Thierry Mugler La Rose Angel : Perfume Review

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Thierry_mugler_la_rose_angel

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

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 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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36 Comments

  • Tania: Wonderful. That’s it: I’m going to walk to Saks today to check it out. May 17, 2006 at 8:25am Reply

  • Marina: Helen of Troy had the face that launched 1000 ships, Angel has the scent that launched 1000 wannabe-Angels… 😀
    Seriously though, I too thought that La Rose was the loveliest and the most interesting of all Garden Angels. May 17, 2006 at 10:07am Reply

  • Madelyn Etkind: Dear Victoria,
    As a former Angel user – on a regular basis – I must concur with your placement of Angel in the perfume hall of fame (if one does exist ) as shockingly –
    different! At the time of Angel’s entree – I remember being both fascinated and perplexed by its’ strange sweet yet earthy presence. However, as my wallet can attest – I grew to love it – be obsessed with its’ sensual heart. I now associate Angel’s mist with many a romanantic remembrance. I enjoyed the shower gel and the bosy cream . The line is so comprehensive – I remember it had a hair mist ! Angel lovers , i believe as a cult unto themselves . Meeting another woman – and discovering to our mutual delight – that we both share angel as part of our scented psyche – is grounds for an instant bond !I ,however, do not have the same enthusiasm for Angel’s garden of delights. I prefer the violet above the others . To my nose , Angel Violet is an arresting juxtaposition of a “come hither ” scent combined with a very feminine aura. Thank you, dear V, for reminding me of this beautiful line ! While I certainly do not NEED any more perfume – I have many – I am temted to revisit the Angel Counter. By the way, in your opinion- what is the sexiest – most seductive scent – the one you would suggest for a amorous rendezvous?
    Madelyn E May 17, 2006 at 10:34am Reply

  • Madelyn Etkind: Dear Victoria,
    As a former Angel user – on a regular basis – I must concur with your placement of Angel in the perfume hall of fame (if one does exist ) as shockingly –
    different! At the time of Angel’s entree – I remember being both fascinated and perplexed by its’ strange sweet yet earthy presence. However, as my wallet can attest – I grew to love it – be obsessed with its’ sensual heart. I now associate Angel’s mist with many a romanantic remembrance. I enjoyed the shower gel and the bosy cream . The line is so comprehensive – I remember it had a hair mist ! Angel lovers , i believe as a cult unto themselves . Meeting another woman – and discovering to our mutual delight – that we both share angel as part of our scented psyche – is grounds for an instant bond !I ,however, do not have the same enthusiasm for Angel’s garden of delights. I prefer the violet above the others . To my nose , Angel Violet is an arresting juxtaposition of a “come hither ” scent combined with a very feminine aura. Thank you, dear V, for reminding me of this beautiful line ! While I certainly do not NEED any more perfume – I have many – I am temted to revisit the Angel Counter. By the way, in your opinion- what is the sexiest – most seductive scent – the one you would suggest for a amorous rendezvous?
    Madelyn E May 17, 2006 at 10:35am Reply

  • Dusan: Stunning review, Victoria! I’m a great fan of the original Angel and prefer it much more to the men’s version that I own. Of the three floral Angels that were launched before the Rose (which is still unavailable in Belgrade) I liked the Violet the most, Lily was much too funereal to me and the Peony, well, I don’t even remember how it smelled. Can’t wait to try the Rose! Btw, what are your thoughts on Angel Innocent?
    Dusan May 17, 2006 at 11:10am Reply

  • Robin: Drat, was hoping to ignore this since I didn’t like the first 3. Now I’ll have to smell it. May 17, 2006 at 12:49pm Reply

  • Tara: I unfortunately cannot wear the original Angel as it smells like rotting melons on me, but I can wear theh Violet Angel, which was my favorite out of the Garden of Stars. Mostly I wear the A*men version when I want an Angel fix. I admire it greatly and wish the women’s version worked on me. May 17, 2006 at 3:25pm Reply

  • Tania: V, I just stopped by Saks and now have the Rose Angel on one hand and the Violet on the other. I dismissed the Violet too quickly the last time: it really is interesting. Different, very much a woody powdery violet scent sweetened with what I’m guessing is ethyl maltol, and not even recognizably Angel! I’m still trying to figure out if I love or hate it. It has quite a character of its own, could verge on sickeningly sweet. (I have to figure out if it *is* sickeningly sweet.) The Rose, on the other hand, is fascinating: just like Bois de Violette seemed to be a much more intensified version of Feminité du Bois, rather than Feminité du Bois + Violette, Rose Angel seems to be Angel Intense. What it loses in deep strange fruity chocolate it gains in, as you say, this off-kilter candied rose. Rose/patchouli and rose/chocolate are both fascinating ideas, and here they are welded together in a satisfying trinity. On the other hand, it is not that different from the original Angel. I do notice that Rose Angel has more oomph than the other floral angels, and is certainly the variation to choose if you want the same devastating trail of fragrance that the original Angel provided. May 17, 2006 at 7:46pm Reply

  • Katie: Oh it sounds fantastic! I just went on a perfume sniffing shopping trip, and completely forgot all about looking for it. What an oversight, I so need to try this. And I do agree with you about the relative tameness of the other floral variations in the Garden of Stars trio. Keep your fingers crossed for me that the Rose is the winner in the bunch! Thanks for the impressions of it, V. May 17, 2006 at 8:14pm Reply

  • Laura: Well, this now sounds worth trying. I doubt it’ll be me but that’s OK. I need to know about it, thanks to your excellent review. May 17, 2006 at 8:36pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, it is definitely worth a trip to Saks! May 17, 2006 at 9:43pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, I admit that Violet Angel was rather lovely, but it still does not compare to Rose Angel, which is successful all around. Rose and patchouli is a combination made in heaven. May 17, 2006 at 9:46pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, you are absolutely right about the line being comprehensive. All of ancillary products are excellent, and I also used to have hair mist at one point. The body oil was also great. May 17, 2006 at 9:48pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, I almost missed your question about a seductive fragrance. I tend to think of orientals as a devastating seductive group, and for me, I would list Shalimar, Musc Ravageur, as well as floral ambers like Attrape Coeur and Chamade. Also Coriander is very seductive, but in a much more understated manner. May 17, 2006 at 9:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dusan, thank you very much! I like men’s version, but the feminine one is a winner for me as well. Angel Innocent is lovely, although after the apperance of various Angel-like perfumes, it does not make the same impact. For Angel lite, I would rather go for Coco Mlle, Prada or Euphoria (although Euphoria has other interesting traits, therefore maybe it is not a good idea to include it in this group). May 17, 2006 at 9:53pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, it is definitely the most successful of the Garden. You should make a trip to try it. May 17, 2006 at 9:53pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tara, I also prefer Violet among the first three, but Rose is even better for me. I understand how Angel can be hard to wear, but A*Men is a very interesting fragrance as well. I wear it too from time to time. May 17, 2006 at 9:55pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tania, it is fascinating to read your comments right as I am wearing Rose Angel as well. I agree completely on Violet Angel, although it is the lack of impact that made me less interested in than I would have been otherwise. All in all, I would not mind owning Violet and Rose, because I know that I would actually reach for them whenever I wanted something other than Angel.

    You are completely right about rose, chocolate and patchouli trinity. Of course, patchouli can be accented in such a way as to bring out the chocolate nuance, therefore it seems like a perfect combination for me. May 17, 2006 at 9:57pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, I would love to hear your thoughts on Rose Angel. I have always loved Angel, but lately I have not found anything in the line to be particularly excited about. Rose Angel was such a wonderful surprise. May 17, 2006 at 9:58pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, I am glad that you enjoyed it. I also do not think that you might like Rose Angel. As Tania points out correctly, it is not markedly different from Angel, and if you do not like one, you are not going to like the other. May 17, 2006 at 10:00pm Reply

  • Dusan: Re Angel Innocent – my sentiments exactly. Of the three suggested “Angel lites”, Prada wins hands down in my book. Although I like the other two (make that LOVE C. Melle), Prada is comparatively less noisy, if at all (maybe because the use of synthetics was reduced to a minimum?), and is far more sophisticated. It’s simply delicious 😉 ! May 17, 2006 at 11:26pm Reply

  • paradise: v, you are such a prolific writer! i can hardly keep up with your frequent reviews. how do you find the time? although someone who writes as well as you do probably doesn’t need much time to write an article. i on the other hand stare blankly at the screen for hours (okay, not hours…). i think that perhaps starting a blog will force me to get used to writting in a more eloquent manner after all those years of lab reports and scientific papers. how refreshing to use adjectives that are not limited to “inconclusive” and “useful”!

    ok, sorry, that part was not related to perfume. i don’t have much to add except i’ve never tried this one but i love the shape of the bottle! May 18, 2006 at 12:43am Reply

  • Madelyn Etkind: Dear V,
    Thank you for your reply to my question ” what fragrance is most associated for seduction. I do no know much about Musc Ravageur – where can I buy it in NY – what is it lke ? Any of your readers have other suggestions for their most sexy scent?
    Thank you !
    Madelyn E May 18, 2006 at 2:29am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dusan, I agree with you about Prada. It is definitely more sophisticated than Coco Mlle. Coco Mlle starts out loud and gets even more so. My friend once compared it to a beautiful, but obnoxious stranger. Prada Intense is the one I prefer to the original Prada, but it seems very difficult to find. May 18, 2006 at 11:10am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Paradise, thank you for a nice compliment. I find that writing as a creative process sometimes just moves smoothly and sometimes it simply stalls. Having a blog is definitely a good way to discipline myself. And yes, I can relate when you mention being tired of scientific writing. One needs some diversion.

    Like you, I love the bottle. If I were a bottle collector, I would get all of Garden of Stars flacons. They look gorgeous together. May 18, 2006 at 11:13am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, my pleasure! I reviewed Musc Ravageur on the site, and if you check “Reviews” on the menu bar, a link to it should be listed there. In NYC, you can try it at Barneys. I highly recommend it. Cannot wait to hear your thoughts. May 18, 2006 at 11:14am Reply

  • Tania: About the Violet one: do you think that maybe it does smell fairly strongly all the way through, but that the wearer just stops smelling the violets? I’ve heard that the nose acclimates to methylionone really quickly. (I’m a little worried that my fellow passengers on the train home last night were reeling from my Angelic pong.) May 18, 2006 at 2:55pm Reply

  • Dusan: Dear V, not only are you so very kind to answer all the comments, your reviews are always beautiful and poignant like vivid tapestries of the Orient that unfold enchanting stories and conjure up magical and heartwwarming memories. You are truly an artist of words! I have been a lurker for quite some time now, but am glad to have delurked.
    On another note (and following on from a previous commenter): courtesy of Patty of the Posse, I’ve recently reveived a sample of Musc Ravageur and it was instant love. I love its richness of cinnamon married to lush amber, underscored by gentle citrus and (thankfully) a whisper of lavender – it is by all means a quite animalic scent at first, but overall MR is sensuality encarnate. Much like your narratives, it is deep, full-bodied and haunting. 🙂 May 18, 2006 at 7:03pm Reply

  • patchamour: Couldn’t agree more. For me, La Rose Angel is the loveliest of the “stars.” A question for Violetnoir: you mentioned in a post under Fou d’Absinthe that we seasoned ladies might want to wear “pretty” scents. One of the SA’s at Barney’s steered me away from Fou d’Absinthe to Rosa Flamenca because it was “light, fresh, and sweet” (eyebrows raised as if one should forget the ’60’s in one’s sixties). I’d like to hear more from all about this age-fragrance question. The slight edginess of Rose Angel pleases me. Patchamour May 22, 2006 at 11:37am Reply

  • FiveoaksBouquet: “Coco Mlle starts out loud and gets even more so. My friend once compared it to a beautiful, but obnoxious stranger.”

    V, this comment is eerily reminiscent of my experience with Coco Mlle. I was on a long and crowded train trip and next to me was sitting “a beautiful and obnoxious stranger” wearing Coco Mlle! It did keep getting stronger and stronger as the trip wore on and I had to get up and go to the café car as often as possible. Toward the end of the trip, I learned how lucky I had been as the lady said she had wanted to reapply but unfortunately had packed her perfume in her checked suitcase instead of slipping it into her purse. Whew! LOL May 22, 2006 at 12:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tania, I also heard that some people are completely anosmic to ionones. Perhaps, you are right about getting acclimated to them, but after a while, I find the composition a touch too pale. Still, it is very lovely. May 23, 2006 at 2:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dusan, thank you for such a beautiful compliment! I only hope that I continue to write interesting things. Like you, I find Musc Ravageur beautiful and haunting. The subtle touch of lavender adds a bit of freshness, which I find to be perfect alongside the richer aspects of the composition. May 23, 2006 at 2:06pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patchamour, I recall reading a study that men smelling grapefruit fragrances on older women ended up perceiving them as younger. Now, I do not know how this study was conducted and whether it used a control group, so I take it all with a grain of salt. I think that one should wear whatever one finds moving and beautiful. It is guaranteed to be the best technique. 🙂 May 23, 2006 at 2:08pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Fiveoaks, you were saved! I cannot imagine anyone needing to refresh Coco Mlle. It is one of those fragrances that seem to last and last. Actually, I was probably a cause of someone’s misery last week, when a clumsy Saks SA spilled almost 1/8oz of Allure Sensuelle parfum on my wrist. And I liked Allure Sensuelle ok prior to this. May 23, 2006 at 2:12pm Reply

  • Karin: Coco M. is on me like the woman on the train, only I can smell it, and only want to wash it off. It does not soften at all.

    Allure S. is very good on a local SA. I love it on her. I think it smells the same on me only feel loud. I don’t wear it, consequently. May 25, 2006 at 12:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Karin, I prefer Sensuelle to the original, because it provides a better balance between the freshness and the sweetness. Nevertheless, it is a bit loud on me as well. May 26, 2006 at 1:12am Reply

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