Well, this is an interesting fragrance with an interestingly polarizing reception among fragrance aficionados. My opinion on this is that it’s very nice. Nice and fascinating, and quite unique too, in its own subtle way. Does it smell like A*Men? Yes, it does, it’s 90% identical - it’s a flanker, after all. But still, it has some key features that makes it not redundant if you like or already own classic A*Men. First of all, it smells as a washed, lighter version of it; less challenging to pull off, more dry, kind of darker, surely more simple. A “thinned out” A*Men, so to speak – and that’s nice for me, since A*Men can get sometimes tough and overwhelming to wear. Second, contrary to other reviewers, I do get very clearly the leather facet here, and I really like it. I expected something different, a duller and more mainstream leather accord glued to A*Men like a drugstore patch, while I think that leather here is processed in a very creative and quite classy way.
More than a specific note, in fact, it actually really feels like if they gave A*Men a “polished leather look”, an overall “leather treatment” infusing it with a subtle, yet robust smell of new, tar-like, oddly sweetish polished leather. Obviously the “leather infusion” mentioned on the box is marketing nonsense (and knowing Mugler’s aesthetics, chances are it’s subtly ironic), but still I admit that that’s the effect: I think this does really smell like A*Men drenched in leather. And again, I must stress that for me the leather feel here is quite realistic, unusual and surprisingly well put together. Synthetic, sure, but that’s the smell of most of todays’ leather goods treated with chemical agents. And I guess that many people don’t get the leather facet because they’re looking for some more common, standard leather note, while here leather is kind of “all over” – it’s the ambiance, the frame itself, so you’ve to, say, “zoom out” and look at the entirety of the scent to get it. That’s my reading of this scent. Besides the all-over leather effect, the rest is quite A*Men with no particular variations except for a fresher and thinner look – if you aren’t familiar with that masterpiece, then imagine a bizarre musky-minty-soapy gourmand bomb with lavender, resins, tonka, fresh edges and a dark patchouli-cocoa base. Imagine that, sprayed on a new pair of leather sneakers.
The more I wear this clever pastiche, the more I like it, and I think the subtle yet very competent and creative leather variation is remarkable, and I’m afraid quite underrated (or even more sadly, just snobbed because “it’s Mugler”). If you see it with an “out of the box” approach, and take it as the crazy gourmand oddball drenched in subtle leather that it is, then it’s more valuable and creative than the majority of “avantgarde” niche leathers. It has some cheap facets, but they’re fun – and so is this scent, nothing particularly refined and probably not that versatile too, but fun, nice and unusual. Totally remarkable for the price.