Perfume Directory

Angel (1992)
by Thierry Mugler

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Angel information

Year of Launch1992
GenderFeminine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 996 votes)

People and companies

HouseThierry Mugler
PerfumerOlivier Cresp
PerfumerYves de Chiris
PackagingThierry Mugler
Parent CompanyGroupe Clarins

About Angel

No flowers in this scent! Just a whole load of food: Chocolate, Vanilla, Caramel...
Its uniqueness is what makes it so popular, but also the reason others can't stand it.

Angel fragrance notes

Reviews of Angel

This is the world's first notable gourmand perfume, and the one upon which perfumer Olivier Cresp's reputation (alongside Yves de Chiris) is based. Angel by Thierry Mugler (1992) was downright bizzare when released, a love-it-or-hate-it scent that proved as polarizing as it would be successful, much like most of the fashion designs from Thierry Mugler himself. Angel is claimed to contain no intentional floral notes in the heart, and has had many limited edition bottlings over the years, in addition to innumerable flankers. The equally-notorious A*Men/Angel Men (1996) composed by Jacques Huclier wouldn't stray very far from this formula when released either, which is a testament to the universal appeal Angel seems to have for those who click with its vibe. There have been so many flankers of both this and its male counterpart, you almost can't mention Thierry Mugler and perfume without bringing up Angel; this stuff is literally that genre-defining in the designer segment. Most of all, Angel also helped ease people back into the idea of musk as a main carrier note rather than oakmoss or amber, since dirty musks were so played out by the end of the 80's that most perfumers skipped them if they weren't soapy in tone until Angel made a warm musky skin feel cool once again, likely due to the warmth coming from food notes rather than animalic ones. Another huge polarizing facet of Angel is its inclusion of helonial, a common scent molecule in laundry soap that also saw use in the men's iteration as well. There was just so much going on here that ran counter to what designers were doing at the beginning of the decade, Mugler is lucky this got off the ground at all. Most of the controversy I gather comes from how cloying this accord can be to people who are sensitive to its primary components, and this was especially true when its initial popularity made it a fairly ubiquitous sight on streets, subway cars, and in other public spaces.

Angel opens with the prerequisite bergamot and a slew of fruity, dewy elements including strawberry, calone (from melon), honey, jasmine hedione, and whiffs of rose, likely implied by a hit of geraniol but with no actual rose oil. Helonial also makes its rare appearance, and as a note aforementioned to be typically reserved for perfumes found in laundry soap, it contrasts the otherwise-sticky gourmand heart considerably/ The helonial is an aldehyde derivative of heliotrope, and has a sharp glistening chrome sheen that would start seeing use in masculines down the road, but here it's leading into the controversial cocoa and caramel heart. The men's version bites with coffee bean, lavender, and peppermint, but here we just get a rounded hay-like coumarin to accentuate the sweetness, before the stiff patchouli and musk base take over for the final dry down approach. I get some creamy polysantal "sandalwood" without the dryness and diffusion of the real deal, but that's okay because it isn't the focus here with Angel, and just padding instead. When it's all said and done, you've got the ur-gourmand accord of chocolate, tonka, fruit, vanilla, and patchouli, which is only a few clicks away from being an oriental in tone. Sillage can wallop you so be careful, but otherwise Angel is a gentle perfume in personality if used with discretion. Here is a creamy romantic warmth good for snuggling up in winter, or cool evenings anytime. The musk note is not funky at all, but still has a bit of that "animal fat" tone in it which may not sit well with people used to clean-smelling white musk, so approach gingerly. I'd not use Angel in a formal or office setting, as it's just too amiable for a stern or reserved atmosphere. The energy given off by this stuff is just too friendly and warm for anything where you may need to be aloof towards strangers like in the workplace or a formal event. In the summer time, this would definitely choke me out if I was around it too long, so take that as you may when choosing an appropriate time to wear it.

For most of the 90's, Angel was the Giorgio Beverly Hills (1981) of its time, becoming an unavoidable wall of scent in shopping malls and restaurants, hence some of the backlash. I know I'm pretty sensitive to too much patchouli and anything rich with tonka or vanilla myself, so I'd prefer the men's version which tones these elements down to a drier demeanor, but I am not bothered by this otherwise. Angel is a rare perfume I can respect and appreciate on another but never have an interest to smell myself, and this is coming from someone who often wears feminine-market fragrances, as it feels better to be caught in a chance encounter with Angel then to be enveloped in a cloud of the stuff than to dwell within one for any length of time; in an ephemeral state this is a very nice surprise, but prolonged exposure proves a bit more tiresome. Mostly unisex in feel but leaning slightly feminine, Angel by Thierry isn't a knockout anymore because other houses have since done this accord to death, but it's a nice "comfort food" scent (pun intended) for fans of low-key semi-versarile semi-dirty musks with something going on besides the usual white florals. Compared to the "transparent" fruity florals, syrupy fruitchoulis, and ambroxan shenanigans of the 21st century, Angel is starting to finally show the laugh lines of age to those who care about relevance in perfume trend, but is by no means anachronistic or uncommon on the street. Reformulation hysteria also follows this one, but from what I can recall, the basic sweet foodie patchouli and semi-dank musk accord from when my older sister wore it back in the day still holds true in recent testers I have sniffed in stores. Hell, there are still people who actively seek out and collect all the various limited packages of the stuff, and although the cult of Angel is nowhere near as obsessive as say, followers of Creed Aventus (2010), a lot of talk over which Angel is "best Angel" does happen! Thumbs Up.
04th August, 2019
Angel - Thierry Mugler
This just goes to show that a bitter yet 'clean' camphorous tonality can save a perfume, and not only that but also create something novel and excitingly new. For me, Angel paints a darkish brown picture with a contrasting mix of purple and green colours and this works best when sprayed in moderation: less is more with this one. Sillage and projection are absolutely stellar, there is something very 'natural' the way this perfume presents itself: not too loud but very intense in an amiable way. It kind of reminds me of old vintage perfumes containing real deer-musk. I have tried not to like Angel but I had to surrender to its magic eventually.
04th July, 2019 (last edited: 07th July, 2019)
Been wearing this for 20+ years. I'll forget about and then come back to it. Classic
26th November, 2018
I so, so wanted to give this a Thumbs up since I have worn Angel since 1994. Countless bottles purchased and used. I have been known for this scent for decades. Total signature scent. 1-2 sprays and I would be set all day. Compliments at work, the grocery store, the car wash, social events. For the past few years, Angel is no longer strong, it does not last, project and I cannot remember the last time I got a compliment. The IFRA reformulation literally killed the magic of Angel.
30th April, 2018
I loved Angel when it was brand new: I had never smelled anything like this sweet, fruity, caramel and chocolate creation! It was such a refreshing change from all the ozonic fragrances of the time, which followed the popularity of L'Eau D'Issey and Escape. After wearing it for about a year, I tired of it, and haven't worn it again until recently, when I suddenly decided to buy another bottle. Initially, I thought my new bottle of Angel smelled as it always did, but the more I have worn it, I have realised this fragrance has drastically reformulated. Though it is unmistakably Angel, it is not as sweet as it used to be, and the fruity notes seem more muted: the fragrance is heavier than it was, and now places far more emphasis on damp smelling patchouli and dark chocolate notes than the sugary chocolate-caramel of the original formulation (this damp patchouli and dark chocolate combination was taken to extremes in Givenchy's Very Irresistible For Men, which I always thought smelled like damp A*Men). This new formulation is unfortunately very inferior to the original! The bath and body products have clearly been reformulated too: they used to smell exactly like Angel Eau de Parfum, but now smell of heavy patchouli and fruity notes. The body creme was a particularly lovely product (originally in an elegant glass jar); even though it is still beautiful quality, it now has an overpoweringly strong fruit and patchouli scent, which I find very sickly (this version is sold in a rather over the top plastic "flying saucer" jar).
My thumbs down is for the current version of Angel; the original would definitely have got a thumbs up. I have, however discovered that Angel Etoile Des Reves, smells almost identical to Angel's original formulation, and is, for my tastes, far preferable the one available now.
22nd March, 2018
I first bought this fragrance in November 1992 and as one reviewer commented, I too had people stopping me to ask what I was wearing. The scent was complex, a little disorienting. It was heady, rich, and with just a tiny hint of something 'rotten' underneath. That extra note hit it out of the park.

The tiny star bottle lasted forEVER, and I replaced it again in, I think, 2000? I don't think it is any different from the 1992 version, others may have better data on that question.

It will be a great disservice to this wonderful fragrance if the formula was changed in order to be novel or less expensive.

Readers need to be aware that the EU has cranked down on the use of many classic perfume ingredients, both natural and man-made, due to concerns that they are allergens. Perfumers don't want to be seen as fighting safety rules, so they conform by re-formulating their fragrances.

I am not young; there are many fragrance notes from older perfumes my mother wore (Norell, Tabu, Chanel #5, Alliage, others) that I smell nowhere anymore, anywhere, ever. My bet is that they are simply banned due to Henny-Penny "the sky is falling down!" concerns about potential contact allergies.

I'm an adult who keeps peanuts from my kid. I'm ok with being responsible for my allergic reactions to fragrance.
13th March, 2018 (last edited: 15th March, 2018)

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