Thierry Mugler Cologne ~ fragrance review

Thierry Mugler Cologne advertThierry Mugler Cologne fragrance bottle

Thierry Mugler launched Cologne, his third fragrance, in 2001. Mugler reportedly wanted to recreate the smell of skin after using a certain soap that he had brought back from a trip to Morocco; Cologne was developed by nose Alberto Morillas and features notes of bergamot, neroli, petitgrain, orange blossom, white musk, and a secret, trademarked note called "S".*

Cologne starts with sharp green notes and citrus, and quickly settles into a soapy-clean scent. A bit of green remains, and it is very fresh and crisp, with light undertones of orange blossom and wood. Once the sharpness of the top notes fades, it is basically linear, and the lasting power is very good although it stays relatively close to the skin.

I have never really understood the appeal of very clean, fresh and soapy scents; it seems as though you could approximate the same effect by just showering and putting on clean clothes. But Cologne has a subtle kick, just a little tinge of something spicy-earthy, almost like vetiver, that makes it worth wearing. It is a great fragrance for hot, humid days when even your lightest Eau d'Ete seems like too much, or when you are just frankly tired of all your other perfumes. And, I would add, I find it very sexy.

Thierry Mugler Cologne is available at most department stores and at many of the online discounters. Scentiments currently has a 2.6 oz bottle for $26.89.

* Update: you can read more about the S note at Sorcery of Scent.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Excellent review R!

    There has been some previous discussion on Basenotes as to what the “S” note really is……I'll leave it up to your imagination as to what some people think…. :-O

    I'd be curious to read your take on a comparison of Mugler's Cologne and Creed's Original Vetiver. To me, they are amazingly similar with Cologne pre-dating OV. OV seems to add some depth and it's a bit greener but I think they are too close for comfort.

    Regards, Eric

  2. Anonymous says:


    Too bad the old posts on basenotes aren't accessible, but I can imagine ;-)

    I had actually decided that the “S” note was probably a little dollop of Guerlain Vetiver, but now that you mention the Creed, which is much fresher and blander, I will have to try them together.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The infamous S note named S.S is actually a sap note, so minds out of the gutter! LOL Everything about this scent works…the bottle, the color of the juice and the scent. If I were a guy, this would be in my fragrance stable, but I only spritz it on myself when passing by the fragrance counter!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I read once that the “S” was from a 14th Century formula. Extrapolating that they liked musk and ambergris then, perhaps the earthy note is a version of them (synthetic, of course, nowadays.) Also read once that there is bamboo (leaf, wood?) in there. If it is vetiver, is is a masterful use of it, because I am no a fan of it, and don't detect it.

    Funny you didn't think you'd be drawn to it, but were, R. I wanted to like it, and it never lasted on me. Then a friend on the West Coast said hers lasted for hours. Well, I had to wait for winter to experience the lovely drydown and hours-long enjoyment. I live in Miami, and Cologne just -whooshes – off my skin in our typical heat and humidity, even indoors in 80-degree air-conditioning!

    Now it is my favorite commercial winter scent. Then it lasts like an eau de parfum would ;-)

  5. Anonymous says:

    I swapped for many little bottles of this one, and I am very fond of it. No, it's not your run-of-the-mill “shower fresh” scent by any stretch. I certainly smell some earthy-herbal vetiver going on in there. In fact, I think my taste for vetiver may date from when I tried this! (On the other hand, I find Creed Original Vetiver–confusingly, not their first vetiver scent but their most recent–to be a screaming bore.)

  6. Anonymous says:

    P, Darn, I was enjoying the gutter ;-)

    I find it very unisex, but I only see it in the men's departments, so I guess you are not alone in finding it too masculine.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Anya, I have heard bamboo too, but it doesn't smell like bamboo to me. Your nose, I am sure, is way better than mine, so will accept that there is no vetiver, but whatever is in the base smells very much like Guerlain Vetiver to me.

    It lasts at least 8 hours on me, maybe longer.

    I am still surprised that I like it. I don't usually like soapy, and other really clean fragrances, like Gendarme, leave me cold.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ok, glad I am not the only one who is smelling something vetiver-ish.

    I was surprised by Vetiver Original. I guess they figure it will appeal to a more modern, unisex audience. I prefer the Guerlain.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You and NST are making me curious about this. Of course, I love the color of the ad ;D.

    Blue Gert

  10. Anonymous says:

    R, there may well be vetiver in there. I have a real aversion to it, yet have found many scents I love include it — go figger. I dilute it way, way down for my blends, and it disappears, yet provides a structure for the base. Same with Ylang ylang — despise the EO, yet use it in blends. All this epiphany came about after discovering that many of my favorite commercial perfumes contained it, and I was being prejudiced by the “straight” stuff. Today is absolutely too hot to sniff or wear 'fumes, so I'll wait until nightfall and resample the Cologne, looking avidly for vetiver sneaking around in there ;-)

    I still have a sneaking suspicion the lovely, light base notes (oxymoron, eh?) in Cologne are from a musk/ambergris type of accord. Tiny bit of fecal oomph under the singing high notes, a milky, fat bottom roundness that doesn't hint of the darkness of vetiver.

  11. Anonymous says:

    A, Well let me know what you find! Agree there is no darkness. Also saw the bit about the 14th century manuscripts on osmoz, but I guess I didn't take it very seriously. We'll have to get a sample of that Moroccan soap!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Excuse me for not knowing it anyone can help, but who are the Reviewers for the perfume website that are shown each day?

  13. Anonymous says:

    This scent that everyone calls “bamboo” just doesn't smell like bamboo to me either, so maybe it is “bamboo”, whatever that is. I would be surprised if there's no vetiver in it, though.

  14. Anonymous says:

    OK, I went to my perfume cabinet (yeah, that much) and pulled it out. Like I said, I rarely wear perfumes in the summer here. God, this is a pretty, beautiful scent. I've never smelled it on a man, although it's supposed to be unisex.

    The gorgeous lush sweet opening tops of citrus are just fun and playful like a pretty flute heard off in the distance, drawing you in — completely irresistable. Lots of sweet lemon and citron and maybe distilled lime. If I had to say there was a hint of cucumber inthere, I would say it's from violet leaf or synthetic. There is neroli and maybe even orange flower absolute to extend it, something more petal than rind, IMO

    This definitely uses, and brilliantly, the dreaded ylang. There is a grassy wood there, which is what I suppose they mean by bamboo. Then, in the bottom I detect woods like cedar and sandalwood (maybe synthetic) and some iron-free patchouli.

    No vetiver, still, to me.

    Now here's the fun part. I take off the cap and first inhale in the left nostril, then the right. The olfactory receptors are directly wired to the corresponding part of the brain, not switched. The left allows you to logically dissect a scent. There is that animalic tone, oh sweet jessus on a Segway. Yum!

    The right nostril, wired to emotions and memories, takes me to citrus groves, lemonade, sweet flowers and good clean sex ;-)

    More yum.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Ah, maybe it's that grassy wood bamboo thing plus patchouli that smells like vetiver to me. So the S note is a Sex note? Fun!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hi Thelma, I am the reviewer. My name is Robin, and you can read more under the “About” link on the navigation bar at the top of the page.

  17. Anonymous says:

    A, will say it again — your nose is way better than mine! No way do I smell all that.

  18. Anonymous says:

    R, I smell even more, but I don't know what it is! I suspect the sandalwood is synthetic, or Australian. The cedar is distinct, especially with the patchouli marriage.

    If you ever track down that Moroccan soap, put me in for a case. Morocco! That's a clue. Back to musing on this scent, with Moroccan angle.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Well before you go off on a wild goose chase…he found the soap in a Moroccan hotel, but I don't know that it was “native”…could be from anywhere!

  20. Anonymous says:

    This is nice stuff, but when I tested it on my skin I found it sits almost too neatly between three other scents I really love: AdP Colonia Intensia, Romeo Gigli Man and Nicole Farhi PH. The latter is the most spicy of the trio and is my favourite; it also lasts well for such a transluscent scent. The Gigli is also warm and spicy, but with a greener hue, while the AdP is warmer still and a bit darker, without ever becoming opaque. If you've got any one of that trio in your wardbrobe, then it obviates the need for the Mugler Cologne. If you haven't tried any of them, I'd highly recommend the Farhi and the Gigli.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I like the TM much better than the AdP, but haven't tried the other 2, and as TM is much easier to get ahold of here, I might as well stick with it :-)

  22. Anonymous says:

    Yay Cologne…to make up for the Angel horror. Goes on stong citrusy (lemony) that lasts for a good while. Tames down nicely. Get quite a bit of compliments on this one.

  23. Anonymous says:

    It's great stuff!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Excellent rewiew! I love Cologne it smells so fresh and green, like a big garden in summer ;) On my skin it turns into a musky, soapy fragrance. It is the perfect summer perfume.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Yes it is :-)

  26. boobs marley says:

    the “S” element smells like iso E super… the chemical used by escentric molecules for their scent.. its like ambergis

  27. Subhuman says:

    Most citrus-heavy scents turn oddly bitter on my skin (summer staples like Eau Sauvage, for example), so I’m glad the Mugler is mostly about green soapy musk and less about the obnoxiously lemony freshness of most colognes. I also don’t much see the point in fresh-from-the-shower fragrances (just take a shower?), but this one works for me because of its odd synthetic edge and that hint of earthiness that you mentioned, Robin. (I agree that it’s probably vetiver.) I sampled Cologne over the summer and was shocked at how tenacious it was on my scent-sucking skin, which drinks up the heaviest eau de parfums like they’re water. Really nice stuff, and perfect for those days when I want a ‘wallpaper’ scent.

    • Robin says:

      Yep, it lasts for ages! Glad it found another fan.

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