Prada Candy : Fragrance Review

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Candy

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Usually I steer clear of any fragrance named “Candy,” given my unfortunate experiences with Aquolina Pink Sugar and other high-calorie gourmands. However, Prada Candy had a few things going for it: I generally very much enjoy Prada’s aesthetic, and I love the refined work of Daniela Roche-Andrier, the perfumer responsible for many fragrances in the line. She tends to render her accords as luminous and sparkling, and this radiant quality permeates Prada Candy. Although it explores rich materials like caramel, vanilla and sweet resins, Candy lives up to its name by conveying a dainty, luscious confection.

The idea of a rich gourmand composition presented as an elegant sweetmeat is much more difficult to execute than it might seem. Oriental resins like benzoin and tolu balsam that have an enveloping sweet darkness are also heavy and dense. Layered with vanilla, musk, tonka bean and other classical gourmand notes, the effect can be both cloying and rough. The main reason that Candy captured my heart from the first inhale is that it eschews all of the above. From the caramelized top notes with their illusion of pineapple and mandarin to the woody vanilla drydown, it retains an appealing brightness. Its sweetness is obvious, but never tiring; the aura of Candy overall is coquettish and playful, with a distinctly elegant character.

After the shimmering prelude, Candy becomes warm and velvety. The musk and vanilla lend it a delicious softness, while benzoin and amber fill the drydown with their smoky darkness. The accent is on the dry woods, rather than the buttery caramel (in contrast to the aforementioned Pink Sugar, which I find overly sweet and creamy,) a facet that makes Candy quite a sophisticated gourmand fragrance. The closest references for me would be Comme des Garçons Burnt Sugar and Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, though Candy is more of a radiant, abstract dessert than those perfumes. The abstract gourmand quality means that it does much more than simply indulging one’s sweet tooth; its luscious warmth is also irresistibly sensual.

Prada Candy includes notes of musk, benzoin, and caramel. It is available from Prada boutiques and select department stores (Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York.) 1.7 oz of Eau de Parfum, $80; 2.7 oz, $108

Sample: my own acquisition

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38 Comments

  • hongkongmom: I smelled this briefly in NY and my thoughts were” it seems to have the elegance of infusion de iris and is reminiscent of it…but a whole lot sweeter” wish I could have a chance to smell it again after reading your review…and to experience the drydown September 13, 2011 at 9:44am Reply

  • violetnoir: I am waiting for my bottle to arrive.

    This fragrance is very well done. Just carefree and fun enough to appeal to a younger audience, but sophisticated enough, because of the benzoin, to appeal to old folks like me! I think it will have a broad appeal to women of all ages.

    Have you smelled the new Diane von Furstenberg, Diane, yet, V?

    Hugs! September 13, 2011 at 1:13pm Reply

  • Victoria: I find that its character is similar to Infusion d’Iris in its elegance. And the drydown is so warm and sensual. September 13, 2011 at 1:34pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, not yet, but I am sure that it will cross my path soon enough when I go for my usual store check. For now, I am enjoying Annick Goutal Mon Parfum Cherie and Candy. September 13, 2011 at 1:35pm Reply

  • violetnoir: Yep, I am waiting to smell the new AG, too! :) September 13, 2011 at 1:44pm Reply

  • Judith: Bought, returned after having a sample in the Neiman’s Beauty Event gift bag. Nice, nothing more. Not complex. And I love Vanilla. Any Vanilla. Too ‘department store’ for this ‘snob’ I guess. Or simply, just not enough complexity. I prefer the latter. September 13, 2011 at 1:53pm Reply

  • Victoria: Of course, the phrase “your mileage may vary” applies really well to perfumes! :) September 13, 2011 at 2:08pm Reply

  • Victoria: That one is my favorite fall launch so far! September 13, 2011 at 2:08pm Reply

  • Ari: Victoria, so many people compared Candy to Un Bois Vanille that I was very disappointed when it turned out to be quite different. I will try harder to judge it on its own merits. It is very, very light though. September 13, 2011 at 4:01pm Reply

  • Carla: I will certainly try this, but will probably not buy it. Why wear candy as the weather cools when I can wear leather and woods? September 13, 2011 at 4:37pm Reply

  • sunsetsong: I sampled this today and was pleasantly surprised. I like it from top to drydown, it is sweet but not cloying and the drydown is very cozy. It is elegant as you say, and I will try again in late autumn/winter when this should be at its best. September 13, 2011 at 5:00pm Reply

  • hongkongmom: Hope it comes to Hong Kong soon :-) September 14, 2011 at 2:44am Reply

  • hongkongmom: Squee…smelled this today, but I have to go back and test it on the skin. Didn’t form opinions, as I had read your review first. Can’t wait! September 14, 2011 at 2:47am Reply

  • Pklagrange: I loved this perfume and bought a FB and the lotion. I agree that it has the strong vanilla of Un Bois Vanille, but I smell more like a Bon-Bon with Candy rather than a cookie (UBV)! It is exceptionally fun to wear. September 14, 2011 at 10:25am Reply

  • Amarie: This is my teenage daughter’s first “grown-up” perfume. She purchased it with her birthday money. I felt as though I was witnessing a milestone… And I am pleased she showed exquisite taste in her selection! I love the fragrance. I am more of a “floral” person, but it is a lovely scent, not at all “sugary”, more buttery caramel and complex richness. September 14, 2011 at 10:50am Reply

  • Nikki: I bought 3 samples on e-bay. Although I like it, I am not crazy about it. It seems a little boring… September 14, 2011 at 11:10am Reply

  • dleep: I purchased this unsniffed and I like it a lot. Just wish it lasted longer on me. September 14, 2011 at 12:08pm Reply

  • civava: I’m glad to hear it is not so sweet. September 15, 2011 at 8:13am Reply

  • Victoria: Do let me know what you think! September 15, 2011 at 3:31pm Reply

  • Victoria: It is light, but I suppose that is why I like it. It also has a very interesting character. September 15, 2011 at 3:31pm Reply

  • Victoria: I wear it all. :) Plus, our winters are long, so I know that I will have time to indulge in all sorts of perfume genres. September 15, 2011 at 3:32pm Reply

  • Victoria: I agree, I found it too much in the August heat, but right now it feels much more appropriate. September 15, 2011 at 3:32pm Reply

  • Victoria: That’s a good distinction. UBV does smell like a cookie to me, and while I usually do not like such overly tasty perfumes, it is very interesting. September 15, 2011 at 3:33pm Reply

  • Victoria: Sounds like a lovely choice for her first grown up perfume! :) September 15, 2011 at 3:34pm Reply

  • Victoria: Money saved then! I am sure that this fall you will have more gourmands to explore. There should be some other new ones coming out. September 15, 2011 at 3:36pm Reply

  • Victoria: I heard some other people complain about its lasting power, but I find it very tenacious. Not like Lutens or Tom Ford Amber Absolute, but still with enough presence. September 15, 2011 at 3:36pm Reply

  • Victoria: I expected it to be much sweeter, but it is nicely balanced. September 15, 2011 at 3:37pm Reply

  • LuxuryObsessed: Do you find any similarities to Coromandel, my favorite benzoin scent? September 18, 2011 at 5:10pm Reply

  • hongkongmom: will do when i get there… September 21, 2011 at 4:05am Reply

  • Carol Melancon: Bought this for my husband’s Christmas gift to me after only trying a promotional mailing scent strip. Thank goodness, I adore it. I love Benzoin and Oriental/Gourmand, and this juice has phenomenal staying power on me. I just had to open the box to try it before Christmas to make sure it wasn’t awful on me. Slept with my wrist under my nose and could still smell it the next night after a shower and scent-free day at work. December 17, 2011 at 7:01pm Reply

  • Lindsey Champine: Just purchased this at Nordstrom, and I must say, I am impressed. This fragrance has a beautiful dry down, soft, subtle, and sexy. Lovely. Will become a classic I am certain. April 16, 2012 at 2:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: It has done so well! I see it on so many best seller lists. Considering that most best sellers are incredibly boring, it is heartening to see Candy among the top sellers. April 16, 2012 at 2:22pm Reply

      • Lindsey Champine: Wonderful! Have you tried the apothecary products that come along with the fragrance? April 16, 2012 at 2:24pm Reply

        • Victoria: I haven’t, but I was eyeing them. If you’ve sampled anything, please let me know. Prada body products are very good, in my experience. I have Infusion d’Iris body lotion, which is fantastic–it moisturizes well, but absorbs quickly into the skin. April 16, 2012 at 2:27pm Reply

  • Lindsey Champine: I did actually sample the lotion, and it is fantastic. Not too greasy, just pure perfection with a light scent. It has really helped the fragrance to linger longer! April 16, 2012 at 2:30pm Reply

  • Julie Haers: I love this fragrance. It takes me a long time to find the right fragrance and this one is special I am going to try the bath products as well. July 23, 2012 at 12:58pm Reply

  • Aisha: I received a sample vial of this not too long ago and finally got around to wearing it today. OH MY GOODNESS! I kept wanting to lick my wrist all day!

    Like you, I was somewhat skeptical. I’ve tried Pink Sugar before and, well, it smells like its name. It’s nice, but perhaps a little too sweet for me. Candy has a wonderful warm caramel “flavor” to it, and yet it’s abstract enough to not smell overwhelmingly like food. I may have to get a bottle of this one to keep my Pleasures Delight company. (And I never thought I would love gourmands….) August 23, 2013 at 7:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: It is delicious and yet it doesn’t smell too edible. That touch of smoke gives Candy a nice twist. I can relate to your desire to lick your wrist; I felt the same way when I wore it for the first time.:) August 24, 2013 at 2:49am Reply

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