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