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Friday, December 02, 2005

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:

I got this:

Alien is available at Nordstrom, $55 – 95.00.


Blogger Marina said...

Christina, I like Angel too, on occasion it is just what the doctor ordered :-)

9:27 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Patty, which ones were the scariest though, the Aliens or The Other Ones? :-D

9:28 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear N., so you did like Alien (at least more than Angel?)? Ack, it was vile on me, but I am very glad it worked for you.
As for Joanna Lumley, no way I would poke fun at her...but Patsy is a fair game, that picture of her is awesome!

9:30 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear N,
I actually think it is not all Angel's fault that it is ubiquitous (spelling?). There are so many smell-alikes...

As for Patsy, she is Da Bomb! :-)

12:23 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Yes, V, I couldn't pretend I liked it, not for all the bell jars in the world :-)

12:23 PM EST  
Blogger Caitlin Shortell said...

This is beautifully written and delightful. To present photo likenesses and un-likenesses - as a format for fragrance reviews it's pretty ingenious. Watch out, people are going to imitate you.

12:25 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Cait, thank you! I am not the first however. Have you seen a wonderful blog Scentzilla? The author is a genius with finding the pictures to illustrate the next. The same applies to her other blog, Seldom Nice Nowadays (both are linked to mine, on the left here)

12:55 PM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

LOL -- didn't quite find it a scrubber, M, but can see why you would. It is awfully strong. Loved the pictures!

1:18 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

It is strong and indestructible, R. Lasts almost as long as Mecheri Loukhoum and that is saying a lot. :-)

1:22 PM EST  
Blogger katiedid said...

Well, the text alone was pretty funny to me, but the visual(!!!) killed me. I am dying now. I think the most humorous part is that the second triptych is actually the scary one. You know, I still haven't received my sample of this. I filled out an online form to get shipped one, and still haven't received it. Which means I might have to try to get a feel for it at the dept. store counters, and that is never quite as satisfactory as taking a quiet moment away from the crowded hubub of people and other perfumes to examine a scent.

7:06 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

K., I am afraid that when the sample comes you might be disappointed. Mine was like one of those peel of and sniff magazine-type samples. Luckily (heh!) I had a real spray sample to fully appreciate (heh!) Alien. :-)

7:17 PM EST  
Blogger andy said...

Dear C.
This review of yours was (again) wonderful. And thank you for the link to Cashmeran (what strange name for a simple molecule remembering in sheep and Himalaya).
When I saw your pictures , the add picture came back to my mind (I saw them again this week while waiting for the dentist, I kind of see the strange ALIEN face everywhere) and I remember what I thought... they should have dared to use an alien creature for their add campaign. Like good old Alien monster created by Mr. Giger. You brought it to the point!
Thank you and have a nice evening.

11:31 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear Andy,
Thank you! And agree, they should have used an Alien for their ads. that would have been so much fun :-) BUT in that case the discrepancy between the perfume and the name/ads would have been even bigger.
This scent is not worthy of an Alien :-)

11:35 AM EST  
Blogger Kristen said...

I even find the bottle repulsive. Thierry Mugler has lost his marbles (or been abducted, maybe?).

9:19 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

LOL at abducted, ah, that's a good one!

10:09 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never, ever worn Alien without getting a compliment. People will stop me and ask what I'm wearing. Angel, however, was horrible on me.

3:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with anom abover me^^^^^^^^
I LOVE alien and people always compliment and say what is that gorgeous smell? after a full day of wearing it, all other perfumes I have tried all wear off after about 5 mins!

4:04 AM EDT  
Blogger Kristal said...

Jasmine in Alien is none of those things, it is loud and overly sweet- this is exactly why I like it :)

12:58 PM EDT  
Anonymous alien perfume said...

Whaoooo ! Those alien pics freaked me out !

3:49 PM EST  

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