Thierry Mugler’s second hit fragrance, Alien is not quite as divisive as Angel but it can still cause some people to back away from it as though it had tentacles. I love Alien’s bottle design (as you can see from my terrific, professional graphic on the right, I think the bottle resembles the environment suits of Vorlons from the cult sci-fi TV series Babylon 5).
I love the fragrance, too. It is an otherworldly jasmine, with a hint of metal and robotics; sexy electric whisper of circuit boards. Everything about it is a little bit unreal and teeters on the edge of cold but works when warmed by human skin. It suits me very well and although I often go for scents that are a little less mainstream, this one is on regular rotation in my perfume wardrobe.
My lovely husband dutifully feeds my perfume addiction and will occasionally buy me a fragrance as a present even outside of normal gift-giving occasions. One day he gave me a new bottle of Alien because my current one was running low. Shock-horror: it was the wrong kind – a new version of the scent, Alien Eau de Toilette.
Not everyone is aware that most perfume brands change the scent for each concentration variant, so a pure perfume will have a different, usually more basenote-heavy balance, an Eau de Parfum will be a robust scent in its own right and an Eau de Toilette can be a whole new interpretation of the theme (never mind the obsession with “flankers”; variations of a theme outside of the available space of the mere concentration spectrum). My husband had bought “Alien” but it was in fact a different scent from the one I had at home.
Obviously grateful that I have a husband who occasionally buys me perfume “just because”, I wore it for several days in a row just to show how much I appreciate this most excellent trait. I wasn’t expecting to necessarily love the EdT as much as I love the original. I realised that this new scent was not really so “alien” after all. It had a hint of the outer space of its original namesake but the gentle, feminine floral aspect had been emphasised, making it more of an everyday, wearable, pretty version of the perfume. Something you could wear anywhere and you would just smell “pretty”. Not so much Alien as Invasion of the Body Snatchers – outwardly human but a hint of something different inside.
I like both of them now, for different reasons.