A branch of the Italian cosmetics company Selectiva, Aquolina brought out this first of several fragrances in 2003. The brand pitches the youth market, so it’s no surprise that this one is very sweet and girly. Pink Sugar did wonders for the parent company, reaching well outside the Italian borders. A men’s companion scent, Blue Sugar, came out in 2006, and later a supposedly more mature fragrance, Pink Sugar Sensual, was launched in 2009. And there are also several other flankers, with tasty-looking concepts and packaging, but sadly I have not sniffed the rest of the collection yet.
The original Pink Sugar is an insanely sweet floral fruity gourmand fragrance created by Givaudan and Shyamala Maisondieu.
- raspberry, orange, fig leaf, bergamot,
- cotton candy, licorice, red berries, strawberry, lily-of-the-valley,
- caramel, vanilla, musk, tonka bean, sandalwood
Now don’t be thinking that is anything remotely close to BR540. Just because there is a strong cotton candy note here, too, does not make them friends, let alone cousins. This one is in many ways an antithesis. No, Pink Sugar is not sophisticated, refined or elegant. Its beauty is not classic or timely or mature. It’s not a stunner in that sense. For most middle-aged women like myself, this would be like stepping out in a tutu, Betsy Johnson style, with lipstick that is too bright and smears over the lip lines – not necessarily a bad thing. When I wear this, I tend to completely lighten up and stop taking myself and my worries so seriously. Let the world eat cake. And I’ll scape of the icing for myself, thank you very much!
For me, this scent is about the cotton candy and licorice. The caramelized fruit supply a sugary broth for those two stars to bathe in, with a surface glossed with musk and lily-of-the-valley. Over time, the fluffy floss and licorice melt into the stew.
What has made pink sugar such a success is the simple fact that it is genuinely an interesting and well-blended fragrance, love it or leave it. It’s perfectly marketed and priced for its target audience, and it smells delicious. But I’ll be the first to admit that sugary birthday cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is not the best series of choices. But I do very much enjoy the licorice-laced sugared fruit and sandalwood that makes the vanillic drydown all the lovelier and cosier. Pink Sugar works quite well if you layer it. Anytime you want to sweeten and thicken up a dryer fragrance choice, this one might do the trick.
True, there are negatives to the fragrance, even if you absolutely adore sweet gourmand notes. If this fragrance were a sound, it come off screechy and shrill. I think it’s the citrus notes mixed with all the sugar that creates this effect. If this fragrance were a little girl, she would be annoyingly spoiled. There’s a sour note in here too, after all. That same girl would be first in line for botox and plastic surgery later on in life and I imagine would always have long manicured nails. Fake, plasticky, cheap, tacky, juvenile. Vapid, barbie doll type of warm, sweet, and sticky thing, yes – not at all unpleasant in the right mood or situation. It’s loud though – just that alone polarizes people on this pink puff of pastel fruit peels and powdered sugar.
What really makes this fragrance a keeper for anyone who does like very sweet fragrances is the extra two-fold. First is the price. You simply aren’t going to find better retail pricing for this – especially if you shop around. I think I saw a 100 ml bottle of this for 15 USD somewhere online, and I don’t recall that being a sale price. Second, this candy bomb of a scent really lasts. It’s not a beast mode fragrance in terms of projection, at least on me, but it certainly loves to linger. This is one of those fragrances that I easily smell on myself the next morning if I spray it on later in the previous afternoon. Not good if I have to jaunt off to work, as this is not office-friendly. It’s way too in-ones-face. Nor is it sexy or sensual by the way, although I think the marketing uses such words – mistake! Good in the winter, though, especially for a light-hearted, fun day where the air is cold, crisp, and circulates well. Do not wear in hot, humid weather, though, no.
What Pink Sugar is, is a guilty pleasure. This is like that highly-processed, cheap, teeth-coating Halloween candy you don’t want to admit to eating, but enjoy it secretly anyway. It’s Candy Land in a bottle. Just have one binge session, though, or you might feel sick.