Perfume Review: Thierry Mugler Alien
Dallas: [looks at pen being dissolved by alien's body fluid] I haven't seen anything like that except, uh, molecular acid.
Brett: It must be using it for blood.
Parker: Got a wonderful defense mechanism. You don't dare kill it.
I had a great couple of weeks fragrance-wise in a sense that I liked practically everything I sampled, even the things I shouldn’t have liked at all. Clearly I was overdue for a real “scrubber”. And so the scrubber arrived, in all its loud, overwhelming glory. Its name was Alien. Described as “imaginary and esoteric”, “a shaman, representing serenity and spirituality”, this ”woody amber/solar floral” with notes of “white transparent amber, a woody note with Cashmeran, and jasmine sambac”, took over three years to be finalized. I would love know what the discarded versions were like and how much less agreeable could they have been.
Thierry Mugler is a master of misnomers. Just like there was nothing remotely angelic in Angel (unless the Angel in question was a darkly seductive fallen one), there is nothing even vaguely reminiscent of outer space and any kind of “other species” that might inhabit it, in Alien. I guess I expected Alien to smell metallic, agreeably artificial and animalic. Rather like a mix of Muscs Koublai Khan and Commes des Garcons Synthetic Series. A fragrance evoking a sleek, silvery, strangely alluring intergalactic predator. What I got instead was 24 Faubourg but without the“solar” note, that wonderful luminous and warm top note of orange blossom that is the most attractive part of 24 Faubourg.
Alien is a Big Scent, so heady and strong, I could actually not just smell but taste it. There isn’t much amber in it to my nose, unless it is so “white and transparent” as to be practically undetectable. Alien is jasmine, all jasmine and nothing but jasmine for the longest time. One has to really be a fan of that note to like this perfume. I am not a big fan, though I must say I am able to appreciate a well done jasmine fragrance. I like it when a jasmine note is green and fresh or delicately sweet and white or even – when it is really well done- indolic. Jasmine in Alien is none of those things, it is loud and overly sweet. It takes a long time for that accord to subside a little, and when it does, a couple of torturous hours later, the fragrance acquires a more agreeable, still sweet but much smoother, musky (but not musky enough to qualify for “animalic”) quality, and I believe that is the Cashmeran note coming into play. Unlike easily scared-off aliens of M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, Mugler’s creation is not afraid of water and will not be washed off, however hard you try.
To sum up, my main gripe with this scent is perhaps its unsuitable name. Were it called say Rich Woman in Fur with a Maltese, I wouldn’t a) have been compelled to try the scent and b) if I did try it out of morbid curiosity, I wouldn’t have been unpleasantly surprised by the discrepancy between the name and the juice. As it is, instead of a wearable, repulsive yet enthralling olfactory equivalent of this: