Easter eggs anyone…? Angel by Thierry Mugler The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter


It is the eve of Easter.

The holiday of The Passion, The Resurrection and the chocolate.

It is time to take a trip to maison Mademoiselle Ange, server of all things sweet.

Bubbling vats of caramel and chocolat await behind her pretty as a picture door.

On shelves in giant jars honeycombs are bathed in more honey, next coconut cremes, backcurrant straws with sherbert, pear drops and melon bon bons.

In the scarcely seen kitchen the hard pressed pastry chef whips Chantilly cream into concupiscent curls. The shop girl, whose heart crushes on him, adds vanilla essence with limp love-wearied hands.

Out front, beyond the brass rails, acres of marble and mahogany counter bear tartes of shortcrust and flaky bases and those bottomed with sponge that Anglo Saxons incorrectly call flan.

Everything seems drowned in confectioners’ custard, surmounted with exotic and out of season fruit or crowned with cocoa frills and dusted with icing sugar. Even maron glaces come in crinkled coats and sprinkled with sweet spices.

An indulged mouse, fat on unbaked batters and unwhipped creams, scampers confidently across the floor to a nest beside the hidden oven and its warmth.

The maitresse de maison catches your eye, steps forward, bobs a greeting and smiles a toothless smile, smearing chocolate hands against her straining stained apron as she does.

With a twirl and a curl of her fattened arm she gestures to the piece de resistence a triumph of the chocolatier’s art: an egg of cocoa and caramel three feet tall and two wide.

“Large enough to fit a child inside” she leers as she comes near, her own dark leafy odour now apparent.

The Mademoiselle gestures for you to take a seat.

Will you stay in this palace of sugared pleasures, its atmosphere all thick with fudge flavours and nougat notes?

Can you bear so much sweetness and heavy, heavy air?

Some souls you know will take their places and gorge an hour or three, gathering like-minded souls around them by the dozen.

And others?

Others will flee.

Finding something too cloying in this toffee- fragranced house of fancies to countenance too long.

And you? Which will you be?

Angel is the quintessence, the apogee, the very apotheosis of a certain kind of smell.

It is the Everest of candy store scents. The ultimate of confisserie patisserie perfumes.

That it is expert is beyond doubt, but whether it is art is moot.

Opening with an array of boiled-sweet notes: melon, coconut, mandarin, blackcurrant, red berries and a touch of Turkish-delight rose, there is a moment, a demi moment when all seems as though it could turn out fruity.

Then massive waves of vanilla, honey and mainly chocolate and caramel break, washing away most everything else in their crashing wake.

At this stage it is customary to bow down before the genius of the insertion of a brusque storm defence of patchouli and to dwell on the animalic undertow.

To my mind both are invariably over stated: false pseudo intellectual alibis for fragrance aficionados a little ashamed of their gargantuan and decayed sweet tooths.

This is ultimately an unabashed sugar festival that flirts half heartedly with darkness, but is no more than dark chocolate and salted caramel.

It is commonplace to state this scent is some sort of olfactory miracle.

If true then sadly angels are both everywhere and decidedly average these days.

Are the customers at this store exclusively female?

No not all.

And nor are the patrons of Amen’s coffee shop across the way just male.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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23 Comments

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23 responses to “Easter eggs anyone…? Angel by Thierry Mugler The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

  1. I still love Angel. I won’t wear it outside my house – it’s too ubiquitous and stays on my skin forever – but I still enjoy the scent.

    • Dear Undina
      For The Dandy, this scent is a difficult one.
      There is a certain confectionery crazed charm to Angel, no doubt about that.
      But, I feel it is a fragrance that has been somewhat undone by the disproportionate acclaim lavished on it, its ubiquity and of course the hundreds of flankers and imitators.
      I guess if over familiarity doesn’t necessarily breed contempt it can inspire ambivalence…
      I can imagine this as a perfect private indulgence though.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  2. Dear Mr Dandy,

    I could not agree with you more. People speak of its Patchouli notes, and its Floral attributes, but all I ever got was the above mentioned tidal wave of Chocolate and Fudge. Nothing else. Fans of Angel are vehement in their love for it, and I find it divides like no other fragrance. Personally I loathe it, despite several attempts to try and understand it. I have decided to stop attempting to see the appeal, because in twenty years it still hasn’t won me round.
    An excellent and vivid review, as usual.

    Your friend
    IScent

    • Dear Iscent
      You are too kind.
      I am afraid that The Dandy’s none too delicate nose as the same problem in yours in detecting all the depth and detail that others find in this fragrance.
      I find I am very sensitive to sweet notes, particularly chocolate, so you can imagine…
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  3. brie

    I was salivating just now looking at the pictures and reading this! Sampled Angel when it first came out in the early 90s and liked it but never got a full bottle until last year when a good friend mailed me a vintage star…I drained it within three weeks! But I must also say that my son has A*Men which I adore as well (will occasionally steal a few spritzed from his bottle !)

    • Dearest Brie
      Truly Angel is the strangest kind of curates Easter Egg, inspiring salivation in some and leaving others indifferent, indeed some hate the stuff!
      I do wonder whether it comes down to the pssession of a sweet tooth or no. The Dandy has none to speak of you see, so perhaps this is why I am largely immune to this Angel’s charms?
      As a side note, I have been the proud owner of a nearly full bottle of A*men for almost twenty years.
      It smells the same now as it did the day I bought it despite some rough treatment and a strange discolouration…
      Thank you as ever Brie for your wonderful contributions!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. TeenaLeena

    Dear Mr. Dandy,

    Again, you hit it on the head. It is a love it or hate it fragrance. I agree with IScent. I never got any of the Patchouli notes(which I love). All I got was
    the sweet sickly odor of a cheap chocolate covered carmel candy. It is one of only a few fragrances that I just cannot be around. But such is the joy of fragrance. My love of Caron Tabac Blonde or Cuir de Russie is my daughters idea of strolling through a barnyard in wet leather pants..

    The photo’s on this post were perfect as always!

    Your fan,

    TL

    • Dearest TeenaLeena
      You have it there in a perfectly formed nutshell!
      The joy of fragrance is indeed that we no two of us share the identical taste in scent – and many of us sit at happy opposites.
      In general terms, I am with you in the barnyard, never happier than being warmed with a good leather.
      Oh, I say!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  5. Lilybelle

    I’ve been on a few love/hate rollercoaster rounds with Angel over the years. I still keep my empty refillable star to sniff now and then. I have observed that some lucky few people can wear Angel so well that I haven’t even recognized it as Angel. It goes all creamy deliciousness on them. On most others it’s just blasty-bomb Angel and we all know what that smells like. On my skin the patchouli was a monster, the whole composition was an overwhelming monster But I still was ready to admit defeat. One summer while a blueberry cobbler was baking in the oven the scent of the sugared bubbling juices made me think of Angel, and it was then that I realized Angel is a fruity scent. I could not detect the berry-ness in it before that. Angel Innocent has no patchouli. It dries down to lovely musky praline, but you have to enjoy desserty frarances to appreciate it. When this type of fragrance started becoming ubiquitous, I didn’t like them. Then I went through a phase of loving them (I have a huge sweet tooth – skip the appetizers and the entrees and cut straight to dessert and I am very happy). Now, I think I may be leaving the sweetie phase. At least, they haven’t been as satisfying lately, but summer weather will be the deciding factor – though I will always LOVE vanilla (Shalimar). Do you suppose we have Shalimar to blame for Angel? Who knew, back then, what would ultimately develop! Thank you Mr. Dandy for another great review and the opportunity to muse on these things. :)

    • Dearest Lilly
      I can so easily imagine that life with Angel must be a roller
      coaster and then some!
      Equally I can conceive that this could so easily be a scent that relies not only on skin type but also the time at which it is worn.
      You see, and this I should perhaps have set out in the review, but The Dandy’s dermis does have the habit of amplifying sweet notes to the extent that nothing else can be heard or smelt within 100 yards!
      Dior’s Mitzah on me is I think how Angel smells on everyone else to everyone else. Perhaps I am the dog who can hear the whistle too high pitched for human beings?
      Your point about ubiquity is a good one – if it were not enough that Angel itself were everywhere, it’s endless flankers and imitators now swarm the globe.
      Perhaps that is why I so often find solace in their spiritual polar opposites: chypres and leathers, galbanum, oakmass and birchtar.
      But the crux of the issue is the one you come to in your brackets (the sweet tooth). The Dandy doesn’t have one and would always prefer al dente asparagus and hollandaise to even the most deluxe of Hershey bars!
      Perhaps then, the key to liking Angel – if is just occasionally – is liking to eat the things that it smells like.
      In which case I guess The Dandy was always doomed not to fall in love with this Angel, no matter how heavenly she may be…
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  6. OMG Wonderful review! “Large enough to fit a child inside.” YES!!!!!!! Resurrected chocolate. On me it tends to smell more like…..reanimated chocolate, but no matter! It is a monster indeed!

  7. rosestrang

    Brilliant Sir Dandy! You absolutely capture this overpowering perfume and its obviousness! My favourite moment is the fattened mouse.
    I remember first encountering Angel on other people in the 90s. Back then it was either Angel or L’eau d’Issey and I was thoroughly sick of both within a short space of time, but disliked Angel the most, there’s nothing subtle or intruiging about it, and what’s loud about it isn’t interesting – I mean for interesting loudness, Coco Chanel wins hands down.
    I get the patchouli juxtaposed with BIG fudge immediately (fairly sensitive to patchouli though I love it when it’s done well) but the fruity fudge notes remind me of those sprays they use in supermarkets to tempt customers to the bakery counter – totally superfluous to requirements since the smell of actual baking is still detectable
    It’s like the smell of a bad hairdressers, you just know that if you go in you’ll come out with a fashion clone haircut!

    • Oh Rose
      How I agree with you! Wasn’t the 90s just the decade of those two perfumes?
      Often one worn by day and the other by night.
      But is it any better now? Look at 1Million go, intent it seems on candy-powered world domination… The problem being that people wear it day and night. Affreuse.
      And yes, yes, yes. If anyone wants big than there is always Coco – a far, far superior confection.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy.

      • rosestrang

        Here’s an anonymous quote I found re’ ‘1 million’ – “Great longevity (20hrs +) and monster projection – it projects in a 6-8 ft distance even after 12 hours.” Yikes!

  8. And, we all know how you feel about chocolate and the excessively sweet! But, I wouldn’t mind a trip to Paris to see the shop windows dressed with confections so big they could contain a child. Another in a series of magical stories. Merci beaucoup!

    • Dearest V
      Yes, least said about The Dandy and sugar, fat, cocoa amalgum the better. He chuckles.
      But Parisian windows, oh yes. I was in a beautiful Confisserie Patisserie on the rue Cler just a month ago buying the biggest slice of a most decidedly savoury cheesecake ever that I proceeded to devour at the Palais de Tokyo after a walk in the snow.
      One thing the Parisians do well is festive vitrines. At Christmas they erect platforms so that little folks can peer at the wonderfully adorned windows all the better.
      Happiness is a place called Paris.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Oh! I wasn’t going to encourage you staying up so late, but… the windows! Such whimsey and confectionery colors. Happiness is a place called Paris. And, I think we are psychically linked. I just finished writing a two part post about London and Paris…
        Bon nuit,
        V

      • To Place Vendome dearest Vickie and all the jewels that lie withing, the greatest being Ms Deneuve (who was customarily divine in the film of the same name).
        Good night from Londres.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  9. I hang my head in shame, Dandy, for I am one who adores Angel. What can I say… I love sweets. I think this fragrance is very unique. Maybe, just maybe, with my angelic chemistry it becomes divine… Is that possible? ;) This is one that I get many compliments on and when I do, I tell that person that only angels can smell it. Everyone loves an earth angel, right?
    Great review, per usual, even though we will agree to slightly disagree.
    Gripping

  10. Dear Gripping
    There is no cause for shame, no cause at all.
    Tshh tshh says The Dandy to such thoughts.
    I am sure that Mr Mugler’s potion is a creamy butterscotch delight on your sacred skin.
    But The Dandy’s dermis is not for turning, it cannot tolerate the stuff,
    Surely this odd diversity is a cause not for misery but but for joy, no?
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  11. Very tasteful post, as usual. Mouth-watering right now. ;P

  12. Miss Misty

    “…smiles a toothless smile…” lol
    What a witty review on one of my most disliked perfumes. I can apprecatiate Angel’s composition for breaking new olfactory ground but I can’t wear it. Even smelling it on others is hard for me to endure. Something about it makes me feel claustrophobic…

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