Thursday, October 11, 2012
More Alien Still: Alien Essence Absolue
Apparently, the folks at Mugler decided that two Alien flankers a year just wasn't enough, and this year, in addition to the flanker associated with Les Parfums de Cuir and the summer version, Aqua Chic, the brand released Alien Essence Absolue, a purportedly richer, more intense version of the original.
I'm not complaining, because Essence Absolue is the best of the Alien enterprise to date, right down to the bottle, which resembles a cybernetic pear considered by citizens of the planet Jupiter to be the last word in exotic delicacies. True to the literature, Absolue is richer, but exactly why and how, even with a side by side comparison, is hard to explain.
There's said to be myrrh, white amber, incense, and animalistic black vanilla pod. The balance is such that I'd be hard pressed to identify any of that specifically, though at times I feel I can detect what I think might be myrrh or what could be animalistic black vanilla pod. I'm a big fan of Alien Liqueur, and Liqueur was, itself, richer than the original Alien. I was skeptical, when I heard about Absolue; it seemed unlikely that the composition could be made any richer than that. I should have known better, because it's rare a Mugler fragrance seriously disappoints.
What Absolue seems to subtract from the original equation is the very thing I thought made that composition so complex and satisfying. Gone is the roasted jasmine quality, that super saturated, burred nutty thrust. When you smell the two side by side, they seem very similar, for just a short time, as though the same hologram has been projected before you. As that initial impression shifts, their differences, subtle but profound, become gradually more apparent.
The incense aspects of Absolue are minimal; still, they replicate then variate the fuzzy quality of the original's jasmine, generating a strange edged effect to the floral components of the fragrance. Overall, the heart of the thing feels the way the juice looks, golden, shot through with light. While Absolue definitely smells vanillic, it's only when you compare its dry down to the original that you see just how much more vanilla it has, and how the amber elements dominate. I can't detect anything remotely animalic in the mix, and yet this is a different kind of vanilla fragrance, slightly more savory than sweet. The spectral silhouette of original Alien remains, hovering there, but the body of the fragrance has arranged itself differently around that outline. Absolue has more than a little in common with the L'Or version of Dior J'Adore, but where that flanker sat obediently on the skin - even meekly - Absolue has kick.
I find both versions, original and Absolue, to be comparable in projection and longevity, though I've read many customer reviews saying that Absolue is equally tenacious but less of a headache, basically. I never got or get a headache from original Alien, nor am I exactly ever clear on what people who dislike it so strongly are chiefly complaining about, so I can't tell you why Absolue is considered by many of them to be a marked improvement. For me, it's simply a variation, if something so profoundly good can be called simple.
Note: This fragrance could have been far less interesting and still worth the price for the bottle alone.