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L’Anonyme – Extra, Uber, Ultra Niche, and divine (New Fragrance Listing, Friday, August 5th, 2011)

Photo - Wikipedia - Fire at Grand Rapids Factory -Brad Gillette, 2007

A Lab On Fire, launched their debut scent, L’Anonyme ou OP-1475-A, in April, 2011. A  perfume company called “A Lab on Fire”?...c’mon, you’re messin’ with me......

Nope, not at all. On their website, A Lab on Fire, The Unlikely Company, which was founded by Carlos Kusubayashi from S-Perfumes, is described as an “ingenious niche limited-production fragrance company” which started with a simple question: “Why is a bottle of niche fragrance so expensive?”

My answer to this simple question, which I ask myself almost daily, is: “It’s expensive just because it CAN be! It’s certainly not because it costs more to make than a Guerlain, Dior, or Chanel.” The group at A Lab on Fire arrived at the same conclusion, so let’s go back to the website:

“Next to some niche brands, Chanel is a bargain. It didn’t take us long to find out a simple fact—if an awesome designer soap bar can be less than twenty dollars, so can be a fragrance created by the brightest talent using the best materials.”

Using that as their premise, this little start-up company hired the best talent to create beautiful scents, and now they sell 15ml bottles of their fragrance on their website for the same price as a bar of awesome designer soap - $US 15.00 + $15 shipping - to anywhere in the world. “Conceived in Paris and made in New York” - no marketing or advertising expenses, no distribution costs, controlled manufacturing of small batches, and packaged by local artists in Brooklyn. The money in the juice - affordable niche perfume - I LIKE this concept! (Sold exclusively on their website, and

And the “brightest talent” they hired? .....Olivier Polge for the launch scent, L’Anonyme - hence the "OP" in OP-1475-A. Olivier Polge, the son of the famous Chanel nose Jacques Polge , has created over the past decade, scents (some teamed with other perfumers) such as Balenciaga Paris, Burberry The Beat and Burberry Sport, Bulgari Mon Jasmin Noir, Dior Homme, Guerlain Cuir Beluga, Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb, Van Cleef and Arpels Midnight in Paris pour Homme – you get the picture. In 2009, he won the International Fragrance Prize for artistic achievements in perfumery.

L’Anonyme is described as a “spiritual, minimalist” fragrance with notes that include bergamot, geranium, blonde woods, white amber and suede leather. It truly does have an other-worldly feel to it, right from the top through to the bottom.

The bergamot is up-front at the top but doesn’t stage a full-frontal attack  - I guess I’d call it restrained, the sharp edges removed. And it mixes with the geranium very quickly to make a lovely green accord with a floral hint, mirroring the restrained radiance I felt in the top notes. The first fifteen minutes smell green, fresh and slightly salty, and then the scent slowly segues into musky pale woods layered over powdery sueded leather. With almost no sweetness, the fragrance has a compelling quality that lifts my head and demands my attention–the creamy dry-down is exceptional, and continues quietly for several hours.

L’Anonyme has a soft but powerful aroma that I find very beautiful. This is a perfume that can be worn anywhere, anytime, by anyone - it’s ageless, ancient and modern, naive and sophisticated, all at once - and it’s affordable and accessible to everyone. The description on the website is absolutely correct – it IS minimalist, it IS spiritual. I’ll go even further and describe it as divine.

Olivier Polge created this first beautiful launch scent for the brand, Dominique Ropion is the “bright talent” for the second scent launching this Fall, which is called “What We Do in Paris is Secret”(love the name). I’d say A Lab on Fire is going to turn into a four-alarm niche company in the near future, because with L’Anonyme the fires are stoked, and it’s getting HOT! Stay tuned.


L’Anonyme is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.