“An olfactory dedication to the woody note. [..] A*Men Pure Wood is an invitation to a journey to the heart of the woody note, an elegant yet rugged accent in masculine perfumes, boldly revisited for this occasion.”
– Thierry Mugler
Not a day goes by on this blog without me making some sort-of reference to the house of Thierry Mugler. It’s no secret that I am the Mugler fan boy and I consider his fragrances to be as much a part of my DNA as my blue eyes and brown hair. The Mugler fragrances speak to me because they are bold, edgy and entirely over the top – everything that I want to be, and I revel in their distinct and challenging olfactory signatures, the way Mugler’s muses lavished themselves in his structured couture.
A*Men (also known as ‘Angel Men’) is the house’s flagship masculine fragrance. Actually, it’s the brand’s only fragrance solely for men (not that that stops many women from wearing it) and as one would expect from the man that brought the world the motorcycle corset, it’s a bold and daring one. I love A*Men, it manages to throw in just about every note possible (peppermint, tar, lavender, chocolate, coffee, caramel, patchouli and vanilla), including the kitchen sink and manages to somehow work as a fragrance that is wearable. The problem is that I just don’t reach for it that much anymore, perhaps because it is so unique and demanding.
Each year, Thierry Mugler launches a limited edition version of A*Men that showcases one note or theme. Unofficially named the ‘Pure’ series, previous instalments have included; A*Men Pure Coffee, A*Men Pure Malt, A*Men Pure Leather and A*Men Pure Shot, and for this season, Mugler is launching an ode to the ruggedness of wood, cheekily entitled A*Men Pure Wood. Created by perfumer, Jacques Huclier (the man behind the original A*Men in 1996), Pure Wood is one of the most commercial interpretations of A*Men, and dare I say, one of the sexiest.
Cedar, Cypress, Patchouli, Coffee and Vanilla
How Does it Smell?
Right from the very first spritz, this edition of A*Men asserts itself as something strongly and distinctly woody. It flies out of the bottle in shards and splinters of angular woods leading one with the difficult decision of whether to recoil for safety, or lean in to enjoy the experience. Personally, I would suggest huffing it all in and revelling in what is a true showstopper of an opener. What I like most about these top notes is just how dry they are – there’s very little sweetness at first, nor any citrus to soften things at all – it’s just remarkably sharp and arid.
The heart and base are merged into a linear development. Those harsh woody notes up top soften with time and become plusher, accented by the velvety sugar and spice of vanilla, and the musty scent of patchouli. There’s also a rich, roasted quality to the heart and base that speaks of slowly burning woods and coffee beans. Despite this effect, and the veil of vanilla that lays beneath it, Pure Wood doesn’t feel gourmand at all, in fact it is the antithesis of the food-y Mugler aesthetic, and presents a new and exciting trend for the brand.
A*Men Pure Wood is incredibly sexy. So much so, in fact, that I’ve banned the husband from wearing it, simply because I couldn’t deal with the constant hot flushes it caused – oh me, oh my, it’s good. The brand’s description of ‘rugged’ is spot on, and when sniffing Pure Wood, it’s difficult not to imagine a stubbly lumberjack, clad in plaid and working his big biceps as he chops wood. Perhaps I should stop there (I feel another power surge coming on). Let’s just say that this version of A*Men is less space-age and more rustic, and as far as woody fragrances go, it’s a very strong contender.
A*Men Pure Wood is available in 100ml Eau de Toilette for £49.
Sample, notes and quotes via Thierry Mugler. Image 1 via fragrantica.com. Image 2 via Thierry Mugler.