Etat Libre d'Orange She Was an Anomaly

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All sales are final, we are a perfume sampling company - letting you try perfume before you invest in a bottle. Unfortunately, we cannot refund any product that you do not like. If you are new to perfume or wanting to break out of wearing the same scent, try our starter sampler packs so that you can find the perfume that works for you.


She Was an Anomaly is a blend of iris, musk, sandalwood, cedarwood, vanilla, fresh white flowers accord, green tangerine, Orpur© (a Givaudan natural ingredient) and ambergris. It is an eau de parfum, edp.

From Etat Libre d'Orange's website:

Ever since its inception, Etat Libre d’Orange has been an oddity, a deviation from the norm, an eccentric in the world of perfumery. We don’t fit the patterns, we don’t follow the traditions.

Etat Libre d’Orange is a study in contradictions; light and dark, decadent and nice, romantic and cynical, honest and ironic. No one knows what to expect from us. Sometimes we don’t know what to expect from ourselves.

Etat Libre d’Orange is an anomaly. We are different, our fragrances are different, their stories are different. We value this distinction, we celebrate it. And now we honor our difference with a perfume. This is who we are.

"This perfume is the result of something unexpected. I played with Carto, Givaudan’s AI-powered tool for suggesting formulas. I gave it beloved and familiar notes. Carto suggested an overdose of two ingredients. I took care of the rest." – Daniela Andrier (Perfumer)

An excerpt of a review from cafleurbon:

A deviation, a peculiarity; an anomaly is the exception that proves the rule, a malfunction in perfection. On its flipside, it is the exceptional, the eccentric, the genesis of genius. Think of the relentless Stanley Kubrick and his heartlessly visual masterpieces 2001 and A Clockwork Orange, whose images bore into your memory like stylized nightmares. Or Nina Simone, whose song “Sinnerman,” with its urgent, scrambling beat, was sung with a bestirred, fierce river of a voice unlike any other. Or consider a fragrance whose intensely personal viewpoint was created with the aid of a disembodied intelligence. This is She Was an Anomaly.

The credo of misfit fragrance house Etat Libre D’Orange’s is to create “authentic, shocking and sensual … even disruptive and unlikable perfumes” that are true to the vision of founder and creative director, Etienne de Swardt. The starting point for She Was an Anomaly in Etienne de Swardt’s mind was twofold: the first was Stanley Kubrick’s breathtaking, quietly terrifying 2001, whose calm-voiced supercomputer, HAL, turns murderous through an anomaly in his programming. The perfume, he says, is meant as an “allegiance to Kubrick’s talent.”

But the name for the perfume came from an entirely different source: Nina Simone. In a recent documentary on Simone’s life, her daughter described her thus: “My mother? My mother? She was loved, she was brilliant, she was an anomaly.”

How to marry such disparate anomalies in a single fragrance was the challenge presented to Givaudan perfumer Daniela Andrier. Etienne de Swardt explained he wanted to create something that captured Kubrick’s genius, the malfunction of 2001’s artificial intelligence, Nina Simone’s darkness and vibrancy and the concept of anomaly.  Mme. Andrier had been experimenting with Givaudan’s new AI technology, Carto, and – through an apparent anomaly in the algorithm – came up with a formula with an extravagant excess of musk and iris. The result, she said was sublime. And serendipitous for M. de Swardt, since this iris-musk combination provides the luminous centerpiece to She Was An Anomaly.

Everything about She Was An Anomaly feels fleeting, like it could disappear at any moment or simply fade away. But it doesn’t. Rather, the notes that flutter by initially begin subtly to ebb and flow before coalescing together in a shimmery bouquet that clings to the skin like a memory. She Was an Anomaly is not, despite its moniker, one of Etat Libre D’Orange’s shockers, like Secretions Magnifique. But, in its hushed loveliness, it is unusual amongst the bold idiosyncrasies of line. You might say it is something of an anomaly.

An excerpt of a review from Colognoisseur:

Technology is slowly encroaching on everything. Even perfume. Givaudan has come up with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a reference for perfumers called Carto. From what I understand it is a giant database of perfume formulas matched with some sense of the style each formula represents. Givaudan perfumers can ask Carto for suggestions and go from there. It seems roughly analagous to Computer-Aided Design (CAD). I have no idea how widespread its use has been at Givaudan but for the first time we have a perfume which admits using it; Etat Libre d’Orange She Was an Anomaly.

Creative director Etienne de Swardt seems to have abdicated his duties to Carto for She Was an Anomaly. Perfumer Daniela Andrier is who will take the AI suggestion and turn it into She Was an Anomaly. When Mme Andrier fed in her input it seems Carto suggested she design a perfume around two overdosed keynotes - iris and musk. Mme Andrier had to take that suggestion and weave in a few other ingredients. After all iris and musk are not particularly unique even in overdose. One thing which does set them apart is Mme Andrier used the Orpur versions of both. Orpur are the highest quality natural ingredients in the Givaudan library.

She Was an Anomaly opens on tangerine as a juicy citrus to set things up for the iris and musk. Those keynotes arrive next. The iris is a powdery version with the carrot-y quality in abeyance. The musk is a refined version of ambrette. This is the replacement for that carrot-y quality from iris. It provides a solid accord which is kept on the lighter side. It goes very sweet with vanilla and sandalwood in the base. The sweetness adds to the iris and musk to find the overall place She Was an Anomaly remains in for most of the time on my skin.




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