Aquolina Pink Sugar

So yesterday I was doing my thing at the gym (and by “doing my thing”, I mean walking leisurely on the treadmill while watching Star Trek) when I was struck with a sudden wave of nausea. This puzzled me, as the only way my workout could be less rigorous would be if I were literally standing still. Eventually I identified the culprit- the girl on the machine next to me was wearing Pink Sugar.

I then realized that for all of my snide remarks about Pink Sugar, I have never actually given it a proper review. In some ways, Pink Sugar strikes me as a reinterpretation of Thierry Mugler’s Angel. Both are over-the-top, is-this-a-joke? gourmands. There is, however, a significant difference between the two. Although occasionally alarming, Angel can smell gorgeous on the right woman. In contrast, I have never once encountered a person that Pink Sugar smelled good on, and I have smelled it on pretty much every female between the ages of 11 and 20.

Pink Sugar’s main offense is an issue of proportions. I was expecting a lot of cotton candy and just a hint of licorice. What you get instead is more licorice than even the most hardcore licorice aficionado could handle. I often sing the praises of Lolita Lempicka, another sweet scent with a licorice note, but I can’t stomach Pink Sugar at all. For me, Pink Sugar evokes the YouTube video “Charlie the Unicorn”. In this video, Charlie goes into Candy Mountain expecting sugary goodness, only to be mugged and have his kidney stolen.

In conclusion, Pink Sugar is an extremely distinctive scent. It is also, to my nose, extremely unpleasant. Please do not buy it for your children. And please, for the love of Joan Collins, do not wear it to the gym.

Do it for Joan, y’all.

Aquolina Chocolovers

Chocolovers was released by Aquolina in 2006, then inexplicably discontinued only a year or two later. I am still puzzled as to why Chocolovers was axed and Pink Sugar allowed to continue its reign of terror, as I find Chocolovers to be undeniably superior to its predecessor. I suspect it may have had something to do with the embarrassing name. If Aquolina had changed the damn name (and probably the bottle, too), I see no reason that Chocolovers couldn’t have done just as well as Pink Sugar. If you come across a bottle at the discounters, I suggest stocking up.

Chocolovers opens with a brief, synthetic blast of orange (nothing remotely juicy, of course, more Fruity Pebbles-esque) before settling into a surprisingly enjoyable Nutella-like combination of chocolate and hazelnut. This is a fun, good-natured gourmand that occupies the same space in my heart as does L de Lolita Lempicka. In fact, Aquolina seems to be following the Lolita Lempicka model of success: start with a licorice-filled blockbuster, follow it up with a cheap-and-cheerful gourmand. That being said, there’s no excuse for buying Pink Sugar while Lolita Lempicka is still on the market.

Aquolina Pink Sugar Sensual

Okay, let’s just get this out of the way: this perfume represents everything that’s currently wrong with America. And by everything, I mean “the incredible pressure for girls to be sexual beings at an increasingly younger age.”

Despite that klassy ad above, featuring a scantily clad woman and a bottle of champagne, Pink Sugar’s demographic is middle school-aged girls. Older women might indeed wear Pink Sugar, but Aquolina’s low prices suggest that they are angling for young girls looking to spend their allowance. So now I ask you: do we really want a 12, 13, 14 year old girl to be “sensual”? Because I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this movie, it’s called Lolita, and it’s all fun and games before your mother dies and Humbert Humbert tries to roofie you.

Oh, and then you die giving birth to a stillborn child on Christmas Day at the age of 17. Merry Christmas!

“But Ari,” I hear you asking, “What about young girls who are naturally sexually precocious?” Well, I believe that many of the things that we consider to be “natural” are actually the result of rather insidious societal socialization. Things don’t happen in a vacuum these days. Why would such a young girl behave in a sexual manner? Perhaps it is indeed “natural”, or perhaps she caught on early that our society generally values a woman’s sexuality more than her intellect or character. It’s far easier, and often more rewarding, to be a Kim Kardashian than a Gloria Steinem.

Remember when Jessica Simpson kept trying to tell us that the whole dumb blonde shtick was just an act, and she was actually very intelligent? Maybe she is! But we’ll never know, because our society simply does not care. We’re much more concerned with how poor Jessica is becoming a Fatty McChub-Chub, because GOD FORBID that she be anything less than sizzlingly sexy 24/7. If she ceases to be a sex symbol, then we might have to define her by something other than how hot she is! THE HORROR!!!!!

Also, y’all are smoking some prescription-strength crack. THERE IS NO FAT ON THIS WOMAN’S BODY. YOU ROCK THOSE MOM JEANS, J. SIMP.

So does Pink Sugar Sensual live up to the name? Well, it’s the same Pink Sugar that we all know and love, now featuring fruity notes! I guess it’s supposed to evoke that “be fruitful and multiply” school of sensuality? I don’t even know, y’all. We’ve got some tangerine up in here, a little bergamot, and that damn licorice again. It’s a generic little thing of little significance- much like women in our society! Zinnnnng! Well, time for me to go make my man a sandwich. Hey, how did this computer get in the kitchen?

Disclaimer: I sampled Pink Sugar Sensual at Nordstrom. Aquolina Pink Sugar Sensual is available at Nordstrom and Sephora.

Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille

Despite being a master Girl Scout cookie salesman, I was not a particularly successful girl scout. I actually got suspended from my troop for “bullying” the local Boy Scouts (an OUTRAGEOUS FALLACY that I will deny to the death). I do, however, have many positive memories of the Girl Scout days, the most vivid being the s’mores. There’s nothing like 2 graham crackers, some Hershey’s chocolate, and a marshmallow burnt to a charcoal-colored crisp.

Un Bois Vanille was the first Serge Lutens that I was able to enjoy without any effort. With notes of black vanilla absolute, licorice, sandalwood, coconut milk, beeswax, caramelized benzoin, bitter almond, Gaiac wood, and tonka bean (Luckyscent), UBV is nothing short of mouthwatering.

The opening is strange, with an awful lot of licorice. I am growing to tolerate anise in compositions such as Lolita Lempicka and Caron Aimez-Moi, but I’m not sure what it brings to the table here. This stage soon gives way to delicious s’mores goodness, complete with extra-burnt marshmallow and a roaring campfire in the background. The coconut gives it a creaminess, and the woods and almond balance out what could have been potentially overwhelming sweetness.

Luca Turin calls UBV a coffee fragrance, and I suppose the “burnt” vibe could be interpreted as roasted coffee beans, but I just don’t get “coffee” as strongly as I do the s’mores imagery.

UBV is often compared (unfairly, I think) to Pink Sugar. However, Pink Sugar has a prominent raspberry note (which I can’t stand) that is nowhere to be found in UBV. If you like the idea of Pink Sugar but the reality makes you want to cry, do give UBV a try.

Disclaimer: I tried UBV at bluemercury.

Sexy Times, Part 3: Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb

Queridos, the first two perfumes in this very sexy series have, for the most part, been on the darker end of the sexy spectrum. Today we will explore the lighter side of sexy, something I like to call “pink sexy”. Pink sexy is not particularly sensual. It’s more Barbie than Bardot. Where MV3 was a leather dress, a “pink sexy” perfume would be a Juicy Couture tracksuit. Pink sexy means Cher Horowitz inClueless, Regina George in Mean Girls, Kirsten Dunst in Bring It On. The prettiest girls at your high school, the ones who straighten their blonde hair every morning and always frame their blindingly white smiles with the perfect pink lipgloss. They could steal your boyfriend with ease, if they even knew who you were. The prom queens, the sorority girls, the cheerleaders. Love them or hate them, you can’t help but want to be like them.

Oh, ’90s fashion.

Flowerbomb, created in 2004, exemplifies this perky, girly type of sexiness. Flowerbomb is a bit of a misnomer; “Sugarbomb” would have been more appropriate. Flowerbomb is sweet beyond belief and is very closely related to Aquolina Pink Sugar, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, and Philosophy Falling In Love. Now, I have repeatedly established myself as an enemy of Pink Sugar on this blog, and in general I do not find such sugary fare particularly sexy. However, I acknowledge that the reason that there are so very many overly sweet perfumes on the market today is because many women love them. Study after study has shown that men also prefer sweet smells, such as vanilla (they are also fond of bacon). I would be remiss if I did not include a perfume from the sugary genre, and Flowerbomb is probably the best of its kind.

One of the reasons that I hate Pink Sugar so much is that I actually had very high hopes for it. A perfume that smells like cotton candy? Who doesn’t like cotton candy? But then Pink Sugar just smelled like licorice, and it broke my heart, and then she slept with like three of my bros, just don’t even talk to me about her, man. Flowerbomb actually achieves the cotton candy effect that Pink Sugar promised but never delivered. The opening stage of Flowerbomb is juicy (bergamot) and sweet. It makes me imagine a room in Willy Wonka’s factory, perhaps a cave made entirely of pink rock candy.

After a few minutes I could smell something that my nose registered as strawberries. Since there are actually no fruits at all in Flowerbomb, I am forced to conclude that this is instead the lightest jasmine that I have ever smelled. Flowerbomb stumbles once the patchouli appears. Something about the combination of sugar and patchouli, a notoriously earthy note, seems rather off. I also do not care for this effect in another sugar-patchouli perfume, Dior Miss Dior Cherie.

Flowerbomb bears a startling resemblance to Thierry Mugler’s Angel; it could pass for Angel’s shy little sister. Like Angel, Flowerbomb can be a little scary, reminiscent of how the Regina Georges of the world are often feared as much as they are loved. Pink sexy can and often does deteriorate into “bitchy sexy”. At its best, however, Flowerbomb is pleasant, flirty fun.

When Regina George makes this face, you RUN AWAY.

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Flowerbomb from a SA at Saks Fifth Avenue. I would never, ever buy this, as it is outrageously expensive- $150 for 3.4 ounces. It’s not THAT different from Pink Sugar, y’all.