Thursday, January 22, 2009

ALIEN: A Review


I’d like to change the names of several Thierry Mugler perfumes:

Angel should be Alien
Alien should be Angel
Angel Innocent should have a unique name all its own, because it’s a great fragrance that unfortunately lives in the shadow of Angel with a name that implies “diet Angel.”

Alien was created by perfumers Dominique Ropion and Laurent Bruyere. I’m a huge fan of Ropion and adore his trademark style – which could be described as scents created for bombshells, femme fatales and vixens. If you don’t like fragrances like Dior Addict, Thierry Mugler Angel, Givenchy Amarige or Guerlain Insolence you can pretty much stop reading now. Alien is a big, sultry, synthetic-smelling, unmistakably gregarious fragrance.

I suppose anything created in the wake of Angel, no matter how good, might suffer from the step-child syndrome. Alien, to me, is a gorgeous jasmine fragrance that is often forgotten. The list of notes for Alien are rather mysterious -- "amber solar accord", a woody Cashmeran note, and jasmine sambac. Suffice it to say that I pretty much dislike jasmine fragrances as a rule, but the treatment of jasmine in Alien is beautiful to my nose. Instead of smelling realistically, like an indolic, sweet, white flower – the jasmine in Alien is draped sumptuously across a woody, ambery, spicy base – giving it a completely abstract quality. I must admit the initial blast of Alien is startling – it’s potent and at first, a suffocating jasmine aroma that could easily be a scrubber if you don’t give it a chance (well, you might think it’s a scrubber anyway, but if you haven’t tried it yet and so far this description appeals to you, give Alien at least a full day’s wearing). But after about an hour the fragrance settles into a slightly quieter scent with a dreamy oriental quality. Luca Turin often uses the word “raspy” when describing certain fragrances. For the most part, I can’t say I completely understand his usage of the term, but in the case of Alien, I find the first hour best described as a raspy jasmine scent. The raspy quality disappears but I actually quite like this effect. Once dried down, Alien becomes a warm, velvety, jasmine-oriental, with just a dash of green.

Longevity: weeks
Sillage: your sister in Kansas knows when you’re wearing it
Rating: 4.5 stars

PS: The bottle is actually unique and attractive in person.

1 comment:

Dane said...

I agree that the names should be swapped...Alien is much more "normal" than the name suggests. I quite like it, especially the jasmine, but the drydown just didn't do it for me. Not bad, but not outstanding either.