Whenever I go to Sephora, I come out smelling like a department store. I always end up spraying all 10 of the perfumes I've been itching to try on various parts of my arms, and suffocate the people who have to sit in the car with me. But that's besides the point. I checked out two fragrances this weekend I've been thinking about for awhile now: Gucci Flora and Fresh Sugar.
Gucci Flora, $90 for 2.5 oz. at sephora.com, Fresh Sugar, $75 for 3.4 oz. at sephora.com:
I was seriously surprised. Gucci Flora, the perfume I thought I'd love, I ended up hating, and Fresh Sugar, which I thought would be underwhelming, was totally covetable. They're both light, fresh summery scents, so it's a fair comparison, although Flora is, well, more floral, and Sugar is on the citrusy side. Looking at packaging, Flora wins. For some reason, I just love that short, fat, faceted bottle. It's very retro, and very chic. The Sugar bottle is cute too, but it's a little on the basic side, and it almost looks cheap (like something you'd get at TJ Maxx), and I'm not sure I want to wear something named Sugar. It sounds very middle school to me. In terms of price, Sugar wins by far, at almost $10 less per ounce.
Now for the actual scents (the most important part!). Flora is a light, warm floral, with notes of citrus accord, peony, rose, osmanthus flower, pink pepper, and sandalwood. It sounds very nice in theory, but on my wrist it was almost an exact dupe of YSL Young Sexy Lovely (and you guys know how I feel about that). YSL YSL is a bit icier, whereas this is a bit warmer, but otherwise they're the exact same, both very sweet, very young, and somewhat flat florals. To its credit, though, Flora did warm up over time as the sandalwood came out, but I couldn't stand the 2/3 hours of smelling like a tween to get to that place. I didn't get any pink pepper, just lots of rose and peony, and overwhelming amounts at that. The lasting power is pretty good, and it took me some pretty vigorous scrubbing to get this stuff off, which I was not happy about at all. Fresh Sugar, on the other hand, was lovely. The notes are bergamot, lemon, Brazilian sweet orange, petitgrain, heliotrope, white lily, caramel, vanilla, and majoram. It's definitely on the citrusy side. I got absolutely no white lily, which is a major plus for me (but if that's what you're looking for, this isn't for you), and instead a new balance of fresh citrus and brown sugar, from the caramel and the vanilla. The citrus here wasn't the typical super-acidic blend or anything reminiscent of Pledge, it was just sweet, fresh, and a little tart. Initially it's a little heavier on the citrus, but it softens very quickly as the herbs and vanilla come out. I actually really love this. It's light, it sticks close to the skin, and it's sweet without being cheap, generic, or overly floral-smelling. What's not to love? The lasting power isn't fantastic, but it's not horrendous, and that's a pretty good price for a 3.4 oz. bottle. So, all in all, I'd give Flora a 6/10 and Sugar a 9/10 (1 point off for the name and the lasting power).
Chloe Chloe EDP, $85 for 1.7 oz. at saks.com:
If you're still looking for a light, summery, floral perfume, I'd recommend Chloe Chloe instead. It's similar to Flora, but a little less heavyhanded with the flowers. The notes are peony, lychee, freesia, rose, lily of the valley, magnolia, powdery accord, cedarwood, musks, amber. Chloe is what Flora is trying to be. The peony and rose are softer here, balanced by the tropical lychee and tempered with the accord, musks, amber, and cedarwood. Flora is really all floral topnotes, whereas Chloe is a little less lopsided, and more wearable. The initial burst of warm florals mellows into a nice blend of rose/peony and amber/cedarwood. It's fresh, but it's not all girliness and sugar and cupcakes, there's a definite smolder in the drydown. The lasting power is about the same as Flora, but the bottle is cuter. I'd buy it just for the bottle, really.
Fresh Sugar: sephora.com, Gucci Flora: sephora.com, Chloe EDP: saks.com