Few things get my pulse racing like a brand spanking new MUGLER launch, even more so if that launch is a spin-off of my all-time favourite fragrance, Angel. So one can imagine my excitement when Angel Muse landed on my doorstep. We’re going to #HateToLove this modern spin on the gourmand queen that is Angel, MUGLER say, and they’re not wrong, because as much as I don’t like to see my beloved celestial being messed about with, I begrudgingly admit (not really, you now I’m here for all things MUGLER) that I do enjoy Angel Muse very much indeed.
Angel Muse was created by Givaudan perfumer Quentin Bisch, who I must say is a real up and coming talent within the industry, having done great work with Etat Libre d’Orange (see Hermann à Mes Côtés Me Paraissait Une Ombre & La Fin du Monde) and with MUGLER on last year’s sticky sweet A*Men Ultra Zest. Bisch is a good fit for Mugler because he is a truly innovative perfumer who seems to work best when tasked with crafting novel accords, such as the popcorn note found within La Fin du Monde. For Angel Muse, Bisch switches out dark chocolate for hazelnut and adds an element of masculinity with vetiver, taking Angel to new and very modern heights.
I wrote a full break down of Angel Muse for my Escentual column a few weeks back (clicky here to give that a read), so I’m going for a review en bref today. I also wanted an excuse to buy a jar of Nutella to use purely for photographic reasons of course. Although, it would have been a waste not to have a spoon or twelve now, wouldn’t it? So let’s get to it and give Angel Muse a good sniff to see whether it is as delicious and divine as Nutella, or whether it falls short of its lineage…
Top: Grapefruit and Pink Berries
Heart: Hazelnut Cream Accord and Cocoa Powder
Base: Vetiver and Vanilla
How Does it Smell?
The first question everybody wants to know is how different Muse is from Angel. Well initially, the answer is very similar yet, completely different. Straight away that iconic drag queen patchouli note is there in full force and one knows immediately that Muse is at least, a kissing cousin of Angel, but there also a distinct change in tone here. The patchouli itself is softer than the original, supported by a delicious fruit note up top that makes the whole thing a bit Terry’s Chocolate Orange, which is a wonderful thing, of course.
Where Angel was spiky and angular, Muse is smoother and rounder, like the perfectly smoothed edges of the ‘cosmic pebble’ flacon that holds it. The heart accord is a deliciously creamy hazelnut moose that feels whipped to within an inch of its life, making for a plush texture filled with air. This hazelnut cream accord is pure Nutella in its style, thanks to Muse’s undercurrent of milk chocolate (as opposed to Angel’s dark choc), but the boldness is found within a green facet which provides contrast rather than intense photorealism of chocolate spreads.
In the base, Muse boasts a triumvirate of vanilla, patchouli and vetiver, with the latter being the least dominant of the three. I describe the base as a “cosmic swirl of hazelnut cream-cocoa, roasted vetiver and fuzzy patchouli” which sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? The vetiver adds a saltiness that tempers the sweetness, allowing Muse to avoid falling into the diabetic coma that much of the industry seems to be suffering from at the moment (thanks La Vie est Belle!) and giving it the gender-bending dynamic that made Angel so bold when it was released 24 years ago.
One could be forgiven for questioning whether Angel Muse justifies its own existence, because let’s face it, it’s divergent but not wholly different from the original. Personally, I feel that Muse should be viewed as an entry-level Angel for those that found the original too much, too masculine, too feminine, too horrific, or all of the above (you catch my drift). If you consider Muse as Angel’s Parfum Initial or Eau Premiere then you’re on the right track, and it makes sense as a modern reworking of a classic, which is something that it does very well indeed. The edges are much smoother and the fragrance, in general, is much less confrontational, but it is still undeniably Angel, just a newer, more contemporary version for the fragrance lovers of 2016.
Angel Muse is available in 30ml (£45) and 50ml (£64) Eau de Parfum.
Sample and info via MUGLER. Images are my own.