A*Men (Thierry Mugler)

Holy mother of god.

If I had known that all I had to do was try the men's version of Angel for the clouds to part and heaven to reveal itself, it all would have been so simple.

I would not have tormented myself with questions as to the reliability of my own perceptions.

I would not have told myself -- despite every instinct within me that screamed the opposite -- that ten bajillion fragrance consumers were right and I was wrong.

I would not have gone back and kept trying, kept crying, kept scrubbing-- all in pursuit of that elusive something which was over here in this bottle across the aisle the entire time.

I would have converted. Right there, right then, like Saint Paul on the road to Damascus. Bam. Well, there might have been a little bit of wrestling à la Jacob, but only of the most angelic sort-- you know what I mean.

A*Men (or Angel for Men, stateside) utilizes the same essential chocolate-patchouli-caramel base as Angel, but swaps out that hellish blackcurrant/G-string accord for notes of lavender, roasted coffee and tar. Everything that I adored about the first five minutes of Angel is here, only for hours, with no violent hijacking midway through.

Beyond Angel, all I could see were the endless flames of hell.  Looking over A*Men's broad and muscular shoulder, I notice now what I never noticed before: all the lavender accords I already love, queued up in unbroken celestial progression from Jicky to Yohji Homme to this heavenly being in my arms.

That A*Men was designed for men deters me not at all, but it certainly begs the question: Do I really need to grow a pair to get an Angel I can live with?

Scent Elements: Bergamot, coriander, lavender, helional, peppermint, patchouli, honey, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, Atlas cedar, sandalwood, roasted coffee bean, caramel, cacao, benzoin, tonka bean, vanilla, musk