When I reviewed the Pink Sugar fragrance back in 2007, I noted that it had been a top-seller at Sephora since shortly after its launch in 2003. It's still a top seller, and in the interim, it shot past Thierry Mugler Angel and J Lo Glow to become the most-reviewed fragrance at MakeupAlley. You'd think there would have been a long string of flankers by now, but Aquolina has been relatively conservative, mostly sticking to new formats — everything from solid perfume to hair perfume to shimmering perfume roll-on. Enter Pink Sugar Sensual, which launched last year but took a good long while to reach the US. As you might have guessed from the advertising, it's meant to be the sexy, grown-up version of Pink Sugar.
Pink Sugar, for those of you who have never smelled it, is pretty much what it sounds like: a blend of red fruit + cotton candy. On my skin, it smells most unfortunately like red fruit + cotton candy that's been scorched onto melting plastic, but no matter, plenty of other people (including quite a few perfumistas) love it. I can see the charm of the original Pink Sugar, even if I don't love it — after the strawberry wears down and before the sugar notes melt and char, it's a perfect gourmand comfort scent for someone with a sweet tooth: a bit of musk, a bit of caramel sugar, nothing fancy or complicated.
Pink Sugar Sensual, like Pink Sugar, is a gourmand, but it isn't as in-your-face about the candy as Pink Sugar. Whether you'll find it sexy and grown-up, though, depends on your definition of sexy and grown-up — what they've done, essentially, is graft a bit of the Pink Sugar base onto your standard-issue mainstream fruity floral, in this case, Britney Spears Fantasy has been widely identified as the particular standard-issue mainstream fruity floral in question.1 The two fragrances aren't quite identical in the early stages, but they're close enough that you could just pick whichever was cheaper, or had the nicer bottle, and let it go at that.
Later they diverge a bit: the Fantasy is more vanilla cupcake, the Pink Sugar Sensual is more caramelized vanilla sugar; both scents have a pale, musky-woody dry down that is more clean than not, but the Pink Sugar Sensual is a wee bit warmer. Pick your poison — they're both $45 for 50 ml, although the Pink Sugar Sensual can also be found in a 30 ml bottle for $29.
Aquolina Pink Sugar Sensual is available in 30, 50 or 100 ml Eau de Toilette and in matching body products. The notes include blackcurrant, mandarin, bergamot, orange blossom, pink jasmine, tiare, vanilla, toffee and sandalwood.
1. When Fantasy first launched, many people compared it to (the original) Pink Sugar, so this completes the circle perfectly, no?