Angel is a monster.

There can be no denying it. I knew it then, and I know it – particularly upon opening an old vintage box set yesterday and getting whole swathes of it running down my hands when one of the bottles broke – now.

It was so BRAZEN. So ugly beautiful. So loud, and sheaven of all imaginable subtlety.  A patchouli, purified, yes, but in its original incarnation much earthier than you thought, emerging stealthily with its nuclear, syntho-vanilla concussions.

Sharp, caramellized, fruit- sapping metallia,  and secretly macho ambitions : spilling this faux-innocent, blue coloured juice all over my pajama bottoms last night as I recanted some juice into bottles I am now very much persuaded by Luca Turin’s assertions that this was, as originally intended, an air munching, hairy fougere.

It is toxic, this chimaera of praline; this mango of the switchblade.  So it is no wonder that my sister wants to KILL people in London who wear it, and suffocate her, on the underground. She has something verging on a phobia. She totally loses her rag.







Angel was never released in Japan. So in buying a discounted box set of pleasingly shaped star shaped little Angels from an antique shop in Ofuna recently ( an unwanted gift from overseas? ), I have been able to fob them off quite happily as  novel, last minute presents for Japanese friends.


And it is as if, being so inside-out-familiar with this perfume myself ( I do wear it, on occasion, then usually regret it ), but simultaneously it being new here to people, that I am smelling its gourmand, lactic iconoclasms all over again –  anew.



Yesterday evening, a beautiful clear starry night, it was my friend and neighbor ( and colleague) Kunihiko’s thirty fifth birthday.  At our local bar, with all of his friends and the cigarette smoke and the booze flowing ( and a wonderfully jovial atmosphere as Nat King Cole sang Christmas songs on the stereo  ) my hastily put together present of Angel in a white mini feather boa encased in bubble wrap went down a treat. He really liked it ( last year I have him Bal A Versailles), and  he was getting everyone, sat in various places around the joint,to then try it.



‘Sharing the Angel’……the smoky air light with the skin smell of chocolate….


Filed under Flowers


  1. Lilybelle

    I had a small refillable Angel star edp. I tried to love it but ultimately…ugh. It really is a beast, isn’t it? I think it ruined my sensors for quite a long time. I liked the Innocent version, all praline and no patch, though I never wore it just admired it on someone. Someone sent me a decant of Angel-Men Pure Malt, which I used to wear when I binge watched seasons of Hamish MacBeth. They were always drinking in that series. I like the idea of your festive boa bubble wrap version as a present. If you can get everybody in the room in Angel then it must seem like more of a party and less of an assault.

    • It really did!

      And I love your idea of the Malt Assault. Duncan has A’Men Pure Havana and once the suckliness has worn off a bit it really does just start to smell like cigarillos in a humidor.

  2. Tara C

    I enjoyed Angel in its original incarnation, but later reformulations sadly smell of rotting melon on me. Fortunately I have a vintage bottle of A*men that I quite enjoy. The Pure Havane and Single Malt are not too bad on my husband.

  3. Kayse

    Merry Christmas Neil!
    Your sincere words are always a gift, you’ve made my year much more enjoyable. I can’t even explain how your experiences and opinions have touched my heart. Never stop, I’m completely and utterly hooked on your stories.
    It’s so necessary to happiness to focus on the good, and you’ve given us all a lot of that.

    You inspired me to buy Diva, Jardins Bagatelle, Roma and more.
    I agree that Rance should be renamed Rancid, and laughed out loud when I read your review on that expensive house.

    So, on to Angel.
    I got a HUGE 3.5 of the tallest Angel last night from my sweet father. It’s going to last me the rest of my life, considering I already have gallons and gallons of perfumes to divide my attentions amongst.

    I mixed Angel with coconut body cream last night and woke up with a big manly patchouli, so I added the silly candy land perfume,
    I love New York for Her from Bond. It’s fun.

    Jean Claude Ellena says to mix Angel with Issey Miyake, or Orange Sanguine, so I’ll try those combos next.

    Waking up on Christmas Eve with Angel on my arm
    AND Angel on my favorite blog was like a Good ‘Ol Fashion Christmas Miracle!

    I hope you get some awesome perfume gifts, and enjoy a wonderful Christmas with Duncan!


    • What you write here is a beautiful Christmas gift. Thank you so much. X

      Angel smells great with anti-intuitives. I like it sometimes with the salty oceanic Kenzo Pour Homme in summer. Issey Miyake though I just can’t imagine!

  4. Great piece, great gift for Kunihiko. The mini feather boa was the perfect touch.

    I remember sniffing Angel in a department store when it first came out in ’92. Big hoopla, big display, big perfume. Big impression. I fell for it instantly because it was so out-there, so radical, so nearly-edible. I remember my friends not being able to wrap their minds around it, and still wanting to come in for a closer sniff. Light years away from the market today, when all the stuffing has been stripped from mainstream gourmands leaving a whack of ethyl maltol and synthetic, nerve-racking patch and musk and pseudo-wood-like aroma chemicals. I blasted through that bottle in six weeks flat.

    A friend gave me a vintage bottle last year. Ric doesn’t like it one bit.

    • Because it is basically sickening! My initial reactions were the same as you though. Amazement. Shock. It truly was iconoclastic.

      • Yep, someone was taking a great big chance with Angel. It could have sunk like a pet rock. Wish some mainstream house had the guts to do that now, to start a revolution, damn the torpedoes. I myself don’t have the vision to imagine what that kind of smell would be. Maybe the whole thing’s been exhausted and there is only derivativeness ahead? That’s why I’m all for synthetics. If there’s an answer to redundancy in fragrance, it will come from the lab.

  5. Nancysg

    I remember the first time I smelled Angel! It was so different from everything I had worn before. I never wore it, but wanted someone around me to so I could enjoy huffs of it.
    Merry Christmas and thanks for sharing your life with us faithful readers.

  6. Renee Stout

    I like the IDEA of Angel, but was never crazy about it, for the same reason I don’t care for Prada Candy. I was once wearing Serge Lutens’ Borneo, when someone asked me if I was wearing Angel. I politely said no, but was a little insulted (lol). Anyway, you sure know how to paint a picture with your words and it is always appreciated.

  7. Renee Stout

    Oh, by the way, after you mentioned Masumi the other day, I went and revisited mine. I kept feeling like it reminded me of something and then it hit me: it’s a little like Shiseido’s Zen perfume, but more intense. The name “Masumi” Is Japanese in origin and it makes me wonder if Coty was riffing off of Zen. Hmmm…I’ll have to do some research and see which one came out first.

  8. Neil, your blog is always a joy to read and always brings a smile to my face.
    Thanks for another year of interesting writing and I look forward to the coming year. Marry Christmas!

  9. Don’t “marry” Christmas, but have a Merry one!

  10. Oh gosh! “an Air munching, hairy fougere” how brilliant! Merry Christmas!

  11. MrsDalloway

    Merry Christmas! I have a big new bottle of Cuir d’Ange; easier on the nerves than Angel.

  12. Susan

    After reading this post, I decided to dig out my old bottle of Angel and try spritzing the Christmas tree skirt with it. It turned out that I love the smell of Angel mixed with spruce. I plan on doing it again next year (although I may not have a choice – the Christmas tree skirt and all the ornaments will probably still smell of Angel next year).
    Happy New Year!

  13. Pingback: THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE : ANGEL by THIERRY MUGLER | The Black Narcissus

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