Recently when I reviewed ALIEN MAN, I moaned about how it did not smell like a ‘MUGLER’ and how I thought that was a very bad thing. Today I am reviewing Mystic Aromatic, the latest (and tenth) edition to Les Exceptions, an exclusive line of fragrances from MUGLER, and in this review I will say that it does not smell like a MUGLER and remark how I feel that is a good thing. I am a wave of contradictions, Dear Reader, I know. But do read on and you will soon understand why these contradictions are aptly applied.
Mystic Aromatic is described by MUGLER as presenting “an intense aromatic freshness contrasted by hot, bewitching notes”. As with the other fragrances in Les Exceptions, this one too seeks to subvert a familiar genre with an interesting olfactory twist, in this case taking the green aromatic family and injecting it with an unexpected ambery warmth. The result is yet another contradiction from MUGLER, where warm meets cold, fresh meets dense, masculine meets feminine, and green meets gold. Once again, MUGLER proves that it has the ability to surprise…
Herbes de Provence (Thyme, Basil & Clary Sage), Basil, Oregano and Peru Balsam
How Does it Smell?
Mystic Aromatic is intriguing right from the start. It opens dry and green, evoking the idea of sun-dried herbs. There’s a lot going on – the savoury greenery of basil, the warmth of thyme and the liquorice-like sweetness of anise. I usually hate green things (although I’m getting much more into them as I age) but Mystic Aromatic presents the idea of dry shrubbery without any of the bitchy bitterness that permeated the genre for many decades. It’s smooth and smells like a herb garden on a hot summer’s day, but Mystic Aromatic is designed as a clash between the hot and the cold and up top there is a subtle freshness that evokes a feeling of cool shade too.
Underneath that is a thick bed of peru balsam. This tree resin has a soft, vanilla odour profile, with hints of cinnamon and labdanum. To Mystic Aromatic it brings a warm contrast that leads the fresh, herbaceous scent in two directions; firstly, it lends it an oriental character that is almost Shalimar-esque in its soft, sweet powderiness, whilst secondly it veers off into fougère territory via a barbershop effervescence that has that wonderful clash of coolness and vanilla sweetness. All of this is served in a restrained and handsome package.
So Mystic Aromatic doesn’t smell much like a MUGLER. It’s not a bold, shocking scent played at full volume, but that’s OK. Les Exceptions as a collection represents the MUGLER take on the classic olfactory families and it sits apart from the likes of ANGEL, ALIEN and AURA, which are fragrances that try to innovate the art of olfaction to new heights with compositions that are simply like nothing else out there. This, interestingly, is where ALIEN MAN goes wrong, with its pleasant but familiar demeanour – it doesn’t smell odd nor bold, thus making it distinctly not a MUGLER. Mystic Aromatic however, may not smell weird or challenging, but it is unique, making it most certainly a ‘Les Exception’ even if the overarching odour of the collection is quite un-MUGLER in the best possible way. That probably makes no sense…oh well! *shrugs*
Mystic Aromatic is available in 80ml Eau de Parfum for £140.
Sample, notes and quotes via MUGLER. Images are my own.