Angel, with Bitter Cocoa Powder, is part of the new limited-edition The Taste of Fragrance - Le Goût du Parfum collection by Thierry Mugler, which is motivated by the desire to bring closer together the experiences of tasting and smelling. It is of course an in-house homage paid to the founding ancestor of Oriental gourmands, Angel, as it appeared in 1992. The brand has decided to tease the frontier between food, drink and perfume in a very consistent manner. They are one of the several so-called designer labels which have the mind-set and the creativity of, again, so-called niche labels. With them really the distinction crumbles, and if there remains something of it, it would be mainly in terms of distribution.Their turning to wine-making and cognac-making techniques to age Angel and Alien has been a revelation for many. Then they turned caviar into a note to be smelled with Womanity. In the past, they offered the olfactory illustrations of the novel and movie Perfume. Angel was also turned into four different florals.Their flankers are usually both faithful and creative.
Thierry Mugler see the new project as "a precursor of a gourmand haute-perfumery." They asked three perfumers, plus one team of perfumers, to create those gourmand variations which would enable people to rediscover their perfumes thanks to their "fantasized tastes." Chef Hélène Darroze has also contributed recipes for each of the fragrances. Angel Bitter Cocoa Powder was composed by perfumer Aurélien Guichard of Givaudan....
Smelling Angel Le Goût du Parfum having been enhanced by a bitter cocoa powder is like sitting for long minutes at a table smelling a bar of chocolate preparing yourself to eat it while the clock is slowly ticking away on the wall. Like a wine drinker, you appreciate what you are about to savour by smelling it, taking the time to reflect on the nuances you can discern. The revisted version of Angel smells like a long variation on chocolate, its nuanced facets from powdery, sweet, milky, irisy, to musky and animalic overall. Of course, one is advised to buy some very good chocolate and eat it while making taste and smell notes comparison at the same time. Chef Hélène Darroze proposed a magret de canard with red beets, raspberries, turnip, pink pralines and molé.
The powdery texture, is as promised, present, but at the same time, there is the unmistakable sensation of a chocolate bar in 3-D. Like any good perfume which is not a mere collage of trends and ideas, it manages to be evocative. What is perhaps one of the most admirable qualities of this perfume is that perfumer Aurélien Guichard has managed to infuse the chocolate accord with all the thoughtfulness and attentiveness of the connoisseur's mind. Hence, Angel in its cacao guise is not especially gourmand, nor is it meant to be comforting. It is really a scent about the scent of chocolate in all of its purity while Angel becomes a bit more cherry-like to complement it, but remains true to its original form. The patchouli note which has a natural chocolate facet has been prolonged into its gustatory, logical consequence with the mute sensation of finely gound cocoa powder falling on your fingers like fine snow.
After a while, a more perfumey accord appears behind the cherry note of Angel which brings back your rêverie to the sense that we are dealing with a fashion accessory as well. The chocolatey accord tends to lose its dusty nuance and fade into a more darkly glowing ambery drydown subtly accentuated by the red fruity hints of Angel, one of its main aspects.
It might be good to stress that Angel eau de parfum today has more of the gourmand chocolatey nuances that are inherent to certain qualities of patchouli than the origjnal 1992 version. I purchased Angel when it first came out as it felt like a striking juice at the time, one of those that you can't get out of your head, and have kept the flacon still half-full. I wouldn't be surprised if the jus were from the first batch as I did not tarry then. A comparison yields some interesting observations. Angel was much more old-school then, with its more accentuated aromatic and mossy hints, than it is today, when it has become fruitier and more gustatory in tone. Angel Cacao takes that already enhanced chocolatey note and makes it realistic, vivid, reflective vertical accord. It becomes the main theme while Angel is playing its familiar melody in the background.
The chocolate contributes not only its scent but an effect of texture, bringing added heft to the composition. It is not however as rich and decadent as the Liqueur de Parfum, which I will still retain as a standard of Angel richness and decadence.