While the name suggests sweetness, the flavour of this perfume is more tart than sugary. First we sip Lemon Drop martini garnished with lemon zest; Of course there is the sugar-rimmed goblet, to sweeten the sour lemonade. And underneath it all lies the sugar that have sunk to the bottom of the drink, which first appears in the form of a buttery lemon cupcakes with campy bright colour icing and an occasional bite of candied lemon peel. Caramel notes do not appear until later on, fluffy and fuzzy like cotton candy cushioned with the milky warmth of musk. As you can see, the sweetness here is not overly done and is balanced with plenty of lemony components.
The main component here are lemony citrus notes, primarily the familiar lemon peel, but also the intensely sweet, green, floral and lemony litsea cubeba – a berry from the May Chang tree, which is a middle note (rather than a top note like most citrus oils are). There is some floralcy at the heart, which is there more to create balance than impose a floral bouquet.
Of all the Fresh line, Sugar Eau de Parfum is by far my favourite*. Citrus fragrances are not my type generally speaking. I much prefer the complexity of other fragrance families. However, when I first smelled Sugar I was in awe as to how similar it was to my own (and personal favourite) citrus fragrance, Fetish. The two are different, of course, but share the combination of sweet and tart, fleeting freshness based in a solid sensual gourmand which incorporates vanilla and florals (jasmine, vanilla and fir absolute in Fetish), and both have the thread of the litsea cubeba note, lemony, tart, green, sweet and floral all at once.
Sugar is original for presenting a sweet theme in a sour environment, or rather – creating a citrus fragrance that is not “clean” or “soapy” or just “fresh” – but rather, a delicious, mouthwatering, sensual lemon scent.
Sugar can be found at Beauty Mark in Vancouver (where they sell the separately the leftover 30ml bottles from the Christmas gift packages for $35 CAD), and online via La Te Da Beauty Bar, which lists the notes for this fragrance as follows:
Top notes: Lemon, Bergamot, Brazillian Sweet Orange
Heart notes: Petitgrain, Heliotrope, White Lily
Base notes: Vanilla, Caramel, Musk, Marjoram
- I can’t smell any orange or petitgrain or marjoram in here (definitely not as a base note), but I thought I’d share this pyramid with you for your amusement. To me, Sugar is comprised mostly of lemon, litsea cubeba, vanilla, caramel and musk.
There may be a tad of herbal note there (perhaps there is some marjoram, but I sense none of the petitgrain green-astringent qualities there) but it couldn’t possibly be at the base, I just don’t smell it there (and it isn’t a base note usually). I can’t detect specifically a white lily note either, though there is a certain floralcy at the heart as I mentioned earlier, just enough to make it a perfume rather than a cleaning product. As for the heliotrope – if it’s there at all, it is very subtle, and surely contributes to the fluffy feeling of the base. The lemony notes must mute down the heliotrope tremendously, or else it must be present in very small quantities.
* The majority of the line I find to smell overtly synthetic, in a way that disturbs my pleasure from the unusual pairing of delicious aromas and fruits (the synthetics in this line often make me sneeze; in Sugar I found this effect to a far lesser degree, and no sneezing occurred; the other “Sugar” variants – i.e. Sugar Blossom, Lemon Sugar – have more of the fuzzy synthetics which prevent me to enjoy them completely).