Alien, the latest fragrance release from Thierry Mugler, was created by perfumers Dominique Ropion and Laurent Bruyere, and features an "amber solar accord", a woody Cashmeran note, and jasmine sambac.
Alien is Mugler's first major fragrance for women since Angel was released in 1992. Angel has been so widely worn, and so widely copied, that it is difficult now to remember how distinctive it was considered upon its release. Reportedly some retailers were initially wary that it was too unusual and that it would never sell. As it turned out, of course, it sold quite well indeed, and Mugler acknowledges the challenge of following up a blockbuster debut:
"When we did Angel, we were completely innocent, and then it became number one in the world," he said. "Creating Alien was a huge challenge because now the whole world is watching." (via Women's Wear Daily, 6/17/05)
So, what of Alien? It starts with something, I don't know what, that is more of a feeling than a smell: dry, transparent, and warm. The "solar" part, I take it? It is joined in short order by an extremely expansive jasmine and the woody Cashmeran notes. There is also a hint of something odd and off-kilter that I also smell in Angel, and that I have heard described variously as windex, gasoline, burning hair or nail polish remover. It is slight, whatever it is, but it lasts well into the dry down.
The far dry down is woody-musky amber, with the velvety, almost-powder finish typical of Cashmeran. It is warm, but also has the "fresh" aura that establishes it immediately as a modern department store fragrance. It is slightly sweet, and although it is not foody at all, I would swear there is just a little swirl of caramel.
I think of Angel as the Giorgio of the 90s: it was everywhere, it was strong, everyone seemed to have applied one spray too many. It is too soon to say if Alien will be everywhere, but the sillage is potent, especially in the early stages. You will leave a little of it behind in every room you walk through. All the same, Alien does not seem likely to arouse the passionate responses (positive and negative) that Angel did. It is not something I would wear, but I neither loved it nor hated it. I will say that it is more interesting than most of the designer releases this year.
A 30 ml refillable bottle of Thierry Mugler Alien Eau de Parfum is $65, 60 ml is $95. The budget minded can go straight for the 60 ml refill bottle, which is $65. There is also a matching shower gel and body cream. Available at Nordstrom, Saks, and Neiman Marcus.