The Question Of Sweet Perfume: Yay or Nay?


Kate Apted


Halloo APJers!

Today I want to know your feelings on sweet smelling perfumes. Do you like them and do you have favourites? Can you separate out notes? What do you like/dislike about them?


I ask because I am pretty much on the fence with them. A few months ago, I abhorred any of them and refused to try anything deemed sweet by reviewers. As life has it, I have done an about face – sort of. I started wearing some from my mum’s collection (mostly Britney Spears and Avon) to get an idea of what it was about them that rubbed me the wrong way. Ironically, I now own a few girly sweet scents as a result of this research.

I don’t really have a sweet tooth with regard to food,  preferring sushi, curries and proteins and salads. Sweet foods are just … sweet. I do not distinguish different flavours like I can do with the savoury ingredients of a lasagne, veggie casserole or a huge salad and find the same with all sweet perfumes. Simply cannot distinguish any difference between Sofia Vergara’s Sofia or Love. Add Poison Girl (edp or edt) to this and all I am left with is a bigger list of the vague ‘sweet’. Every Britney Spears perfume I’ve smelled has just left me with a shrug of yet another generic sweetness. I suspect the fault is mine because my 13 yo son is very good at knowing what I am wearing and he can name what food it resembles.

The Question Of Perfume Sweetness: Yay or Nay?

Sweet Lolita Lempicka FragranticaFragrantica

The other issue I have is that they tell my brain I am feeling satisfied. If I am sated, I do not have my hunger triggers. That spells disaster for me. With weight training I need to keep my calories high for my job. In my work I have to lift a 100kg tyre at any given time, or hoist a 45kg drum onto an axle. Consequently I lose weight too easily, so I have to eat according to a planned diet. If I rely on my hunger pangs, I rarely eat 2 meals a day. I have found a way around this, by wearing sweet perfumes to bed. That way, I have eaten my required intake of food and I can relax with that sated feeling when it is appropriate to.

Fantasy Britney Spears FragranticaFragrantica

I admit I do not understand the fascination for wearing ‘yummy’ perfumes. Maybe it is my autistic brain freaking out at the idea of being eaten, like a sweet cake is devoured by my son with gusto. I am not sure I have smelled a sweet scent that isn’t gourmand to some degree. Something in me is disturbed when I read a review of La Vie Est Belle being delicious or scrumptious. I used to think that way about vanilla scents until I happened upon a group that aren’t gourmand.

Poudre de Riz Pierre Guillaume FragranticaFragrantica

So, sweet perfumes are not bad, and I will now wear a few. I have a better understanding to why I do not seek them out and I am careful what I wear and when. Over to you now…. What are your thoughts?

Kate xx

61 comments on “The Question Of Sweet Perfume: Yay or Nay?

  1. Jyotsna says:

    I’m definitely on the ‘Nope, not for me’ side. I just don’t get them.
    I can’t say I’ve tried many but I think Angel and the fierce headache it gave me. (Or am I mistaken and Angel is not a sweet perfume).

    No sweet tooth here either. Salty, sour, hot. Yum
    Looking forward to what the others have to say!

    • Kate Apted says:

      Jyotsna, I have NO idea how to categorise Angel. It is pretty loud and I have to be in a very particular mood for it. Do you find anything sweet is a no-go? So noce to know you love the hot foods too!!! K xx

      • Jyotsna says:

        Well maybe Angel isn’t a good example. My son can pick the sweet scents too. Once he said to me,”Mum, you smell like a friand.” I can’t remember what I had applied – I think just some E&C handcream.

  2. australianperfumejunkies says:

    I am on the fence here Kate,
    There is a whole slew of sweet that sends me crazy happy? Guerlain, Lolita Lempicka, Pierre Guillaume, and many others.
    Then there are the ones that make me want to acid wash my skin to get rid of them.
    Portia xx

    • Kate Apted says:

      Good point, Portia. Guerlain does make some quite sweet scents, some of which smell better on others than me. I think this genre needs more exploration, as I see a divided line happening for me too. Xx

  3. Diana says:

    I guess there are different kinds of sweet perfumes, same as sweet food: a tad bit of vanilla is fine, some fruits, too, – but a candylike perfume can scare me off quite literally 🙂

    I love Angel, by the way, but I don’t find it utterly sweet.

    • Kate Apted says:

      Yes, Diana! Exactly that – candy like scents have me running FAST! I’m finding it is not a simple like or dislike. The nuances are important. I suppose we still have fun as we explore more, right? Xx

  4. Jackie b says:

    This post made me think twice about sweet…I was going through my collection and found sweet ones like Traversee du Bosphore and Mecheri Loukhoum, which I like, gourmand sweet. But then I think about melon or raspberry and cannot go there. And Teint de Neige…I had to scrub asap.
    I don’t have much of a sweet tooth either, give me chillis any day!

    • Kate Apted says:

      Jackie b, you don’t like melon either? Glad I’m not alone. I’m finding fruits aren’t really for me. Especially if they are sweet. I’ve stayed away from things I know are gourmand sweet cult scents. I admire you being able to enjoy them. Xx

  5. Cassieflower says:

    It’s really amazing what different people smell, when they’re smelling the same thing. Sweet to one is almost savoury to another. I love sweet, and have a ferociously sweet tooth that I have to fight. Now I have to confess that I haven’t ever smelled any Britney Spears so I can’t comment on them, and the thoughts of wearing Angel almost brings me out in hives, as I tested in in duty free once and couldn’t get it scrubbed off my skin and had to endure it for a five hour flight. But lots of my perfumes are sweet florals, with vanilla or caramel in the mix. I’m going to order some Dame Perfumery Chocolate Oil soon, so that one will probably sort the men from the boys.

    • Tess says:

      That Chocolate Oil sounds lovely – I’m going to have to check it out!

    • Kate Apted says:

      Cassieflower, I imagine that 5 hour flight was 5 hours too long. You poor thing!

      Caramel…yikes. But sweetish florals are ok. Anything berry dominant has me running too. Let us know how the Dame choc oil goes. Xx

  6. Neva says:

    Interesting question and not so easy to answer. Normally I love eating chocolate and cakes but I don’t like intense chocolate notes in perfumes. I am also no fan of gourmands. I’d rather like the powdery sweetness from certain flowers + musk or similar combinations.

    • Kate Apted says:

      Neva, I know, right?! It ISN’T easy to answer. Musk is a polarising one and it is one I quite enjoy. Thanks for reminding me of the soft powdery sweetness! Xx

  7. chez Marzipan says:

    I think my user name makes it clear what side of the fence I am on 🙂

    I have an extraordinarily high tolerance for sweets in both food and perfume format. I also find that my skin seems to amp up the sweetness of all perfumes in general (or maybe it is just how my wonky nose smells it or “wants” to smell it).

    When I first started wearing perfume in 1971 the genre of gourmand did not even exist and I was perfectly content wearing what was readily available. But now that I have options I probably do gravitate more towards sweetness, ambers and citruses versus the beloved chypres of my distant past.

    • Kate Apted says:

      Oh, CM, like we’d have you any other way?! No, sweetheart! What a journey you have seen in perfume development! I can’t remember the first sweet scent that hit Australian shores. I know Angel took years to get here and it was totally rocking Europe. Other than that, gourmand sweet scents sort of just eeked their way in… Now celebriscents are the general epitome of that genre.

      What are your favourite sweet scents? Xx

      • chez Marzipan says:

        For those who hate sweets close your eyes and don’t read this….. off the top of my head-
        Coty Vanilla Fields
        Dame Black Flower Mexican Vanilla
        Dame Dark Horse
        Dame Earth Mother
        Dame Chocolate Man
        Dame Mate, Heliotrope & Patchouli
        Dame Cassis, Rose & Sandalwood
        Berdoues Vanira Moorea
        Pacifica Tunesian Jasmine
        Pacifica Vanilla Vera Cruz
        Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar
        Pacifica Mexican Cocoa
        Pacifica Island Vanilla
        Jo Malone Anise & Vanilla
        Jo Malone Ginger Biscuit
        Jo Malone Peony Blush & Suede
        Pink Sugar (yes!!! I said it!)
        Angel (I loved it when it first debuted….what was it 30 years ago? It was so unique and different back then)

        I am sure I am leaving others out but those were the ones that came to mind…..

      • chez Marzipan says:

        Keep in mind though that I DO love and appreciate all genres and categories…not JUST gourmands 🙂

      • Kate A says:

        Bahahahahaha, CM! You are divine. I have not tried 90% of these. It seems my work is not done. The Dame perfumes seem to get a lot of love. I think it wise for me to start there. Thank you for your suggestions. xx

      • chez Marzipan says:

        Kate- you MUST try something from Dame Perfumery!!! Jeffrey Dame is the kindest and most generous of all the indie perfumers I have ever met…plus, so many of his fragrances wear beautifully on my skin. I am pretty sure that he ships oil format to Australia (not the EDPs at the moment). Even with decant/ travel sprays he is extraordinarily generous with his samples!!! This is how I ended up buying and gifting so many full bottles….I tested them from the free samples he sent me and then fell in love with so many of them.

  8. Nelle says:

    I love sweet scents! Some not so much because they have that generic Vanilla smell which I cannot stand, I am not a fan of Angel on me but on other people it smells wonderful, I think its the Patchouli in the fragrance that turns me off from it. La Vie Est Belle and flowerbomb smell similar to meband I do not like either. But fruity sweet scents are my fav and gourmand scents like Bonbon smells like candy and Escada magnetism is sweet goodness! I like smelling like a baked good for some reason!

    • Kate A says:

      Nelle, I take my hat off to you. It seems I am cutting myself off from a wide range of possibilities. I just cannot cope with smelling like food. Unless I have been cooking and it is all good. LVEB is everywhere! I went to a travel expo yesterday and smelled it at least 10 times. No other perfume. Just that. Too much. K xx

  9. Kathleen Smith says:

    I sometimes like sweet fragrances; however, I don’t like sweet food. I am definitely on the savory side for food preference. I side more with sweet, powdery, vanilla scents, not outright gourmand or sweet fruity. I think there are so many different kinds of sweet scents, it’s difficult to answer yes or no. Angel has been mentioned in the responses. This is one of the fragrances I can’t stand to smell which I don’t say often. I adore Keiko Meicheri Loukhoum and Guerlain Carnal Elixir.

    • Kate A says:

      Spot on, Kathleen! Exactly right. I am finding, through these comments, that there is a wider scope of sweet than I initially gathered. It seems I tend to side with you – the powdery sort are ones I quite like. I still feel there is just a general sweetness that I find gloopy though. Still, I may wear L’Instant Magic today in your honour. K xx

  10. Mary P Brown says:

    I love sweet fragrances and love any that have even the slightest gourmand tilt, the scope of which is very wide. I enjoy how they smell but what I like the most about them is how they feel, how they make me feel. They provide me the feeling of well-being, of olfactory hugs, and carry pleasant memories and that’s what draws me to them. It helps that vanilla is one of my favorite notes as well. A couple of favorites are KM Loukhoum Parfum du Soir, CSP Vanille Abricot, and yes I really like BS Fantasy – I especially like to layer it with other fragrances.

    • Kate A says:

      Yikes, Mary!! I think you have helped me understand something!! My mum is terrible for smothering her emtions and the bad days with sweet food. She has a stash of sweet junk in various hiding spots we all know about. I guess as a child, I felt pissed off that she would eat a vanilla slice rather than hug me and tell me things I needed to hear. I honestly think my struggle with sweet smelling stuff comes from there. I get no comfort from sweet smelling stuff. Thank you for the eyes opening!! K xx

  11. VerbenaLuvvr says:

    I adore sweet gourmands, with the exception of candy-themed scents which are over the line to me. My very favorites in this category would be FSSA’s vanillas, Hilde Soliani’s Crema di Latte, Una Tira l’Altra, and Orgasmo, Choco Musk from Al Rehab, and honey scents as those from Solstice Scents. Angel is too hippie-ish for my tastes and I do not consider it a gourmand, one would have to think it edible first.

    • Kate A says:

      Hmm, good point. Angel is sweet, but not in the likes of gourmand. VL, I have never tried any of the ones you mentioned. I had a quick flirt with Kyse, which I understand have a following who love that style, but whoa!! Too much. It has really put me off trying others. But…who knows?! K xx

  12. Ceil says:

    I love many sweet scents. But they have to be “real” smelling. Not a fake bad candle kind of sweetness.. Like most Guerlains are sweet but not fake. Indult Tihota, Serendipitous, Ambre narguile are a few sweet scents that I like. I dislike La vie et belle, Mona di Orio vanilla and other sweet fragrances that to me have an artificial chemical smell in with the sweetness.

    • Kate A says:

      Ceil, I see what you are getting at. Makes sense. Guerlain does some tasteful sweet scents (pun semi intended). Oh, the invasion of sweet vanilla in candles! Just no! K xx

  13. KerriC says:

    Usually nay, but I’m wearing People of the Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo today, so… yay! Cherry and marzipan, sweet but also kind of smoky and warming. This is one of my go-to comfort fragrances, even though I’m generally not a gourmand fan.

    • Kate Apted says:

      Oh, yes!! 👌 Cherry. Now I am fast becoming a Guerlain cherry fan. It is a note that can be dressed in many ways. It is a comforting, soul warming note. Xx

  14. Tess says:

    I do love the sweet gourmandy scents, but then I also love the spicy/woody/orientals as well. My sister gave me a bottle of Mon Jasmine Noir, which she said she found too sweet, but then she’s got some other perfumes that are so sweet that they almost give me a headache when she wears them around me, but she loves them. I think a lot of it comes down to skin chemistry, and how our noses are wired. I’ve got a sample of Christopher Street by Charenton Macerations, which I gave to my husband to try – he was aghast, saying it was too sweet, but I don’t get any sweetness from it at all. Right now I’m wearing Madera by Omnia, which is one of my many gourmand scents (Serendipitous, Al Rehab Choco Musk, Amour de Cacao, Insulo, Love Hope Denim, Vanille and yes, I also have Fantasy in my stable too!). So yes, the sweet ones definitely have a good bit of space in my stable and I enjoy them very much!

    • Kate A says:

      Good on you, Tess! It is all so subjective. It took me years to handle Fantasy. I hate it on my mum, but a little bit on me is really pleasant. I actually take sniff swigs from the bottle now and then. Bahahahahaha! It is reminiscent of cupcakes, but falls this side of not-quite. K xx

  15. Rhaine says:

    I have LL Sweet which I only crave sometimes when I want to feel like a girly teenager.
    Then there’s LL “L” which I adore (and have the Laurence Dumont dupe, too).
    But on the flip side, I fell for I Am Juicy when it came out, used it a couple of times and now I can’t get rid of the bloody thing! Same goes for Laurence Dumont Prune Jasmine, which a reviewer said smelled like “port dipped cigars”, when in reality, it’s similar in sickly sweetness to I Am Juicy.

    • Kate A says:

      I like the opening, Rhaine! I think I am going to use that too. Prune Jasmine. It sounds intriguing, yet could be scary. But then there is plum tuberose, aka Poison, so might be ok. I admit I have done nothing more than pick up a bottle of some Juicy Couture bottle and promptly put it back down again. That was a year ago when Coco Mademoiselle made my skin crawl. Now I own Poison Girl and all the Sofia Vergaras. We are a weird bunch. And I love it! K xx

  16. Tara C says:

    I love sweets and pastries and I love to smell like them too! Mancera Choco Violet, Profumum Vanitas and Dulcis in Fundo, Indult Tihota, Al Rehab Choco Musk, Tauerville Vanilla Flash, AP Traversee du Bosphore, Guerlain Gourmand Coquin & Spiritueuse Double Vanille. In fact while I was typing this post, UPS just delivered Lancome Jasmin Marzipanes!

    I do not like fruitchouli scents however: Angel, La Vie est Belle, Coco Mademoiselle, etc.

    • cassieflower says:

      Now that’s weird, I really contradict myself here. I really dislike Angel, i don’t care much for La Vie est Belle, but love Coco Mademoiselle.

      • Kate A says:

        Cassieflower! Really, girlfriend??! I don’t see that as a contradiction. All three are very different. Angel pierces my frontal lobe, LVEB assaults every part of my brain and Coco Made excites my dopamine levels. You are ok with us. Mwah!

    • Kate A says:

      Tara! Let us know how the Lancome Jasmin goes. I am dying to know all about that one. I have some image in my brain of it being like the black Bvlgari Jasmine – the one with the heavy almond. And it seems Tauer’s Vanilla Flash needs a trial. I have heard heaps about it lately. K xx

      • Tara C says:

        I love Jasmins Marzipane (it’s Dominique Ropion, how could it be bad?) but it’s a more quiet scent, not super sweet or big white floral. It balances out my collection, which has a lot of heavy-hitters in it. I love that it’s soft and easy to wear.

  17. MMKinPA says:

    I have a sweet tooth and enjoy sweeter perfumes but I think quality of ingredients matters. Most of my beloved cheapies are not very sweet, at least not of the candy floss toothache variety. As I go along my journey though I find myself less drawn to sweet than I used to be. (CM- perhaps opposite of you? Maybe when I have been at it as long as you I will swing back!)

  18. Melanie says:

    Sweet would not be my go to choice but i see the vanilla connection. I guess it depends on which vanilla scent as to how sweet one can be. I have worn the discountined L’Art Vanille Absolu and Montale Black Oud together and been told i smell like fairy floss! Pink Sugar comes to mind as a sweet which i gave away to teenage niece. Sometimes when i smell i think its fruity as opposed to sweet – say like RL Ralph – as an opposite to my usual choice of orientals & spice. Great topic Kate.

    • Jyotsna says:

      I can’t even go near the ones with sweet smelling names. Pink Sugar, Candy-shudder

    • Kate A says:

      Thanks, Melanie. I just wish I could at least differentiate between the various sweets. Anyway, vanilla tends to lend itself to two camps – sweet and not sweet. I must admit I have not touched a Ralph Lauren since Notorious. Funnily, I love that, but all others bar Safari have never been sniffed. I think the packaging put me off. I look at it and it seems so gentle and airy. Not how I like my perfumes. K xx

  19. Jyotsna says:

    Five O’Clock Au Gingembre? Then it’s a “Heck Yes!” from me. I love love this one. So now I’ve managed to confuse myself….

  20. Marina Turnbull says:

    I love sweet, gourmand fragrances and find them extremely comforting to wear. I also find that gourmand fragrances garner the most compliments from rhose around me when I wear them, obviously others find them comforting too 🙂
    I do however, prefer to wear the sweeties during colder months and more refreshing scents in the heat. White florals are great for summer for me because the comfort white florals give me stems from my mum’s lifelong love of white floral fragrances.
    At the end of the day, it’s all about what makes me happiest in my heart !

    • Kate A says:

      Interesting, Marina! The guys at work tend to like the sweeter, more feminine scents too. Even the ones they wear are sweet and things I would associate with Yves St Laurent. Ah…white florals! Now you have my full attention! Ha! K xx

  21. Mandy Chi says:

    They attract mozzies! Enough said

  22. Ingeborg says:

    I seldom like sweet scents, other than sweet ambers. Also loved using Ginestet Botrytis which smells like sweet wine, like the one from Hungary and some from South Africa (only had a large sample.

    Mostly I like green chypres and citrusy scents. I do eat lots of sweets, so it is a little strange that I cannot tolerate such creations as La Vie Est Belle.

    One exception is Prada Candy, I use it mostly to get to sleep. Tried Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille, and didn’t care for it, so I seldom try vanilla-sentric perfumes after that.

    • Kate A says:

      Ingeborg, yes, Guerlain’s SDV is full on. I’ve only sniffed from a bottle, but whoa! It was a long while ago. I’m not sure I am too much of a fan of Guerlain’s modern handling of vanilla. Depends what it is teamed with. Prada Candy seems to get a bit of love. I am yet to try it on my skin. K xx

  23. maggiecat says:

    Generally, I prefer not to smell like a cupcake…Actually, I often like vanilla and sometimes honey or amber, but many sweet perfumes are not just for me. I don’t hate them, just have no desire to wear them. I guess I distinguish between something I’d like to smell, and something I’d like to smell like.

    • Kate A says:

      You and me both, maggiecat. Honey is a funny one. In very small doses it can glorify a floral, in the case of 24 Faubourg edp, but honey centric scents are too overwhelming. K xx

  24. crikey says:

    I can never really work out what sweet smells like. Fracas, for example, seems really sweet to me. But it’s not a sticky sugar sweetness. I find Chergui intensely sweet, but that’s hay not cake. I think the only really gourmandy perfume I have is feve delicieuse.

    I’ve got a raging sweet tooth though, and could eat my own bodyweight in baklava given the chance. But i prefer very very dark chocolate to sweeter milkier varieties. Except in biscuits, where I’ll take all the vanilla and milk choc going, thanks. Then I prefer sharp lemon or rhubarb to sweet berries, and marmite to jam. So who knows?

    Um, I’m going to sit on the fence while I try to untangle my own confused taste.

    • Kate Apted says:

      Crikey, your response makes the most sense to me. High 5, baby, for speaking my language. Pass me the dark chocolate, will you? Thanks.

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