Ordo Ab Chao -
L'Anarchiste
By Caron

Greg JACOMET

Ordo Ab Chao – L’Anarchiste By Caron

Caron is a house unlike any others

Whether one likes Caron or not is almost irrelevant – the venerable Parisian institution never caved in to following trends , nor did it ever rest on the laurels of its past achievements. Caron is an uncompromising house that deals in the avant-garde. Its successive noses have created an impressive span of innovative and almost niche perfumes with enthusiasm and talent, with 1934’s Pour Un Homme de Caron, the first perfume exclusively marketed to men, being the historical jewel to their proverbial crown.

L’Anarchiste’s creator Richard Fraysse, the current house nose, upholds a simple assertion : Caron hasn’t lost its flame nor its audacity over the years. Created in the year 2000, L’Anarchiste is proof that it is still possible in today’s masculine market — a market literally drowning under gallons upon gallons of vapid juices — to release something unique.

Hidden away in a superb copper-plated bottle, a design which is a singular mix between a prohibition-era whisky flask and an Art Deco sculpture, lurks one of the most indefinable and unique fragrances of its generation.

The opening notes are powerful, almost overwhelmingly so. Chaos ensues, in a whirlwind of orange, mint, vetiver and wood (most likely cedar wood). Then the most volatile notes evaporate, and confusion settles in. I say “confusion”, because that’s what I perceived from the look I got when someone stopped me on the street to ask me what I was wearing. I could read on her face a mixture of curiosity and utter bewilderment, which was absolutely justified. I could swear I’m smelling some metallic notes from L’Anarchiste, but maybe it’s because of the copper on the bottle… but there might very well be a spot of rust, hidden away behind a mixture of spices that include prominently clove and cinnamon, that comes in a warm gust of wind to balance the freshness of the top notes. Close to the skin, the base is musky with perhaps a hint of iodine.

Please note that the above paragraph is my personal interpretation only. The official descriptions makes no mention of oranges, metal, or spices for mulled wine. But that is almost beside the point, because whatever L’Anarchiste contains, the interactions between the different notes are so complex that everyone seems to be smelling whatever it is that they think they smell. Olfactive solipsism, if you will. Some people even reported smelling notes of blood … though that may be from the metallic undertones of the copper plating.

But for all its complexity, L’Anarchiste is surprisingly coherent. A perfume both warm and fresh, slightly dirty, very woody, and very masculine.

L’Anarchiste is also a perfume that gets noticed, which can be either considered a strong point or a shortcoming, depending on points of views and personalities. Be advised that by wearing L’Anarchiste, people will be curious about what you wear (more so than usual), and you might not be able to describe precisely what makes it so. L’Anarchiste is a very complex perfume that only fully reveals itself over time, after days and days, or even weeks of use. Some could even say that it is akin to an acquired taste.

As for the bottle, made from glass plated in copper, the design is unique among Caron’s masculine range.

And what an excellent idea !

The copper naturally goes through an oxidation with use, and the handprint of the perfume’s owner will mark the flask in beautiful distressed hues of dark rusty-orange. And while it might have been better if the spray aperture had not been designed to be black-on-black (which can create some great slapstick if you don’t pay attention to the direction that the spray points when pushing the spray head), the overall design is adequately bold in regards to the very daring juice it contains. Some may not agree, but I think that the perfume ‘flask’ design is a clever decision that shows that real thought has been put into making a bottle shape that is cohesive with the personality of the juice.

True to themselves, Caron has indeed released a unique perfume in L’Anarchiste. A greatly ambivalent fragrance that is both warm and fresh, and which mixes familiar notes with some very experimental associations – L’Anarchiste is at heart, a very urban and cosmopolitan perfume. It establishes its own precedent, and that quality alone makes it one of the most contemporary and original perfumes on the market today.

In Caron’s L’Anarchiste…order is born from chaos.

Wear it in town.

Greg Jacomet