Anthracite opens with a natural smelling hyacinth as sharp, nose burning citric lemon and carnation-laced rose support join in. As the composition moves to its early heart the rose takes over as star with a supporting white floral jasmine and lily-of-the-valley tandem before gradually giving way to tuberose that eventually supplants the rose as star midway through the heart, then giving way late to very powdery violet-like orris root. During the late dry-down the powdery orris root dissipates considerably, revealing slightly sweet amber and vanilla base notes that meld with faint whiffs of the earlier rose that make a supporting reappearance through the finish. Projection is good and longevity dead center average at about 7-8 hours on skin.
After previously being quite impressed with the pour Homme version of Anthracite earlier this year, it was time to check out the original to see if it too makes the grade. Things get off to a very nice start as a rare, extremely natural rendition of the hyacinth opens up the development (albeit with some extremely sharp citric support). When the rose makes its initial appearance it smells like there is some carnation mixed into it, just enough to notice. Just when you think you have the composition figured out the rose recedes as relatively sweet banana-like tuberose takes its place at the fore (most likely derived by the jasmine mixing with it). Then, yet *another* shift as the composition turns quite powdery during its late mid-section. This part is the least desirable aspect of the composition's development, but luckily it only lasts about 1-2 hours before finally dying down to reveal the slightly sweet amber driven base. There is quite a lot going on with Anthracite and the further one goes into its development the more one realizes just how complex the composition is, most of it quite good. While it is easy to praise the composition as skillfully done, the powdery orris root does mar one's enjoyment a bit as the powder proves too much at times. Still, on the whole it is hard to classify Anthracite as anything less than a success. The bottom line is the $100 per 100ml bottle on the aftermarket long since discontinued Anthracite changes direction multiple times, providing the wearer with a real adventure that mostly impresses, but the powdery orris root slightly obscures some of its strengths at times, reducing its rating to a "good" to "very good" 3 to 3.5 stars out of 5 and a recommendation with modest reservation. If one doesn't mind relatively heavy powder in their compositions Anthracite is bound to impress.
Anthracite (which incidentally I love) comes across to me as a vaguely fruity floriental... I get a slightly fruity topnote but nothing in particular... it's not as fruity as some Diors (the Poisons for example... and even Dune, which is airy and fruity and woody all at the same time.)
Anthracite has a good deal of "body" (read sillage) through its development. The fruit in the topnotes is somewhat tempered by a bit of bitterness, heat, and spice that keeps the topnotes from becoming sweet. That fruitiness is somewhat overshouted by the floral which is present even in the topnotes and certainly makes this scent "make a statement!"... the floral keeps that statement at a fairly high pitch (but not an obnoxious level) through the heart, and the blend in the drydown is quite spicy, dark, woody, and musky. I believe that this scent is a great one for unisex potential and Bigsly's review supports this claim.
The powerhouse nature of Anthracite is probably the reason it was discontinued, what with the trend toward fruity aquatics with white musk bases these days... however this scent smells absolutely FINE on anyone with a bit of maturity who is looking to make a scent statement that will make an impression. Its longevity is also quite good. Glad I nabbed a bottle just as it was discontinued.
This is a statement about this fragrance from 1991 (I think it's from a press release): "The women's fragrance is a floral-fruity blend which has a mandarine top note and fruity notes of taget and plum. Heart notes are lily of the valley, ylang ylang, spicy rose and jasmine with base notes of cedarwood, amber, sandalwood and musk."
I don't get much of the fruitiness that is supposed to be here, except as part of the overall blend. What is strong is the "spicy rose," which comes across as quite geranium-oriented to me. I'm surprised that there is no moss/oakmoss note listed for the base. I could see how some might find this a bit "soapy" or "powdery" (not in an iris/orris way, though). The floral geranium quality, along with the somewhat "hard" base make this potentially "unisex." I don't like musky fougeres with strong geranium, but I do enjoy this one once in a while, perhaps because I really dislike the lavender/geranium combination. It softens up enough to allow me to appreciate the complexity. Longevity and sillage are good (I have the EdT). Note that some men seem to have purchased this one instead of the men's version by mistake.