June 8, 2009

Thierry Mugler A*Men – The Ten Ton Pacifist

By Daniel

Recently on Basenotes I ran the first-ever Basenotes March Madness, and one of the criteria for a fragrance being in the running was to have the most reviews. A*Men led the pack by a huge margin, but it’s also probably the most divisive fragrance mentioned on the boards. It’s very polarizing, you either love it or hate it. I’m firmly ensconced in the “love it” group.
The bottle comes a few ways, either the black rubber bottle with blue star, or the metal bottle which is refillable at any Thierry Mugler counter, such as the Macy’s in Louisville. I have to admit I’m a huge fan of the bottle both ways, it’s so distinct, so memorable. But let’s be honest, we care about the inside of the bottle more than the outside.
Given how polarizing the fragrance really is I can’t do anything other than give my opinion, and hope you’ll keep it in mind on your journey with the fragrance. It’s sweet and chocolatey, yet very complex, especially for what’s still essentially a gourmand. There’s plenty of notes jostling about, there’s a peppermint note that most people find gives it a sort of “edge”, a metaphorical spearhead for the rest of the gourmand notes to come; chocolate, coffee, and caramel. I suppose you first have to enjoy chocolate to like it at all, and then on top of that, you have to like it in gratuitous amounts because there’s plenty of it in Angel Men. Projection and longevity are both in a class of their own, so spray responsibly. It’s the definition of a sillage monster, it enters the room before you do and leaves after. Despite the larger-than-life cloud this thing projects, I consider it a “comfort scent” much like people have comfort foods, and if I’m feeling under the weather I’m very likely going to reach for A*Men. This is a cool-to-cold weather fragrance, it can grow stifling very quickly in hot weather (something I had happen when my sweat brought back the night’s application of it in the middle of a game of DDR, an admittedly less than pleasant experience).
That’s it. That’s really all there is to it. So why all the vitriol on the community boards? Mostly because there is not a small number of drama queens on board, and having a big opinion is better and more memorable than having a small one. Does it merit such colorful similes as “like a cat peeing on a bag of cotton candy”? Not to me. If you start wheezing and going into paroxysms after trying A*Men shoot me an email and I’ll apologize profusely and revise my opinion on it. Until that happens, though, take my review with however much salt you require and go find your own opinion on this divisive creature.