Thierry Mugler Womanity

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Fabrice Pellegrin, the head perfumer for the team behind Womanity, says of his creation: “I’m very proud of it… I hope it’s going to have the same success as Angel.” Chandler Burr, professional grump and perfume writer, declares, “Doesn’t disappoint.” Geza Schoen, head perfumer for Ormonde Jayne, calls Womanity “the worst fragrance I have ever smelt.” I agree with all of them. Womanity is bizarre and borderline unpleasant. I have only worn it outside of the house once, and three people complained.

Womanity smells like unripe figs and salt water. Robin at Now Smell This speculates that “[the] human is rare” that does not smell caviar in here, but I have never tried caviar and therefore cannot comment. I have no idea what Womanity’s notes are supposed to have to do with Womanity as a concept. That’s what I like about this perfume, actually. Thierry Mugler didn’t choose an insipid fruity-floral or some bimbo sugary scent to represent women. He apparently believes that womankind is worthy of something more interesting, something clever, something that isn’t always pretty or sexy. I probably won’t be wearing Womanity outside of the house again, but I do very much appreciate what it’s trying to say.

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Thierry Mugler Angel EDT

When it was first released in 1992, Thierry Mugler Angel was a bona-fide trendsetter. Angel singlehandedly launched the gourmand fragrance genre, a style that remains enormously popular to this day. The new Angel EDT, however, meekly follows the current trends. Angel EDP contains a revolutionary (at the time) combination: fruit and chocolate. Angel EDT disposes with the chocolate, opting instead for a predominately berry scent. The berries used in Angel EDT smell pleasant, if generic, but the fragrance is persistently dogged by an astringent harshness. There is something sour about Angel EDT. It has very little of the original’s lusciously honeyed sweetness.

 

As a true original, Angel EDP has had many imitators over the years. Angel EDT smells like one of them. Angel EDT is a success in that it is a more wearable version of Angel, and is therefore likely to make Thierry Mugler more money than the controversial Angel EDP. But Angel EDT is also a failure, because it is less distinctive and smells worse than Angel EDP. If Angel EDT sells well- and you and I both know that it will- it will represent the triumph of the commercial over the artistic.

Also, Eva Mendes? Really? While I’m always delighted to see women of color represented in advertisements, I’m not exactly sure that Eva’s milkshake is bringing the perfume buyers to the yard. As I recall, Calvin Klein Secret Obsession barely lasted a year on the shelves.

 

Chocolate Perfumes

I was watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory the other day (the original, not the new one- although the new one is not without merits, I haven’t been able to watch it since MJ died *sniffle*) and it got me to thinking about perfumes with chocolate notes. So today, we’re gonna have ourselves a perfume contest the likes of which have not been seen since the Spears-Timberlake dance-off of ’02. I currently have, on various parts of my body, three different chocolatey perfumes: Vera Wang Princess, Bond No 9 So New York, and (god help me) Thierry Mugler Angel. I do it for you, dear readers. I do it for you.

Princess: Vera Wang claims that Princess contains a “dark chocolate” note. I hate to be contrary, but this is more like the Eminem of chocolate notes. The chocolate in Princess is white, and extremely sugary.

So New York: The chocolate in SNY is supposedly a “cocoa powder” accord. It comes across as high-quality milk chocolate, accompanied by a tart plum note.

Angel: HULK SMASH.

Ten minutes later…

Princess: Eminem has exited the building. There is no longer any chocolate in this scent whatsoever. All that remains is a very thin, very sweet lily-ish floral.

So New York: The chocolate’s still here, but it’s moved to the background. A more generic, albeit pleasant, fruity melange takes center stage at this point.

Angel: There’s definitely chocolate in here, but it’s hard to detect beneath A BUTTLOAD of patchouli. Oh my God please get it off my skin.

One hour later…

Princess: This is the most synthetic lily I’ve ever smelled. It’s barely identifiable. Needless to say, the chocolate is long gone.

So New York: Not much chocolate left here, either. Just that enjoyably tart plum note.

Angel: *Whimper*

Of the three, So New York is the clear winner for me- it is both the most pleasant and most chocolatey. What are your favorite perfumes with chocolate notes, dear readers?

Lolita Lempicka, L de Lolita Lempicka

If you were to ask me what the holiest site in Israel is, I wouldn’t respond with “The Western Wall” or “The Dome of the Rock”. Every woman knows that the most sacred place in our tiny, beloved country is the Michal Negrin store. Michal Negrin is primarily a jewelry store chain (although it seems to be expanding into the lifestyle business, with everything from clothing to wallpaper). The general theme appears to be wistful, old-fashioned pictures of women bedazzled by colorful rhinestones. It’s all very over the top, but somehow manages to stay on the right side of kitsch. I once spent a full hour there agonizing over whether I should buy the green version of the following 400 shekel ($100) decorative elephant. My best friend wisely dragged me away, but damned if I don’t miss that stupid elephant.

If the Michal Negrin store had a perfume line, it would undoubtedly be something like the Lolita Lempicka brand. Lolita Lempicka, with its stunning glass bottles and consistently interesting scents,  is somewhat of an oddity in the mainstream perfume world. Today I’ll be reviewing the original Lolita Lempicka, which was released in 1997 (which is freaking ancient in perfume years), and the newer L de Lolita Lempicka.

First up, Lolita Lempicka. In the wake of Angel, which was released in 1992, hundreds of copycats flooded the market, hoping to capitalize on Angel’s monstrous success. Lolita Lempicka has often been accused of being such a knockoff. I personally see no resemblance, although like Angel, Lolita seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it fragrance. I was solidly in the “hate” camp for many years. I thought it was the most disgusting thing I’d ever smelled. It was insanely sweet and smelled just like licorice (my least favorite note). I was legitimately puzzled as to how that gorgeous apple-shaped bottle could house such a revolting smell.

I finally retried it last weekend and am frankly feeling a little foolish. Lolita Lempicka is delicious and delicately pretty. It smells like sweet pastry dough and cherries. It is still very sweet, but when comparing it to L by Lolita Lempicka for this review, I was shocked to discover that Lolita Lempicka is actually less sweet and considerably softer. Luca Turin, a famous perfume critic, gave Lolita Lempicka one of his very rare five-star ratings in his “Perfumes: The Guide”. He declared it “the ideal accompaniment for flirtatious banter from prim girls in glasses.” As a lifelong four-eyes, I agree wholeheartedly. According to Basenotes, the notes are ivy, anise seed, violet, amarise, licorice, amarena, vetiver, tonka, vanilla and musk.

Unlike its predecessor, L de Lolita Lempicka gave me no trouble whatsoever. Created in 2006 by perfumer Maurice Roucel, L is imminently lovable. It begins with citrus and cinnamon, much like Maurice Roucel’s other masterpiece, Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur. L is far softer than Musc Ravageur, and for the most part smells much like freshly baked Snickerdoodle cookies. L would be rather generic, albeit delicious, if it were not for a curious salty note lurking in the background. That saltiness can be attributed to the immortelle flower, a note rarely seen in perfumery.

L is not quite as intellectual as her older sister, but she’s quite a crowd pleaser. My friends often ask to borrow perfume from me before we go out. They don’t want my Prada or Classique (“too heavy”) and they certainly don’t want my Yvresse or Chinatown. Inevitably they reach for the sweet, irresistible L.

Lolita Lempicka has a new scent, Si Lolita, which was released in France last summer but has no U.S. release date beyond “2010”. However, it has been getting very good reviews on other perfume blogs such as Perfume Posse, and the bottle is nothing short of stunning. I eagerly await its arrival.

Disclaimer: I own bottles of Lolita Lempicka and L de Lolita Lempicka, both purchased at Sephora.

Thierry Mugler Alien

Sci-fi occupies a very special place in my heart, one that was once reserved exclusively for the classic N64 game Pokemon Stadium and chocolate-covered pretzels. Growing up, my parents did not believe that my brother and I should watch TV. I distinctly remember the words “the devil’s work.” We did eventually get a TV, which had one and only one channel: the Sci-Fi network. Star Trek, Star Wars, Back to the Future, Men in Black, Spaceballs- I love them all. If it involves green skin, pointy ears, cheesy ’80s special effects, large sluglike intergalactic gangsters, William Shatner and/or Harrison Ford, I am ALL OVER THAT.

Except for maybe the new Indiana Jones. You guys, can we talk about how so many things about that movie were so very  wrong? First, you’re really going to survive a nuclear bomb because you were in a lead-lined refrigerator? I AM SO SURE. The crystal skull shenanigans were straight up silly, and furthermore, I absolutely refuse to believe that if Indiana Jones had a son he would be a whiny little punk like Shia LaBeouf.  Listen, Shia, you were a lot more awesome when you were dealing with the family curse that Eartha Kitt put on your no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather in “Holes”. You don’t mess with Eartha Kitt, y’all, or she will turn you into a llama like she did in “The Emperor’s New Groove”, which will, needless to say, throw off your groove.

Stop trying to make Shia happen, Indiana Jones. It’s not going to happen.

So what with my affinity for sci-fi, the cards were stacked in favor of me loving Thierry Mugler’s Alien, which is housed in a bottle that can only be described as delightful. The Eau Luminescente bottle, in particular, brings to mind the Carbonite chamber into which Han Solo is frozen at the end of Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back. For some reason it is really, really hard to find a picture of that scene online, so here is the Lego counterpart instead.

I am fairly certain that Han Solo’s neck was not actually wider than his head.

Now, there’s good sci-fi, there’s so-bad-it’s-good sci-fi, and then there’s actually-bad sci-fi. Despite the exciting bottle, Alien is somewhat lackluster. Created in 2005, Alien is a very sweet, somewhat powdery jasmine. Though not exactly sugary, the sweetness is as shrill as the buzz of a mosquito. Alien is a “modern” jasmine, in that it lacks the indolic feel of many classic perfumes that feature jasmine notes. It is much more wearable than that other Thierry Mugler offering, Angel, and I think there will be very little overlap between the fan bases of the two. I would recommend Alien to fans of Juicy Couture Couture Couture, or those who are not into old-school jasmines such as Lanvin Arpege or Jean Patou Joy.