Womanity by Thierry Mugler Eau de Parfum Spray — The Woman On Top
Sweet and savory, with a hint of salt — that’s the directive Thierry Mugler gave Pierre Aulas, the Olfactory Artistic Director of Thierry Mugler Parfums, during the beginning stages of developing the Womanity Eau de Parfum Spray, the follow-up to 1992’s Angel and 2005’s Alien.
Despite its unfortunate name (is the word “womanity” derived from fusing together the terms “womanhood” and “femininity”?), Womanity by Thierry Mugler is an aromatic tour de force — a daring, innovative, succulent scent that’s anything but conformist. All the mainstay notes found in perfumes billed as “feminine” — think Bulgarian rose, orange blossom, jasmine, violet, gardenia, pink peony, vanilla, Sicilian lemon, grapefruit, etcetera — are glaringly absent from this scent. Instead, the fragrance is centered on a tango of fig and caviar notes, two seemingly discordant partners that, surprisingly enough, dance with reckless abandon, teeming with desire. Woody base notes, meanwhile, swathe the scent in an Artemis-like cloak of intrigue and magic.
Unlike previous fig-centered scents that featured fig leaves among their notes, Womanity incorporates the actual fig fruit as a raw material. A new molecular distillation technology developed by the Mane company was utilized to reconstruct the exact scent of the milky, fleshy, pulpy fig fruit. The process itself is fascinating (especially for those of us who had a bit too much fun with Bunsen burners during chem class) — while I can’t profess to knowing the intricacies of the process, I do believe it involves taking a fragrant substance (be it natural of synthetic), inserting it into a tube, then injecting an odorless gas into the sealed tube so as to liquefy its contents. When a gas is extracted from the tube, it captures only the scent of the raw material originally inserted Perfumers can then reproduce the liquid inside the tube molecule by molecule, as if recreating a DNA structure, to create the desired scent.
The caviar is, of course, the savory accord in the “sweet and savory” duality. In this case, no real caviar was used but, instead, its salty scent was reconstituted (a good thing since the note doesn’t have the fishy quality we associate with caviar). For the base notes, meanwhile, a fig wood reconstitution was used (a molecular extraction wasn’t possible in this case since fig wood itself is known to cause allergies), adding a very lush, green, almost pine-like quality to the scent.
There’s a mellifluousness to this combination of notes that’s simply unparalleled: the scent manages to evoke sensuality, elegance, purity, carnal desire, sweetness, confidence, and mystery. On some women, the smell is slightly juicier while, on others, the wood notes rise to the forefront. When I wear it, I find the fig note most potent, but the woody accord is never far behind.
The Womanity by Thierry Mugler EDP bottle feels like a visual journey into a Dionysian, Eyes Wide Shut universe. But mask motifs aside, the symbolism behind the elements of the bottle’s design stand for the power of women and the need for solidarity among us. The pink glass bottle, with its gently faceted edges, features patinated zamak engraved with hieroglyph-like symbols along the top, a sphinx figurehead jutting out along the side. The sprayer, meanwhile, is encircled by a patinated zamak ring that symbolizes unity among women, while the chain strand attaching the ring to the upper ride of the bottle represents the interconnected relationship between all women and the need for solidarity.
When it comes to fall fragrances, Womanity has obliterated its competition. Get ready to hear Womaniity roar!
Womanity by Thierry Mugler Eau de Parfum Spray, $98 for 2.7 fl. oz bottle, $78 for 1.7 fl. oz. bottle, and $58 for 1.0 fl. oz. bottle. Available at Bloomingdales.com