One Thousand Scents

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Blues: Thierry Mugler Ice*Men

For the last ten years, at least, the dominant category in men's fragrances has been the fresh, aquatic, or ozonic scent, a category made possible by an aromachemical called Calone (discovered in 1966 but not used in perfumery until the 1990s) and its numerous derivatives. And what better way to announce this fresh wateriness than by packaging your scent in blue? The box may be blue, or the bottle, or the liquid inside, or all three, but if you want to let the world know that they're going to be getting more of the same, then you're going to use blue.

Of course there are exceptions. Mugler, a contrarian, coloured his original Angel and A*Men a luscious blue, though (being rich gourmand orientals) they were about as far from aquatic scents as they could possible be, and Lancome's floral Mille Et Un Roses (1001 Roses) is an enchanting periwinkle blue. But for the most part, particularly in men's perfumery, if you see a blue liquid, it's a pretty good bet that it's going to be a fresh-aquatic scent.

Ordinarily I just ignore the blues. I can usually make an educated guess as to what's inside, and I'm probably not going to care for it. But I'm not completely closed-minded, and if some nice saleswoman is going to give me samples, then I'm going to try them.

Thierry Mugler's Ice Men is not my cup of tea, but it's not your average aquatic scent, either, because nothing put out under his name is average. (You don't have to like his scents, but you always have to admit that they're not like anything else on the market. His scents are as original as his couture.) It is a water scent, but right up there under the cool fresh top notes is a dose of coffee, the same coffee that's in A*Men and A*Men Pure Coffee. This, I gather, is meant to shock you awake in the morning.

After the fresh/coffee accord drifts away, in an hour or so, there isn't much left except that synthetic fresh-clean patchouli that everyone uses instead of the real thing these days (not that I'm complaining). There are suggestions of the notes in the original A*Men, but mostly it's just that patchouli. It's not a bad scent, and it isn't like every other fresh scent on the market, but I can't imagine falling in love with it. People do, though; just read the reviews on Basenotes.

I'm not all that enthusiastic about the bottle, either. It's meant to suggest ice, and it alludes to the star that appears on all the Angel and A*Men scents in one form or another, but to me it looks like someone took a tooth-shattering bite out of the bottle, which is strange, and not in the usual intriguing Mugler way, but just strange. It doesn't even look very comfortable to hold. (I bet there are people out there who love that, too, though.)

The hair-and-body shower gel smells more or less like the top notes of the scent--there's the cold aquatic note, there's the coffee--but it also contains a hefty blast of menthol, which means it mostly smells like Vick's Vap-O-Rub. I should have guessed that this meant it contains menthol, but I worked up a lather all over my face and scalp, and a few seconds later got that (to me) mildly unpleasant cold, tingling sensation that some people interpret as "Wake up! Rise and shine!" but I read as "Get it off me!" I don't mind it quite so much on the rest of my skin, except for the Down There areas, which are, after all, rather sensitive.

The packaging for the shower gel ought to read, "This product contains MENTHOL. Do NOT use it on your GOODIES or you will be SORRY."

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4 Comments:

  • I haven't run into the scent yet, but I love the bottle.

    Why? If you handed it to me and said, "This is a new EdT -- guess what it's called?" I'd have a better than fifty-fifty shot at getting it right. It'd be a slam-dunk if I twigged that the fracture was in the shape of the Angel star.

    That's good design and good branding. My hat is off to Thierry Mugler. --That being said, I'm so tired of Calone that I won't be wearing the scent. But I can admire the bottle all I want!

    By Blogger D.J., at 4:32 PM  

  • It is good branding, I'll give you that. The shape of a bottle is a variant of (but still of a piece with) the entire A*Men line, and the totemic star is coded but still undeniably there. I think I'm just prejudiced against blue eaux.

    By Blogger pyramus, at 7:18 AM  

  • I own the "Summer Flash" edition and I've read that its content is the same of Ice Men's one. I like it very much, although I can't sense any coffee note in it. BTW, I love the bottle... a true masterpiece...

    By Anonymous Maddyrain, at 1:15 AM  

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    By Blogger Elena, at 1:26 PM  

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