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May 17, 2006

La Rose Angel by Thierry Mugler : Perfume Review


If there is a perfume that in the recent history has inspired the most imitations and variations, it must be Angel (1992), a dramatic composition combining an overdose of patchouli with the cotton candy sweetness of maltol. The surprising aspect is that the juxtaposition works remarkably well, resulting in a fragrance that fuses the gourmand temptations of melted chocolate swirled into warm honey and the unexpectedly masculine earthiness of patchouli. Although arresting and sensual, the combination can hardly be called pretty. …

The perfumes that followed in the wake of this great trendsetter tried to make it so, by reigning in its obstreperous nature and softening its aggressive impact. The successors polished the rough edges of Angel’s remarkable patchouli dominated accord and created what were essentially quite well-done fragrances that somehow lacked character. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle and Lolita Lempicka are perhaps the best variations on the Angel theme. Even other Garden of Stars editions such as Lily Angel, Violet Angel and Peony Angel seem to lack the fierce streak that made Angel memorable.

The latest edition focusing on rose strikes me as the most interesting of the four. Created by Olivier Cresp, the perfumer who composed Angel, La Rose Angel also tames its elder sibling, however in this case, the accent on the floral components does not compromise Angel’s characteristic traits. The combination of rose and patchouli is very successful, with the velvety richness of one foiling the clay dust dryness of the other. While under the resinous woodiness of Angel’s patchouli the sweet notes conjure a vision of sugared Mirabelle plum, La Rose Angel oozes with rose liqueur. What made slightly less obvious are the earthy undertones that in Angel’s drydown produce the shocking effect of mud on a white evening dress. After displaying the rich rose notes that alternate between fresh crimson buds and candied flowers, La Rose sheds its petals revealing a caramelized patchouli base.  It succeeds in lending an interesting nuance to the original composition, and while alluring, La Rose retains a certain unexpected boisterousness.

La Rose Angel includes notes of rose, bergamot, hedione, helional, honey, dewberry, red berries, vanilla, caramel, patchouli, chocolate, and coumarin. It is available from Sephora, Saks5thAvenue and other retail venues carrying Thierry Mugler line.



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