I have a troubled history with Caron's perfumes. Venerable house, almost niche, not that readily available, true to its traditions - I would have thought I'd have loved their perfume, but a lot of it has in truth left me cold. I enjoy and wear Tabac Blonde and En Avion, quite enjoy Pour Un Homme, yet Yatagan and Third Man did not thrill me at all; nor did Parfum Sacre. This is just my personal experience though. I'm not for one second saying that this is not a great perfume house, its just that I'm not moved by what I've tried so far. Which leads me to their most recent masculine release (which is not that recent at all, released in 2000), L'Anarchiste.
L'Anarchiste receives some serious love - one only has to read reviews on Basenotes, for example, where there are 45 positive and 15 neutral opinons out of a total of 70. The notes are listed as Orange Blossom, Mandarin, Cedar leaves, Sandalwod, Vetiver, Cedarwood and Musk. On my skin L'Anarchiste does open bright and citrusy, and almost fizzy, or zingy might be a better description. It has been described as having a metallic feel and I can make this association, which I perhaps perceive as zingy. I find the opening a bit weird if I'm being honest. There is a freshness to it that is at the same time slightly "off", at least to my nose. I get notes of musk and cedar quite quickly after this, but not in a generic, department-store sort of way. I saw in the notes afterwards that cedar leaf is listed. Perhaps that is the slightly unusual cedar note I'm getting. In the heart the metallic accord fades away, thankfully, and it segues into a smooth and quite rich combination of musk and woods (cedar), tinged with a sweetness that I presume is the sandalwood. I never quite identify vetiver, but having said that, the fragrance does maintain a slight tartness throughout that tempers the musks and sandalwood, which could well be the vetiver note. There's something about the overall style of L'Anarchiste that reminds me of a couple of the men's De Nicolai perfumes, but not as rich or vanillic. In the dry down I do detect what I think of as that trademark Caron base - skin musk, smooth, rich and slightly buttery almost and its probably the last phase that I appreciate most of all.
I personally think it is the most interesting of the masculine Carons that I have tried, but its not that easy to wear, particularly the opening, for me. I'm still not convinced that Caron works that well for me, but granted, this is an interesting fragrance and definitely worth trying, although I would stress that sampling this first is probably a good idea.