It was reported last week that NASA had found evidence of liquid water flowing on Mars. The red planet is no longer a dry, and arid collection of rock and dust, it seems. In other surprising and space-related news, Thierry Mugler has made the decision to launch a limited edition version of Alien called ‘Alien Oud Majestueux’, an oriental fragrance that sees the hyper-jasmine of the original accompanied by oud, the ever popular heartwood extracted from the Aquilaria tree, and seen so often in modern fragrances over the last few years. Composed by the masterful Dominique Ropion, who co-signed the original with Laurent Bruyere, this new version of Alien promises to tantalise with its opulent spices and sweet flower nectar. Colour me intrigued.
Now, I must confess that the news of an oud-injected version of Mugler’s successful Alien did arouse some titters on Twitter in addition to the usual moans about the over-exposure of everyone’s favourite noble tree rot. Of course, Mugler has all but resisted the oud trend for quite some time (although, they have flirted with the note in their Miroir Miroir! series) and the fact that the last non-oud converted bastion of the industry had finally given in did elicit a sigh or two, from yours truly included. As time progressed however, the idea of an Alien oud grew to be an interesting one. I mean, Alien is a pretty fierce woody jasmine fragrance that lends itself well to remixes (see Alien Essence Absolue & Alien Le Goût du Parfum), and a middle-eastern take on an intense, space-age floral actually seemed like something worth sniffing. At risk of spoiling the rest of this review, I can confirm that it is.
“Cocoon your mind, body and soul in Alien Oud Majestueux, the new oriental fragrance. This scent will transport you to the spice markets of the Middle East where your senses will be tantalised with the fragrant notes of opulent spices and sweet flower nectar.”
– Thierry Mugler
Top: Saffron and Cardamom Oil
Heart: Jasmine, Cashmeran and Oud
Base: White Amber and Musk
How Does it Smell?
Alien Oud Majestueux starts out in familiar, Alien territory (that sounds like an oxymoron, but bear with me), in the sense that the holographic jasmine that is the core of Alien is ever present and accented by bright, bubbly citrus notes. But things aren’t business as usual, and before one can say ‘Mugler’ an avalanche of spicy funk tumbles into view, and whilst it may not be as destructive as a sandstorm or a snow drift, it’s certainly as noticeable and as shocking.
The warm, golden spices of saffron and cardamom make Alien Oud Majestueux feel lively and warm, like an Indian sunset. This is eclipsed though, by the stinking big oud note that sits at the very core of the fragrance. Here, the oud is smoky, woody, barnyard-like and leathery. It reminds me of the cypriol-heavy (and rather gorgeous) oud accord that Dior has utilised in both Leather Oud and Oud Ispahan however, the animalic funk in the Mugler is perhaps a little bit more deftly applied, meaning that it stay present, but never overwhelms (which is saying something for a Mugler scent, to be fair). I can’t say whether the real thing is used here, but I will say that it certainly feels more real than many mainstream ouds on the market, and it presents the note in its smoky, animalic glory and without any of its medicinal or cheesy facets.
Alien Oud Majestueux gives the impression of a burning fire within its heart, evoking the idea of smouldering embers at the bottom of a pile of burning wood chips and leather. There’s a raw and rough-edged quality to it that is rugged and far-removed from the smooth, blonde woods of the original, and it leads one to think of the red, rocky surface of Mars. As things settle, the blanket-like Cashmeran (which is so famously overdosed in the original) and musk do some good work to soften things, but for the most part Alien Oud Majestueux remains a hardy and intensified version of Alien that celebrates the scent’s solid, and woodier facets.
Alien Oud Majestueux works. Those dry, funky elements that are so familiar in decent oud interpretations are the perfect contrast to the luminous nature of Alien’s jasmine syrup making the whole thing entirely more butch and masculine, whilst still remaining distinctly ‘Alien’ throughout. In fact, Alien Oud Majestueux almost feels like Alien in drag, but perhaps not the polished RuPaul drag of Angel, and more of a gender-fuck drag where glittery party dresses are worn atop unshaven legs man-legs. The whole thing is ridiculous, fabulous and utterly impossible to ignore. I like it, I really do and for me, it serves a purpose as a more extroverted and ‘dressed-up’ version of one my all-time favourites that just begs to be worn out on the town. I intend to rock the hell out of it, but that’s no real surprise coming from this Mugler fan-boy now, is it?
Alien Oud Majestueux is available in 90ml Eau de Parfum for £115. It is exclusive to Harrods in the UK.
Sample, notes and quotes via Thierry Mugler. Image 1 is my own. Image 2 via rivegauche.ru.