Perfume Directory

Aura (2017)
by Thierry Mugler


Aura information

Year of Launch2017
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 49 votes)

People and companies

HouseThierry Mugler
PerfumerDaphne Bugey
PerfumerAmandine Marie
PerfumerChristophe Raynaud
PerfumerMarie Salamagne
Parent CompanyGroupe Clarins

About Aura

Aura is a feminine perfume by Thierry Mugler. The scent was launched in 2017 and the fragrance was created by perfumers Marie Salamagne, Christophe Raynaud, Amandine Marie and Daphne Bugey

Reviews of Aura

Mugler Aura

I love vanilla fragrances, but even I am getting a little fed up with the way every major house, and the horse it rode in on, have jumped onto the vanilla train. So, my first reaction when I heard that Mugler’s first pillar fragrance since Womanity was going to be vanilla, I thought, oh, no, not Mugler, too. And I, duly, harassed the poor SA at the local Macy’s for months, because it took freaking forever to actually arrive in the US, after its initial launch, which made me wonder if Aura was not doing as well as initially desired, and also if Mugler was reconsidering their marketing strategy. When it finally got to the US, I smelled it, didn’t feel moved to like or hate the scent itself, but still disliked it on principle, because I felt like Mugler were playing things, relatively, straight, as this kind of greenish vanilla has been around for a while, at least since Dior Addict, and of anything, Aura came to that game, very, very late.

It took a few months of lurking around Basenotes (I was a lurker for years, before I had my account), and some enthusiastic, or at least positive, reviews, from people whose opinions I have come to respect, to convince me to give it another try. That, and its price point, as Mugler always delivers value for money, to a degree that no other major house of its stature even tries to touch, probably because their perfumes are largely lab grown,’and also because of economy of scale. I like this about the house, they walk the path of Francois Coty, who famously argued that people, especially women, want good perfume in great bottles at a decent prices. This house doesn’t spend too much time trying to convince the punters about rare essences and Grasse materials, and I like that, because these perfumes are not supposed to smell like anything on earth, anyway, so I revisited Aura with different expectations, and found a lot to like, maybe even love.

It is unabashedly artificial, so let’s just get that out of the way now. It smells like plastic, floor wax, industrial grade bathroom cleaning products—especially airplane bathrooms, for some reason—aggressively fresh scents that attack your nose, with a rhubarb and ivy accord that smells tart, green, watery, a little sweet, and just ... weird. I can’t figure out which cleaning product I am smelling here, maybe glass cleaner, or the blue liquid in aforementioned airplane toilets.

Mugler put all this greenery up front and center, and I think that is really the per fume’s story, rather than the vanilla I initially thought would be its main event. There is vanilla in here, like a cold vanilla pudding in a chilled basin, which reminds me very much of Pierre Guillaime’s iris-and-vanilla scent. Its personality also has has a mysterious smoky quality, and something almost phenolic.

Because Aura’s vanilla primarily reads as cold, it blends well with the frosty aromatic green accords, their shared chill giving these accords a sense of being kindred spirits—unexpected relatives, as vanilla usually reads as warm, either because of our primal association with its scent in baked goods and desserts, or the generally cozy bear hug provided by sweet perfume with a little caramelized darkness. The vanilla in Aura doesn’t quite venture into comfort territory; as it wears, its base ingredients reveal themselves as something more like incense, the scent of firewood freshly lit (and the vanillin in the wood steaming and then smoking), and perhaps the vanillic edge of toasted wood I smell in many American- or New World-made brown liquors,’whose aging time in oak barrels, a hint of aromatic vanilla that I treat with a welcoming but respectful distance, because they can mess up your world in a hurry.

I don’t know what the perfumers found in vanilla that is so oily and phenolic, but vanilla is extremely complex ingredient, with a lot of varietal variations, and I probably need to spend more time, just huffing on and enjoying my pricey (but, totally, worth it, as a single one will fill gallon bag of plain old sugar with its heavenly scent), occasional Tahitian or Madagascan vanilla bean purchases, their precious tubes themselves aromatic enough to bury in my baking sugar, along with the beans themselves. I think about the shiny, slightly oily surface of vanilla,’and I wonder if that is where it comes from. Obviously, Mugler—whose gourmand credentials are beyond, impeccable, have pulled, splintered, fractionated, and isolated pretty much everything that comprises the deceptively simple scent of so many childhood sweets, from Nilla Wafers to the plainest ice cream, and found its secret hidden chambers that offer more alienation than comfort.

Aura is almost the opposite of Mugler’s first big hit with Angel, as Angel seemed to be about finding, and throwing together, as many unrelated elements as possible,’and making them stick. Aura is a little more like Alien, which was a one-note exploration of the wild and dark (as in undiscovered and unobserved, like the dark side of the moon) aspects of one of perfumery’s most common ingredients, Jasmine, with the result being a Vick’s Vapor-Rub/Tiger Balm menthol accord that emphasized and celebrated sambac jasmine’s subtle, aromatic, cool, inside its more aggressive and spicy profile.

Aura takes a little from both of these. It brings out a less celebrated quality from a bog standard material that we thought we all knew—Alien—and it throws it in a blender with some apparently unrelated materials that actually have a lot more in common than anyone would have guessed. Gas spectrometers, and the fine dissection of natural materials they allow, and the fractionated materials they create, have opened up, not only a new universe of novel scents, but also an equally novel artistic space where these very specific bits of familiar scents can find new companionship and expression,
In areas that classical perfumery could never have even comsidered.

Overall, Aura is excellent work. Mugler put almost all their chips into its ride-or-did reaction and launch, and I think history will be kind to it. It reveals a different side of the house, a slightly more introspective and less in-your-face style of perfumery, that reflects some of the more refined work happening in Mugler’s higher-end Exclusifs line, and I, for once, won’t grumble about their being almost two houses split along economic lines, as I think Mugler is actually using what they have learned from its fine(r) Fragrance Line, to apply new techniques to its pillar lines. Which is exactly what a higher priced line should do, rather than ust flog Woody Amber Extreme at the people who have a lot more money than sense, the way that Guerlain seems to be going.

Finally, Aura gives me hope that (1) green fragrance is not dead (and not just in niche perfumery, where it is enjoying a long and exciting renaissance), because other houses follow where Mugler goes; that (2) “smart” or “clever” or at least unexpected perfumes can find a welcome spot in the heart of mainstream perfume customers, and that (3) Mugler is—I pray—cooking up some real zingers for Aura’s first batch of related perfumes , as (I have said this before, and will almost certainly say it some more), that Mugler’s flanker game is strong as an Olympic power lifter, and I am poised and ready for Aura Chcolate, Boozy Aura, Hippie Patchouli Aura Sensielle, Cuir de Aura, and all the madness that will bubble forth from Mugler’s corporate cauldrons. Bring it on, people. I’m ready.

Btw that bottle. I have a May birthday, so it feels especially made just for me. And who else is doing emerald right now, in this sea of cod-Chanel minimalist apothecary and whiskey decanter-inspired flacons? Those work for a house founded on the simplicity of Little Black dresses, and the tired old “take one thing off” saw, but a perfume cabinet filled with color and excitement, is a cabinet that makes me feel inspired, confident, and interested in what the people who work this magic 8th art for our 7th sense will think of next.

Four solid stars—I’m not 100 perfect behind the plastic accord that sometimes feels like a jab in the eardrum, and it’s a clever remix of Addict, but Dior got there years ago, so a few little nitpicks here and there keep it from the masterpiece range. Nevertheless, Aura is excellent work, and I hope that Mugler will find a flanker for it as good as Angel Gout de Cacao, which elevated a brilliant popular scent into the realms of the most sublime fine fragrances ever created. Two, very excited, thumbs up.

04th January, 2021
Aura follows Angel and Alien, so I understand that expectations were high. Mugler is known for its quirky and interesting releases, and Aura is somewhat of a departure. It's a fresh oriental, with hints of rhubarb, something minty/green, seamlessly blended with orange blossom and a creamy but non-sweet vanilla. It is easygoing and effortless at a distance, but up close it reveals an interesting juxtaposition of abstract leafy, herbal notes with a quasi-gourmand accord; subtle and elegant. A better alternative to the sugary florals and over-the-top sweet mainstream releases aimed at women. Recommended.

29th November, 2020
A feminine, verdant gourmand. Not a sweet bomb, but a gentle citrus simple syrup with tart rhubarb, and creamy vanilla. There’s a diaphanous powdery or chalkiness about it, not an unpleasant smell. The greenery (tiger liana) could have been stronger for my taste. It wears for about 6-8 hours (drying down to a vanilla-orange blossomy scent after about 3 hours). The sillage is moderate. It did give me a slight headache and a tinge of queasiness, as most fragrances with blossoms or floral notes do. But, there’s something alluring and mysterious enough about this scent for me to wear it again.
30th September, 2020
Mugler is a house I have pretty much totally neglected since I became seriously interested in perfume a little over 10 years ago, which I now realize was a dumb mistake. My avoidance has been largely due to my intense dislike of Angel, which is really not fair as I should have given the other fragrances from this house a shot.

I recently received an Aura sample with a fragrance purchase, and what an interesting fragrance. On first spray I found it very sweet and got that wintergreen/toothpaste note others have mentioned, but it quickly started to grow on me. I can’t deconstruct this fragrance note by note but it smells like a sweet green floral/oriental/fruity-floral fragrance. It sounds like a lot but it works, and my SO said it smells nice. I don’t have anything else that smells like this. Aura proves that thankfully there are still designer/mainstream fragrances being made that are interesting, innovative, and a bit strange.

I’ve also tried the EDT and Aura Sensuelle, but found them not nearly as interesting and unique as the original EDP. The original EDP is the only one worth owning IMO.
20th July, 2020 (last edited: 11th August, 2020)
After wearing Aura (edp) for a while I find it has a kind of split personality that keeps drawing me to it. It is a blend of some very traditional 20th century perfume accords with some very odd reportedly formerly unused in perfumery tropical green notes: rhubarb leaf, tiger liana, orange blossom, Bourbon vanilla, wolfwood. This juxtaposition creates a unique—yes—aura.

My first reaction when smelling it was it smelled like it was created by a committee because its notes seemed so disparate, and it was! Four perfumers were required to pull it together. It felt uncomfortable and strange. But after a while the strangeness became a pull and now I find it stunning and wearable—like one would wear a five-carat emerald—a little self-consciously.
07th June, 2020
Tart red rhubarb and sharp green notes frame this fragrance in the top notes. As they fade, a warm and boozy bourbon vanilla takes over, punctuated here and there by the sweet, lush scent of orange blossoms. Sandalwood and tonka make up a warm, rich base note, accented with that lip-smacking vanilla note.
06th May, 2020

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