Anucci is a fragrance brand launched by Michael Khemlani in 1987. The brand has become known for using a variety of luxury ingredients to create a bold and distinctive fragrance profile. The product is manufactured in the United States.
The brand rose in popularity throughout the nineties with the launch of multiple products in its men’s and women’s product lines. It went on to expand to the luxury goods markets and became affiliated with a number of high-end products, including golf supplies and luxury phones. Under Khemlani’s leadership, the company maintained a constant inventory with major fragrance retailers and also established over 1,000 Anucci-branded stores in dozens of countries. Khemlani’s son, Anup Khemlani, joined the team amidst this growth, becoming the Director of International Operations and eventually becoming the company’s CEO. The senior Khemlani retained control over domestic US operations. Major marketing initiatives during this time include the brand’s commemorative release of the “Goal” fragrance line in honor of the 2002 World Cup, as well as its partnership with Motorola to create one of the world’s first diamond encrusted phones.
In recent years many of the brand’s products have been discontinued and have become increasingly hard to find. The official website sells a very limited range of its products; brand devotees and collectors often must search the internet for specialty retailers to find discontinued products. Anucci is one of several brands owned by the Khemlani family trust. The brand’s association with high quality, traditional ingredients has retained a passionate niche following that creates a demand for the product despite its lack of marketing in recent years. Current revenue estimates place the California-based brand at about $200,000 (U.S.) per annum.
Early History (Late 1980’s)
Anucci was established in 1987 by Michael “Mike” Khemlani, who gained experience in the industry working with brands such as Pebble Beach and Sergio Valente (“Anucci,” n.d.). The company brought its first product, Anucci Cologne, to the market in 1989. Initially marketed as a European-style perfumery, all of its products are made in the United States of America: a fact that is displayed proudly on its packaging. The company became known for making niche (but impactful) fragrances of long-lasting, high-quality ingredients (“Anucci Fragrance Inc.,” n.d.).
Expansion (1990’s to 2000’s)
The brand would go on to encompass other products and industries, including female fragrances, deodorants, and body creams, and eventually luxury goods such as golfing equipment, luxury phones and fashion. The Khemlanis coined the term “liquid fashion” to describe the unique avant-garde styling of their products (“Anucci,” n.d.). They consider every fragrance to be a showcase for their passionate artistry.
There are several fragrances launched under the brand. In the men’s line there is the iconic, golf-ball shaped Anucci, as well as Sport, Gold, Goal, Wave and Tee Time. The women’s line was launched in 1993 with Femme, and was later expanded to include Gold, Oud, Dalini, Rosé, Waves, Princess, and Zha Zha Zhu.
By the early 2000s, Michael Khemlani’s son, Anup Khemlani, was brought on board to become the company’s director of international operations and was later promoted to CEO. The senior Khemlani remained in charge of domestic US operations. These changes coincided with an increased marketing push and public relations outreach beginning in 2001 with Khemlani’s partnership with Motorola to create a diamond encrusted phone and multiple related appearances at celebrity-attended events (Caulfield, n.d.).
In 2002, the brand partnered with the World Cup to release “Goal,” a sporty fragrance marketed towards soccer fans with a portion of sales revenue going towards the United Nations Children’s Fund (“Anucci,” n.d.). The brand became a part of the wider Khemlani group of companies during this period.
A new fragrance, Zha Zha Zhu was announced at the 2005 Tax Free World Exhibition and Conference (TFWA) in Cannes, France. The fragrance was a part of the brand’s international marketing push and was accompanied by an annual Ms. Zha Zha Zhu beauty competition held throughout the Middle East and India (Lloyd-Jones, 2005). The company established a widespread multinational presence with placement in major department and duty-free stores and over 1,000 standalone stores concentrated in countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar and the United States (Lloyd-Jones, 2005).
The Anucci brand is a part of the Khemlani group and is one of several brands owned by the California-based, family owned trust. The brand is currently headquartered in Palos Verdes Estates, California and has an estimated revenue of $200,000 along with two employees (“Anucci Fragrance Inc.,” n.d.).
The official website sells a limited stock of four products, including the original fragrance, Oud, Rosé, and a branded body cream. Many of its products have been discontinued and are in limited supply through specialty fragrance retailers.
Anucci is known for its bold, long-lasting fragrances. There have been less than 15 fragrances launched in its approximately 32-year existence.
This original men’s fragrance, launched in 1989, is considered to be a classic. It is easily identifiable by its round bottle and golf-ball shaped top, as well as the “golfer” logo. It contains notes of bergamot, chamomile, jasmine, and lavender (“Anucci Original Eau de Toilette,” n.d.).
Sport is a lighter fragrance compared to the original Anucci fragrance. It is marketed as being ideal for use by men during and after athletic activity (“Anucci Sport Cologne by Anucci for Men,” n.d.). Sport shares the same main ingredients and notes with the original but is blended in a different ratio.
Goal is inspired by the sport of soccer and was made specifically to commemorate the 2002 World Cup. The company pledged a portion of the proceeds to the United Nations Children’s Fund (“Anucci,” n.d.). In keeping with the company’s established “ball-shaped” aesthetic, the body and top of the bottle are soccer ball-shaped. It contains many of the woody and floral notes that the men’s line has been known for.
In keeping with the theme of sports-inspired fragrances, Tee Time, as its name suggests, is inspired by the sport of golf. Its bottle is in the shape of a golf bag with accompanying golf clubs. This fragrance is decidedly more fruity and floral than the other men’s offerings and features top notes such as lemon, pineapple, mandarin, grapefruit, and water lily while its heart notes contain jasmine, spearmint, and geranium (“Tee Time,” n.d.). The more masculine base notes that balance the fragrance include musk, amber, sandalwood, and patchouli.
Wave is a men’s fragrance comprised of lemon, bergamot and geranium top notes. Soft fruits, jasmine, and cedarwood form the heart notes, and it is all rounded out by base notes of musk, amber, and oakmoss (“Wave for Men,” n.d.).
Launched in 1993, this product line marketed towards women is known for its floral notes, including rose, and iris. It also includes a blend of precious woods, jasmine, citrus, patchouli, musk and amber that would be expected in most Anucci product (“Anucci Femme,” n.d.).
Oud is named after the smoky wood that is commonly used in the Middle Eastern fragrance tradition. This fragrance also features strong notes of bergamot. It is one of the few remaining products that can be purchased from the official website (“Anucci Oud Eau de Parfum,” n.d.).
Launched during the company’s growth in the ‘90s, Dalini is another hard-to-find, discontinued product. It contains notes of iris, tuberose, jasmine, patchouli, sandalwood, and amber. It is a considered a light, yet long-lasting fragrance that is ideal for daytime use (“Dalini Perfume,” n.d.).
Described by the official website as a “bouquet of fresh flowers”, Rosé is a blend of several species of rose along with violet and saffron (“Rosé Eau de Parfum,” n.d.).
Inspired by the ocean, with its wave-shaped bottle, Waves is designed to evoke the smell of a fresh sea breeze with citrusy bergamot orange and lemon top notes paired with geranium. Cedar-wood and Jasmine provide the heart notes while the base of sandalwood, amber, and moss give the fragrance its long-lasting potency (“Annuci Waves Eu de Toilette for Women,” n.d.).
Zha Zha Zhu
Zha Zha Zhu was launched in 2005 by the Khemlani group. It was designed to appeal to an international market and touted as the brand’s first romantic fragrance for international women (Lloyd-Jones, 2005).
Anucci fragrances share a number of luxurious base ingredients that give its products its characteristic fragrance profile.
Jasmine is a sweet fragrance with an animalic or fleshy background (“Jasmine,” n.d.). It is noted for its calming effect that some researchers claim can be as potent as valium (Sergeeva, 2010).
The Bergamot Orange is indigenous to Southeast Asia, but in recent years it has mainly been cultivated in Italy. It is most commonly known as the ingredient that gives Earl Gray tea its distinctive flavor. Its fragrance profile is described as citrusy and sweet and it is known to blend well with other fragrances and essential oils (Helbig, 2018).
Chamomile is commonly used for its subtly sweet and spicy top notes. It is known for its relaxation properties (Frolova, 2014).
Patchouli oil is often associated with the 60s, the decade in which its use flourished. However, rather than being used alone, due to its green notes with musky undertones, it is often blended with other fragrances including musk, amber, sandalwood, rose, and jasmine (“Patchouli,” n.d.).
Lavender is one of the most widely used fragrance ingredients. Its sweet and herbaceous notes make it one of the most recognizable fragrances. The lavender plant originated in the highlands of India; however, it is mainly produced in France. It is used moderately in fragrances intended for the women’s market but is widely used in unisex and male fragrances. It blends well with oakmoss, patchouli, and orange (“Lavender,” n.d.).
Vetiver is found mainly in Sri-Lanka. Its essential oils are derived from the dried roots of the plant. It has a versatile woody smell that is used across all fragrance families (“Vetiver,” n.d.).
Musk traditionally comes from male musk deer but is typically used in its synthetic form these days. It is a fixative and used to make fragrances last longer (Hutzinger, 2004).
Traditionally, this compound fragrance was produced in the Middle East through a mixture of at least three main ingredients: benzoin, vanilla, and labdanum. Many companies have their own proprietary mixtures combining these three ingredients in different ratios along with other ingredients. It is a popular fragrance ingredient known for its sweet, woody notes (Gruben, 2017).
Oakmoss is a fungus found in the northern hemisphere that is commonly used as a base note and fixative (“Oakmoss,” 2015). It is used primarily in "oriental" perfumes and colognes and is commonly paired with green, woody and floral notes. Its use has come under fire due to as much as 3% of populations having allergic reactions to it. Companies have responded by growing a variant without the molecules that commonly cause reactions (Penketh, 2014).
Sandalwood is noted for its calming effects. (“Evaluating the effectiveness of aromatherapy in reducing levels of anxiety in palliative care patients,” 2006). It is a fixative that captures the head notes of other fragrances.
The titular ingredient in Anucci’s Oud fragrance, oud is a resin from the Agar tree found in Southeast Asia. It has been used since ancient times for mummification rituals and to expel bad energy. It has smoky woody notes and is often referred to regionally as “liquid gold” due to its high relative value (“Ingredient Knowledge OUD,” 2018).
- Anucci Femme. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2019, from http://www.basenotes.net/ID26139336.html
- Anucci Fragrance Inc. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2019, from https://www.manta.com/c/mml638g/anucci-fragrance-inc
- Anucci Original Eau de Toilette. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2019, from https://anucci.com/product/anucci-original-eau-de-toilette/
- Anucci Oud Eau de Parfum. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2019, from https://anucci.com/product/anucci-oud-eau-de-parfum/
- Caulfield, M. (n.d.). Jamie Fox and Anup Khemlani with Diamond encrusted Motorola. Retrieved March 1, 2019, from https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/jamie-fox-and-anup-khemlani-with-diamond-encrusted-motorola-news-photo/107287631
- Evaluating the effectiveness of aromatherapy in reducing levels of anxiety in palliative care patients: Results of a pilot study. (2006, March 29). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388105001246?via=ihub
- Frolova, V. (2014, July 22). Bitter and Sweet Chamomile : Perfume and Tea Note. Retrieved from https://boisdejasmin.com/2014/07/bitter-and-sweet-chamomile-perfume-and-tea-note.html
- Gruben, M. (2017, April 27). All about amber: Secrets of an ancient perfume. Retrieved from https://www.groveandgrotto.com/blogs/articles/all-about-amber-secrets-of-an-ancient-perfume
- Helbig, C. (2018, March 17). Where Does the Perfume Ingredient Bergamot Come From? Retrieved from https://www.liveabout.com/where-does-the-perfume-ingredient-bergamot-come-from-346207
- Hutzinger, O., & Rimkus, G. G. (2004). Synthetic musk fragrances in the environment. Berlin: Springer.
- Ingredient Knowledge · OUD(H). (2018, January 22). Retrieved from http://www.thescentcompany.com/en/ingredient-knowledge-·-oudh/
- Jasmine. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2019, from https://www.fragrantica.com/notes/Jasmine-14.html
- Lavender. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://perfumesociety.org/discover-perfume/an-introduction/ingredients/?letter=l
- Lloyd-Jones, T. (2005, November 25). Anucci eyes luxury goods alliance. Retrieved from http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?id=2581&t=1
- Oakmoss – the warm, natural woody aroma enriching any perfume composition. (2015, May 28). Retrieved from https://fragrances.bg/blog/en/aromatic-notes/oakmoss/
- Patchouli. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2019, from https://osmanthos.com/perfume-ingredients/patchouli
- Penketh, A. (2014, November 19). Will a ban on oakmoss kill the French perfume industry? Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/will-a-ban-on-oakmoss-kill-the-french-perfume-industry-9868986.html
- Rosé Eau de Parfum. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2019, from https://anucci.com/product/anucci-rose-eau-de-parfum/
- Sergeeva, O. A., Kletke, O., Kragler§, A., Poppek, A., Fleischer, W., Schubring, S. R., . . . Gisselmann§, G. (2010, July 30). Fragrant Dioxane Derivatives Identify β1-Subunit-containing GABAA Receptors. Retrieved from http://www.jbc.org/content/285/31/23985
- Tee Time. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2019, from http://www.basenotes.net/ID26121568.html
- Vetiver. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2019, from https://osmanthos.com/perfume-ingredients/vetiver
- Wave for Men. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2019, from http://www.basenotes.net/ID26122438.html