One Thousand Scents

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Candy Man: Aquolina Blue Sugar

If you're going to name a sweet, cotton-candyish women's scent Pink Sugar, and then you're going to come out with a men's scent a couple years later, what are you going to call it? If you're Aquolina, you're going to call it Blue Sugar. It isn't blue, and it isn't particularly sugary, either. It's sweet, but no more so than any other gourmand oriental scent.

The sample I got was a generous size, and contained--nice touch, this--a little card with a complete list of the notes, which are:

Head: Bergamot, Tangerine Leaves, Star Anise, Ginger.

Heart: Licorice, Patchouli Leaves, Lavender, Heliotrope, Coriander.

Base: Caramel, Vanilla, Cedarwood, Tonka Bean.

The top note is a flood of two contradictory ideas, the freshness of citrus and an almost burnt-smelling spice note. It's got a hint of sweetness to it, a premonition of what's coming, but the aggressive cooked-spice note is what dominates.

When that's had a chance to calm down--and it takes a surprising while--the sweetness begins to make an appearance: a clean, attractive patchouli note plus the prickly warmth of licorice, all wrapped in barely sugared vanilla. The sweetness is ramped up as the middle gives way to the base notes, but fortunately it's all kept under control: it isn't cloying, which for me is the death knell to any scent. There's no doubt that it's intended to be a men's scent.

If that list of fragrance notes sounds quite a lot like Thierry Mugler's Angel Men, that's because the fragrance is quite a lot like it, too. It's not exactly a copy, because it tones down the more overwhelming elements of that scent; it's more the patchouli and the sweetness (caramel, vanilla, and tonka) of Angel Men cross-bred with the potent licorice note of Lolita Lempicka's Au Masculin. Nice though it is, if you have either of those scents (or others like them, such as Yohji Homme or Rochas Man), I can't imagine why you'd need Blue Sugar. Maybe if you got it really cheap....


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