Gourmand but never cloying options you’re sure to love
Sweet fragrances might conjure up images of cotton candy and artificial syrups, but that isn’t always how a sweet perfume will smell. In fact, sweet fragrances today can be polished, complex, and refined. That’s why sugary notes are taking center stage.
Another major benefit of sweet scents? They’re versatile. You can wear many of them year-round and day-to-night. They can also run the gamut from light and feminine to strong and sexy.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up this list of top sophisticated sweet scents. Many blend sugary notes with more grounding ones, creating fragrances that appeal to a wide range of tastes.
Here’s a look at the 20 best sweet perfumes for 2021.
This intoxicating gourmand sweet floral Dolce & Gabbana perfume is grounded with fruity and (obviously) floral fragrance notes. Dolce & Gabbana is known for their vibrant floral prints, so this fragrance folds in nicely with their signature aesthetic. It’s bold, while oozing luxury with hits of magnolia, Mandarin orange, neroli, coconut, frangipani, ylang-ylang, vanilla absolute, almond milk, and sandalwood. This aphrodisiac scent is creamy, tropical, and relatively strong, so it’s best worn after dark or on the weekend.
Created by master perfumers Mason Francis Kurkdjian and Maïa Lernout, Kenzo World is a delightful and sweet women’s perfume. It’s perfect for summer because it’s fresh, clean, and above all, long-lasting. So — even if you’re dripping with sweat, you can feel confident. Notes include pear, bergamot, peony, almond blossom, rose, orris root, white musk, violet, vanilla, and sandalwood.
This special and very luxe scent from famed perfumer Francis Kurkdjian comes from a collaboration with Baccarat for their 250th anniversary. While it’s definitely one of the best sweet perfumes on the shelf, Baccarat Rouge 540 has a heavy dose of woody fragrance notes. Those seductive woods lend it a high sex appeal that works year-round. Another intriguing feature of this fragrance is that it serves just as well for women as it does for men. And while it’s an investment scent, it smells like one, and delivers the longevity to back it up.
Recommended related fragrances: Light Blue Dreaming In Portofino By Dolce & Gabbana, Boucheron Place Vendome By Boucheron, Madame Rochas By Rochas,
Chanel describes this scent as “fresh, elegant, and sporty,” and the description couldn’t be more appropriate. Coco Mademoiselle is a versatile perfume, making it a wonderful gift option. It’s a vanity staple that will stand the test of time (it’s been popular for two decades!). Notes of orange, bergamot, Turkish rose, jasmine, mimosa, ylang-ylang, patchouli, white musk, vanilla, vetiver, and tonka bean give this famous Coco Chanel fragrance a refined yet playful appeal. Spritz this sweet, fresh perfume any time you’re ready for some fun.
If you want a unique, conversation-starting fragrance, reach for Serge Lutens’ Dent De Lait. Meaning “milk teeth” in French, it starts off very masculine. But as the scent dries down, it softens up, and sweet milk and almond notes begin to shine. One of the best sweet perfumes we’ve found, this powdery scent is perfect for a spring or summer day. Do note, however, that it’s not as strong as you might think. So if you’re looking for something office-appropriate, Dent De Lait will also fill the bill.
The name says it all, and it couldn’t be more fitting for the sweet-like-candy American pop star Ariana Grande’s third fragrance. If you’re looking for a full-on sweet scent on a budget, look no further than this candy-scented perfume. Sweet Like Candy has notes that include sugar-frosted berries, candy, vanilla, fresh Italian bergamot, cassis cream, and marshmallow. It’s a girly fragrance that tweens, teens, and women beyond, looking for something candy sweet will love.
Be sure to check out our guide on the Best Ariana Grande Perfumes for more great scents by this iconic singer.
This sweet scent is rounded out by Marc Jacobs’ signature blend of floral and fruity notes, captured in the designer’s signature Daisy flagon. Notes of bergamot, white raspberry, daisy tree petals, and crystallized cloudberries balance sugar musk, jasmine milk, and white iris woods. It’s a very youthful and optimistic scent, making it a great choice for summer when you’re looking for something light, or shopping for a special young woman.
Learn more about this legendary fashion icon and his signature scents in our Best Marc Jacobs Perfumes guide
This scent’s bottle has devilish undertones — it mimics the crimson red forbidden fruit. In keeping, the vial’s gourmand contents have a sexy twist. Cherry is the note you’re likely to sense strongest, in a delicious, candy-like way. The sillage in this Lolita Lempicka perfume is strong, and a few spritzes will last from day-to-night. Notes of sugar, cacao, iris, musk, and cashmere wood deliver the sexy twist at the base. This is one of the best sweet perfumes for a night out at New York’s Sultan Room or the Whisper Room in Paris, or any time you’re feeling more adventurous than usual.
Victoria’s Secret is usually associated with sexyness first and foremost, but this scent is actually youthful and sweet. With that established, it does have woody notes like musk to round out the coquettish gourmand sugar-and-candy. You can spray Pink Sweet Summer on skin or hair, and it serves as a great pick-me-up on a stressful day. For a perfume that smells like candy, this one is surprisingly sophisticated. It’s also more waist-friendly than the ice cream it might make you think of!
This might be one of the most underrated fragrances on the market. Launched nearly three decades ago, Courreges Sweet Courreges’ floral and fruity notes balance out the sweetness. But nevertheless, gourmand vanilla shines the strongest here. Sweet Courreges has a beautiful dry-down, and you’ll instantly feel (or at least wish) you’re being whisked away to the Riviera when you smell it.
If anyone can make you feel like a princess, it’s Vera Wang. Known as the bridal designer to the rich and famous, Wang captures her magical essence for luxury and glamour in her fragrance, Princess. It’s one of the best sweet perfumes for special occasions like weddings and graduations, or anytime you want a confidence boost. Like Wang’s designs, the fragrance is timeless (it’s been around for over 15 years). The main notes include water lily, apricot, apple, Mandarin orange, dark chocolate, guava, tuberose, vanilla, and amber.
Princess Power is part of Vera Wang’s Princess line, and another perennial favorite for special occasions. The Power version of the scent is more laid-back and soft — think of a beach wedding versus one at a Ritz Carlton. Rounding out its sweet vanilla notes are fruity ones like pear and raspberry, and floral ones like frangipani, jasmine, and rainbow rose.
If you want to feel like you’re on a tropical island as you type away in your cubicle, reach for Escada’s Flor Del Sol. Launched just last year, this sweet scent — grounded with fruity and floral notes — blends grenadine, orange and tequila, dahlia, and sandalwood. It’s pure fun and escape in a bottle, but because it’s not obtrusively strong, it works well for both day and night.
14. Mure Solinotes
About 10 years ago, Solinotes introduced a collection of fragrances designed for wearing in two ways — alone or layered. The standout was (and still is) Mure — a fruity and sweet blend that we love all by itself during the day, and adore layered with something woodsy by night. Mure is a mix of pomegranate, bergamot, lemon, raspberry, blackberry, sandalwood, and musk. Layering a woodsy scent will play on the sandalwood and musk base for a touch of after-dark sex appeal. Solinotes is among the best sweet perfumes for date night.
Launched last year, Vanille Santal from Reminiscence is a unisex gourmand scent with top notes of caramel spice. Beneath them, middle notes of sandalwood and cashmere wood lead fetchingly to a base of Madagascar vanilla and musk. This is a sweet scent with a heavy dose of woody and warm spice. It makes a playful option for a cool evening by the lake, or when you’d like to grab attention in a crowded room. At its heart, VAnille Sanal is hard to ignore, powerful, and leaning masculine in mood.
Going by its name, this is the last fragrance you’d expect sweetness from, but don’t be fooled. Tom Ford has a history of delivering the unexpected, and Tuscan Leather packs plenty of surprises into its art-deco vial. It’s a conversation-starting scent that lasts all day and night, so spray it carefully, as only a little is required! It blends leather, fruity, amber, and animalic notes with sweet ones for a scent that works best in the fall or winter. This is a powerful and sexy blend of raspberry, saffron, and thyme on top, olibanum and jasmine in the middle, and leather, sueded wood, and amber at the base. It’s rare to find a fragrance that is as piercingly sweet as it is powerful and smoky.
This sweet vanillic scent blends notes of aldehydes, pink pepper, bergamot, hawthorn, lily-of-the-valley, ambrette, heliotrope, peru balsam, sandalwood, and vanilla. If you’re looking to smell expensive, spritz yourself in Metallique. Even though it’s from Ford’s less-expensive signature line, it oozes luxury with its exotic blend of ingredients. It’s a unique option for those hunting a sweet vanilla fragrance, since that’s the note that shines most prominently. One of the best sweet perfumes for an opulent feel.
If you’re yearning for a straightforward, sweet scent, checkout Demeter Sugar Cookie, a fun blend of sugar, wheat, and vanilla. It’s a sporty weekend daytime fragrance, but it isn’t cloying as so many sweet-forward, inexpensive fragrances tend to be. Instead, it’s inviting and comforting, just like the sugar cookie that’s its namesake. (Though you’ll get more candy than cookies on the nose when you spray this tasty scent).
You can count on Prada for a sophisticated take on a candy-scented perfume. Candy Sugar Pop is part of the designer brand’s famed Candy fragrance collection. Here, we get a more youthful interpretation of the caramel original, thanks to added sweet notes. Candy Sugar Pop settles powdery and soft too, so despite being sweet-forward, it works for all ages. It’s also office appropriate, and ready for a night on the town with its light and feminine aesthetic.
Iris, orange blossom, and patchouli balance out this sweet smelling perfume that Lancome says took them three years and 5,000 versions to create. This gourmand scent will linger throughout the day without overpowering. It’s a year-round classic that would also make a great gift.
This list of the best sweet perfumes on the shelf goes to show that gourmand fragrances can work for any taste. Whether you’re looking for something feminine to wear to a wedding, or you’d like a powerful and unisex scent, there’s a nice-smelling perfume in the sweet category for you.
Sharon Feiereisen is a freelance writer who specializes in fragrance, makeup, wellness, health, skincare, and general lifestyle topics. Her work has been published in Time Out, Newsday, The Knot, Teen Vogue, Business Insider, Real Simple, and Hamptons Magazine among many other print and online outlets. When she’s not writing about new, exciting fragrances, you can usually find her on an airplane or at a boutique fitness studio.