Candy has heart. Much more heart than any of the other Prada fragrances I've tried, which all feel cool or cold to me-- too anemic, which is something that's always turned me off about Prada perfumes. I am someone who is more drawn to excess and opulence than starkness, severity and minimalism. There are always exceptions, but even the soliflores I love tend to have so much life, layers and richness to them. Candy veers away from opulence but is simultaneously a skillfully balanced resinous gourmand which lends the comfort of fragrant curlicues of incense smoke without the heaviness of a bonfire. Prada Candy will never overwhelm, and proves that where there's smoke, there doesn't necessarily have to be fire.
The quality of the vanilla is excellent, and it reminds me of the smell of antique books or newsprint, similar to what I get from Barbara Bui Le Parfum. In fact, Candy could really be considered a sibling of Le Parfum, which I also adore and is sadly discontinued. Consistent with the Prada brand, Candy has a streamlined approach to gluttony, but I believe it succeeds with a certain warmth that none of their others have. It draws you in and invites you to stay, instead of simply stating its existence, defying you to connect to it.
When analyzing Candy, it's not the caramel I keep thinking about, it's the benzoin. I imagine a host of benzoin tears at my disposal, appearing as nectar of the gods- sticky, resinous, and yes, a little sweet. When Prada got a hold of those little benzoin tears, they sang until there was laughter, eschewing the tears for joy.
The packaging is great, though not well suited to the scent. From the outer box with its bright pink and illustration of a slightly amused and chic blonde in an LBD to the improbably vintage 1960s-looking UFO bottle itself, it is truly giddiness-inducing. You would not expect a comfort scent perfect for cooler weather to emerge from the atomizer, but something more in line with cherry lollipop or a sweet, fruity floral.
The sillage is moderate, and the longevity is quite good. I spritzed generously in the evening and woke up with the luscious fragrance all over me, still (in fact, I think it gets better the longer it's on skin/clothes). After about 6-8 hours, it starts to take on a mellower, warmer and nutty quality that is very attractive and pretty hard to resist. This is one of the very few recent mainstream releases I can write about enthusiastically (I don't even bother writing about most of them because they're so unremarkable)-- it is a wonderful scent for a very reasonable price. This will be one of those perfumes that I'm likely to repurchase once my supply is out. I never thought I'd say that about a Prada release, but there it is. Perfumer Daniela Roche-Andrier really caught my attention this time around, and I hope to see more designs like this one from her in the future.
For the mainstream consumer, I think the packaging and bottle will attract certain tastes, and some people will be surprised. I feel pretty strongly that Prada has a success on their hands, even though the artistic concept and the product itself are somewhat at odds. It doesn't smell like 50 other mainstream fragrances you can find in the department store, and that will definitely benefit Prada, especially come this holiday season. I predict huge sales just for the adorable presentation alone. It's the kind of thing girls just like- delightful AND useful.
The only listed notes are caramel, musk and benzoin. Prada Candy EDP is available in 1.7 and 2.7 oz bottles for $80 and $108 respectively. It can be purchased at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and many of the other usual suspects.
[my bottle was purchased by me for my own collection]