Once when I walked into a meeting early in the morning, a woman looked up from her laptop and said, “Does it smell like cotton candy in here?” I realized with horror that it was me that smelled like cotton candy. And then I got over it. Almost all of my favorite perfumes have a dose of ethyl-maltol, which smells like cotton candy.
The thing about ethyl-maltol in a perfume is that it almost immediately takes it out of the realm of sophisticated perfumes. The most egregious example of this is Vanilia, which was the first perfume to use a heavy dose of ethyl-maltol, per Perfumes: The Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. They say about Vanilia:
“In fact, thirty years later, nobody has caught up with the unfettered, hilarious, boisterous beauty of Vanilia. It’s as if Shalimar met Andy Warhol and came out far trashier and happier. This perfume is so totally devoid of chic it has become the reference holiday from propriety and convention, and by association the purest exemplar of summer fragrance. Enjoy it with a banana float, a sunburn, and really loud music. There will always be time for refinement later.”
Rereading this review reminds me that I should save up for a new bottle of Vanilia. But I also want a bottle of Pink Sugar by Aguolina… I haven’t been willing to splurge on it yet, but it also has a heavy dose of ethyl-maltol. Ethyl-maltol may be a summer fragrance, but I think winter is just as good a time to be unfettered, hilarious, and boisterus. Yay, ethyl-maltol!