he does the shiny young ones.