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Smell Bent


A*Men by Thierry Mugler’s Dark New Incarnation

Thierry Mugler, the fashion house that put PVC and corseting on the runway, never does anything without a little fetishistic touch. In fact, fetishes are in the house DNA, so it's only natural that Mugler would get a little kinky when revamping (emphasis on vamp) four of the house's classic fragrances.

To celebrate the brand's 20th anniversary of its introduction to haute perfumery, the Fragrances of Leather Collection gives Angel, Alien, Womanity, and A*Men a shot of virile leather--each having been matured in leather vats for four weeks.
A*Men, like its female counterpart Angel, has always been an iconoclastic fragrance. Introduced in 1996, it broke the rules of men's cologne with notes like lavender, coffee, tar, chocolate, and patchouli. Scents that shouldn't work together but do. A*Men has gone through many limited-edition flankers, like 2008's much-missed Pure Coffee and last year's The Taste Of Fragrance. Unlike other brands, Mugler's flankers always improve on the formula of the original, each better than the next and, indeed, A*Men Pure Leather does not disappoint.
Until midway through its development, Pure Leather is a near exact replica of the original A*Men; a whiz of peppery mint and lavender on the top note, the unusual heart that's somewhere between a mocha latte and steaming hot asphalt. But it is in the dry-down that the leather note comes to head, bringing the whole composition together, softening the hard edges of the original fragrance. Once it dries down, A*Men Pure Leather gets a buttery, salty, and--I'll admit it--animalic twist that puts all the puzzle pieces into cohesive place. With the addition of the leather note, the fragrance becomes wonderfully balanced, surprisingly wearable and absolutely delicious. In keeping with the Mugler brand, it will certainly inspire a fetish for fragrance.

A*Men Pure Leather, $88.00 at Saks Fifth Avenue

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Daniel Tehrani