Thierry Mugler Angel : Perfume Review and Fragrance Poll

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Angel

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

I generally try to steer clear of too much hyperbole, but in the case of Angel, every hyperbole describes it perfectly. The most polarizing, the most memorable, the most dramatic, the most grotesque… Angel, created for Thierry Mugler in 1992, is one of the great perfume success stories of the last two decades. Its introduction on the market is also an interesting case study into what it takes to make a classic: quality juice, a strong character, a memorable signature and also time. Today, most brands go for the quick sell, releasing fragrances that are bland and derivative; the new launches are rarely given time to take hold in the market place. Angel was not a runaway success; it took three years of constant support from Thierry Mugler and its parent company, Clarins, for this fragrance to start topping the best seller lists. And the rest is history!

What follows is not so much my standard perfume review, but rather an exploration of how this fragrancew came about and what makes it unusual. In the end, I share some of my favorites among Angel offspring, including some fragrance that I find fantastic but that fared quite badly on the market. I also would love to hear your thoughts on Angel, positive and negative.

Angel: New Gourmand Fragrance Genre

My relationship with Angel has been that of distant admiration; however, as I go further with my perfumery training, Angel is becoming a constant presence on my desk. Since its launch, the gourmand fragrance genre has expanded dramatically to the extent that “gourmand” is now a commonly used fragrance classification. While the gourmand idea in perfumery is not at all new, Angel took it to the extreme. It is not simply a teasing suggestion of a dessert, but a full feast of crème caramel, cotton candy, raspberry macarons, candied fruit, drizzled with hot chocolate sauce and honey. The interplay of familiar scents and the completely novel character of this perfume make Angel fascinating.

Angel grew out of fashion designer Thierry Mugler’s desire for a mouthwatering, delicious scent. At the core of the composition is a strong accord of patchouli and Veltol, a fascinating and extremely potent aroma-material that smells like vanilla caramel and cotton candy. In fact, if you put just these two materials together in the right balance, you will have a very strong Angel impression. Although it is built as a modern composition based on a single distinctive element—patchouli and cotton candy, there are plenty of embellishments that make Angel not only complex, but surprising.

Wearing Angel: Contrasted and Polarizing

The initial impression is that of effervescent citrus and tart berries which give a bright, crisp sensation. As the luscious notes of caramel and honey grow stronger, the patchouli foils the composition, giving it a dry, earthy quality. The abstract accord of crisp, watery notes woven into the structure of Angel further lightens the gourmand decadence. Angel dries down to a smooth, dark accord of bitter chocolate, patchouli and almond praline.

The contrasted nature of Angel is what intrigues me the most about this composition. It is quite heavy, strong and extremely tenacious, yet it is not at all dense and opaque. The fresh, tart notes sprinkled throughout its development give the fragrance a surprising lift. The sweet notes should make it seem sugary and pretty, yet pretty is definitely not the right adjective to describe Angel. The combination of strong peppery bergamot notes and patchouli gives it an almost masculine quality. On the whole, Angel conveys extreme decadence and seduction. To its haters, it is the most vulgar perfume on earth. Its sillage is monstrous and its character is overwhelming, to the point of causing physical discomfort.

My Favorites from the Angel Family

I can write a whole post on Angel copycats and offspring, but I will just mention a few of my personal favorites. Some of these have been discontinued, but they are still easy to find online. Lolita Lempicka is perhaps the best of the Angel children, a moody, elegant blend of patchouli, dark cherries, anise and iris. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle takes Angel into a chypre direction, with a cool mossy note contrasted with the caramel-patchouli accord. The original Prada Eau de Parfum, especially the Intense version, is a great option for those who love patchouli. It is essentially an elegant, toned down version of Angel. Issey Miyake Le Feu d’Issey explores the savory side of gourmand with an accord of bread, sandalwood and patchouli, which was also explored recently by Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau. Givenchy Organza Indécence is a beautiful vanilla and woods fragrance, inspired by the scent of sugared almonds. Chopard Madness, a complete market failure but an excellent perfume, takes Angel along a spicy route with a strong accord of pepper, cardamom and incense.

What do you think of Angel? Do you love it or hate it?

Thierry Mugler Angel includes notes of bergamot, mandarin, dewberry, honey, red berries, patchouli, Australian sandalwood, coumarin, vanilla, caramel, chocolate. Available from all the major retailers.

Sample: my own acquisition

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107 Comments

  • Olfactoria: I always shied away from Angel, probably more because of its reputation than anything else. When I first smelled it, I did not get much of the gourmand notes, strangely, but an overwhelmingly sharp, almost mentholated note I can not sit out until the promised goodies arrive. So, while I respect Angel for its groundbreaking role, it is not for me.
    I love Lolita Lempicka and Prada though, as well as Jeux de Peau. Le Feu d’Issey was my signature scent for years in my twenties. So I guess I owe quite a bit to angel and its legacy.
    Great post, dear V! March 10, 2011 at 3:51am Reply

  • rosarita: Such an interesting post, thank you! I first tried Angel in the late 90s and hated it. Over the years, I tried it again a few times & still hated it. Then I discovered the online perfume world of niche & blogs, and my tastes expanded. Someone sent me a large sample of Angel in a swap package and I set about sampling in earnest. I learned that what I disliked was the overwhelming saturation of scent that came from a large spritz; however, at the few drops at a time level, Angel began to grow on me. I eventually acquired a beautiful star mini which will last me the rest of my life (I think the bottles are gorgeous). One or two drops is just right for me, and now I really enjoy and appreciate it. As far as Angel followers go, I do like Prada edp & esp Prada Intense, but when I want an elegant patchouli I’m more likely to reach for Chanel Coromandel, which I really love. March 10, 2011 at 4:50am Reply

  • Zoé: Hello and thank for your post !
    I just wanted to let my opinion : nowadays, in France, a lot of people still loves Angel. And I really wonder why : that distasteful vanilla flavor…
    I don’t know why Thierry Mugler keeps going, presenting Alien, as bad as Angel…
    But this is only one opinion !
    Bye,
    Zoé March 10, 2011 at 5:13am Reply

  • Ines: I actually like it but not for me, it’s too bold for me, I don’t wear perfume like that usually.
    But I do like to wear the offspring – Coco Mademoiselle and Jeux de Peau. :) March 10, 2011 at 5:15am Reply

  • karin: Great post, V! I was an early convert to Angel. Brought a sample vial with me to Paris while on vacation in 1993, and wore it while I was there. Needless to say, Angel reminds me of Paris (which is kind of ironic since it ended up becoming such a huge hit over there). It’s definitely a polarizing scent, though. Liking it as I do, I’ve been embarrassed by women who wear too much, thinking they’re ruining the reputation of it by smothering the rest of us with it. Worn sparingly, however, there’s nothing else like it.

    As to the Angel copycats, I like LL, though not as much as Angel. It’s another powerhouse. I love Coco M. Prada is too ambery for me. I’ll need to investigate Madness. Sounds interesting! March 10, 2011 at 7:29am Reply

  • Victoria: That strong note of patchouli is essential to Angel, and you are right, it is bold! I smell it right on top also. I think that Angel was my gateway to patchouli. I never really wore Angel for pleasure, but since I have been immersed in my perfumery studies, it really has been a near constant presence around. March 10, 2011 at 7:53am Reply

  • Victoria: Coromandel, Lutens Borneo 1834 are such great Angel offspring. I should have included them also.
    The bottles are fantastic. Also, it is fascinating to me how the choice of color and bottle shape further highlights the surprising nature of this perfume. One would expect something cool and icy, and instead, it is anything but that! March 10, 2011 at 7:57am Reply

  • Victoria: I was just looking at the most recent best-sellers in France, and yes, Angel still has the top ranking. I do not smell much of it in NYC, but in Paris, it seems far more common.
    Alien is a tough perfume to wear! I like it, but I can take it for exactly 10 minutes. :) March 10, 2011 at 7:59am Reply

  • Victoria: For me, it is too demanding, almost like a dress that wears you, rather than the other way around. On some days, it is ok; on others, it irritates me. March 10, 2011 at 8:02am Reply

  • Victoria: Karin, perfectly said–Angel is usually way overapplied, where as a dab is all one needs. Even one drop has an incredible sillage.
    For me also, Paris is associated with Angel. Paris metro is a mix of Angel and the lily of the valley air freshener.

    Madness is excellent, chocolate oriental with a nice cardamom note. What killed it above all (besides the fact that these kind of spicy orientals do not do well in the US,) was an incongruous marketing campaign. March 10, 2011 at 8:09am Reply

  • Marina: It’s like they say on The Bachelor, “It’s the Most! Dramatic! Episode! Ever!” :)
    I respect Angel for it is, and I like it, but I don’t wear, because it is too…familiar? March 10, 2011 at 8:21am Reply

  • Victoria: Exactly, too familiar. Like a friend of mine says, "so, I'm walking down the street and all I am smelling is Angel. And I want to scream at these women, 'you all smell like everyone else.' " Needless to say, she is an avid Angel hater! March 10, 2011 at 8:25am Reply

  • Olfacta: A few months ago I went on a girls’ weekend in New Orleans with a bunch of my cousins. One was wearing perfume, and she smelled pretty good. I asked her what it was: “Angel.” It’s her signature scent. She carries a whole bottle of it in her purse. I’d sampled it in stores and didn’t like it at all; maybe it was her skin that reacted with it well. It was a good scent for New Orleans, strong and not shy and sweet and dark. I was surprised at my reaction, as it’s almost as popular among the perfume cognoscenti to trash Angel now as it was to trash Giorgio, back when dinosaurs walked the earth. March 10, 2011 at 8:34am Reply

  • key change: I have to chime in and say that I think I’d count myself among the Angel haters out there. More than anything, it seems like an olfactory slap in the face–something about it always makes me recoil. It is bold, though, I’ll give it that much. and it’s certainly popular here in Canada–SA’s at The Bay often resort to this one when they think they’ll lose me. March 10, 2011 at 8:39am Reply

  • Nancy A: I lived in Rouen in 2002 when I first smelled Angel. Actually, I was walking down the street when a woman passed me, smelling heavenly. I immediately followed her (the New Yorker in me) and asked her the name of the scent. I have been wearing it ever since. Every time I try to change scents, someone compliments me and it becomes impossible! Perhaps though, I am wearing Angel as a true Parisienne woman would, sparingly? I haven’t tried any of the other scents mentioned in the article, nor can I bear the scent of any of the Angel offspring – sorry, but I detest Alien. Even more so, when every salesperson at the Angel counter wishes to push samples of it on you, instead of Angel samples that travel so easily in your purse. My other favorite scents are Quelques Fleurs which I mentioned in an earlier post (do you know that you cannot find this scent in France? Even though it is made there, all is exported, mainly to the US) and Chantal Thomass’ original which now has been replaces by Chez Moi (boo hoo, as I find Chez Moi horrible). I found some gift sets of the original last year in Marrionaud and scooped them all up! March 10, 2011 at 8:44am Reply

  • KathyT: I really like Angel, but it doesn’t really suit my casual style. It just seems out of place on me. I do really like the flankers though – Eau de Star and Angel Innocent are favorites. March 10, 2011 at 9:31am Reply

  • Amy: I can’t get past the bit that Luca Turin called “refreshingly toxic,” or what I think of as the “bug spray accord.” I appreciate a wide range of perfume notes–civet, castoreum, heavy patchouli, aldehydes, indoles, leather, rubber–but ai-ya! this bug spray makes me want to run! March 10, 2011 at 9:59am Reply

  • sara: I think Angel is fascinating. I’ve never worn it but I enjoy testing it occasionally. So glad I’m not the only one who likes Madness! That scent was way ahead of its time. March 10, 2011 at 10:31am Reply

  • Amanda: What a GREAT post!!! When I first got Angel I didn’t really like it but tried it several times and it grew on me. Your post is so interesting and I love all the comments, Angel is now a must have and will always be! March 10, 2011 at 10:44am Reply

  • MK: I have a soft spot in my heart for Angel – my mom has worn it for years and it always reminds me of her. It gives off a really mellow gourmand impression when she wears it too (well, she’s probably a chronic undersprayer like me).

    That and No 5 sum her up – she doesn’t really like trying new perfumes, but I can’t begrudge her for picking those two! March 10, 2011 at 10:52am Reply

  • Janet: I first smelled Angel at a Sephora on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. I walked by and smelled a strong scent of pine trees, which reminded me of Christmas. I sniffed bottles til I found where it had come from and it was Angel. It smells very spicy on me, as do most things. Whenever I wear it, someone compliments me on it. Interesting how it polarizes folks, tho. March 10, 2011 at 11:05am Reply

  • violetnoir: This is a great post, V.

    I first sampled Angel when it debuted at Nordstrom in the early 90′s. The SA told me that it smelled like birthday cake. Well not quite. I leave the birthday cake smell to CSP Vanille Abricot, but Angel definitely had the birthday cake vibe going on.

    I did not like it at first, but finally warmed to it a few years later and wore it quite a lot. I have kept my star bottle and cherish it.

    Last year, after reading rave reviews, I purchased the liqueur version of Angel. And it is gorgeous! Not as heavy or tenacious as the original, it smells smooth and slightly creamy. And, it’s been perfect for colder days during the winter. The bottle is lovely, too.

    Chopard Madness, huh? Well, I love cardamom. What does the bottle look like, and when did it debut?

    Hugs! March 10, 2011 at 11:26am Reply

  • Gitcheegumee: I have never tried Angel,however upon reading the review above, it’s description put me in mind of Viktor and Rolf’s Flowerbomb(a blind purchase,btw.)

    Well, I searched BdJ for a review of Flowerbomb, and it said it was a gourmand in the genre of Angel. Nuff said.I cannot express how vehemently I dislike Flower Bomb…it is beyond me why anyone would want to smell like a confectionary.

    I suspect Angel would bring quite an unangelic response from me,also. March 10, 2011 at 11:42am Reply

  • ScentScelf: I can’t figure me out. No Angel, thank you; no Coco Mademoiselle. But on the right day, I enjoy Organza Indecence, and I have spent much time seriously considering getting a full bottle of Lolita Lempicka. Which, come to think of it, I think LL has some crossover with Fourreau Noir, and not just purple juice. But…

    The thing I particularly latched onto here was Time. Time, as you say, required to allow a launch to truly take hold…and also in my head, the idea of time required to let a fragrance fully play out on one’s skin. A flanker every season…a new launch a few times a week…and here am I, trying to preserve a place where I have time to learn how to dance with any single perfume, let alone a number of them.

    Speaking of which, I should really go back and see how Angel behaves now. It was such an obnoxious something for my newbie self that I confess I never bothered to go back. Perhaps I would be more appreciative these days. March 10, 2011 at 11:45am Reply

  • maggiecat: Love the concept and the artistry behind it, but it doesn’t work for me. As much as I love chocolate, my skin warps it in a weird, bitter way. I do usually like it on others though, and sprayed into the air and left to settle (bit expensive for a air freshener though…:-) March 10, 2011 at 12:14pm Reply

  • Victoria: If applied with a light hand, Angel's sillage is very appealing. Too much is when it becomes problematic!
    Funny you mention Giorgio, because I recently had the same pleasant encounter with it as you had with Angel. March 10, 2011 at 12:20pm Reply

  • dodie: Strong bottom notes from A-Men make only some gentleman dare to ware it. However, I would prefer this smell for long lasting daily ware.. March 10, 2011 at 1:33pm Reply

  • RH: ooooff…. Angel. That was one of the first offerings at the fragrance counter at a local mall from a SA. She purred “It’s Deliiiiicious” but I made a face as soon as I tried the scent strip. To me it spelled migraine. The worst part was when I said “It’s not for me” and the SA protested that “everyone loves it!” And why would I want to wear something like that?
    But I do enjoy Coromandel, which is reportedly similar. Maybe I should give Angel another shot just for the heck of it? It’s been almost 3 years since the fragrance counter incident so my opinion may have changed… :) March 10, 2011 at 2:02pm Reply

  • Carla: I’ve worn Angel off and on for nearly ten years. It dates back to when I had just two or three perfumes and didn’t pay much attention. I loved Angel, but I had an inkling then it really wasn’t suitable for day wear. I really liked what you said about “Wearing Angel”. I completely agree that it is not pretty and is in the strangest way masculine. Funny to think about gourmand Angel when I just gave up sweets and desserts for Lent, and day two is already tough! March 10, 2011 at 2:07pm Reply

  • Miss Conduct: I love Angel, but haven’t had a bottle for a few years. The sillage is not at all polite. Who among us hasn’t had a coworker who overapplied? Nonetheless, the disdain with which it’s regarded among perfumistas makes me want to have another dance with it. Protecting my frangrance collection from good taste! March 10, 2011 at 2:27pm Reply

  • sweetlife: Angel in N.O. Can totally see that! Especially right now, for Mardi Gras… March 10, 2011 at 2:39pm Reply

  • sweetlife: Fascinating post–and comments! Angel is obviously still persistent and polarizing…

    I think I am more interested in Angel’s marketing story and the culture around the perfume than in the perfume itself. The marketing story seems like such a clear argument for using the exact opposite strategy that most houses are employing today: create something with (as you say) “strong character” and then *give people a chance to learn the scent.* With smells, as with food, I think people really need a chance to assimilate newness, but when they have, they often become obsessed. Suspect this is something hardwired in us.

    And maybe because of that initial newness, and then the obsession, Angel wearers seem to feel they belong to a tribe–I’ve seen women recognize each other as Angelistas with great joy instead of the usual sniffy nonplussed attitude one might expect. March 10, 2011 at 2:52pm Reply

  • julie: I love Angel from a distance. Long ago I asked a co-worker what she was wearing and it was Angel. I went to try it and was overwhelmed. I did end up buying Angel Innocent years later. I now have a small decant of Angel Liquer de Parfum and a small sample of the La Parte des Anges, and I love them both. March 10, 2011 at 3:05pm Reply

  • Elisa: I love Angel! I rarely wear it, since it’s so strong, recognizable, and polarizing, but I think it’s flat-out great, and I love many of its offspring too. Patchouli-heavy gourmands make up a fair bit of my collection. They’re the drag queens of perfume! March 10, 2011 at 3:56pm Reply

  • Isa: If I have to decide between love or hate, I say hate. I dislike it a lot. It’s too sweet, too heavy. It gives me headache. However, I like some flankers, like Angel Pivoine. March 10, 2011 at 4:06pm Reply

  • DianaWR: HATE IT. And every six months, I try it again to check. 3 years in? Still hate it. March 10, 2011 at 4:30pm Reply

  • scent: I always had an immense appreciation for Angel and at one time, owned but never really wore it because of a cousin that wore it to death! However, I recently gambled on a blind-buy of Angel extrait from an online discounter and I was really pleasantly surprised! It is far richer than the original (if that’s even possible LOL!). The extrait opens immediately with a the EDP’s heart notes; when the patchouli really starts to build up. The bergamot and strawberry are almost imperceptible! I tested the EDP and extrait on each wrist one day, and the extrait makes the EDP feel like it has an aquatic note! What is truly, truly surprising about the extrait, is the drydown. Oh, what can I say about the drydown. Now bear in mind I am a fan of animalic, skanky, civet-laden perfumes. My collection includes the filthiest of all perfumes; Ferme tes Yeux, Nuit Noire, Absolue Pour le Soir, L’air de Rien, etc…The drydown of Angel extrait competes with the filthiness of all these perfumes! The drydown reminds me of Mazz. Lui with it’s human-like patchouli. I’m talking about the extreme drydown which arrives 4+ in. But once you get there, you never want it to leave…or you do! It depends on how twisted you are! March 10, 2011 at 5:14pm Reply

  • Victoria: A slap in the face is right, it is not subtle! March 10, 2011 at 7:37pm Reply

  • Victoria: I agree, I also really like Rose and Violette Angel versions, very nicely done. March 10, 2011 at 7:38pm Reply

  • Victoria: Interesting about Quelques Fleurs, but not surprising. Houbigant has been sold mostly in the US for quite some time.

    I miss Chantal Thomass original too! March 10, 2011 at 7:38pm Reply

  • Victoria: Madness is really striking and memorable. I am glad to see others who like it. I hardly ever see it mentioned anywhere. March 10, 2011 at 7:38pm Reply

  • Mare: Oh how I love Angel so. I have tried for years (and years) to find something to replace it, but no, at the end of the day it still owns my fragrant heart. My husband is very allergic to many things, and sadly most perfumes, so my Angel extrait sits prettily on my shelf because I cant bear to part with it (or him-tee hee). March 10, 2011 at 7:39pm Reply

    • Natalia: Darling,
      On a more personal note. My husband is allergic to perfumes (most of them) too but still I use it when he is not around. For instance, I spritz it in the morning, when each of us goes to work, and in the evening, when we meet again at home, the smell is not so powefrul any more and I noticed that he does not react so badly. So, maybe that is the way for you to enjoy the perfume without hurting your husband too much? And, well, I love Angel and it works just great with my skin!! March 22, 2014 at 6:25am Reply

  • Victoria: I like discovering and rediscovering these fragrances. Angel is so popular and has been copied so much, one sometimes forgets what the original really smells like. March 10, 2011 at 7:42pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, Angel worn lightly is wonderful, it really does have the most appealing, most radiant aura. March 10, 2011 at 7:42pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, strong associations like that can definitely affect our perceptions. March 10, 2011 at 7:42pm Reply

  • Winifrieda: Hello Victoria! I first smelled Angel (in Australia) not long after it was released. I was pushing my baby thru’ the only Sydney department store that was ‘allowed’ to have it, on one of what had become rather desultory perfume hunting expeditions to the big smoke…I had been ruined by Mitsouko in about 1978. I was utterly..oh oohh THUNK…blue, icy blast, all-encompassing stunningness. The experience was rather bitter-sweet, though; I suddenly thought “this is for the next generation of perfume lovers”.
    Then I bought it a few years later “for” my girl, age about 5, I just had to have it in the house!
    It struck me recently, after finally procuring/smuggling a full BJ of Tubereuse Criminelle, that it too has the same stunning quality of stratospheric icy blast. Different aromachem, but same feeling.
    Angel to me is one of the glorious perfumes that transcend the everyday. March 10, 2011 at 7:43pm Reply

  • Victoria: It is a red square bottle, and it was launched in 2001. It is discontinued, but still widely available online. Not that I'm advocating a blind purchase though! :) March 10, 2011 at 7:47pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love the sillage of Angel when it is worn lightly, it truly amazed me every single time I smell it. Unfortunately, it is generally way overapplied. I feel that this perfume is better dabbed. March 10, 2011 at 7:52pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love your Christmas analogy, which makes perfect sense to me. It can evoke the fir tree, hot chocolate, warm fruitcake and a hint of cognac to me. :) March 10, 2011 at 7:54pm Reply

  • Victoria: Very tenacious, without doubt! March 10, 2011 at 7:55pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love your comment about you protecting your collection from good taste. So true, too much good taste can get dull after a while. :) March 10, 2011 at 7:56pm Reply

  • Victoria: The Angel tribe identification is so interesting. I got a comment from a lady, who was wearing Angel on the same day I did. "You have a great taste," she said, smiling. And how often do people make an eye contact, let alone speak to each other, on NYC subways? March 10, 2011 at 8:00pm Reply

  • Victoria: I'm wearing Coromandel today, and it is far more polite and refined than Angel. Angel is really roughhewn in comparison. :) March 10, 2011 at 8:01pm Reply

  • Victoria: As much I do not care for flankers, some Angel flankers have been very nicely done. March 10, 2011 at 8:02pm Reply

  • Victoria: Good luck with your Lent! Feel free to turn here for moral support (also following it like you.)
    Somehow wearing Angel does not make me crave sweets, perhaps the opposite. So, I predict more gourmand reviews in the future. :) March 10, 2011 at 8:04pm Reply

  • Winifrieda: Oh yes! A few months ago, I was in the supermarket in our little beachside retirement town – and – what the heck! – a woman, in her fifties and wearing leopard-skin tights and a pink blaze in her hair, came down the aisle wafting Angel. I was utterly enthralled (a), to actually smell a perfume on someone else!, and (b)that it was the Angel. It was quite unforgettable, lovely and life-affirming! March 10, 2011 at 8:04pm Reply

  • Victoria: Angel really made me fall in love with patchouli and appreciate its fascinating and versatile character. March 10, 2011 at 8:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: I can definitely see what you mean. Angel is really all that. March 10, 2011 at 8:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: You probably will not care for Angel then. Still, I prefer Angel to Flowerbomb. Flowerbomb is quite cloying to me, whereas Angel remains dark and woody. March 10, 2011 at 8:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: To develop a taste for something new, one really needs time. Unfortunately, most brands simply do not want to take the risk. They want quick sellers, not classics. It is a very short-run gain mentality in our current very risk-averse climate. March 10, 2011 at 8:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: Then it is just not meant to be. :) March 10, 2011 at 8:08pm Reply

  • Victoria: The late drydown is the part I love the most too. March 10, 2011 at 8:09pm Reply

  • Victoria: I'm sorry to hear about your husband's allergic reaction. Certainly, no perfume is worth this trouble. March 10, 2011 at 8:10pm Reply

  • Victoria: That cool, camphorous note is so memorable. It provides such an alluring contrast with the warm, gourmand accord!
    I love your story and especially your comment about it being a classic for the next generation. So true… March 10, 2011 at 8:12pm Reply

  • sweetlife: Oh Winifrieda, this is a wonderful image! Maybe part of the joy is just the simple boldness of the scent, the fun of recognizing something that takes some daring in our current moment of clean, clean, clean. (Plus fruit.)

    Having so much fun picturing Victoria and this pink-haired woman wearing the same perfume. :-) March 10, 2011 at 8:31pm Reply

  • moi: Loved it from first sniff and wear it on a regular basis. I think it’s one of the few, if not only, perfumes made in the last 20 years that one can easily deem a classic, if not a work of art. Same goes for the bottle. I also love the Angel Liqueur de Parfum–candy plus smoke. Brilliant. March 10, 2011 at 11:04pm Reply

  • Suzy Q: Thank you for this informative post and poll! I love Angel….in small quantities. The first time I tried it the SA said “it’s really strong” and so I just waved an arm through the mist. And that’s the only way I can stand to wear it: it’s a “walk through” fragrance for me. If I accidentally overspray I hate it. Isn’t it funny that it’s polarizing even to someone who loves it!?

    When it comes to patchouli, Angel has taken a back seat to my new love, Coromandel. I don’t have any problem drowning myself in that one. March 11, 2011 at 12:30am Reply

  • Maria: Angel is an intersting story. I find embarrassing everything around it, the pathetic name, the pathetic bottle, the pathetic smell. Very memorable smell, though. Meanwhile it became somehow an old type of smell. I mean for me it smells older than Shalimar or Chanel 5. I tried it again after reading your review and this feeling stroke me.
    And, embarrassing, I like and wear sometimes things inspired by Angel, like Wish or even Flowerbomb. For strange reasons men seem to be attracted by them. March 11, 2011 at 8:39am Reply

  • Victoria: So true, it is by far the most influential launch of the past few decades. J’Adore by Dior also comes close.
    The smoky note in Angel Liqueur de Parfum is what I love about it as well. Such an alluring touch! March 11, 2011 at 8:59am Reply

  • Victoria: I wore Coromandel yesterday, and I must have gotten 5 compliments on it, two from complete strangers. I know that I did not overspray (just one spritz on my wrist,) but its sillage is so beautiful. March 11, 2011 at 9:00am Reply

  • Victoria: No need to be embarrassed, they are good fragrances, after all! March 11, 2011 at 9:01am Reply

  • minette: loved it at first sniff in paris in 1993… brought it home to the u.s. and wore the heck out of it for a few years. (my mom hated it.) then i started smelling it on everyone, and it lost some of its appeal. now i’m back, with several variations – the liqueur, the rose, the peony, and one of the summer scents, as well as innocent. a young woman here at work wears angel daily, and i really like getting a whiff of it.

    it’s still great if it’s not overapplied, i think. but it’s probably love-hate. and mademoiselle steps on its toes a bit, i find. sometimes i think someone’s wearing angel when they’re wearing mademoiselle. March 11, 2011 at 7:13pm Reply

  • Victoria: I smelled Rose Angel the other day on a friend, and it was just perfect, plush, warm, with a hint of raspberry-violet darkness. March 12, 2011 at 11:26am Reply

  • Céline Verleure: I love gourmand notes but not this one anymore, maybe because so many people wear it or used to wear it. I prefer when gourmand notes are more subtile or in a more mysterious accord. However the Angel launch still is my best benchmark : almost no advertising, but a loyalty club instead, a SLOW launch, a surprising scent compared to the icy blue pack and bottle, I love everything in the mix ! March 14, 2011 at 7:12am Reply

  • Victoria: Céline, the launch is truly remarkable, just as you say. I also love everything about it, the surprising combination of marketing elements, the support from the brand. When something is new, people need time to get used to it. I wish Mugler pushed Womanity much further than they did. I like it, but it is not as daring as it could have been. March 14, 2011 at 10:57am Reply

  • iodine: In the past few years I seemed to smell everywhere a perfume that simply disgusted me, so stickingly and sickly sweetish, vagously reminding me of another great hate of my girlhood- Dior’s Poison. I didn’t know what it could have been and didn’t care much. Recently, after having read so much about it, I happened to test Angel for the first time: what a choc, it was IT!!!!!! I guess I can’t bear the berries-fruit-honey combination, above all. Moreover, I like my patchouli to be drier and more herbaceous…. Please, don’t tell me my beloved Borneo is an offspring of that monster!!!! March 14, 2011 at 3:08pm Reply

  • Alexandra: Hallo!
    Victoria, you have just given me the reason why I cannot wear Angel, although I like it… It’s just too overpowering for my strong personality, and two strong elements might create a tsunami around them. I have smelled it on a shy friend of mine, and it was such a lovely surprise coming from her; it really gave her the boost she needs to project herself more fully!
    My greetings from cloudy but always groovy London! March 15, 2011 at 8:47am Reply

  • Alexandra: Plus, for a funny reason, I like more on women with blue eyes… Strange… March 15, 2011 at 8:50am Reply

  • Tracy Bloom, LMT: I never liked Angel. I was shopping for my mom in law. I had been buying her Opium forever, cuz she said it was her favorite – for a good 20+ years, and her husband’s fave as well for her. But this time I wanted to get her something different, better, more of a personal choice from me to her. I knew she would love the name “Angel” , tho sometimes I think of her (lovingly) more as an “Alien”. I could not ever give her a scent called Alien.

    I could never wear Angel. I am not bombastic, don’t live large, I have small hair and boobs, am less superficial, more politically correct, only married once, no plastic surgery – she is opposite, and at the same time genteel, sweet, kind, loving, and very intelligent. It suits her perfectly and is now her new favorite fragrance – a hit!! He loves it on her too!
    He was an Aramis man for 50 years (?) and now loves the (original) polo I got him. March 15, 2011 at 10:11am Reply

  • Victoria: Borneo takes only the chocolate-patchouli idea though, so it does not have the same character of brash and bold.
    Yes, I can completely see how Angel can be such a hate inspiring fragrance! March 15, 2011 at 10:14am Reply

  • Tracy Bloom, LMT: less superficial – HA!!! March 15, 2011 at 10:14am Reply

  • Victoria: Tracy, what a great story! :)
    I also could never give my mother-in-law a perfume called Alien, even though I think that she would like it. March 15, 2011 at 10:15am Reply

  • Victoria: That's a great theory! Actually, it would be interesting to explore what fragrance we wear that give us extra-confidence. A friend of mine confessed that whenever she has to give a board room presentation, she wears Miss Dior. It adds extra steel to her spine. :) March 15, 2011 at 10:46am Reply

  • Tracy Bloom, LMT: exactly! March 16, 2011 at 9:54am Reply

  • Darryl: Angel is thus far the only perfume that has made me laugh out loud upon first sniff (Luca Turin and I have that in common, at least). A free-wheeling, devil-may-care blast of bad taste, empty calories, dirt, and raunch. I found it familiar, hilarious, and addictive all at once, and have loved it since that first 5 ml sample I ordered on a whim and then huffed like it was cocaine. There are days when it’s just too much, but everyone needs a little “too much” now and again, yes? It fits my personality about as well as a cashmere sweater would fit a goat, but I couldn’t care less. I emptied my refillable star about a month ago and was in no hurry to top it up, but smelling the tip of the sprayer now makes me hunger for it mightily. (Damn you, Mugler.) September 8, 2011 at 10:16pm Reply

  • Blue Zinnia: Angel is #3 of my three favorite fragrances, the other two being Vent Vert and Shalimar. I really love this stuff; it is SO original. I love fragrances with intensely surprising combinations of top and bottom notes, especially if there’s not a lot of distracting clutter between. This one’s _tete/fond_ contrast is downright witty, and the other guests fit themselves quietly and seamlessly into the spaces in the wonderful George-and-Gracie-esque conversation. (I just lost half the readers, didn’t I? Screw it, I AM old enough to remember George and Gracie. Look ‘em up, kids. :)) Great stuff. October 22, 2011 at 5:02pm Reply

  • Shirl: http://www.national-toxic-encephalopathy-foundation.org/angelperfume.htm

    This website claims that Angel is dangerous. What truth is there to this. November 4, 2011 at 10:50am Reply

  • Ronert Harrison: For me, Angel was an “Angel” in disguise. My wife Annie was diagnosed with a rare form of deadly blood cancer in June of 2008. Her prognosis was 4 weeks, followed by the question, “why is she still alive?” She survived for 30 months. She used Angel from the time it came out in the early 90′s. I loved it, so she never stopped using it. After she died, Nov 2nd, 2010, I went into deep grief. I was her caregiver and husband 24/7. Watching her die a little more each day really sucked the life out of me. At about the two week point, I was really struggling and wanted to know how she was doing. That’s normal! I was lying on the sofa, I’d been sleeping on for 30 months, next to her hospital bed. I notice the sports bandage on her bedside table, she wore protecting her pinky finger she had recently broke. She used to pour oil, “Sweet Pea Jasmine” on her bandage and move around our home in her wheel chair wiping it on our cloth furniture to make our home smell fresh. I immediately rolled off the sofa and walked to the wicker basket in out dining room, to get the oil. Next to the oil was her perfume, “Angel.” I immediately knew what I had to do. I had been studying dreams on the computer, and came to understand that the best I could do, was sleep on a bed of rose petals, and have a generic sweet dream. I didn’t know it at the time, but Angel was going to take me on a journey I will not forget until my memory fades. That night I took the “Angel” and sprayed it on my pillow. I said a prayer; I needed to see my Annie. I had the most incredible dream. Annie was standing by her hospital bed, dancing around. She was showing me that her two legs were no longer broke, and her spine that collapsed 29 months earlier was healed and no longer bulging out. My question was answered, my heart was warm. I had many dreams that I documented after I woke. Here’s one more; A few months or so after Annie died, people started telling me I needed to let go of her. My response was, “I can’t let go of her until she lets go of me.” That went on for awhile. Finally, when I went to my weekly psychology/grief appointment I told Dr Bryant about the words going around in my head. He said, in a soft voice, she is not holding onto you. I replied, I think she is. I knew we were at a standstill. So that night I decided to spray the “Angel” rather heavily over my pillow and bed covers. I had the most beautiful dream. Annie and I were holding hands at the top of a grassy knoll. She looked so beautiful, and we were having fun, running and playing. Eventually she took my hand and guided me down the hill. At the bottom was an old fashioned house with a screen door only. She guided me up on the porch where I stood looking at the door. I could see the figure of a woman with dark hair standing behind it. No other details. While standing there I felt Annie let go of my hand. I quickly turned to her and she was holding her hand out. She wanted to slap hands. I reached out and gently slapped her hand. She gave me a beautiful smile, turned, and walked off the porch fading away. She had just let go of me. Amazing, but true. One night I got to put my arms around her and feel her beautiful body through her clothing. It was as real as if she were alive. I got to meet her new friends too. Every question I needed answers for, I received the answer that night. There were many, and when they were all answered, I didn’t refill the bottle again. I had to get on with my grief. I knew she was okay, all was well. I did get to meet the Angel rep at Dillards Department Store. I told her about my dreams. She said she was not surprised, as one of the chemical in Angel is the same one they use in aroma therapy. Only more concentrated. Science would say, what I just spoke about was impossible. It’s not! I, along with my grief, a little prayer and my “Angel,” have tossed their theory out the window. It was a beautiful experience, one I shall never forget. June 26, 2012 at 2:01am Reply

    • Victoria: Ronert, thank you very much for sharing your moving story. I hope that the scent will continue to remind you of your beautiful Annie and comfort you. June 26, 2012 at 5:10am Reply

    • Mai: Ronert,
      What a beautiful story! It brought tears to my eyes! My husband is also my caregiver of 5 years after my cancer diagnosis.
      And he’s only love the “Angel” on me!
      Keep your heart beating with the loving memories and trust in your faith to guide you through. God bless! December 8, 2012 at 7:56pm Reply

    • Thierry Mugler Angel: Dear Ronert,
      I and the whole Thierry Mugler US team just saw your review dated back to June 2012. We found your story very touching and beautiful, we’d like to get in touch with you to thank you for your and your wife’s loyalty.

      If you read this reply, please contact me so that we can offer you a bit more dream.

      I look forward to hearing about you,
      Celestially yours,
      The Thierry Mugler Team. November 19, 2013 at 4:10pm Reply

  • margaret g: I love the angel perfume wonder where i can buy it. September 14, 2012 at 12:12pm Reply

  • Kami: I love Angel and I find it so funny that you call it a “sweet” perfume… to me it’s just the opposite, a strong, masculine fragrance. The patchouli and dark chocolate vibe grow on my skin as very masculine and if there is anything negative in my view of Angel is the lack of enough sweetness. I’d have put a lot more sugar in it. The EDT is sweet enough and less masculine, I wear it a lot all year round! Lolita Lempicka, is, to me, the sweet version of Angel but it’s also a bit cheap! September 21, 2012 at 4:32pm Reply

  • Trish: I aboslutely love this perfume. I first discovered it in 2004, but it was expensive and I did not buy it. I lost my husband to an accident in 2009 and figured that I needed to do something to lift my spirtits. I purchased Angel. When i wear it my mood is automatically lifted. Everywhere people stop to ask me what I am wearing, both men and women. It is the only perfume that I can wear and others can still smell it later. For me this has become my signature smell. people expect me to wear it and I have not worn another scent since. Maybe it is just the way that it reacts with my body chemistry, but no matter I love it. September 25, 2012 at 3:46pm Reply

  • Jennifer: I hadn’t tried Angel at all until just a few months ago. At first I hated it. The patchouli just seemed really high and sharp over all the sweetness, and I just couldn’t quite do it. But I kept coming back to it. And finally I decided to give it more time. Then I finally got it. After about 15 minutes or so, the sweet and the patchouli kind of merged, and the drydown is kind of like a chocolate incense to me. I finally bought a mini spray at Sephora, and when it runs out I may end up buying a real bottle. I apply lightly if I’m going to be leaving the house, but when I’m home alone and not going anywhere I do go a little crazy with it.

    But oddly enough, for all the talk about how strong Angel is, that is not the one in the Mugler line that feels like a nuclear bomb to me (thought it is potent). That honor belongs to Womanity. I caught onto this one before Angel, so it was the first one of the line that I liked and bought (just a small bottle). One spritz is plenty. Sometimes I do feel a bit smothered by Womanity in a way that I don’t generally get with Angel, even when I go crazy with the Angel at home.

    And I’ve never been able to get into Alien. I wanted to like it. Jasmine sambac and cashmere seems like it should be good, but after the initial jasmine, I can’t help but think of Windex.

    I tried the Fragrances of Leather (or whatever it’s called) versions of Angel and Alien recently. I’ve been on kind of a leather kick this fall, so I was excited about these coming out. But once I smelled them I was a little disappointed. I could barely pick up the leather note in the Alien version. It was more evident in Angel, but I guess it was still a bit more subtle than I would’ve liked Nothing else is subtle about Angel, so I guess I was expecting (hoping?) to get smacked in the face with leather, but it’s not quite like that. It kind of makes the drydown a bit less dry and incense-like and brings out the caramelly note more. It’s kind of nice, but I don’t necessarily feel like I need to buy it or anything. October 13, 2012 at 3:43am Reply

  • Setita Millar: I have been using the Angel perfume and body cream for the last eleven years and I thought I will wear Angel for the rest of my life. I was wrong! Recently, I bought a new body cream $168NZD and 50mls perfume (parfum) for christmas. For the first time in eleven years, I do not smell the sweet scent that I use to smell on Angel everytime I wore it…not just the body cream, the parfum perfume also….my question is…has Angel perfume industry have changed their original mix? I am thinking of shifting to another brand if Angel doesn’t give satisfactory answer. January 14, 2013 at 7:29am Reply

  • PipiLongStocking: When Angel came out I was a pre-adolescent girl of 12. I smelled it on one of those samples they put in magazines and I said to myself: “This is going to be my perfume forever.”

    I had to wait for almost 6 years to be able to afford it…and it became my signature smell.
    When the leaves start falling down, and when you wake up because you have to pull out a blanket from the closet…this is where I reach out for it.

    There is absolutely nothing vulgar about it – I find it rather complex actually. Cold and warm…and almost uncomfortably sensual. Like sitting in a presence of an extremely attractive man – you don’t know if you want to stay, or just run away.

    And men…They can’t get enough of this smell. My ex told me it smells of danger, sultry sheets, smeared makeup, the morning after, the knife under your throat …ah well, you know what I mean ;) April 5, 2013 at 11:58am Reply

  • Debbie Young: Angel perfume is the only perfume I have ever smelled that literally makes me violently ill. I instantly get a sharp headache and there have been times if I am around it for too long, I vomit. This is a severe reaction, I don’t know what ingredient triggers this reaction but it is very real and I’ve had to leave work early and go home sick if one of our customers is wearing it and I am too close to them. Usually, if I get a quick whiff of it , I leave the room immediately and go outside… AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL……… April 8, 2013 at 8:14am Reply

  • Debbie Young: Also, those of you who DO wear it.. please take it down a few notches.. it is SO strong!!! Be considerate of others with a strong perfume and wear it very sparingly.. YUCK April 8, 2013 at 8:15am Reply

  • Lau: Fragrance not for wimps but joking aside, if you do not use the whole bottle at once you will not have any headache. Funny thing is that men I know love Angel and almost every woman does not.
    My body chemistry quickly erases absolutely EVERY fragrance from my skin.. but not Angel. That’s why I like it. June 6, 2013 at 7:58am Reply

  • Nieszka: angel is my favorite. I’ve searched for years for my signature perfume and finally found it one year ago. i bought it just from reading the ingredients and description. didn’t smell it. the description just spoke to me. Instantly I fell in love with the smell! I receive complements all the time. its so mysterious and delicious. i love it! July 16, 2013 at 9:10pm Reply

  • Aisha: I’m kind of late to the discussion here, so forgive me…

    While cleaning out some dresser drawers a couple of weeks ago, I found an old sample vial of Angel. (A little back story: My mom gets headaches from perfumes, so she sends me all of her samples. Yes, I have amassed quite a lot over the years.) Angel never really interested me when I first received it because I had my favorites. As a result, I never bothered to try it – until that day I was organizing the dresser drawers.

    I have to be honest, when I first tried it I hated it. I mean, I disliked it so much that I immediately ran to the bathroom and tried darn hard to scrub the stuff off. There was just too much going on, and the confusion of scents triggered the onset of a headache. I was tempted to toss the vial, but I decided to keep it so I can at least start comparing gourmand fragrances. (At that time, I was searching for a gourmand to add to the florals I already had.)

    A few days later (organizing the dresser was a several-day event ;-) ) I found a sample vial of Flowerbomb. When I spritzed it on my wrist, the funniest thing happened: as much as I enjoyed the smell of Flowerbomb, I found myself wanting more depth. I wanted that extra something that would elevate Flowerbomb from just another nicely done gourmand, to “WOW!” You know what? I went back to sampling Angel (other wrist), and this time I waited for it to settle on my skin.

    All I can say is that I’m so glad I gave Angel a second chance. Although I ended up going with something a little safer for my “signature” gourmand (Estee Lauder’s Pleasures Delight), I can now appreciate Angel’s complexity. The scent isn’t for me, but it definitely is worthy of five stars. August 12, 2013 at 11:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: Never too late! Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I completely agree that it can be polarizing (and familiar to the point of contempt), but whenever I wear it or smell on someone else, I always feel how impressive it is. Such a strange, unexpected combination, and yet it works brilliantly. August 13, 2013 at 5:06am Reply

    • Aisha: Just tried a sample of Alien that I received. After one spray, my initial reaction was, “Oh no! It smells like Amarige! Too sweet!” It’s been about five minutes now and seems to have settled somewhat. It’s a pleasant scent, but not really a stand-out like Angel, Lolita Lempicka or Vanille Tonka. Quite honestly, I think Angel should be renamed “Alien,” and Alien should be renamed “Angel.” ;-) December 29, 2013 at 3:20pm Reply

      • Victoria: Alien really should come in a stoppered bottle so that you could dab it on. It’s so strong if sprayed, and I agree with you on the initial similarity to Amarige. I like the drydown a lot though, but often I have difficulty waiting out the first knock out stage. December 30, 2013 at 10:05am Reply

  • Pixie: I am 35 but new to wearing perfumes. I started my journey at the perfume department several weeks to smell and smell, not really knowing what I was looking for. I didn’t know anything about Angel’s popularity or reputation but was immediately struck by it. Armed with some samples of this and that and trial and error, I have found that every “pretty” and simple fragrances evaporate on me after two hours. Frustrating! The only two fragrances that seem to last are from Mugler! I now own both Angel and Alien Essence Absolue and I must say that I adore both of them. Yes, they are strong and complex but after a few hours the subtle smell left on my skin is addictive. My chemistry must require bolder scents, because both of these perfumes seem to be magic on me. I can’t stop smelling myself. I spray once or twice only on my stomach, under my clothes, and the scent comes up very quietly through my collar. I don’t understand the haters! And thanks so much for this blog, I have learned so much about perfume from reading it and am eager to keep experimenting. I would love to find a floral (jasmine or rose) that has lasting power. Any suggestions would be appreciated. November 8, 2013 at 10:31am Reply

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