As a rule, flankers suck, and it’s tiring to see them follow such predictable patterns:
XThat list took me 30 seconds and not one of the flanker names is intentionally ironic. Which is more disconcerting: a bad perfume followed by ten flankers -- or a good one? Niche sometimes comes up with cleverer names, but it’s the same schtick as the larger mainstream releases.
X Fleur d’Iris (de Jasmin, de Rose…)
X Summer Edition
X Noir (Rouge, Vert, Blanc…)
God knows Thierry Mugler has milked the Angel cow. Yet it’s commonly accepted that no flanker has ever equaled or surpassed the original. 20 years down the road from the urAngel Eau de Parfum, Mugler has issued the latest iteration of copycat: the concentration flanker. But breaking the aforementioned rule, Angel Eau de Toilette is a smart, tidy and lovely reflection on the original. Mugler seems to have learned a lesson from the errors of the legion of Angel imitators, from Nuits de Noho to Flowerbomb to Pink Sugar, and doesn’t simply make proportion changes to the sweet/gourmand notes of the original.
Although there are similar elements between Angel EDP (hereafter referred to as “Angel”) and Angel EDT, the EDT is an exploration of the concepts underpinning Angel. The differences, the juxtapositions found in Angel are in the EDT, but they’re not quite so jarring. Angel EDT is potent, but not as dissonant as Angel. You can wear Angel EDT while easily keeping a little distance from it, as opposed to Angel where it takes effort not to let it wear you.
|Eva Mendes is not an ideal place to store your Angel EDT: décolletage too warm, halo too bright.|
While emphatically memorable, Angel isn't strictly pretty and it certainly doesn’t make any attempts to emulate the botanical or environmental. How many people come to appreciate, even love Angel after either recoiling from it or being frightened by it? The fact that so many eventually find their way to loving Angel leads one to the surprising truth about this misrepresented, misunderstood perfume: Angel is all about ideas.
Released in 1992, Angel mastered all the tricks of the 1980s and ran with the ball. Despite 20 years of association with ditziness, Angel exists as an almost philosophical discussion on juxtaposition in perfumery. Female vs. male (and everything beyond.) New trends in eating disorders, played out as food (albeit cotton candy) vs. the illusion of food (patchouli x vanilla = chocolate mirage.) Fresh (floral) vs. preserved (mothballs.) Juxtaposition, when modified by sheer volume, another of Angel’s defining attributes, produces a sensation somewhere between power and volatility. It’s mania, rage and instability in one pretty little bottle.
|It is the perfume spokesmodel's job to convey mania, rage and instability.|
The interesting principle of Angel EDT is that by removing gourmand elements, it ends up more appealingly edible than Angel. Turn the cotton candy down, focus less on patchouli's chocolate side, and the fruit that was underneath all of that joins the added vanilla to become comfortably food-like.
|Mendes: comfortably food-like in her freshness chamber.|
If you’re looking for the conflict, the juxtaposition that makes Angel EDT the conceptual heir to Angel, it’s more noticeable in the late heart and drydown. Instead of the Angel death match -- the Diva Floral vs. Ethyl Maltol vs. Patchouli Mothball which leaves you feeling hungover after five minutes -- the EDT has a musk/patchouli question that leaves you wondering. The obvious musk to pair with patchouli would be a berry-sweet, ambery musk that aligns with patchouli’s sweet woodiness. But Angel EDT’s musk, to my nose, is the sibilant, metallic musk from Mugler’s Cologne. It’s an unexpected (and fantastic!) balance. The patchouli is dense and round; the musk is concise and tight.
And while patchouli continues to alter through drydown, the musk is definitively linear. Both are of equal intensity and duration, making the drydown the most captivating part of the ride. When was the last time anyone said that about a mainstream feminine release? The contemporary mainstream feminine perfume strategy, a mix of movie-trailer theory and the fashion zen of transience, is to put the bang up front and to hell with the rest. Angel EDT shucks this wisdom and approaches the drydown with consideration and care. Where Angel’s drydown is essentially exhaustion after exhilaration, the EDT’s drydown actually leaves me pensive. 20 years on, and Angel is still all about ideas.