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Thierry Mugler Alien Review

Updated on February 28, 2012

Comparing and Contrasting Thierry Mugler's Alien

Thierry Mugler's Alien, created by Dominique Ropion and Laurent Bruyere and released in 2005, may be out of this world, but it's not necessarily so unique it's otherworldly. With only a few differences, this is Armani Code in a shorter, futuristic bottle. It's true that Armani Code launched in 2006, so if either of them is a copycat, it's that one, not Alien. However, the price difference may make it worth leaving Alien ($78 for 1 oz) at the store and taking home Armani Code ($39.50 for 1 oz) instead. If you tend to stick to the same scent and use up bottle after bottle once you've found "the one" or "the one for the next couple of years," Alien may be worth another look because it's refillable for a fraction of the cost of a new bottle.

The Scent

So, what does Alien smell like? Imagine being a teenager in love. On a lazy late spring Sunday afternoon date, you and your significant other stumble across an old swing set in a field of flowers. The sun and a light breeze caress your skin and you suddenly realize just how free you are; you become giddy, as if intoxicated. Alien is the scent of an innocent, all-encompassing, passionate first love—with a hint of that metallic smell your hands pick up from the chains of a swing set.

Don't let that metallic scent put you off; it's barely there, nestled deep below the heady jasmine and the feel of sun-kissed skin. But it is there, and that's what sets it apart from Armani Code. That, and it's not quite as rich and heavy. If Code is a thick, velvet blanket for winter, Alien is a lightweight fleece one that will wrap you in warmth when there's only a hint of chill in the air.

For reference, according to, the notes are:

Solar accord, jasmine sambac, green notes, cashmeran, vanilla, and transparent amber. It's classified as a soft floral. Unless the green notes are what give it the metallic edge, I don't notice those at all, but I do sense a hint of grape or plum, which isn't listed anywhere.

Everything else listed is there, but they work in harmony to create a soft, sweet floral with weight and depth that smells best when it's wafting up on a light spring breeze to take you by surprise. Sniffing your wrists just won't give you the same effect because the scent can smell flat and a little lifeless when you seek it out that way.

Angel vs. Alien

Angel vs. Alien sounds like a Dan Brown novel, doesn't it? How does the Alien fragrance compare to Angel, another well-known Thierry Mugler scent that was ubiquitous in the early 2000s, much to the dismay of sensitive noses and patchouli-haters everywhere? It doesn't, really. Both have excellent sillage and a sweetness that's careful not to veer off-course into the gourmand category, but that's where the similarities end.

While Angel announces her presence to the room with a raucous, "I'm HERE! Let's get the party started!" in a red dress and mega-watt smile, Alien invades more slowly, taking admirers one or two at a time with a sly grin, sideways glance, and impeccable poise. Theirry Mugler's Alien doesn't change much on my skin from first spritz to drydown, though it does seem to settle in rather than sitting on top of my skin the way Angel does.

If Angel scared you off years ago, Alien's still worth a shot. They're completely different scents that happen to share a few qualities: good sillage, interesting bottles to set on your vanity, lasting scent (all day and night on my skin), and fragrances not found in a dozen other bottles under different names. They're definitely not generic scents.

Enjoying Alien

Though I compared Alien to a teenager's first love, I don't recommend it for someone so young. Instead, I think it's best suited for anyone in their 20's and beyond, who can look back at those early dates through a lens of nostalgia and realize just how sweet and beautiful they were. Fragrance collectors will be torn between the similar, less expensive scent and the purple jewel of a bottle that does look like it landed here as a gift from another planet. It's so pretty, but the purchase could be hard to justify, knowing there's something similar (that may already be in your collection) for a lower price when you will likely never finish a bottle and need a refill. My advice: try both on your skin. See if you pick up many differences and find out which ones lasts longer on you. Once you've compared them side-by-side, you can try them separately to compare sillage and see if one lures in more compliments than the other.


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