Friday, November 18, 2011

The Taste Of Fragrance: A*Men, Alien, Angel & Womanity from Thierry Mugler (2011)

[Reviews of Womanity, Angel and Alien based on samples of eau de parfum; review of A*Men based on a sample of eau de toilette; all samples provided by Thierry Mugler in 2011; fragrances tested on skin.]



Even though I hardly ever wear any of the brand’s fragrances myself – with the exception of the discontinued B*Men – I’ve got a lot of time for Thierry Mugler. Bearing in mind that it’s a resolutely mainstream house whose wares are available in the most unglamorous perfumeries imaginable, it remains consistently surprising and offers encouraging proof of the fact that it pays to polarise. Its latest attempt to spice up the high street comes in the form of a limited edition quartet entitled The Taste Of Fragrance: explicitly ‘foodie’ versions of four of its most recognisable creations: A*Men, Angel, Alien and Womanity.

Of these, the masculine is the least interesting. When the wind’s blowing the right way, it is just about possible to discern the red chilli note that’s been used to twist the tarry chocolate construction, but otherwise, this is the A*Men of old, albeit slightly warmer. The changes to Alien are minimal too. Its woody jasmine accord is still loud, still odd and still distinctive, but the inclusion of a salted caramel feel – again, only just detectable – smoothens the overall effect and pulls it slightly further away from the extreme edges of Planet Muglerstein.

Angel works extremely well. It’s hard to believe that it was still possible to find new areas to explore in one of the 90’s most ubiquitous sillage monsters, but sure enough, the well-known patchouli and caramel combo seems quite at ease beneath a sprinkling of bitter cocoa so palpable, it tempts you to shake the bottle and check that the Mugler people haven’t just tipped a teaspoon of Green & Black’s into it.

The real triumph is Womanity. When the scent appeared last year, I wasn’t quite as taken with it as most other people; the sledgehammer impact of its construction spoke of too crude an attempt at unconventionality. But this new version balances the scent’s opposing forces with admirable finesse. The packaging would have us believe that its particular gastro twist is fig chutney, and yes, there is a definite presence of a sugary thickness laced with a nutty, green, earthy note reminiscent of a fig plant (leaves, twigs and fruit). But the point is the manner in which this aspect integrates itself into the whole. It serves to make the marine note more palatable. It causes the powdery dimension to appear more indulgent and luxurious. And it brings out a mossy, almost chypre-like sophistication in the drydown. The result is a mind-bending exercise in weirdness, a scent for an inter-galactic feast, in which astronauts from the outer reaches of the galaxy exchange recipes for metallic berry terrine whilst drinking ozonic asteroid cocktails. Delightfully strange.

[To see a selection of recipes inspired by these perfumes, please visit the Mugler website.]

Persolaise.

6 comments:

  1. I'm in complete agreement with you, except the Womanity didn't have a tester at Nordstrom's, so I haven't tried it yet! I didn't care for the original at all, but I'll try the chutney version. Bought a bottle of the Angel, yum.
    -Marla

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  2. MArla, thanks very much. And when you try Womanity, come back and let me know what you think of it.

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  3. Have you actually tried these flankers on skin side-by-side with the original ones?

    I did it for Angel and Womanity. Twice. In 20 minutes I cannot tell "new" and original perfumes apart. I like (and own) original Angel. I plan to buy the newest flanker as a replacement bottle because after the first 20 minutes, which I also like, it's a nice twist with dark chocolate) on my skin for me it smells exactly the same. Tests with Womanity gave me the similar results but also I realized I didn't need either version in my collection.

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  4. Undina, excellent question, and the answer is: yes, I did.

    However, I should say that I approach side-by-side tests with caution. Our noses aren't 100% reliable when we repeatedly expose them to similar smells within a short space of time.

    Obviously you'll know from my review that I found the changes to A*Men and Alien to be minimal. And as for Angel and Womanity, on paper, after a few hours, they did smell subtly different from the originals.

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  5. Thank you for the very helpful thoughts - I need to see if mini`s are available in these foodies!! :-) I just received a mini of Tuberose Cocoa from Providence Perfumes (to try when my sinuses stop watering) Original Angel is a bottle bonanza! & a Modern-day hippie :-) Do you want to eat more of the foods noted in the scents??

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  6. Linda, I believe mini samples have been created. And as for the foods, oh yes, definitely! I'm always up for a feast!

    ReplyDelete

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