Devil’s Juice: Thierry Mugler Angel

Several of my friends outside of the perfume world know that I write about scent. What they think about this I do not know. Sometimes in conversation I can hear them tilting their heads quizzically, as if I had told them that I collected and bred newts or was, in my spare time, knitting a symphony orchestra. Most are just happy for the free samples I pass along or on occasion pass one my way.

One of those passed to me very recently was a sample of Angel, the 1992 release from Thierry Mugler. (1992 was 30 years ago? I am no longer admitting I was old enough to vote then..) 1992 was also the year that “Absolutely Fabulous” hit the airwaves, the Cartoon Network debuted and Mall of America opened.

All of which fits Angel perfectly.

Angel was (and likely still is) a love-it-or-hate-it scent. March called it “Choco-vomit” while I attempted to make excuses that it was perhaps over-sprayed, writing “Over-apply and it’s like chocolate patchouli jet fuel contail.”

I will state in it’s defense that I did know someone on whom it smelled divine: it was just sweet enough on her without being overbearing and the patchouli was delightful.

So after all these years (and doubtless reformulations) I have a sample of Angel. Will I like it this time? Love it? Loathe it?

Looking at the notes on Fragrantica I can see why this gave me pause:

Top notes are Cotton Candy, Coconut, Cassis, Melon, Jasmine, Bergamot, Pineapple and Mandarin Orange; middle notes are Honey, Red Berries, Blackberry, Plum, Apricot, Peach, Jasmine, Orchid, Caraway, Nutmeg, Rose and Lily-of-the-Valley; base notes are Patchouli, Chocolate, Caramel, Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Amber, Musk and Sandalwood. This perfume is the winner of award FiFi Award Hall Of Fame 2007

Good Lord! That first line of top notes alone read like something you would be served at the county fair only to have it come back up when riding the Tilt-a-Whirl. My first spritz gives a burst of aldehydes then Froot Froot Fruitiness with a bitter undertone, like cleanser. Then you’re pelted with more fruits and some flowers: over-ripe and coming at you fast: left, right, and below the belt (props to Helen Lawson.) This is stage starts to get stratospheric-ally sweet before the patch and the chocolate come in. Now maybe this is because I am 10 years older than when it debuted 30 years ago, or it’s been reformulated, or my senses were just that much more tender back when Clinton was elected, but it isn’t the dirty hippy handing off pot brownies note that I remember and loathed. It still has a touch of the head shop, but they used some of that Orange-Glo to clean the place up a bit. Unfortunately (perhaps since consumption is now mostly legal and rather corporate) for the brownies the chocolate has gone from Betty Crocker to Bosco.

Oh, and like most things you don’t like, it has the staying power of nuclear waste and is about as easy to wash off.

I never thought in a million years that I would ever like the combo of Patch and Chocolate again, but lo and behold, over a decade later (when I was still 25) Uncle Serge managed to draw me in with Borneo 1834, which may be the devil to Mugler’s Angel. Since I have gone through at least two bottles of Borneo and have never gotten through a full sample of Angel, I guess I will side with the ones not wearing a halo.

Certainly not a halo of this..

Okay, do you love Angel? Loathe it? Like the flankers? Let us know on the comments.

My sample was given to me by a friend, where she got it I have no idea. Image from “Valley of the Dolls” taken from interwebs, other images from Pexels

  • Lisa Raeder says:

    Angel is a beautiful fragrance used sparingly. Alien is by far my favorite though.

  • Linda says:

    Always hated it, but recently purchased Angel EDT and I actually like it. I love Angel Iced Star and Angel Nova as well.

  • March says:

    Yeccccccchhhhhh. I haven’t smelled it recently but I feel reasonably confident I’d still loathe it. I still find its popularity as inexplicable as its scent combination, which smells like a lab experiment gone terribly wrong.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I am not a fan of Angel. Think too many people doused themselves in it in the early ’90’s.

    • Tom says:

      I’m not mad about people who over apply in general, but it’s soooooooo much worse when it’s something you loathe..

  • Musette says:

    I’ve never been able to decide on Angel because EVERYONE WHO WEARS IT SOAKS THEMSELVES IN IT! so that’s what I think when I think of it. So I never test it. Why would I, when (see above so I don’t have to shout again)..

    I’mo have to check Borneo. I don’t know that I’ve ever tried it.

    and … STOP BEING SO FUNNY! You make me spit stuff up, I laugh so hard.


    • Tom says:

      They did, didn’t they? This and Giorgio people would just BATHE in. Ugh.

      No. I won’t stop being funny. So there.

      • March says:

        GIORGIO. Always worn at TOP VOLUME!!!!

        • Tom says:

          They used to pump it out of the store. Literally. If you got caught at the long light at Rodeo and Dayton you were wearing it. When the wind was right you could smell it up in Benedict Canyon.

  • Shiva-woman says:

    Along with much of the pack I loathe Angel which I thought came out closer to 2000. I can’t stand it. RED NUCLEAR BERRIES. I don’t get much else, followed by metal. Borneo is just mmm-mmm good, so rich and fantastic. I’m very easy when it comes to scents. I purchase what I know I’ll like, but I’ll try a lot out and don’t scrub. I’m not a “scrubber,” and in fact I think I’ve only done so two or three times. Angel was one of those times. Can’t stand in the bottle, my arm, a test strip or on someone else.

    • Tom says:

      There’s a lot I don’t care for in Angel (including that biting on tinfoil accord. But it’s the cheap chocolate drydown I can’t stand. It’s like nasty old generic valentines candy that should have been tossed years ago and wasn’t good to begin with. And short of a skin transplant it ain’t going anywhere…

  • rosarita says:

    It took me ten years to appreciate Angel and now I like it but rarely wear it. I do love a couple of flankers like A*Men and Angel Muse. A wonderful person on Now Smell This sent me a bottle of Angel Liqueur de Parfum 2013 and it is a velvet gown version of the original, with long gloves and fabulous jewelry.

    • Musette says:

      oooh! I do love a velvet gown! Own a couple. Very luxe. But for the life of me I cannot imagine Angel in my gown closet. At. All.


      • Tom says:

        I’ll bet they’re purty. I’ve thought of a velvet smoking jacket, but haven’t smoked in 25 years and frankly a velvet “sitting on your a$$ eating Oreos and watching old ‘Buffy’ reruns” jacket doesn’t have as much eclat. .

    • Tom says:

      Like I wrote, on some people it is just lovely. I am not one of those people.

  • Anna Egeria says:

    I tried Angel and didn’t care for it but I love the Garden of
    Stars flankers, Angel Violette and Angel Lily and am always searching for them
    I wish that I could sample others like Angel Muse.

  • cinnamon says:

    I ‘appreciate’ Angel. It does not work on me. I had a work colleague years ago who wore it and wore it very well. It was slightly waft-y cotton candy over a beautiful patchouli on her. I’ve never smelled it that way on anyone else.

  • Alityke says:

    Both Angel & Borneo = Barf Fest!
    I like my patch herbal!
    Odd that the only “chocolate” fragrance I could ever tolerate was an Angel flanker, Angel Le Gout du Parfum from 2011. Far less sweet than the OG, the Chocolate was dry cacao powder with some spice. Think unsweetened Mexican/Spanish cacao tablets, patch is dialled right down.
    Didn’t like it enough to keep it though.

    • Tom says:

      Didn’t like Borneo? What didn’t you like?

      I know uncle serge can be an acquired taste..

      • alityke says:

        I own loads of Uncle Serge’s creations & thought Borneo would be a nailed on success. Sadly not MILK CHOCOLATE note BARFY McBARFNESS, GIPTASTIC!
        Too sweet for me, smelt like a chocolate fountain. Milk chocolate with oil, GAK. Curdled milk chocolate! Smells like Hershey’s.
        Breath in through the mouth, out through the nose.

  • Teresa says:

    Angel literally is the ONE perfume I CANNOT stand to even sniff….nauseating to me….

    • Tom says:

      So far there seems to be consensus on that. But it does smell great on some people..

  • Portia says:

    You are hilarious Tom.
    I’m no great lover of Angel but I have a few girlfriends who wear it spectacularly. One of whom I still know from group hangs after school in the coffee shop for a shared plate of hot chips and a milkshake each. I think she might have been a very early adopted of Angel and continues thus.
    I have a couple of the A*Men range, love them and consider them flankers.
    Portia xx

    • Tom says:

      When it smells good on someone it’s great. On me it’s a hot and cold mess and lasts for days…

  • MMKinPA says:

    I have smelled Angel on some people and it’s ok. On me it’s the tilt-a-whirl. Vile. I keep a vial around and try it every few years to see if my nose has changed. Nope. Still vile.

  • Dina C. says:

    Not to be a naysayer, but No. Angel is a big no from me. It’s too much of a muchness. Like a kid in a ice cream shop adding ALL the available toppings to their cup of soft serve…. ….Chocolate sprinkles, Gummi worms, dried pineapple chunks, caramel syrup, candied orange peel, strawberries, nuts, etc. etc. etc. And back in its heyday the people who loved it tended to wear a lot of it.

    • Tom says:

      Oh Lordy did people wear a lot of it. And yours is a great description. Except we were the ones that got the tummy ache.

  • Kathleen says:

    I loathe Angel, on myself and others. I believe it is the only perfume I can’t stand. The staying power of nuclear waste! That’s fine and true of Angel and any perfume not liked.

    • Tom says:

      It is usally the ones we hate that won’t scrub off. But this littl devil wasn’t going anywhere. I has just put it on the back of my hands and despite scrubbing with various soaps, hand sanitizers, rubbing alcohol, etc (honestly I just stopped short of Bon Ami cleanser) that Barfy bosco finish lasted days..

  • Mindy K Grazulis says:

    I abhor Angel..but I adore Angel Muse. Gourmand hazelnut and vetiver.

  • Tara C says:

    I loathe Angel, it smells like rotting melons on me. But I love Borneo. Choco patch done right. 🙂

    • Tom says:

      Borneo is gorgeous. Angel is evil

      • ElizaC says:

        How does Borneo compare to Coromandel? I need to give Borneo a try. I plan to stay far away from Angel!

        • Tom says:

          I’ve never smelled Coromandel. I need to correct that. Anyone else want to chime in?

          Borneo is bitter, dark chocolate and bone dry patchouli leaves. Angel is dime store chocolate and head shop patch. From a store where you get pot on the sly that’s mostly seeds and stems.

          • ElizaC says:

            Borneo sounds wonderful – I need to get a sample. Not interested in the head shop patch – smelled too much of that at Grateful Dead shows eons ago. Coromandel is the artisan chocolate/orange bar I get from my coffee shop combined with amber and a cozy but elegant patchouli. It does, however, have the same lasting power as Angel.

          • Tom says:

            Ooh but that sounds great- I love those chocolate orange bars. I might have to hit Chanel this weekend