Mainstream Monday – Sniffing a Popular Perfume
Poor, poor Pink Sugar.
Aquolina Pink Sugar seems to be the go-to phrase that some people use when they are calling a fragrance disgusting. Spray a scent (any scent) on a blotter and if the perfumista says “Pink Sugar” then that means it’s over. That means the perfume is viewed as too sweet, too feminine, too childish. And that means the perfume sucks and represents everything wrong with the world. I’ve avoided this review for years because of peer pressure. So, here I go.
I’ve never really had a direct relationship with Pink Sugar. Around the launch date of Pink Sugar, my tacky sweet perfume tastes leaned towards Hanae Mori Butterfly and Escada Magentism. However, I have smelled it on numerous people since its launch in 2004. I would say that my experience with Pink Sugar may vary from most. Like Mugler Angel*, I have associated this fragrance with drag queens. You have no idea how many times – times usually around midnight and filled with vodka on the rocks – that I have complimented a Queen on her perfume (from Coast to Coast). She usually says, “Gurl, it’s Pink Sugar!“* and then I’m left feeling confused because I genuinely liked it. I didn’t let this bother me because, I’m out having a good time. Screw this perfume snobbery. It’s Saturday night!
My other experiences with Pink Sugar is when I did makeup. This fragrance was a fan of the strippers that I contoured (my specialty at the time). You’d see the perfume bottles, body spray and little roll-on body glitters peaking out of their Victoria’s Secret gift-with-purchase totes they used to haul some of their “gear”.
Pink Sugar opens with burnt sugar and tart lemonade that becomes “red berry” candy floss. What has always surprised me about Pink Sugar is the glut of black licorice. A waxy black licorice is rather sharp next to a fresh berry custard. And in my opinion, it’s a great contrast. The rest of the wear is a very sweet vanilla simple syrup and gooey caramel. On a warm day, I get this caramel-drenched lily of the valley in the heart. On cooler days, I don’t. It dries down to this delicate, sweet vanilla caramelized sugar with sandalwood musk. Pink Sugar is a card-carrying gourmand.
I’m probably going to upset a few people with my next statement. But, I think Pink Sugar is a masterpiece. I’m not really talking about composition (which I do think is very well-done and gets its point across as “pink sugar”), I’m talking about the perfume as a cult classic. I love that this perfume inspired by “unforgettable childhood nostalgia” has been appropriated by “alternative” subcultures and what could be viewed as sketchy nightlife. To me it says, ‘I’m like you. I share your experiences”. And this is a mind-f*ck to popular culture as well as the patrons at many of the venues – nightlife entertainers are often rudely asked things like, “Do your parents know you do this?!” and “So what happened in your childhood that messed you up?” – I feel Pink Sugar provides an olfactory answer. Pink Sugar says, “The same things that happened to you. Our experiences aren’t that different“. And that’s the truth. Most of us can share a story about the smell and colors of a childhood birthday cake, the aromas and flavors of picking berries with a loved one and even the sounds and smells of a traveling carnival. The Italian-brand Aquolina wanted to re-create fond olfactory childhood memories but I think they accidentally united men and women across the globe. We’re all different but many of us share similar memories. I mean, I can’t think of another fragrance with such a wide range of wearers: pre-pubescent girls, the teachers and coaches of pre-pubescent girls, drag queens, exotic dancers, mothers and me. Even if you hate Pink Sugar, you have to agree that this fluky fragrance unity is well, fascinating.
Notes listed include bergamot, Sicilian lemon, raspberry, fig leaves, lily of the valley, licorice, strawberry, red fruit, cotton candy, vanilla, caramel, musk, wood and powder. Launched 2004.
Give Pink Sugar a try if you like SWEET. Or if you like perfumes like Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Abricot, Mugler Angel, Carolina Herrera 212 Sexy, Lolita Lempicka EDP and/or Ramon Monegal Lovely Day (more floral, but same theme). Being a scent based on childhood memories and confections, I’ve always thought of Pink Sugar as unisex as a scent but not so in its branding. Boys and girls grow up eating the same things…
Since I smell this on other people, Pink Sugar has sillage. Longevity is above average. It wears much more like an EDP than an EDT.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Candy, cakes, custards and crèmes. I made my “eaupinion” rather clear in this review. I think this cult-classic is sort of genius.
*If it isn’t Mugler Angel. Girls that make better tips and have better wigs usually wear Angel. It’s been my experience that the more amateur, non-touring local girls wear Pink Sugar. You can get it at TJ Maxx for a discount so I’ve been told. And if you want fashionable pumps for gals with big feet, go to Ross.
Want more reviews? Try…
Fragrantica – Member reviews