Prada Candy Florale ~ perfume review

Lea Seydoux for Prada Candy Florale

Candy Florale is the latest from Prada, and it's the second flanker to 2011's Prada Candy. First, a quick recap: I liked Prada Candy. It didn't make my buy list when I reviewed it, but I ended up buying it later that year all the same, and while I have no good excuse — it was an impulse buy, pure and simple — I do wear it from time to time.1 If I had my druthers, which I rarely do, they'd have done a 'Noir' or 'Intense' sort of flanker. Something a bit more sophisticated, a bit less sweet? Instead, last year they did Prada Candy L'Eau, a lighter, fresher version, ruined (for me, at least) by an overly dryer-sheet-ish white musk.

Candy Florale "evolved from the concept of an imaginary flower created especially for Candy".2 Early on, the notes were reported in the press as limoncello sorbet, peony, benzoin, honey, musk and caramel; but the Prada website (and Sephora) list cedrat, cosmos, benzoin, caramel and white musk. Take your pick, it makes no difference: this is a sheer, "pink department store perfume flowers" sort of scent, with some muted "lemon" in the opening (it smells sort of like lemon air freshener), a light and airy peony-ish floral blend in the heart, and a pale, lightly sweet musky finish with just the slightest vague hint of the caramel / root-beer base of the original Candy and Candy L'Eau. If you liked Candy or Candy L'Eau, there's no particular reason to think you'll like Candy Florale, or that you'll even recognize it as belonging to the same family. If you found both too sweet, fear not, Candy Florale is not about the candy. I suppose you could say it's about the flowers, if by flowers you mean "pink department store perfume flowers".

Verdict: Reasonably pleasant and wearable, and possibly just right if you need a light, fresh, girly-but-office-friendly floral for summer. Still, meh, except I also said meh about Bvlgari Omnia Indian Garnet last week, and even Omnia Indian Garnet has more verve and personality than Prada Candy Florale. One of the reasons I love Prada as a perfume house is that while they've done any number of fragrances I don't adore, it's rare that they do trite. With apologies to any fans, Candy Florale, to me, is just that: trite.

Have you smelled anything wonderful from a mainstream brand this spring? So far, I'm finding this a pretty dismal season for mainstream perfume.


Prada Candy Florale was developed by perfumer Daniela Andrier, who also did the Candy and Candy L'Eau fragrances. It is available in 30, 50 and 80 ml Eau de Toilette.

1. If anyone knows the perfect thing to layer with Candy, by the way, do speak up!

2. Quote via Prada website.

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  1. melissa says:

    That’s a shame. Candy seems like it should lend itself beautifully to flankers — a Candy Noir could be great, a Candy Man could be great, and I would personally really live a bright orange or citrus Candy.

    I tried Alien Eau Extraordinaire this weekend and didn’t like it much. I had high hopes — I’ve heard buzz that some Alien-haters found it easier and it felt more “right.” It does achieve being Alien while being lighter and softer, so I guess I get what people are digging — but in practice I found it worse. I think if I wanted to smell like jasmine industrial waste, I would really want to SMELL LIKE jasmine industrial waste. Not a destination to go to halfway.

    • melissa says:

      *love a bright etc. Or maybe I would LIVE in it, dahling.

    • Robin says:

      Totally agree…the whole Candy concept is perfect for flankers, and Candy Man really ought to exist.

      We had the same hope for AEE! I tried it too, but only very briefly on paper. Did not think much of it, but did not snag a sample so can’t claim to have given it much of a chance.

    • Merlin says:

      The first time I tried AEE I loved the citrus and orange blossom dry down, but then I tried it again and the second time it seemed a little ineffectual. I need to try it a few more times due to the vagaries of my nose! I have to admit to disliking both Angel and Alien, though I do like (not love) the Alien Essence Absolue version.

      Clearly I have not yet acquired a taste for jasmine industrial waste. Perhaps if they added some petrol:)

      • Robin says:

        Maybe I should have tried Essence Absolue.

      • melissa says:

        I find a lot I like something on the first sample — when I’m huffling at it a lot and paying attention — and then once I try it in a more routine way it’s “Wait, where did all that good stuff go?”

    • mals86 says:

      I *love* the idea of Candy Man, I really do.

      • Robin says:

        It’s so perfect. They’re fools if they don’t make one.

  2. happy888cat says:

    I loved the original Candy. When L’Eau came out I was very excited but was slightly disappointed. The musk was too heavy and the dry down was a semi-sweet, eggy-custard caramel. But at least I could identify it as a flanker.
    Now with Florale, the description (limoncello, honey and caramel) and (again!) beautiful bottle design and colour lured me in. But this time its just plain boring. I totally agree with you Robin that the lemon was very weak. If I hadn’t known to look for any trace of Candy, I would’ve totally missed it.
    To me this smells like somebody sprayed a very generic department perfume on an almost faded Candy blotter.

    • Robin says:

      LOL…”like somebody sprayed a very generic department perfume on an almost faded Candy blotter” is a perfect description, it could replace my whole review!

  3. lucasai says:

    Robin, try layering Candy with Cuir Ottoman from Parfum d’Empire.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you! I will have to see if I still have a sample of that one, probably do somewhere…

    • sweetgrass says:

      Ooh that’s a good idea. I liked Candy but not enough to buy it, and I found it more fleeting than I expected.

  4. Merlin says:

    Ever since Luna Ross Prada has been sinking:(

    • Robin says:

      Someone just said here the other day that Luna Rossa Extreme was much better…I’ll give that a shot.

      And hope you’re wrong!

      • Merlin says:

        At some point I really liked nearly the whole range: Infusion d’Iris, Infusion d”home, Amber pour homme and Amber pour Homme Intense… A point in time in which I could actually be said to have a ‘favorite brand’. Sob: I’v lost my tribe!

        • C.H. says:

          So disorienting! There are clothing lines I feel just the same way about: why don’t I like any of this anymore?!

        • Robin says:

          I didn’t like any of the Infusion d’Iris followups. Or Prada Tendre. So I figure it’s all going to be mixed. But this might be their worst. (now, figures, it will be the best selling)

  5. floragal says:

    This ad is another example of the objectification of women. Very disappointing. I expect more from such a brilliant brand.

    Not surprised by your review. Too bad…

    Can’t say any new launches have gotten my attention. :(

    • Robin says:

      I admit to liking the ad! Liked the commercial too. But can’t disagree. It’s so common in perfume advertising that I don’t even notice.

    • C.H. says:

      Am curious, do you have thoughts on how to do perfume advertising that’s sexy (as in, explicitly referencing sex) but wouldn’t feel objectifying? Really asking. I see what you’re saying (and I definitely share the concern about status of women in advertising), but I also don’t think that perfume brands wanting to invoke sex is intrinsically wrong or oppressive to women. For that matter I don’t necessarily think being photographed naked is oppressive to women! :) I’m wondering what specifically would look different, to be less objectifying.

      • Robin says:

        Hope floragal will answer, but will just say that to me, her nudity here is so totally gratuitous — it’s not even a sexy fragrance, for heaven’s sakes. At all. To fit the fragrance (even the fragrance as the brand presents it, not just the smell), she ought to be in some little pink sundress. Don’t know that that makes it “problematic”, but does make it feel like a disconnect to me.

        • Robin says:

          And will also add, for floragal as well, that Prada has put out LOTS of imagery for this scent, including a comic. Guessing the image above, which is clearly a still from the commercial, is not one of the ones they’re going to use in magazines, but couldn’t say for sure.

        • C.H. says:

          Ha you know, I do see what you’re saying, but to me the gratuitousness and the disconnect almost feel unintentionally on point here. It’s a pretty generic ad that just reverts to default perfume-selling tropes (naked ladies!) whether or not they have anything to do with the fragrance, in much the same way that the juice is just the lowest-common-denominator–instead of having any particular point of view, the way the Candy juice and ads did.

          • Robin says:

            Ha, so true! Generic ideas to match the generic juice. But I do think the commercial is fun….kicky music, and while she is nude, there is less focus on her body than in this digital or print image or whatever it is.


            That’s way more fun than the fragrance.

          • C.H. says:

            Oh yes, that’s way more fun than either this ad or the juice! And at least insofar as it’s lighthearted, it has SOMETHING in common with the juice–what is up with the blank look on Lea Seydoux’s face in this print ad? For that matter, until I watched the moving image, I actually had forgotten that LS repped this line–I thought the image above was of a model I didn’t know. Taking someone quite distinctive and photoshopping her ’til she’s unrecognizably generic: that seems like another unintentionally accurate metaphor for the juice!!

          • Merlin says:

            Have to admit – I didn’t recognize her either until I read your comment. Those videos of her loudly munching popcorn in a movie with a sexy guy on either side did have more character. And so did the one where she somehow consumes an entire cake while they are fighting over her!

            The gusto has been replaced with fatigue: in model and scent;)

      • floragal says:

        Yeah, you know my
        husband is a classical portrait painter, and he regularly paints nudes as well (interesting that you use the word naked vs. nude). The human body is one of the most beautiful creations, especially the female body. Point is, I’m not necessarily prude, but…using the female body to sell I don’t believe is a positive way to enjoy the human body.

        In addition, I am more open to an ad that is physically provocative, within reason, where it makes sense. Candy Florale does not come across to me as a sexy scent, nor does it sound like it delivers to that end according to the review ;) It just seems to me Prada took the lazy (and easy) approach with this ad.

        Don’t exactly know what a sexy ad that’s more tastfeful would look like, not my area of expertise, but they’re out there.

        Thanks for graciously engaging me on this.
        I think it just hit me the wrong way.

        • Robin says:

          Good answer. Perhaps not helpful or relevant, but I do think the perfume industry is in some ways an equal opportunity offender. Many, many ads for men’s fragrance are just as bad or worse.

          • C.H. says:

            Ha yes as I was thinking about examples, it struck me that actually–generic naked guy is almost obligatory for men’s scent advertising! In some ways, the women’s marketing is more diverse.

        • C.H. says:

          Oh, yeah it sounds like we all three agree–the use of nudity here really does feel like kind of a cop-out from trying to engage in any substantive, creative way with the fragrance! Def feels lazy/boring. (Though as I say–in that respect, it does have something in common with the scent! :) )

          • Nightingale says:

            I’m so glad to see all these comments. The first thing I thought of when I looked at the ad was that I must have become a complete prude without even realizing. This does seem completely gratuitous and I was anxious to scroll down to see if anyone else thought the same. Looks like it struck a cord.

    • mals86 says:

      I was thinking, “And WHYYYYYY does she have to be naked?”

      • Robin says:

        Well, I should say I could have picked another ad. I liked the lines of this one…the sofa and her body. But agree no need for her to be naked. Actually I thought the same of that Guerlain Shalimar Initial one. Yves Saint Laurent Opium — that made sense.

  6. sweetgrass says:

    “even Omnia Indian Garnet has more verve and personality than Prada Candy Florale”

    Wow.. that’s saying something. I tried OIG at Macy’s over the weekend and found it dead boring. Very disappointing considering the original. I didn’t like Omnia Coral much, but at least it had a little body to it.

    • C.H. says:

      I can affirm. I passed a tester of Candy Florale this afternoon and it was so insipid, I couldn’t bring myself to put it on skin. Robin’s fully right, bears basically no resemblance to the original. Demoralizing.

    • Robin says:

      To me, this is dead boring PLUS lighter & cleaner & pinker & younger than OIG. Trust me, OIG has more body than CF.

  7. foxbins says:

    This sort of scent doesn’t even make me curious to smell it; I know it’s not my style, nor targeted at my demographic, and not worth the skin it would occupy for testing when I could spritz something else more to my tastes.

    Thank you, Robin, for sniffing and reporting so I can avoid this counter in the store and head for the Eau Premier tester, or the Guerlain counter, or di Nicolai, L’ Artisan, CdG…

    • Robin says:

      I was very curious since I did like Candy, and still think they could improve on Candy! And even think they could make a summery Prada Candy Florale that I would like. Just not this one :-)

  8. hajusuuri says:

    I love Candy and Candy L’eau but this one was just nasty. Too bad, this is the packaging I liked best.

    As to something wonderful in a mainstream brand this spring, I actually like Angel Eau Sucree. The only problem is poor longevity.

    • Robin says:

      Agree on the packaging!

      Will probably review the Sucree next :-)

  9. annemarie says:

    Loved the first Candy. I even stocked up on hot pink clothes and lipstick to match the mood. Loved the three-part ad for the second Candy (that Parisian apartment!). Feel meh about the ad for this flanker, but have not seen the fragrance yet. Lea was sexier in the previous ads when she was clothed. And who but her could look alluring while stuffing her face with cake!

    • annemarie says:

      Um … should have been ‘who but she’.

    • Robin says:

      Those ads were adorable. Guessing they cost exponentially more than this, though.

      • Merlin says:

        Well they sure skimped on the wardrobe budget here;)

        • annemarie says:

          LOL! And yes, the dresses Lea wore for the L’Eau ads were stunning.

  10. sapphire03 says:

    Actually, pink flowers sounds better to me than the original Candy which was ultimately too sweet for my taste (although I think it is well-done and it is very nice on other people.) But your description of a “trite” pink flowers perfume sort of kills any interest for me. I supposed I will sample it when I see it just to make sure. Does it resemble another pink flower dept store fragrance that you can think of?

    • Robin says:

      Think of any sheer, peony-heavy pink department store floral…it’s like that :-)

      • sapphire03 says:

        Gotcha! Sort of like Elizabeth Arden Pretty I guess.

  11. jonr951 says:

    I finally got a quick whiff of this one, and it just made me sad. Cute bottle, but nothing Prada about it. They better make up for this one. : /

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