The soliflore, reinvented around a remarkable flower, rare in perfume making, the hyacinth. A fluid, profound and richly-faceted flower, velvety, green and crisp, quickened by an unexpected ingredient with a fiery temperament, incense. The spicy aromas of a great perfume in a paroxysm of pure sensuality. Unsuspected mystery and depth.
«By blending notes of incense and an amber base, I imagined a hyacinth with a bold temperament, far from the idea of the emblematic, romantic flower. Supra Floral signals a seductive perfume for women and temptation for men.» Olivier POLGE1
The Thierry Mugler Les Exceptions series launched earlier this year, although they're still very tightly distributed. Supra Floral was the first that caught my eye when I read about the collection, hyacinth fragrances being rather thin on the ground as it were. I bought an extra bottle of L'Artisan's Jacinthe des Bois when they discontinued it so I've still some left, and there's always Guerlain Chamade, although that one is not a soliflore. And there's Tom Ford's Ombre de Hyacinth, which made so little impression on me that I can hardly remember what it smells like. Do comment if there's a lovely hyacinth soliflore I've forgotten!
Supra Floral opens sharply green, somewhere between freshly cut grass and the more bitter smell of crushed plant stems. It's crisp and airy, and it stays quite green for a good long time — if you don't like green, I don't think you'll like Supra Floral — but the effect softens as the hyacinth comes to the fore. As Polge has already (accurately) warned, it's "far from the idea of the emblematic, romantic flower". Instead, what we have is a modern sort of hyacinth soliflore: it does smell like hyacinth, but it's likewise crisp and airy, almost like an abstract but recognizable conception of hyacinth. For anyone who has smelled Jacinthe des Bois, or stuck their nose into a bouquet of hyacinths in early spring, Supra Floral smells cleaner, with less floral depth and richness. The early stages, though, have the nicely spicy bite of a just-picked hyacinth.
The base is pale-ish, with a very light incense (I would hardly have noticed it if it wasn't mentioned in the notes) and a likewise light woody amber. It's slightly warm, just enough to keep it from being the sort of fragrance you'd only reach for in the spring. It's more dry than sweet, and while a man could probably pull it off, it's easily the most feminine of the five Exceptions.
Verdict: I'm not bowled over, but I do like Supra Floral. Admittedly I would probably find the "emblematic, romantic flower" more to my taste, but Supra Floral has a kind of radiance and casual elegance that is attractive in its own right, and that will almost certainly be more appealing to modern tastes. Personally, I'd call it radiant and modern, and of course I'll vouch for crisp and green, but not bold, sensual, fiery, mysterious, seductive, or anything much else in the official description. Regardless, hyacinth fans, or anyone looking for a wearable green floral with a contemporary feel, should certainly give it a try. I'm not sure it lives up to its price tag, but as regular readers know, that's a common complaint of mine — it's hardly exclusive to Thierry Mugler.
The lasting power is excellent.
Thierry Mugler Supra Floral is available in 80 ml Eau de Parfum in a refillable bottle, $225. It is already out in Canada at selected Hudson's Bay stores, and it will be introduced in the US in late September, at three Nordstrom stores (Miami Aventura, LA South Coast Plaza and Chicago Michigan Avenue). It was developed by perfumer Olivier Polge, possibly with perfumer Jean-Christophe Hérault (it is not clear from the press materials whether they worked together on all five scents).
1. Via press materials.