Thierry Mugler Angel Muse : Perfume Review

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Elisa on the Angel tribe and Angel Muse.

To my mind, the original Thierry Mugler Angel is pretty much unimproveable. Nevertheless, I enjoy almost all of its many flankers and spin-offs too. It’s like one of those great songs whose greatness is preserved in multiple cover versions. (“Wild Horses” and “Landslide” spring to mind.)

The latest version of Angel, Angel Muse, was billed in the ad campaign as “the new fragrance you will hate to love.” I’m pleased that the folks at Mugler have embraced Angel’s inherent divisiveness and want to nurture, rather than overwrite, that reputation. After all, is there any perfume from the past 30 years that inspires such strong love-it-or-hate-it reactions? I do, in a sense, hate to love it, since it’s so unpopular and so recognizable I wouldn’t really feel comfortable wearing it, say, to work or on an airplane, and I wear it most often at home.

Like its predecessor, Angel Muse is a gourmand fruitchouli – that is to say, a dessert-like oriental based around patchouli sweetened with burnt-sugar and fruit notes. Here we’re not getting a totally different structure, but another variation on the theme. Sprayed on paper, the first impression is of a much brighter and more citrusy Angel, with an almost sparkling burst of lemon in place of the original’s blackcurrant and berry notes. On skin, however, the top notes come off as chocolate and orange. It smells luscious and creamy, like an orange-flavored ganache. This opening stage, where the citrus is most intense, is my favorite part of the life of the fragrance.

As it wears I notice a nutty note of gianduja (a mixture of chocolate and hazelnut paste) and a bitter-fresh aspect to the citrus, like grapefruit peel. In addition, it becomes more and more vanillic, whereas Angel proper tends to show its patchouli more and more over time. At this point, it reminds me very much of Maurice Roucel’s L de Lolita Lempicka – itself a flanker of another perfume clearly influenced by Angel – but without the spicy cinnamon angle. Overall, I find it reminds me strongly of the holidays, especially that week around Christmas when there seem to be plates of homemade candy and cookies piled everywhere. (Like the Ghost of Christmas Present’s cornucopia-torch and feast, doesn’t Angel represent abundance?) As with pretty much all Angel derivatives, longevity is excellent.

I’m not planning to buy Angel Muse, since it would be a bit redundant in my collection that houses both L and enough Angel for a family of four. But it makes me happy that Mugler is keeping the magic of Angel alive through high-quality, interesting flankers, and if you haven’t found your Angel yet, Muse is worth a try.

Angel Muse is $70 for a 1 ounce refillable bottle and includes notes of grapefruit, pink peppercorn, hazelnut cream, vetiver, and patchouli.

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30 Comments

  • Michaela: As usual, your review is beautiful and convincing. Thank you!
    I must give this one a try, because I like Angel very much but I am not comfortable wearing it. And L Lolita Lempicka is very special to me. January 27, 2017 at 9:06am Reply

    • Elisa: I think it’s a little simpler (not in a bad way) than Angel, and definitely reminds me a lot of L as it wears — do try! (And thank you!) January 27, 2017 at 12:12pm Reply

  • Sylvia: I’ve never put Angel on but you’ve about convinced me with your review. I think a well done vanilla gourmand might be worth a try. Thanks for the review. January 27, 2017 at 11:47am Reply

    • Elisa: I hope you’re not sorry! I find it pretty friendly 🙂 January 27, 2017 at 12:13pm Reply

  • Bobbie: This sounds yummy! I remember wanting to buy some Angel ten years ago, and the SA telling me that it wasn’t for me and instead selling me Issey Miyake! I love the Sundays’ cover of Wild Horses…better than the original, actually 😊😊😊 January 27, 2017 at 1:19pm Reply

    • Elisa: I love that Sundays cover too! And oof, I hate when SA’s steer you away from what you actually want. Such a weird strategy. January 27, 2017 at 1:22pm Reply

  • MMKinPA: I can’t abide Angel but thought I could possibly wear Muse if I didn’t have hundreds of other options. Definitely worth a sniff even if you hate the original. Thanks for the lovely review! January 27, 2017 at 1:20pm Reply

    • Elisa: Thanks for weighing is an Angel hater! Though there’s a family resemblance I could definitely see liking one and not the other. January 27, 2017 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Laura: I gave in and bought it. It’s too sweet but I find it more wearable than Angel, and on a rare day it really hits the spot. January 27, 2017 at 3:47pm Reply

    • Elisa: My tolerance (or appetite maybe) for sweetness varies pretty widely. Sometimes I want a bitter chypre, sometimes all I want is a gourmand! January 27, 2017 at 4:22pm Reply

  • Tijana: Great review, Elisa, thank you!

    I adore the original Angel, and even before deciding to buy Muse, I approached it as a different fragrance, not a flanker. And while I like Muse, I can’t say I am as crazy in love with it as many reviewers are on various sites. I actually bought a bottle as I collect TM fragrances, and I do occasionally spritz it on, but for some reason, it is just a like, but not love for me… January 27, 2017 at 5:12pm Reply

    • Elisa: Tijana, if I had to pick one, I’d definitely still pick original Angel! January 28, 2017 at 10:03am Reply

  • WJ: I can only agree here. In general, I don’t want to like flankers, I hate the concept. I only tried Muse because I received a sample (a concept that does work with me, lol) – what can I say, I have a full bottle now. January 27, 2017 at 6:14pm Reply

    • Elisa: Ha! Well, it’s a pretty cool bottle. January 28, 2017 at 10:04am Reply

  • Aida: To this day Angel is my absolute favorite soulmate scent, twenty plus years after our love affair began. I wear it on any given day that it calls out to me. Some days I’ll just do the body cream & hair mist, other days when I want to feel my scent soulmate in all it’s glory & intensity, I’ll go all out & do it all, whether I’m going on a plane or just having tea & writing in my journal at Starbucks. And I do enjoy the new Muse on other days when the scent calls out to me. I work for a major House of Fragrance & have access to a ton of different scents, but nothing will ever be like my Angel…basically ever 😊 January 28, 2017 at 4:16am Reply

    • Elisa: I love that you have a “soulmate scent” and that it’s Angel! It’s reached the ranks of all-time classics for me. January 28, 2017 at 10:05am Reply

  • Labro: Will you please write about “POISON GIRL””
    I really miss the first one and i’m waiting for it in Greece!!!
    I always read you…thanks a lot January 28, 2017 at 7:13am Reply

    • Elisa: Ah, I haven’t tried it yet! I wonder if Victoria has? January 28, 2017 at 10:14am Reply

      • Victoria: I tried it once, but it’s so cloying, I haven’t been able to bring myself to test it again. January 28, 2017 at 10:20am Reply

        • Elisa: Well that doesn’t bode well. January 28, 2017 at 10:21am Reply

          • Victoria: I’m curious what you think of it. It’s not a bad perfume by any means, but it’s another overly sweet, fruity-cotton candy fragrance. January 28, 2017 at 10:24am Reply

            • Elisa: I’m so tired of that formula I can’t imagine I’d have anything interesting to say/think about it. But I will try it next time I’m in a Sephora or department store. January 28, 2017 at 10:25am Reply

  • Klaas: Angel is most definately a perfume I hate to love! I find it too sweet, too thick, too loud, too overwhelming…..actually, too much of everything! However, it’s one of my best friends favorites, and when she wears it it smells absolutely devine. The scents suits her like nothing else and all the aspects that I hate about the fragrance – on her – become its absolute magic!

    Same goes for Gaultiers Le Male, which I somehow put in the same category. On me it smells like a cheap candy store. On a good friend of mine, however, the chemistry is perfect. Just gorgeous!

    You rock, Elisa! January 28, 2017 at 9:51am Reply

    • Elisa: Thanks Klaas! Isn’t it funny how that happens sometimes? Along similar terms that are scents that I never wear myself but I love to smell them on my husband. It’s not because I think they’re too masculine for me or anything like that — I just enjoy them more from a slight distance. And the wearer’s personality seems to have some effect on how a scent smells too — it’s the whole context. January 28, 2017 at 10:16am Reply

  • Aurora: Thank you for reviewing, Elisa, it makes me want to give it a shot! Such a pretty name too. I have the liqueur de parfum and le parfum de cuir, like you I hesitate to wear in public but as a ‘home’ perfume I actually like them very much along with my other secret guilty perfumes White Diamonds, Rumba and Badgley Mischka. January 28, 2017 at 12:39pm Reply

    • Elisa: Ha! I love Badgley Mischka too but I admit to wearing that one proudly outside the house January 28, 2017 at 1:07pm Reply

  • Alicia: I have been at my Berkeley, CA, home for a while. When I arrived here it was raining daily, and I got a cold or flu which is still lasting. My sense of smell is nearly gone. I lightened some vanilla candles and can’t smell them. I am told that half of the city is also sick. Before getting this pest I went San Francisco to see a splendid show of XVII century French painting. Since then I have been unable to leave mu house. Elisa, I don’t know much about flankers, and very seldom buy them. Still I confess that one of my loves is a flanker of Poison. I liked the original, and when I went to buy a new bottle I encountered Hypnotic Poison, and fell in love. Since then that is the only Poison I wear. Although I am fond of Angel your review tempts me to try Muse. Those opening citrus notes are calling from afar, reminding me of the beloved bergamot opening in so many classics of old. Thank you very much for your review. January 29, 2017 at 1:11pm Reply

    • Elisa: It seems like everyone has been sick this month all over the country!

      I also love Hypnotic Poison. I’ve never owned a bottle but always hope I’ll run across an older one sometime. January 30, 2017 at 9:54am Reply

  • Kaitlin: Based on this review I went to Belk and tried it last night. When I first sprayed it on paper, it felt almost too tangy in my nose. I didn’t think I would like it. But it seemed to mellow out and smell like some kind of caramelized orange / peachy smell to me. This morning when I re-sniffed the paper, I was in love. I think I’ll definitely be adding this to my collection. Plus, I loved the feel and look of the bottle, so that was a nice little bonus. February 2, 2017 at 10:38am Reply

    • Elisa: The bottle is great. I also tested Muse on paper and it has such a long, lovely evolution that way. February 2, 2017 at 10:40am Reply

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