Before we review Prada Candy Kiss, let’s ruminate for a moment on wit in perfume. We often hear fragrance described as pretty, sexy, moving, dark, moody, and just plain gorgeous, but it isn’t often thought of as witty. Yet perfume can definitely pack wit. A witty fragrance says, “I’m over-the-top, and I know it. Go ahead, laugh with me, but you have to admit I’m fabulous.”1
To me, Tauerville Fruitchouli Flash is witty — the name alone lets you in on the joke. Rochas Tocade’s raving overdose of vanilla and rose is witty. So is Prada Candy. Everything from Prada Candy’s bottle to its marketing to its name lets you know it’s an indulgence without a lot of nutrition. Somehow, it gains merit by laughing at itself. It’s a fun perfume.
Then we come to Prada Candy Kiss. Can a joke go too far?
Candy Kiss was developed by perfumer Daniela Andrier. About Candy Kiss, Prada’s website says: “evoking the scent of delicate white cotton, the musk encapsulates the wearer in a sensual cloud, infused with uplifting vanilla and orange blossom nuances.” I don’t know about you, but “delicate white cotton” plus a musky cloud encapsulating anything plus orange blossom sounds too much like laundry detergent for comfort. Add the average consumer’s love of clean fragrances to Candy’s bilious sweetness, and we could be talking a greased pole to a migraine.
Well, if it’s “delicate cotton” that has you worried, you can relax. There’s nothing delicate about Candy Kiss. It turns out that my fear of sharp laundry detergent was for naught, too. Instead, Candy Kiss is a blast of vanilla-scented cotton candy riding neck and neck with a juicy orange blossom, with a wisp of girlish white flowers and thick shavings of fancy soap underpinning it.
The combination is brash and assertive, like wearing bright pink when you really do better in earth tones. I wore a few vigorous sprays of Candy Kiss to the co-op, and I wanted to apologize as the dreadlocked checker rang up my yams. Candy Kiss has no place among micro-enterprise raw desserts and kombucha on tap.
It’s also a disconcerting blend. Gourmands shouldn’t smell clean. Or should they? Remember — okay, this was a long time ago — when a small soda company put out cola in a clear formula? The dissonance was the biggest part of the attraction. Candy Kiss’s vanilla-soap dissonance alone makes it worth a sniff. The fruit of its orange blossom is the bridge that makes the sweet-soapy fragrance work.
As Candy Kiss fades over the next several hours, it becomes much more gentle. The orange blossom drops away, and wood joins the caramelized vanilla and clean musk. At this point, I’m tired of it. I get it. Massive vanilla plus soap, ha ha ha. The joke is over. Candy Kiss doesn’t have the beauty or interest to compel me to want to smell more, especially in its feeble (but arguably more traditionally lovely) dry down.
If you like Candy Kiss’s wit, I encourage you to try the much less expensive Rochas Tocade, a drag queen cupcake of a scent by Maurice Roucel. Tocade adds rose to its caramelized vanilla and doesn’t mess with Candy Kiss’s soap or orange blossom, but it somehow feels more honest for it.
What are your favorite witty fragrances?
Prada Candy Kiss Eau de Parfum is $68 for 30 ml, $88 for 50 ml and $118 for 80 ml and can be found at department stores.
1. A non-witty fragrance can be worn with wit, too. This notion has sold thousands of bottles of Guerlain Vetiver to women.