One Thousand Scents

Monday, June 23, 2008

30 Demeters in 30 Days: Day 23, Cotton Candy

Luca Turin has repeatedly mentioned the aromatic chemical ethylmaltol, which, he has repeatedly said, smells of cotton candy. It's one of the sweeter elements in Angel, and the dominant accord in Aquolina Pink Sugar. But each of these scents has many other notes as well, so I was curious about just how Demeter Cotton Candy was going to smell. As I've noted before, I once worked in the refreshment stand of a travelling carnival, so I know what cotton candy smells like.

And the Demeter version, alas, isn't it. In fact, the Demeter is basically Pink Sugar, only simplified. I know this because as I write, I'm wearing Demeter Cotton Candy on my left wrist and Pink Sugar on my right, and they're very similar.

There are three likely explanations for this. One, ethylmaltol doesn't actually smell like cotton candy, but instead has a sweet, complex, candylike aroma (basically, like Pink Sugar). Two, the Demeter version isn't a pure version of cotton candy, which has a very distinctive aroma, but a composed scent meant to suggest what cotton candy might smell like (basically, a version of Pink Sugar). Or three, I don't remember what cotton candy smells like, and Demeter Cotton Candy is perfectly accurate.

I think we can discount number three. My nose certainly isn't that far gone, and I have a really good memory for scents. Never having smelled pure ethylmaltol, I can't say whether number one is correct or not. I'm plumping, though, for the second explanation, or the first and the second in parallel. After all, many scents, not just Demeter's, are composed of other elements which give a sense of what the namesake might smell like, because the namesake doesn't exist as a naturally occurring aromachemical (there is no such thing as a watermelon extract extracted from watermelons) or because it's less expensive to do it that way. There's been a flood of green-tea scents on the market since Bulgari started the trend, but nobody thinks that they smell like a cup of green tea, surely. Even Demeter's Green Tea is basically a copy of the Bulgari. Since you can't get an essential oil from a cone of cotton candy, you have to analyze the scent molecules it emits and then duplicate them, and it seems to me that the duplication in this case is not as precise as I had hoped.

So. Demeter Cotton Candy has a cotton-candy aspect to it; it's very sugary. It also smells like those Japanese perfumed erasers, like cheap jam, and like Jolly Ranchers. If you like Pink Sugar but want to pay a lot less for it, then this ought to do the trick.



  • I was hoping that you would review this one! I had Pink Sugar for a short time, but it was far too strong and had a very overpowering "burnt" smell on me. As long as this one doesn't have that burnt quality, I'm willing to give it a try for layering purposes. I hope it's light enough. Just like with Marshmallow, I'm debating whether to take this one off of my list now. Thanks for the excellent review!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:41 PM  

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