Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thierry Mugler Alien Essence Absolue: fragrance review

The fragrance lurking inside the intensely yellow container of Alien Essence Absolue, that weird-looking bottle that looks like a pear mutated via the pollination of gold giant insects from outer space, is stimulating and totally unexpected with a softness, deepness and sexiness I didn't think possible.
Or did I?

The best attributes of the original, jasmine-typhoon Alien are kept. Faithfully. The intense longevity on skin, the radiance (minus the projection that extends to a 4-mile radius—this one is a little closer to the skin), the heart of surreal white flowers that seem as they're syphoned through a Space Age desert tent full of all the trappings of Arabia...

And yet Alien Essence Absolue brings on a warm embrace of amber, vanilla and incense that mollify the hard edge of that bright high-tech jasmine core. This newer version highlights the vanilla and bittersweet incense note over the rather more licorice-rich facets of the original Alien bouquet. The vanilla comes as a mysterious inclusion that is removed from the foodie varieties that recall cake batter and cookies; there are all sort of treacly and sticky off notes that resemble booze and tarmac-like gaiacwood. The almost suede-like softness is caressing, soft, a bit medicinal too, like a shaman's kit; the lure of a snake's tongue, dangerous and at the same time mesmerizing, poison and cure at the same time. The animalistic scent in the background has a honeyed facet, musky and lightly powdery, sweet and intimate. There is a precarious balance in this flanker scent that makes it good; you feel as if one tilt given and it might collapse, but oh, it doesn't.

In short, Alien Essence Absolue comes on the foot of Alien as one of the better examples in the Thierry Mugler line-up, which is quite a feat unto itself, bearing in mind Mugler has one of the most eclectic and intriguing fragrance lines within the mainstream sector.

Alien Essence Absolue was developed by (artistic olfactory director of Mugler parfums) Pierre Aulas with official fragrance notes of white jasmine flowers, orris root, black vanilla pod, incense, myrrh, white amber and cashmere wood.
Alien Essence Absolue is available as 30 and 60 ml Eau de Parfum Intense and a refill of 60 ml.


  1. Anonymous20:02

    well, even though i don't like alien much at all, i must say you've made me want to try this formulation! the poison/cure aspects of a shaman's kit you describe attract me.

    alien has always struck me as monolithic, plastic, and cloying. i never ever register "jasmine" in it - and would never have thought of it as a jasmine scent! and i love jasmine.

    dunno. it's just too "something" for me to wear, and i've tested it several times. but i do like angel, and wear womanity, too.


  2. Little Red02:46

    You've actually succeeded in making me want to try it out.

  3. I think this bottle shape might just make this scent a winner ! LOL
    Oh - you know I am not a "bottle person" but ---many are!!

    If there is jasmine in there - I need to sniff this as my daughter is a big Jasmine fan! So far - Montales Jasmin Full is "the bomb" as they say Helg! LOL
    Hope it gets to Oz Darlin!

  4. J,

    I agree with your assessment of the original, but this version is totally different. It has a softness and sensuousness that the original lacks.

    I do like Angel as well, but since it's been overdone I think the edp will see more use in 5-10 years' time. I do wear the body products though which are smashing!! (and the best way to carry that enormous sillage)

  5. LR,

    don't think you will be disappointed! :-)
    Do try it if you get the chance. It's snuggly and warm.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. M,

    the bottle is certainly....something. It's quite impressive and...alien looking. (I guess that's the whole point, right?)

    Oh, this Absolue version is NOT focused on the jasmine part (the original Alien is, but I find -like Minette- the jasmine in that monolithic and yes, plastic). It does have a sublayer, but it's more about the vanilla-suede-musk-woody stuff. I think you daughter who likes Shalimar would like this one as well.

    As to her jasmine fix, the Montale Jasmin Full is among the best in the line and she deservingly is a fan; can't think of lusher versions (SL A la Nuit and TDC Jasmin de Nuit are two other choices for her if she hasn't tried them yet).

    Hope you're not so hot anymore and rainy days are on the horizon! :-)

  7. I liked Alien, just not enough to buy it, but I fell very hard for the Liqueur de parfum version, which was much softer, less obvious and in your face, smoother and dare I say it - far sexier? ;-) How do they compare? Because if they do...between the scent and that bottle (extraterrestrial jewel, anyone?) I'm about to buy a bottle. Blind!

  8. Ellen16:16

    I have never liked Angel as it felt too over the top for my taste. This kept me away from trying anything else by Mugler, but your comments on this flanker perfume have me interested enough to go try it with an open mind. Thanks.

  9. First time I saw it I thought it looked like Alien bottle had put on some weight. This chubby however is very pleasing to the eye and rather cheerful. I haven't smelled the scent yet but it sounds very promising. I just might try it the next time I see it.

  10. Miss Heliotrope23:16

    When you said vanilla I worried, but it sounds like an interesting use of the usually (for me) sweetly annoying scent. & a fascinating write up.

    Looking at the bottle, I thought less Alien/pear/beetle & more rear view of a naked woman...

  11. Regretfully, I can't agree with the review above. However, I do find it more pleasurable to wear than the original.It has the most faithful reproduction of a gardenia smell I've ever encountered in a perfume, coming up and staying for quite a while after the first hour or so. This perfume is a white floral with honey on a base of benzyl salicylate, according to my nose.

  12. Ion (like the chocolate brand?),

    nah, have you ever smelled Yves Rocher Pur Desir de Gardenia? THAT is the truest lifelike gardenia! (Lauder's Tuberose Gardenia and Tom Ford's Velvet Gardenia in his Private Blend line are also remarkably close to the real thing.
    The Rocher is built on jasmolactones; jasmine molecules are not miles away from gardenia, so the white floral part in the Mugler could also use jasmolactone (which is my guess as it reads "creamy"). In the Mugler benzyl probably adds a radiance and helps diffuse/dilute the musks in the base.

    I suppose you're zooming in on a part that strikes you as particularly interesting. But this flanker has a definite oriental twist all the same, wouldn't you say?

  13. Second time i post , first didn't work ...anyhow , I love almost all perfumes of Thierry Mugler there are great. Regarding your review i love it , and for me is very special the design of the bottle , despite of the fact that some specialists do not consider this important (they all said that Chanel sell from 1921 No 5 in the same bottle which is true) , but this bottle i really love it ... Anyhow this perfumes confirm also that frgrance of Thierry Mugler are intriguing...love your review.

  14. LT,

    thank you for the kind words.

    Yes, the Mugler fragrances are never insipid, good or less good they provoke feelings. I too find most of them quite worthwhile to have in one's wardrobe!
    I find the bottle important in a visual/aesthetic but also functional way (imagine if it's spraying in a faulty way or if you can't get ahold of it to spray), yet I couldn't care less if I can decant the juice into another pretty/somber receptacle. But that said, I certainly understand why many people appreciate the pretty bottles so much.

    The apothecary style of the Chanel is indeed quite constant, but the bottle has undergone subtle changes through the years; but they're very very subtle, the mark of a lasting brand.

  15. Anonymous18:09

    Is there another scent or scents I could buy alone or to layer that would replicate the beginning of this scent where it is mainly overwhelming giant sambac jasmine or heliotrope and sambac jasmine? (Before it becomes powdery orris and before it becomes vanilla).

  16. Anon,

    hmmm, that's a difficult question.
    Usually my "jasmine solo go to" is A la Nuit, but here it's not alone and it wouldn't do. Neither would a simple heliotrope paired with a jasmine single note really do, though it might be worth trying.
    It's a pretty unique scent, this Alien version. :/

  17. Anonymous18:16

    Too bad. I have worn it two days and had to stop testing it because it is starting to turn me off vanilla altogether.

  18. Too bad indeed.
    Oh well, plenty of fragrances to gnaw your teeth on.
    This is not the be all and end all. The journey is still on!

  19. This scent is so far from the original (which I just can't wear or appreciate). It's rich and gorgeous and has been the fragrance which has successfully brought me back to vanilla. I avoided it for ages but like other notes, I end up learning to appreciate and even wear (again) with time and testing. :) I wore it yesterday, on a cool spring day, smiling and swooning the whole time!

    1. It's absolutely riveting, isn't it. Enjoy your beautiful perfume!!


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