Prada Candy had been EVERYWHERE when it launched, and its raunchy bottle which was obviously for the loud ones amongst us, just annoyed me. "Pah!", I thought like the miser I am, "Another loud fruity floral!". Then I started seeing good reviews, and when it ended up being compared to Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille (one of the loves of my life), I knew I had to dig up the sample I was given.
The notes given are musks, caramel, and benzoin. Now, the Pradas I have tried are all soft and elegant, so this sounded like the typical move that perfume houses have been making recently: "Let's put some cheap smelling stuff in a bottle, market it as youthful, and watch it sell because of our brand name!" I sprayed this one on with full snobbery glistening, waiting to write a bad review. I got the shock of my life when I ended up loving it!
It opens with that caramel taste that you get when it's stuck in your teeth, that juicy sticky caramel. But it has a fruitiness in the background, almost like there is fruit water somewhere there. It is interesting how the caramel is ambery and is almost too sweet, but this is balanced out pretty well by the wateriness that feels like a mist of water drops has somehow mixed with it. Please note: This is only from the wafting - I haven't got to how it smells close to skin yet!
When I put my nose close to my arm, I get the familiar dry licorice wood of Un Bois Vanille in there, and there's something almost salty in there. It must be the dryness of the wood that is making me think of salt. Either way though, the scent is much rounder and fuller on skin than it is when it wafts. I will be honest; on my skin, the wafting could get cloying for a fussy person near me. Other reviewers disagree, but then everyone's skin is different.
It dries down to a drier vanillic resin. The caramel is always present, but I find the drydown (which occurs pretty quickly) very very similar to Un Bois Vanille (yes, I'll keep mentioning this one), but with a slightly saltier and less rounded drydown. I do like this part, but because I have something similar, I keep wishing the juicy caramel lasted longer. It's just as well though - I might get a toothache if the sticky caramel stage lasted too long.
I will say this: The fragrance doesn't change too much on my skin, but it does do something very unfortunate; it gets eaten by my skin in a very short time. Now, this would be alright if it were a cheap fragrance, but it's 50 Euro for only 30 ml (Approx 5,000 Ksh)!!! Now that would be worth it if there was a) many hours of pleasure and b) some sort of complex development - but there isn't.
Bottom line is this: If you love this, buy it. It is very nice, and a great gateway to get into perfumes that aren't all about fruity florals. But if you're patient and find this too expensive, treasure your sample and look into niche perfumes. Or just go try the slightly drier Un Bois Vanille. :D