Aquolina Pink Sugar fragrance review

Aquolina Pink Sugar perfume

Aquolina launched Pink Sugar in 2003. It made the list of the top 10 perfumes at Sephora almost immediately, and is still firmly entrenched in the top 5. Pink Sugar, in case you couldn't guess by the name, is geared towards a relatively young market, and promises to "take you on a journey through the pleasures and flavors of childhood with a playful blend of vanilla and caramel". Other notes include bergamot, Sicilian orange, raspberry, fig leaves, lily of the valley, licorice, strawberry, red fruit, barbe-a-papa (cotton candy), musk, sandalwood, tonka bean and powdery notes.

Anyone who reads here regularly knows I am not usually a big fan of sweet fragrances, and the first time I tried Pink Sugar on a test strip in Sephora some years ago, I was rather horrified. My notes read "burnt cotton candy with strawberries", and that is about how I remember it. But I rather liked last year's follow-up scent Chocolovers and was curious to try the new Blue Sugar for men, so revisiting Pink Sugar seemed in order.

Pink Sugar opens on an extraordinarily sweet blend of fruit and caramelized sugar. There is a hint of citrus, but the red berries dominate the first 15 minutes or so. If you love the smell of strawberry candy, the top notes may well be your idea of heaven; I'm afraid it is not mine. Matters improve drastically as the berry notes fade. It is still sweet, mind you, but not quite so sweet. There is lots of vanilla sugar, a teensy little whiff of licorice, and a pale, woody-musky base with a hint of powder. It is, as advertised, very reminiscent of cotton candy.

The early dry down is approachable, if still far too sweet for my personal taste. Later on, it starts to take on what I called in my review of Chocolovers "a rather odd burned smell — not the pleasant aroma of just-torched crème brûlée, but something closer to cotton candy that has caught on fire and sizzled down to a black gooey mess". That makes the scorched accord sound worse than it is (it isn't overwhelming, just a persistent undertone of something vaguely "off") but whatever it is, I don't like it.

I know I'm not alone in smelling something overcooked — a quick perusal of the reviews at MakeupAlley turns up quite a few mentions — but I also know I'm very much in the minority in not loving Pink Sugar. In addition to being in the top 5 at Sephora, it is the 3rd most reviewed fragrance at MakeupAlley, right after Thierry Mugler Angel and J Lo Glow, and 67% of the reviewers said they would buy it again. If you love sweet sugary scents, it might be just the ticket.

Pink Sugar is an Eau de Toilette, and the lasting power is good. It is also available in solid perfume, shimmering perfume roll-on, and a plethora of matching body products including body lotion, body mousse, perfumed sugar bath & deodorant spray.

Tomorrow: Aquolina Blue Sugar

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Can I huddle with you in your Minority Corner, R? Pink Sugar took my breath away – in every sense. How did they manage to make a scent so SWEET? And yet so very, very burnt, as you pointed out; I would name it 'Black Sugar', as the singed candy-floss effect is so pronounced. I rather like the packaging, and it's pleasantly cheap, but people seem to genuinely love it for the juice, which is…amazing. And shows why no perfume house should ever ask me about What Will Sell!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hello, R. This is one of my staple scents (wearing a blend of it today). I find this scent changes on different days-sometimes light and fruity, other days deep and musky. I much prefer the deep and musky days, but haven't been able to correlate it with a particular season/temp/humidity factor-so I just spritz away on any old day.

    Blue Sugar is PS and Chocolover's pimply-faced, pre-pubescent brother. I have this also and am looking forward to your review tomorrow.



  3. Anonymous says:

    N, funny, I was thinking the same thing when I sprayed it on last night — how *do* they get it so sweet? It is probably a technological marvel which I can't adequately appreciate. And hey, nobody is going to ask me What Will Sell either :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    C, so glad a fan showed up to stick up for Pink Sugar. I just cannot love it. It is musky on me, but wouldn't call it “deep and musky” really. Maybe you could layer it with something?

    Great description of Blue Sugar, LOL!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am not a lover of Pink Sugar, but last night I bought a body powder for my daughter at TJ Maxx (4.99, such a deal!). Upon opening I was impressed with the quality of the puff and the nice mesh screen. The scent in powder form was fine with me, if only because I didn't start choking (the perfume makes me choke, literally and I don't know why).

    It got me to thinking of how other more expensive perfumes sometimes blow it when it comes to matching body products. I have Spring Flower in shower gel and lotion and both leave much to be desired (not a lot of foam, too thin, a big disappointment for the cost). Meanwhile, I have a sample of Pink Sugar shower gel and it is thick, pearly pink and *foamy*. Were it not for the scent itself I'd use it everyday. Why are body products so hard to get right?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I so completely agree — I think many companies just figure you'll buy the ancillary product because it smells like your favorite fragrance, and don't consider that you'll never buy it again if the lotion isn't a good one, and so few of them are.

    And hey, that is a steal on the powder! I need to check my local TJ Maxx, last I was there they didn't have anything of interest.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Yes-I usually dab on an Egyptian Musk underneath for an added tonality. Sometimes a little BCBG Sexy for more spice.

    Best layering product is cigarette smoke (not mine) :)

  8. Anonymous says:

    I must say that this is one of the few fragrances to literally make me ill. There is a note in it that smells of rancid butter mixed with scorched cookie crusts.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It smells burnt and “off” on me too, in the drydown. Not a fan of this one at all.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I love Egyptian Musk but for some reason rarely layer it. Will have to try it with something or another.

    If you like vanilla & smoke, you might also want to try Apothia Velvet Rope, although it is way drier than Pink Sugar.

  11. Anonymous says:

    LOL…that is not an appealing description :-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    M, did you like Chocolovers? I may actually buy a bottle if I see it at TJ Maxx again. I wish they'd get the body cream in, I would definitely buy that at discount.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I haven't actually tried it …:-) I am hoping to get to TJ Maxx today, not that my horrible little store would have any such thing as Chocolovers. All I ever see there is soap and Liz Claiborne something or other :-)

  14. Anonymous says:

    M, Your store can't be worse than mine — mine is pretty bad! In the past year, I have only seen anything worth buying once, and that was the day they had both Anisia Bella & Chocolovers, and if you can imagine it, I didn't want to buy 2 bottles in 1 day. So I took the Anisia Bella.

    Chocolovers, mind you, is not a must-have, but it is nice. The body cream might be fun to layer with other scents.

  15. Anonymous says:

    A great review, as always, thank you Robin. But…yuck. Double yuck.

  16. Anonymous says:

    That is the funniest scent description I have heard in a long time!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I just. . .cannot. . . stand. . . this! A friend of mine, who thought my reaction (after having smelled it very late in the game) was funny, literally chased me around Sephora with a scent strip. That artificial strawberry opening is a killer! I am at peace wearing heavy leather and incense scents, but this, for me, is truly SCARY!!

  18. Anonymous says:

    I should note that I taunted a friend with JAR Bolt of Lightening once and got about the same reaction…so it truly is all a matter of personal taste, isn't it? I'll take the incense myself.

  19. Anonymous says:

    We're getting more no votes than yes votes here today…I have probably offended all the PS fans, since certainly they are in the majority!

  20. Anonymous says:

    1. The lasting power is freakin' amazing. Like, nuclear waste-lasting.

    2. My 5-year-old DD loves it. She has a mini of the body creme (let's not discuss how that happened) and she loves it … because it smells like candy.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Cracking up at the “nuclear waste-lasting” comment! My sentiment exactly. Although usually a sweet-scent lover, I literally recoiled at this scorched sugar mess. No thank you!

    Mind you, I wasn't pleased with Chocolovers either so must try it on skin next time; I don't hold out much hope, though.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Sweet scents have never been my my thing, and the most eloquent description of Pink Sugar I've ever been able to come up wth is “ew”. So, ew. I imagine I would have loved this when I was six.
    So sweet diabetics and those with dental aversions shold steer clear.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I admit it–I love sweets, including ice cream, fine chocolate, and birthday cake.

    But, I absolutely hate cotton candy!

  24. Anonymous says:

    LOL…I'll have to get my son some Blue Sugar then!

  25. Anonymous says:

    I liked Chocolovers way better. I'm not such a sweet-scent lover so don't feel an absolute need to have it, but will buy it one of these days in TJ Maxx or something.

  26. Anonymous says:

    “Ew” says it all, LOL…

  27. Anonymous says:

    I don't like it either, R!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Have never even smelled this one, as far as I'm aware – although I'm guessing I must have come across it in the street or on the bus or something without knowing it. I'll have to take a sniff some day, although I think Pink Sugar sounds about as unappealing as the Clean series – why would anybody over the age of twelve want to smell like strawberry candy? And if you want to smell clean, why not do the laundry and take a shower?

  29. Anonymous says:

    I can and I do sweet, but I agree about the off-ness. On my skin it's like a Lea gone wrong.

  30. Anonymous says:

    If you take the combined popularity of Pink Sugar & Miss Dior Cherie (and others I'm forgetting, no doubt), then you've got to accept that apparently many, many women want to smell like strawberry candy.

    On the clean scents: I'm not a big fan of scents that smell like detergent and/or soap either, although there are a few exceptions. But again, these are very popular! You & I are in the minority.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Lea gone wrong cracked me up, don't know why…and I should review Lea one of these days!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Trying to test it out I ordered the roll on shimmering perfume first. I'm well addicted now.

    All the scents I prefer always have a vanilla note prominent somehow or another and Pink Sugar suits me perfectly with it's fantasy realm quality.

    I have now ordered the Toilette Spray but what puzzles me is it is always referred to as “Pink Sugar Perfume”, but aside from this roll on version and a solid one, I cannot find a perfume anywhere online; just the toilette spray which I have always assumed is not as long lasting as a perfume.

    How do you all find the Toilette Spray to be in terms of lasting power?

    I have a strange body chemistry that resists holding some fragrances so I always shoot for the parfume.

  33. Anonymous says:

    They are using the term “perfume” in the generic sense, not in terms of the concentration, and so far as I know it cannot be found in true “Parfum” (extrait). I had no problem with the lasting power myself, but if you find it too short lived you might try using the body lotion as well, sometimes that lasts longer. Or, try spraying on clothing or hair, that works too.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the feedback! Now, since I posted the order I placed for the Toilette Spray arrived. And I found it does last which is great. Most toilette sprays just are too weak to last on me, so this was good news.

    I have to say this is a fragrance which could remain one of my favorites indefinitely. I just love it. Unlike many of the reviews on this scent, it's not too sweet for me. I'm mad for foodie fragrances and this one is delightful. What makes me barf are floral scents. Funeral parlor time.

    Any recommendations for other fragrances similar to this one?

  35. Anonymous says:

    Wondering if you've tried Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb? Would think the Flowerbomb Extreme especially might appeal to you. It does have florals, but it is mostly sugary dessert and you might like it. Victoria's Secret has a “Sweet Craving” scent in the Moods series that is supposed to be very like Pink Sugar, and you might also give a few of the Comptoir Sud Pacifique fragrances a try if you have a Sephora near you. Matin Calin might be one you'd like.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for these recommendations! I have not tried any of them save for the Comptoir Sud Pacifique line years ago. I found them very appealing, but again, the lasting factor was a problem for me.

    I'll be taking a look at Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Extreme, as well as Victoria Secret's Sweet Craving. I am in the UK so they would have to be available there.

    Meanwhile I looked over your recent reviews of the poule de luxe line from Crazylibellule & The Poppies and have ordered the Pralines and Pon D'Amour (I also like fruity notes). Then I have to slow down as the family inheritance is dwindling! :)

  37. Anonymous says:

    If you get a chance, do try the Crazy Libellule & The Poppies Toi Mon Prince, it is actually rather close to Flowerbomb, and at a much cheaper price.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Darn! I didn't find that one on their website when I ordered. Well, thank you for the tip and now I want it!!!! I found the description of it's notes and the bottom ones would make me very happy!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Well, and I'm sorry I didn't think of it when giving you the earlier recs — it is much cheaper than anything else I mentioned!

  40. Anonymous says:

    I have had an on / off relationship with this perfume. For now I am in the ON phase. It just lasts longer then the other scents of its type that I like. Also, the range of body products is amazing! Love the deodorant and would LOVE to try the hair perfume! Either way…it is “sugar and spice and everything nice” after all…isn't that what girls are made of? (smile)

  41. Anonymous says:

    The range of ancillary products is great, much better than most fragrance companies bother with, and I love that they do a solid perfume. I didn't know they had a hair perfume though! I just spray regular old perfume in my hair anyway.

  42. Anonymous says:

    They just came out with the hair perfume. I think it is only on for now however, I saw it on Amazaon and ordered it only to get an email that it was not in fact in stock. (it is sold out on QVC too) So, I suppose it is not in stores yet sadly. :0)

  43. Anonymous says:

    I'm sure Amazon and/or Sephora will have it eventually, but it is amazing how big QVC is in the beauty market these days!

  44. Anonymous says:

    I adore Pink Sugar for its quirky, childish sweetness–it reminds me of the funfair scene in “Amelie,” my favorite film. Also of Nicole Kidman in the “Bewitched” remake–there's a girlish playfulness that I love about it. After all, we can't be femmes fatales everyday :)

  45. Anonymous says:

    So true — and glad you have a favorite :-)

  46. Anonymous says:

    a fragrance totally modeled after Pink Sugar but less “burnt-sweet” and a touch more chocolatey is Hollywood Pink, by Avon mark. (the younger brand of avon, It's discontinued about a year ago but you can still find it on ebay and such. As if PS and ThM Angel created a baby, Hollywood Pink would be it. (it's very affordable too, and comes in a vintage-y boudoir inspired bottle)

  47. Anonymous says:


  48. Anonymous says:

    I got this as a “just 'cause” present from a friend I just made that I did not know very well and I did not enjoy it. It was sickly sweet and the top notes weren't even “edible” (if it was some sort of candy). But I was lucky enough because they bought me a 1 oz. bottle. ;)

  49. Anonymous says:

    Also, I wonder what Aquolina would cook up next. Pink Sugar, Blue Sugar, ChocoLovers… Green Sugar? I wonder what it would smell like. Another version of Juicy Couture or Miss Dior Cherie. Something not to look forward to. (:

  50. Anonymous says:

    I'm sort of surprised they haven't done another one already. A unisex, maybe, Green Sugar? LOL…

  51. Anonymous says:

    When I smelled this, it felt like little needles were pricking ever so lightly at the inside of my nose. I didn't sniff long enough to get anything beyond that initial whiff.

  52. miss-monica says:

    I’ve been lurking on here for sometime now and finally decided to sign up now that you’ve made the move! the place looks great btw! Buuuuut, I will have to say I actually like this one :) I’ve been looking for something that smells like MODELco spray tan and this hits the spot for me, anybody know anything else that smells like this? (besides fantasy/curious in control/anything celebrity) thanks!

    • Robin says:

      Hi and welcome! I’m sorry but I’ve never smelled that tan spray.

  53. miss-monica says:

    oh it’s delicious, sorta smells like marshmellows and creamy vanilla

    • Robin says:

      Have you tried Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb? Wonder if you might like that one…

  54. miss-monica says:

    yep, waaaay too sweet for my liking

    • Robin says:

      Ah. Can’t think of anything else, sorry!

  55. alltheprettythings says:

    Stila Creme Bouquet might be a good choice, or one of the Laura Mercier’s … I think it’s called Creme Brulee?

  56. jonr951 says:

    So i guess a new pink sugar is coming out called Pink Sugar Sensual. Its suppose 2 b more mature. Its sounds alot less sweet so i guess it could b. Its notes r black current, tangerine and bergamot. Orange blossom, pink jasmine petals and tiare flower. Vanilla, black sugar(?) and sandalwood. My aunt whos a die hard Pink Sugar and Chocolover fan is gonna freak!! I guess their also coimg out w/ 4 other scents called Pop, Animal, Lolita, and Rock. This could all b false but hey, Im hoping its not.

    • Robin says:

      Thanks — saw all those on the Aquolina website earlier this year, will have to see if they’ve posted more information!

  57. jonr951 says:

    Aquolina has a website? Ive never been able 2 find one. Thanks!

  58. orage says:

    I know you hate candy perfumes, but have you ever smelt Cosmic Candy from Body Shop? It’s old, the ’90s I think, but I love it. I remember it from when I was a kid. It’s got almost a fresh floral feel.

    • Robin says:

      No, never smelled it!

  59. cerl09 says:

    It appears I am in the minority with this blog but I absolutley love pink sugar. Everytime I wear this scent I get tons of complements. The only con is that the lasting power is very weak.

    On the subject of Chocolovers perfum. I hate it, It smells like dirt to me. lol!

  60. DannyAngel says:

    Layer Pink Sugar with Shalimar and voila! Angel by Thierry Mugler!

    • Robin says:

      Interesting…would not have thought that combo would have nearly enough patchouli.

  61. parfumliefhebber says:

    Don’t laugh……… I love Pink Sugar too and I own a bottle.

    • Robin says:

      I never laugh at what people like!

  62. ela112299 says:

    I had this perfume and i just got to say thats it’s the most amazing fragrance ever, and if they ever discontinue this perfume they should tell me so I can buy 5 more bottles in advance. haha. I always wonder how they get something like this to smell so sweet and warm?! someone care to explain!!

    • Robin says:

      By using sweet & warm fragrance notes? j/k, glad you like it :-)

  63. sugarinheaven says:

    This is one of the first perfumes i’ve actually liked, not liked, loved! Most give me an instant headache, but not pink sugar. Unlike others that I’ve tried, after a day of wearing it in the humid weather of Florida, it does not become musty. instead it ends the day as an aroma of sweet warm cookies.

    I haven’t had the problem as some of you have had with the burnt smell, but I have a theory. Perfumes are as picky as we are. Some don’t mesh well with certain people and fit perfectly with others, due to biological causes like pH. Most perfumes smell “weird” on me, and Pink Sugar is the first that seems to work with my body.

    • Robin says:

      Glad you’ve found a favorite :-)

  64. Leslie says:

    I understand how this scent can make people gag, however, while I may like it when I first put it on, the way it changes on my skin is nothing short of amazing that makes me love it. It turns deep and rich and i smell like a sexy version of brown sugar.
    That said, I’ve tried many different fragrances, not liking any of them because most florals turn into a sour putrefied scent on me. Orientals are the only way for me to go but even some of those turn on me. I dont know what it is about my body chemistry, but most scents turn nauseating. Pink Sugar is the one scent I can wear and people will stop me to tell me they love my perfume.

    • Robin says:

      There’s no doubt, the people who love it really do love it! Glad it works so well for you.

  65. jonr951 says:

    So sorry Robin but I just gave into Pink Sugar!! Mind u it is a tester so I didnt pay full price!! I hate that I LOVE childish sweet scents!! I cant help it!! Im addicted! I need help! LOL! And I have Blue Sugar & Chocolovers! Im such a dork w/ no taste whatsoever!! And Im still dying to try the new Sensual!! But I have yet to hear good things about it. : (

    • Robin says:

      Glad you got a deal, and hey…I like childish sweet scents too sometimes, just not this one…I did like Chocolovers though, and keep hoping I’ll run into the body cream in TJ Maxx or something.

  66. jonr951 says:

    I saw the body cream once like a yr ago at Marshalls. Yeah I bought me two bottles of Choco I found for 7 bucks each!! That was pretty awesome!! : )

    • Robin says:

      That is a great price. Have a feeling I missed that boat…haven’t heard of sightings in quite some time.

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