When it comes to Thierry Mugler fragrances it seems that I look most forward to the flankers. It isn’t that they aren’t producing new non-flanker perfumes it is just that they have always seemed to be so straightforward without any of the verve the best of the brand has in other fragrances in the collection. A good example of what I am talking about is the Les Exceptions Collection.
Les Exceptions were released in 2014 as a set of five co-produced by perfumers Olivier Polge and Jean-Christophe Herault. They had cute names like Chyprissime, Fougere Furieuse, and Oriental Express. What was somewhat disappointing considering the talented artists was all five of the initial releases were just what they said; a chypre, a fougere, and an Oriental with no Mugler twist. Maybe it is unfair to ask a brand to always live up to that but the best Thierry Mugler fragrances have not only had a twist but one which sometimes would be influential. The subsequent two Les Exceptions also suffered with this, as well. When I received my sample of the new Hot Cologne I expected a nice cologne, which I got, but the Mugler twist was also here.
Hot Cologne was handed out at last October’s Spring 2017 Thierry Mugler Fashion runway show. Just by the name I worried it was going to suffer in comparison with the modern masterpiece Thierry Mugler Cologne. M. Herault, working on his own, wisely decides to go off in a very different direction. The only similarity is the cologne architecture. For Hot Cologne like all the other Les Exceptions it is pretty uninspiring early on but after a half an hour or so it transforms courtesy of one ingredient, green coffee.
Hot Cologne opens with a set of citrus notes led by petitgrain supported by some other citrus like lime, bergamot, and grapefruit. The lime is the most prominent of the supporting cast and it makes the tartness of the petitgrain more focused. Then a really high quality neroli comes out this is one of those full-spectrum nerolis which carries a bit of the orange, a bit of the indolic floralcy, and a bit of the green leaves. I am a big fan of this kind of neroli and it goes very well with the citrus notes that preceded it but it surely isn’t unique. What comes next does make this unique, green coffee. If you’ve ever smelled a bag of coffee beans prior to roasting this is the note being used here. There is an astringent oiliness along with the rich coffee scent. When it comes out in Hot Cologne it is as if the citrus is next to a steaming cup of coffee with a sprig of neroli in a vase nearby in some warm weather vacation destination. Hot Cologne stays perched like this for the entirety of its duration.
Hot Cologne has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
It is really amazing what a difference one well-chosen ingredient can have on a perfume. The green coffee in Hot Cologne takes this from “Meh” to “Wow” all for the simple addition of a cup of coffee.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Thierry Mugler.
It has been almost a year since I joined the Fragrance Republ!c. For those unfamiliar with the concept behind Fragrance Republ!c it is an effort to allow some of the biggest perfumers working the opportunity to work on special small batch perfumes. This time the perfumers are allowed to create their own brief and encouraged to go where their creativity takes them. The perfumes are then shared with the membership of Fragrance Republ!c and I receive a new 15mL bottle as each creation is released. I look forward to my new box every time it arrives as a perfumer who I admire gets to try out an idea they have wanted to try. Fragrance Republ!c is the subscription service for the perfume lover who already has a lot of perfume and wants to try something which goes in a different direction form the purely commercial. This review will cover the latest four released over the first part of 2014: 01/05 by Antoine Lie, 01/06 by Karine Chevallier, 01/07 by Jean Claude Delville, and 01/08 by Jean-Christophe Herault.
01/05 was given the name “Eau Verte” by M. Lie and what he wanted to accomplish was to create perfume made up of overdoses of notes used to make up the fresh fragrances so ubiquitous on the market. Now if he had just overloaded the perfume with a bunch of explosive green notes it just would’ve been a loud boisterous mess. Instead he chose to use the wormwood used in absinthe as his nucleus and then puts into orbit around it electrons of mint, star anise, oak moss, galbanum, and vetiver. These are in overdose so there is no missing these notes and they each find a place to complement the wormwood at the heart of the perfume. I found 01/05 to have an off-kilter kind of freshness and the more I wore it the more I found it to be just the right perfume for the summer.
Mme Chevallier was enchanted by a Persian lime raw material she encountered while attending the World Perfume Congress. It was this she used to make the centerpiece of 01/06. What caught her attention about this particular lime was besides the typical citric zest it also has floral facets of rose and lavender, creamy coconut, and woodiness. From when she smelled it she knew she wanted to pair it with vetiver to tease out that woody quality. She also wanted to use fig to get the creamy coconut quality. All of this rests on a base of sandalwood. This comes off very simple on a strip but it absolutely soared when I wore it. The full impact of this very special lime at the heart of 01/06 completely comes alive and each of the notes Mme Chevallier chose to go with it work seamlessly.
Jean Claude Delville
The inspiration for 01/07 was the “grace of a woman”. In M. Delville’s olfactory world this woman is wearing a sheer cotton dress edged with black, the antithesis of the little black dress. 01/07 opens on a fresh cotton accord that has been washed with mandarin blossom fabric softener. It has a softness that the best cotton gets from being used. This opening is everything I want from a Fragrance Republ!c experience. M. Delville is able to go to an extreme in creating this textured fabric based accord. Since this is a woman we are talking about orchid and freesia make up a sweetly floral heart before a soft mix of cashmere woods and white musks add that bit of sensuality. The outline of black on the figurative white dress I spoke of at the beginning of the paragraph.
Osmanthus was the ingredient M. Herault wanted to explore in 01/08. I have always loved the fantastic nature of osmanthus to be floral but also to carry distinct aspects of apricot, leather, and tea along with it. When in the hands of a skilled perfumer they can take that chameleon-like nature and play to it. M. Herault does exactly that as he first allows you to appreciate the osmanthus in its pristine glory before letting other notes start to attract your focus elsewhere. Bergamot and apricot bring you to the fruity character. Violet leaf brings forward the tea. Jasmine and orange blossom get their white flower bluster out to turn fully floral in the heart. Finally, the leathery quality forms a faux chypre with a deep patchouli. Of the eight fragrances which have been released 01/08 is my favorite so far.
If what I’ve written has made you curious a sample program is now available on the Fragrance Republ!c website where you can try any three of the releases from 01/01 through 01/07 for the cost of shipping. I would recommend checking out the three you think sound best to you. This is really one of the great new initiatives for perfume lovers.
Disclosure: This review was based on the bottles I’ve received from being a member of Fragrance Republ!c.