The Beauty of Scent, Scrutinized for Pleasure

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Prada Candy- don't shed your benzoin tears on my account, I think you're cool

It's been awhile since I've encountered such an incredibly misnamed perfume as Prada Candy. It's comforting, cozy and resinous. It's also many other things, including fantastic, but it really does not remind me of candy in any way, nor is it even that sweet. I should warn you that my tolerance for sweetness in perfume is extraordinarily high, however. Point in case:  I list Guerlain's Iris Ganache as one of my favorites. It does have a caramelized sugar aspect to it, but the overdose of benzoin really counteracts excessive sweetness. There is a sharp woodiness at the outset that takes over for a little while, but Candy is worth sticking it out to see where it takes you and may yield a surprise or two for you depending on how you feel about previous Prada releases.

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]


  1. Wow, who would have thought? I might have bypassed it completely just because of the name. Still shuddering at that, but my mouth is watering after reading your post. Will definitely be sniffing at the Prada counter soon!

  2. It's really, really good, isn't it? And believe it or not, it worked extremely well on this particular guy... and I don't think I look too sweet... but then again, maybe that's why it worked.

    Thanks for the review.

  3. Oh bloody hell! I've been avoiding trying this because I really dislike the bottle but if you love it...well then, I have no choice but to smell it.

    As for the other Prada scents, I've run through a bottle or two of Infusion d'Iris, I'll admit it!

    Once again, thank you for such a great review Carrie! My wallet is mad at you.

  4. You should have seen me trying to figure out how to get the perfume out of the bottle...
    I gave up quickly for fear of looking like a moron.
    So, I have no idea what Candy smells like, but your interpretation stirred a smell-hallucination, and it smells bloody good!

  5. Liz- I think it's definitely worth a spritz! You might love it.

  6. Mr. P- I can't even remember the last thing you publicly lauded! I found it not too... anything. :) There is nothing about it that bugs me. It's a good one.

  7. Joey- I actually like the bottle, I'm not sure why. It is weird though, I'll give you that.

  8. Joanne- awww! My heart is breaking thinking about you panicking inside trying to futz with the bottle at the Prada counter. I hate when that happens. Well, I will be sending you a decant in a regular old atomizer, I hope you will enjoy it! xoxo

  9. The bottle reminds me of a little doorstop or fancy soap dispenser. I can see why people would like it, though. It's cute in a nicknack-y sort of way.

    As for the juice...a kind friend just mailed me a sample. I received it earlier today (well, sometime between Thursday-Saturday, but I've been out of town). I cannot wait to smell it! I need coziness right now =)

  10. I love the 60s bottle. Reminds me of the place where Marc Jacobs goes to buy old fashion mags in the Marais. I'll take you there!

  11. Cait- I knew you would appreciate the bottle design. I think it's cheerfully graphic.

  12. Huh. I'm not a huge fan of sweet in general, but I love Benzoin. Thanks for the review, because without it would never ever have dreamed of trying something called Candy. :) I'll hunt for a tester now.

  13. ChickenFreak- I felt the same way until I found a scent strip in a magazine, I was very surprised!

  14. It is the Benjoin Laos and nirvanolide that amkes it so good. As per the bottle design - I like ART DECO, but it feels a bit cheap, n'est pas?

  15. I agree about the bottle feeling a little cheap, especially when you're using it, one might worry that the plastic top will come off. I LOVED reading about the aromachemicals and natural elements that were used on your blog, it really helped things fall into place for me. :)