I also failed on Androgel. Initial results were great. But then it stopped absorbing and led to thickened/irritated skin. I had to rotate application sites just to get a T level of 250 on 7 pumps.
Furthermore, topical T can raise Estrogen levels, leading to other issues, including emotional issues. Maybe you generated your own "hot flashes" by using Androgel.
I prefer topical T, however, I use a 10% compounded cream. It absorbs well on me, without irritating and has no odor. And I keep my T levels around 700. I do have to mix it with a bit of which hazel to make it spread. Otherwise it's like spreading toothpaste. Lately, I've been using some Biofreeze spray topical pain reliever mixed with the T cream. It seems to make it absorb instantly.