It's tempting to think that Viktor & Rolf learned a simple lesson from the failure of Eau Mega, and that lesson was: sugar. Their first fragrance, Flowerbomb, wasn't an explosion of flowers at all, but a(nother) fourth generation spawn of Thierry Mugler Angel, with cleaner (and quieter) patchouli, a few petals sprinkled here and there, and plenty of sugar. It was a huge hit. (They've since churned out a bazillion collector bottles, but relatively few flankers — maybe they never got the memo?) They followed with the aforementioned Eau Mega, a clean melon-y pear, and despite the fun bottle, it didn't do so well.
Now they're back with Bonbon. Bonbon has sugar and then some; it could easily have been a Flowerbomb flanker aimed at younger consumers — Sugarbomb? Candybomb? The possibilities are endless. But no, we've got Bonbon, and unlike Flowerbomb, it's just what it says it is: candy. Caramel, to be more exact. It's very nearly caramel through and through, in fact, the other notes (mandarin, orange, peach, jasmine, orange blossom, gaiac wood, cedar wood, sandalwood and amber) hardly matter, although it is peachy through the early stages, and yes, there are a few vague, non-specific petals again, and you'll catch the woody amber in the dry down. Still, it's mostly caramel, from the first sweet whiff to the last sweet gasp.
The lasting power is just fine, although I think not quite as good as Flowerbomb. I think it might also have a bit less sillage than Flowerbomb, but I wouldn't swear to that. It's not sheer or quiet, in any case.
Verdict: I do like sweet on occasion, but I did not care for Bonbon. It didn't strike me as all that much fun, and it certainly isn't particularly distinctive or unusual. Sophisticated? No, it's not that either. It is worth considering that the fragrances it is most frequently compared to — Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy, Britney Spears Fantasy, Dolce & Gabbana The One Desire, among others — all cost considerably less than Bonbon. To my nose, there's nothing about Bonbon's juice that might justify the extra cost; my guess is that most people, if they smelled it blind, would peg it as a reasonably-priced, celebrity or mid-tier designer department store fragrance geared towards the youth market. I will stick with my Prada Candy (and by the way, if you found Candy too sweet, it's unlikely Bonbon will end up in your collection).
Still, if you're a big fan of sweet, you might love Bonbon. Opinions online vary: "candy crush death" was the conclusion of one reader at MakeupAlley, "every scent i ever wanted in a perfume tied together in a beautiful bow!" comes from a customer review at Saks.
Do comment if you loved Bonbon!
The quick poll: name the sweetest fragrance you love.
Viktor & Rolf Bonbon was developed by perfumers Cécile Matton and Serge Majoullier. It is available in 30, 50 ($115) and 90 ($165) ml Eau de Parfum. In the US, I believe it is still exclusive to Saks.