I've owned a bottle of l'Anarchiste for about 3 years now. I pull it out every once in a while and wear it for a day, especially when the weather is cold. It is an interesting scent. I'd even recommend buying it, if it sounds like your thing. But - astute readers saw a but coming, and there is one - it is not a really well constructed scent.
Don't get me wrong, there's some sophisticated fragrance chemistry. On me the basic accord is a very juicy candied orange/mint rum punch. In and out of that waft the famous blood or gunmetal or whatever notes every so often, and the whole contraption conceals a really bosso enormous musk basenote quite cunningly.
Yes, it's quite a construction. But it falls short - at least on me and anyone whose body chemistry I can imagine - of blending into the skin in any way at all. It always smells like you're wearing something. That's what a really well constructed cologne does. That's what Caron's storied men's fragrances, PuH, Yatagan and 3eme Homme, do.
So, by all means, buy it. It's great for a particular kind of Christmas party. But if you're going to buy all the Caron men's fragrances (you should) I would buy this fourth.
My husband tried L'Anarchiste. Before going to an extreme two hour yoga/Pilates workout. He had me smell it after reading BN reviews and I said, "Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom! But something... metallic and sharp But it smells good."
His reaction was, "It's kind of weird, but not over the top." Then he went to shower to get the scent off before class. In this case, it was nearly as powerful after the shower as before. Caron's colognes (he also owns Yatagan as well as Caron pour Homme) appear to have remarkable longevity and distinctive personalities.
As time went on, the spices became more pronounced, more like cloves. He had me smell it again after the class. It had an edginess, a pleasant olfactory kick. But suddenly, my stomach lurched. I liked the scent, but my body had a pronounced visceral reaction. It was sickened by L'Anarchiste. The sensation was too strange to describe.
He intends to give it one more try, this time on freshly washed skin. Perhaps the sweat from the class brought out notes that made it smell...strangely animalic? All I can say is that I like the smell but it makes my body intensely nauseous. And it also smells very similar to Floris' Cefiro. But Cefiro does not sicken my gut.
Smells like potpourri. Cheap potpourri, that is. On paper, I thought this would be fantastic – mandarin, cloves, musk, cedar. On skin, I get a blast of sour apple baked in cloves with a faint musk. Where is the blood, I say? Dull as dishwater, and Caron’s weakest masculine. Also, reminds me a bit of Boss Bottled (Grey box) which I got bored quickly with too. If you want some edge, stick with Yatagan. Exquisite box and gas-can/tombstone save this from being a total bust, but you can only enjoy the packaging so much.
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A decidedly anarchistic brew, because it seems not to care for the rules and expectations of masculine perfumery. It starts out as sharp honeyed wood with a little orange peel, plus a lot of wintergreen, which always takes me by surprise and which I generally don't like. To this note do I attribute the metallic "bloodiness" that others describe. It makes the copper bottle rather apt. I also feel my usual association of wintergreen with an extremely harsh, crude shampoo smell. There's probably a little anise or fennel in there as well, again to my chagrin. After a while, the metal begins to get more sour and less sweet as it weakens. The cheapo Stetson Sierra that I recently reviewed has a lot of this sweet metal, and I missed the resemblance at the time, but now it's surprisingly clear to me. The effect reminds me of artificial sweeteners, with their characteristically metallic edges that ruin the taste for me. The whole production weakens quite a bit as it dries down.
Honestly, I just don't think L'Anarchiste smells "good enough" to me, for me to wear it, though I'm admittedly biased against some of the notes. I feel like it's so odd in its composition that it has to put forth a continuous effort to stubbornly remain as unique as it is. It just becomes forceful overkill...it's a big, rough-hewn, unyielding block of smell, whereas other scents are curved and polished, moving pieces with interesting shapes, regardless of how heavy or light they are. Still, quite an intriguing blend.
Much more mild than the reviews lead me to believe. An orange, fruit cake sort of smell that surrounds a woody, musky drydown. It really didn't have much lasting power on me. It also stayed close to my skin. My wife barely noticed. Not offensive, just not for me.
L’Anarchiste reminds me of the famous 19th century Russian Anarchist Mikhail Bakunin. Bakunin was both physically and intellectually striking, loved the good life, and was almost always busy trying to transform the world. Like Bakunin, L’Anarchiste is striking, brings the good life to mind, and never relaxes entirely.
L’Anarchiste opens with a heady mix of orange blossom, mandarin, and cedar leaves. The combination is a little bit boozy, a little bit sharp, a little bit fresh, sort of enthusiastic, and for me, at least, addictive. I thought that this accord would collapse into soft and round citrus, but it doesn’t. The cedar leaves keep this accord alive for up to ten hours on my skin, and the accord is constantly ducking and weaving to show how alive and interesting it can continue to be.
Beneath the citrus and cedar leaves an accord of elegant sandalwood and cedar wood begins to develop, culminating in a bond between the cedar leaves and cedar wood. This conjunction holds the top and middle together for the entire day, and provides a platform on which the top accord can strut its stuff.
At the base of L’Anarchiste is a combination of vetiver and musk. The vetiver is earthy without being dirty, and the musk is soft and round enough to not overwhelm the top or middle.
Unlike Third Man, L’Anarchiste is not a study in urbane sophistication. It is more forthright and practical than its stable mate, but no less pleasing or interesting.
* Months Later *
The thrill is gone.
The endless orange and mentholated cedar leaves now bore me.
I haven’t had any interest in wearing this since I purchased YSL’s Kouros.
I’ll take hyper masculine citrus, clove, and civet over odd and linear L’Anarchiste every time.
L’Anarchiste is still a well made and unusual fragrance, but be careful to think about whether you really feel like wearing it frequently before you buy the big flacon.
Rating changed from thumbs up to neutral.
27th August, 2008 (last edited: 02nd September, 2009)
i think foetidus has it spot on here with his description of the orange blossom and mandarin notes in l'anarchiste - it's not harsh citrus accord by any means, but more of a tamed yet twisted, candied orange, yet not particularly sweet. that's not to say there isn't a degree of sweetness overall, but this combined with the vetiver as it starts to dry down impressed on me a somewhat traditional masculine soapy quality - as has been noted, hardly anarchic. the initial waft is perhaps almost orange liquer-esque, a sort of cointreau note progressing into wonderful sandalwood which softens the cedar assault into something i find almost beautiful, this boozey-orange tinged-woodsy symphony which almost should be a mess but really works. but as i've said, when the vetiver rears it's head it all goes soapy, spoiling l'anarchiste for me before i get to the gorgeous lingering skin-scent musk, which still retains a hint of the sandalwood and the merest, faintest whiff of what finally seems might be the orange blossom.
i'll buy this for sure, but the vetiver soapiness means this is no anarchist, rather almost formal.
Bought it blind off the internet based on the sweet lookin bottle,the contents however not sweet at all. Matter of fact, i have yet to wear in the public to see what the world thinks about it,until then ill stay neutral
I like the scent but I just couldn't force myself to buy it because of the bottle. It looks so ugly and weird to me. I think it should have been named R.I.P. instead and I don't think I can be in my bedroom alone with this bottle on my grooming table. Spooky...
A find it an interesting fragrance. Opening up it smells a lot like that Muscle & Joint Pain Relief ointment, Bengay. I don't hate it but not really excited by it either. Glad I got a decant first.
My feeling on L'Anarchiste falls directly between PigeonMurderer ("death's door...infected blood") and robyogi's ("alive"). To me this is the scent of the Living Dead, specifically, a zombie reanimation of Herrera for Men's cadaver. It's Clove, Cedar and Musk, but with this fructosey, battery-acid-like orange note shot through the whole composition, plus the floating, spectral presence of metal and blood. I can't account for these accords in the notes, but L'Anarchiste smells distinctly of metal and blood. It has a ghastly, vampiric aura to it that I can't say I'd really want to wear very much, but it's undeniably compelling.
Well....the bottle looks great! The scent itself makes me scratch my head. Depending on a million factors, perhaps (i.e. humidity, my skin chemistry, environmental odors, temperature, relative newness of the fragrance, etc. etc.), it either strikes me as weird or not too bad or great. It *looks* like it should be along the lines of, say, Nicole Miller (which does a better job of using orange notes), but it never quite gets and stays there. Haven't concluded anything about this one. :-o
This is perhaps the only fragrance that I haven't made up my mind about after years of exposure. I tried it in the States first and I thought it was a bad joke, I thought it smelled like old tobacco in a rusty bucket with rotten orange peels... Later on I got a sample of it from Mark (MJH) and I kind of enjoyed it. Now however I'm sceptical again. I most honestly say, pointing out there is a lot of niche stuff i haven't tried yet, that this is the most original and strange commercial fragrance I have ever tried. As much as I deeply respect the fine noses of this community I find it weird, almost disturbing,that so many love this one here! It's sooo strange. I've studied it's pyramid many times and I find some key notes missing. To me this sucker is entirely about: Orange zest, incredibly strong tobacco, mint/menthol, some very weird metallic "rusty" note and heavy, dirty musks. I have the feeling I 'll never quite "get" this scent...
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