Pink Sugar

Fuchsia capped rollerball bottle on mound of turbinado sugar. The eau de toilette is quite viscous, as syrupy as honey.

One of everything in a pay-by-the-pound candy store stuffed into a bottle.

Aquolina’s best seller is one of the most accessible gourmand fragrances out there.
Cheap and available, and marketed with childish sweet-shoppe vibes, Pink Sugar is the Candy Crush Saga of perfumes.

And I’ve finally recovered from my daughter’s teenage obsession with Bath & Body Works’ Warm Vanilla Sugar, (the only way to exorcise that stuff from the house is to paint the walls–seriously, there isn’t enough sage in the world) to sniff this without instinctively reaching for aspirin.

Opens with screaming marshmallows and raspberry gum-drops and orange Pixy-Stix, loud as elementary school recess. The rush soon melts into huge clouds of cotton candy nicely dirtied up with a little licorice. A bit more grown up, a little flirty, red heart-shaped lolly-pops get passed like notes in the cafeteria.
At the bottom is caramel, with just enough musk to keep it from being completely cloying, chewy vanilla that lasts all day and sticks to clothes like toffee.

And yes, the stuff is mind-numbingly sweet, but it’s also fun, and I can see why so many bottles peek out of the purses of grown women, too.

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I saw her in concert when I was 14. She was amazing.

Lychee & White Mint

4711 flask with carmine label and box with illustration of a lychee plant.

I’m not usually one for mint in fragrances, and most of the Acqua Colonias I’ve tried have been exactly what they advertise, so I’ve avoided this one for a while.
But I like lychees, and I was curious what 4711 might actually do with “white mint,” and since it would fade in 15 minutes anyway, and it didn’t cost much–so why not?

Ugh.
Opens with a big swish of eye-watering mouthwash that sits fuming on top of the body like camphor rub.
And stays there–making the nose-hairs curl in despair as the pale floral lychee breezes on with a fleeting wave–for half an agonizing hour. Eventually dissolves to spearmint gum–that’s had all the sweetness chewed out–on the skin.

Too much mentholated hospital disinfectant vibes to even use as a room spray.

Try it, if you might enjoy wearing Listerine antiseptic wash.
I don’t.

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A very cool song (and hysterical video) by Mint Royal–

Chameleon

Colorful rhinestone chameleon brooch with violet leaves, paper test cutout of Zoologist bottle and decant vial. Most species of this lizard (they can be as tiny as an inch or as long as two feet) are from Madagascar.

Opens with mild fruits and green violet leaf, sweetly pleasant in personal space, but five minutes later becomes a mush of flowers and spice and odd salt and enough pink pepper to be a bit headache inducing.
Coconut and vanilla woods settle to the skin after an hour or two, with no residue on clothes.

I wanted more.
Zoologist is usually polarizing, love-or-hate animalics with strong reactions. Chameleon is a bit too boring to represent a color changing lizard with a tongue twice the length of its body and eyes that move independently.

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(I adore The Voice blind auditions.) This is a haunting cover–Boy George did not even recognize his own song at first.

Destiny

TokyoMilk rollerball and magenta capped black packaging, on chunks of crystalized ginger.

TokyoMilk #79

Destiny is that marvelous obnoxious friend who’s a blast to hang with, but would wear you out if it were an everyday thing.

Rolls on in with sugary ginger and wild berries, in a heavy-handed but good way, then develops some nice nasty indolic tendencies.
A pleasant bitter-sweetness that might be the davana paired with honeysuckle interrupts for a few hours at arm’s length, then slowly settles down to creamy cuddly jasmine for the rest of the day.

Lots of fun, but for occasional use only.
(Can be hard to find. Snag a bottle if you see it at a price you can afford–I’ve see them as low as $12 used and $60 new.)

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I would totally hang out with Lizzo EVERY day.

Folavril

Annick Goutal mini bottle embossed with her gold wreath logo, and Campari tomatoes.

I had so hoped that I wouldn’t fall in love with this little ’80’s vintage eau de toilette, but Folavril is the spiked herbal brew the Faerie Queen serves at summer parties.
A sunny day-drunk cocktail made with one part Chartreuse, one part Fleur Defendue, topped off with mango hard seltzer and garnished with tomato leaf.

Lasts through the afternoon, sliding back and forth between fruit nectar and a sharp, fizzy–almost soap-suds–green.
Stays close, leafier on clothes and sweeter on skin.

Sadly, other collectors love it too. Bottles are scarce, and pricey.

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Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty came out with this beauty in 1981, too.

Dodo

Dodo illustration from Leopold Fitzinger’s 1864 Picture Atlas of birds, and a Zoologist card (with a much more dapper dodo) and sample spray.

Did the dodo go extinct because they actually smelled like this? Recent studies of their oversized beaks have suggested they had an acute sense of smell–were they so offended by their own species, they refused to mate?

Zoologist’s Dodo smells like screeching black currant cat pee, cheap body spray over unwashed teenager, and fresh basil.
For way too long.

Eventually settles to fruit salad with herb dressing tinged with feather musk–but unlike Snowy Owl, it’s not cute downy fluff, it’s molting fowl.

Fairly permanent on cotton.

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I like this dodo sound.

Ghost Deep Night

Purple moon shaped bottle casting plum colored shadows.

Opens with burnt peaches, vague flowers and a haunting hangover with sour lemon breath.
The vanilla alka-seltzer in the middle helps, but the headache doesn’t go away until the dry down–a woody musk that sticks to the clothes like party confetti and bad aftershave–fades too.

Recommended to bottle collectors. (Leave it closed.)

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This ghostly song is sweeter and much less ghoulish.

Rock ‘N’ Rome

Allegra collection card, sample spray and apricot and plum candies wrapped in cellophane.

Described as a “floriental expressing the fulfillment of being together on a Roman terrace.”
Does partying out on an Italian balcony smell like apricot hard candy?

I like it.
Delicious fruity sour-balls out of the wrapper, clear and sweet, with a hint of summery yellow florals on top; a creamy center and a bit of spice that lasts an hour; and a sugary woodsy resin finish on the skin.

The benzoin at the base is absolutely luscious but I wish it lasted longer.

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A groovy laid back cover.