One Thousand Scents

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Barbie Girl: Aquolina Pink Sugar

The Simpsons hasn't been very good for years now, but in the thirteenth season there was a funny monologue by Homer:

You know, I've had a lot of jobs: boxer, mascot, astronaut, imitation Krusty, baby-proofer, trucker, hippie, plow driver, food critic, conceptual artist, grease salesman, carny, mayor, grifter, bodyguard for the Mayor, country-western manager, garbage commisioner, mountain climber, farmer, inventor, Smithers, Poochie, celebrity assistant, power plant worker, fortune-cookie writer, beer baron, Kwik-E-Mart clerk, homophobe and missionary....

I haven't had quite that many jobs in my life (I never had a chance to be a Poochie), but I have had a bunch of them, and one of them was as a carny. One of the things I did was run the cotton-candy machine*. Once you've been immersed in that smell for hours on a hot summer's day, you'll never forget it, so I can say with some authority that Aquolina's Pink Sugar does, in fact, smell like pink sugar: the core of it is the gloppy-sweet smell of cotton candy, amplified and complexified but still cotton candy for all that.

The official list of notes (which, like Blue Sugar, came helpfully printed on a card in the sample's crisp plastic envelope):

Head: Bergamot, orange, raspberry, fig leaf.

Heart: Liquorice blossom, lily, barbe-a-papa, red fruits, strawberry.

Base: Vanilla, caramel, musk, tonka, sandalwood.

("Barbe-a-papa" is the French name for cotton candy: it literally means "daddy's beard".)

You can tell by reading the list that this is not a serious fragrance. It's girly and fluffy and whimsical, which is just fine, but also way too sweet, which isn't.

The top note is mostly juicy, lip-smacking raspberry, tarted up with citrus notes. The underlying scent isn't long in appearing: it resembles Comptoir Sud Pacifique's Mora Bella/Fruits Sauvages, if you added a bucketload of sugar to it. The red-fruit scent gives the cotton-candy note a jammy, sticky quality; you could put it on toast. The oriental base notes are too little, too late, and also, again, too sweet.

Obviously I'm not the target market for a scent like this, but it's hard to imagine who, apart from ten-year-old girls with pinkly Barbie fantasies, is. Are adult women wearing this? Maybe as a joke, a whim, a carefree whirl, but I'd hate to spend time with anyone who's made a signature scent of this.

*Would you like to know how it works? A small heated drum perforated in the upper half with a series of parallel diagonal slits holds the coloured and flavoured sugar: once this sugar has melted from the heat--not dissolved, since there's no liquid added--, the drum begins to spin rapidly, drawing the liquid upwards through centrifugal force. The liquefied sugar flies through the slits and is flung outwards towards the walls of the enclosing container; in its short journey it hardens from contact with the cooler air and forms fine threads, which stick together and are collected up onto a cone. The stuff's pure sugar, but there really isn't that much of it: if you reduced one of those enormous cones back down, which you could do by putting it in a saucepan on the stove, it wouldn't be any more sugar than you'd find in a can of pop.


  • Maybe Pink Sugar smells different on me than others...I have people stop me and ask me what I am wearing all of the time, and actually write it down. Men especially seem to like it.

    By Blogger NnS1, at 12:00 AM  

  • If it works on you, then wear it, and more power to you. I'm not surprised that people find it attractive: it's fun and vibrant. I just found it to be too much of what it was, most of all too sweet--but then, as I noted, I'm not the sort of person the company intended to wear it, right?

    By Blogger pyramus, at 8:04 PM  

  • The pink sugar is super sweet and its really strong. I tend to keep on smelling it all day. I can even smell it on my clothes the next day! On the other hand I do love aquolina products especially the Aquolina Eye Gel

    By Blogger christine, at 6:34 AM  

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