In Which I Grow Wings

As a logical progression to trying to understand the Mugler perfume house, I decided the only way to understand something is to live with something, to stay in close proximity to something, basically, to wear it.  So that’s what I did.

A little back story is necessary. Relax, nothing like The Hobbit’s, just the fact that I don’t wear A) loud perfume or B) orientals, and Angel is either an oriental or a gourmand, and really I don’t wear those categories being much more of a woody/ floral/citrus kind of individual.  So I approached Angel with some trepidation. And what would my husband think?  Generally he doesn’t have too much to say about my perfume experiments.  He lets most of them pass with that good natured male refusal to get riled about much of anything bar tax rises.

“Good God, what is that?” he asked when I sprayed Angel on a piece of paper.


“Well, that is…it just gets…worse. What is it again?”


“Well, it’s just pumping chemicals out there, isn’t it, and it just keeps on…going.  Say, I’m showing this to the kid. Come here, smell this, your Mom brought it home and it’s… what did you say it was?”


“It smells kinda like the stuff under the kitchen sink, Mom.  No offense.”

Well, so much for the familial acceptance of the blue bitch goddess. No one liked her.  But notice that everyone noticed her.  Angel itself may be proof positive of the old dictum that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

However Angel and I did not cohabit peacefully. I had been hoping that the patchouli side of Angel would be prominent on me, and that was not what happened.  Instead I got a shout of patchouli and caramel on my skin and then a warm kind of cocoa powder grumbling that lasted a long time.  I had expected the radiance of Angel to be stronger, and this makes me suspect that the old girl has been diluted since she was first released.  If they’ve changed the formula, I can’t smell it.  But then, I didn’t ever-dear god- wear Angel before this.

A*Men, however, was a different story.  That one I could wear quite successfully, and in fact I have been wearing it for three days.  A*Men has got a structure that makes it really irresistible.  The dry down, which is the best part of it – and kudos to Mugler – is wonderful coffee, and completely wearable by women.  In fact, you wonder why they bothered to market this as a masculine at all.  Still, never mind, if you can’t handle the Blue behemoth of a scent that Angel is, then you can probably wear A*Men.

Oh, and as a side note, I wore it first in conjunction with L’Ame d’un Heros, the Guerlain LE, and L’Instant Homme, and guess what?  A*Men was just as wearable as the other two, which suggests either that Guerlain is becoming more mass market or that Mugler is becoming more upmarket, but either way, was a surprise.  This little contest went on all day, and it the end the only one of the perfumes I was wearing, which included Shalimar Parfum Initial (aka Dior Homme) was worth wearing again and that was A*Men.

So I cannot say that I definitely grew a pair of wings, but I did find my way to a virtual coffee bar, which is better while one walks the earth.  I’ll worry about wings in the after life. As for the Muglers, they’ve proven that they don’t need wings to be airborne, just atomizers.

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12 Responses to In Which I Grow Wings

  1. ChickenFreak says:

    Huh. I’ve never really tried either one. I resisted Angel no doubt because it was too popular. A*men just never stepped forward out of the crowd.


    • Blacknall Allen says:

      I resisted Angel because I could smell it around me too much, and then some of its imitators, and they were not understated either. A*Men surprised me, turns out there’s a whole sub-culture of A*Men and its many flankers, the most sought after of which is A*Men Pure Malt, reputedly a whiskey scent on top of the coffee dry down. There’s also a pepper one, a tobacco one, and a pure coffee one…

  2. mals86 says:

    I’m on the side of your menfolks. I HATE Angel. It’s as if Brut got drunk on cherry cough syrup and then fell into a vat of cotton candy. I still don’t understand who thought that was a good idea.

    Admittedly, I am a patchouliphobe, and with Angel that matters a lot. My least favorite patchouli is the dusty-earthy-cocoa-powder stuff, and Angel is just paaaacked with it. Gah.

    Haven’t smelled any of the A*men thingies. But just last night tested a bit of MPG Eau des Iles, which starts out with, of all things, galbanum, and then floats into this coffee-amber-spicy-woody thing that I really enjoyed despite myself.

    • Blacknall Allen says:

      And yet so many people adore Angel. I just don’t get it, but they seem to. A*Men I really liked and it’s in the same vein as Eau des Isles, which I sampled a few years ago. As a matter of fact the one that interests me is the A*Men Pure Malt, whiskey, don’t drink it but love the smell, and the A*Men Havane, tobacco. Don’t smoke either, but come to think of it my Dad drank Scotch and smoked a pipe-you know, Episcopalian- so all the low grade vices, and I find the smells comforting.
      Brut drunk on cough syrup! Yup, that about sums it up on my skin.

  3. Meg says:

    I, too, have beaten myself against the great wall of Angel to no avail. I try and try to like/understand/tolerate it, and I simply can’t. But I keep my sample as a reference — a monument, more like — to the things I cannot fathom in the hopes that someday (probably after a hefty concussion) I’ll GET it.

    A*Men needs no such prayers from me. Like you, I GET it, and I get it GOOD. I love, love, love that perfume, and I intend to hunt down every single one of its flankers some fine day.

    • Blacknall Allen says:

      To GET Angel really, might take the equivalent of a jackhammer upside the head! That is, if you’re not born with the correct Angel receptors in your nose.

      A*Men I like and am fighting the impulse to buy the Pure Malt. The history on that baby is that Mugler released it as an LE and when all of Basenotes was hooked on the first formula, guess what? Pure Malt was discontinued, and disconsolate Basenoters were paying 150 big ones to buy back the whiskey. Now, it’s on the Mugler website at 89.

      The folks at Mugler- if you can refer to Frenchmen as “folks”- have set up the equivalent of a still. I can sort of imagine A*Men being steam distilled in the backwoods of the Auverne complete with a lookout for the French Fuzz. Some people just have to have them their Mugler!

  4. Undina says:

    I love Angel. We have a long history so I cannot be objective but I think it’s great. I won’t be wearing it out any time soon (it’s too recognizable) but I’m glad I have it in my collection. And I feel like starting my own campaign: going around the Perumeland telling right and left how I hate Fracas and Carnal Flower. In my mind, those aren’t less “offensive” than Angel.

    I need to try A-Man. I have a sample – just never got around testing it.

    • Blacknall Allen says:

      You are the first of my commenters to love Angel, which is only fair, since lots of people do. Go ahead and take up Angel’s cause, because curiously enough, although somebodies-a large number of them- are out there buying Angel, I don’t hear about too many perfumista ladies wearing it, besides you that is. Come out, come out, admit it, a lot of us like Angel. A lot of us like Alien, and I really like A*Men!

      As to Fracas, that one is loud too. I figure you either like your tuberose on its own: Carnal Flower, Fracas, or else you like tuberose as part of a bouquet, Fragile or Passion or 24 Faubourg. I’m in the latter group myself.

      • Undina says:

        You made me curious, I went and checked comments on my Angel story: nope, nobody confessed to really like it. Oh, well… I’ll wear my Angel Taste of Fragrance to the office next week! (I mean, one day, not the whole week)

        • Blacknall Allen says:

          OK, I am surprised. Even though I thought it was not on the perfumista list, I’m still surprised. Positive story, positive comments, and no admissions of Angel wearing.
          Well, if you can wear Angel Taste of Fragrance, I’m gonna wear A*Men pure Malt!

  5. Dionne says:

    This may sound like a weird admission, but I’m still not sure if I’ve ever smelled Angel. It’s been on my list to try just for curiosity’s sake, but the early 90′s was a time of raising little kids and generally not paying attention to fashion and perfume so I completely missed that bandwagon. I have tried Alien – quite like it – and Womanity – bleargghhh! – but A*men tweaks my interest.

    It sounds like A*men belongs to the same family (and knowing Bond No. 9′s business practices, probably was the inspiration) as Bond No. 9′s I Love NY For All and I really enjoy the coffee note in that, so I’ll be checking that out soon.

    • Blacknall Allen says:

      It’s unforgettable in a way, sort of like Amarige or Rochas Femme back in the day. Well, at least you get the fun of discovering on which side of the great Angel divide you flutter.
      A*Men now comes in a pepper(think it’s the Taste of Fragrance series) and then a cigar variation, Havane, and so on, but if you like coffee in perfume you’re pretty well guaranteed to like A*Men.

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