For as long as I can remember, I've always been into woody fragrances. Like a true L.A. woman, I was committed to Le Labo's Santal 33 ($97) for years and have only veered ever so slightly to experiment with similarly spicy scents laced with notes of sandalwood, bergamot, vetiver, and other decidedly savory aromas. Fragrances categorized as sweet or gourmand—the fancy name given to perfumes that smell almost edible with notes of honey, caramel, vanilla, and the like—just never called to me. (A brief stint with one of Paris Hilton's body sprays back in middle school was the first and last time I gravitated toward something that made me smell like I was dipped in sugar.) Too unsophisticated, I scoffed from atop my Le Labo–scented high horse. But that all changed when I finally got my hands on a bottle of Rihanna's favorite perfume, Kilian's Love, Don't Be Shy ($275). (Or, at least, it was her favorite perfume before she launched her very own scent back in 2021.)
It wasn't until very recently that I started seriously considering leaning into sweet perfumes, but a years-long love affair with Frédéric Malle's Portrait of a Lady ($90) and a more recent rendezvous with Tom Ford's Bitter Peach ($395) got me thinking that maybe, just maybe, I'm more into warmer, more syrupy notes than I'd let myself believe. Then, a viral TikTok video reminded me that my queen Rihanna is widely known as one of the best-smelling humans in Hollywood and that her signature scent is the key to this reputation. The candied notes of orange blossom, vanilla, and marshmallow I would have normally turned up my nose at were suddenly so intriguing to me. It's not that I'm naïve enough to believe that a price tag is always an accurate indicator of quality, but at $275 for a single bottle, I had a hunch that this fragrance would be something special. Spoiler alert: It is.
At first spritz, I almost didn't know what to make of the smells swirling into my nostrils. Do I smell… Fruit Loops? S'mores? What the hell is going on here? For so long, I had been concocting an imaginary scent profile of saccharine notes akin to the smells that might waft out of a candy factory, and that wasn't too far off. This stuff smells like cotton candy mixed with earl grey tea and juicy citrus fruit, topped with the confidence of having all your bills set to autopay without worrying whether you've got enough money to cover them all. That's right—this fragrance smells rich in more ways than one. I don't know why I expected anything less, seeing as Rihanna is the human embodiment of wealth, health, and happiness, but it was almost uncanny how quickly those same vibes started to seep into my own reality.
From day one, I couldn't keep my wrists away from my face to take in long whiffs, nor could I pass a mirror without pausing to stare and take in the badassery I suddenly felt. Walking my dog, one of very few interactions with the world outside my home lately, transformed into a welcome opportunity to leave a trail of sumptuous goodness for the world to enjoy. I wanted to wear only my finest sweatpants and even felt more inspired to put on a little makeup from time to time to match the glam vibe of my new aroma. The scent starts off strong, so the first time I sprayed myself, I was seriously intimidated, but within a half hour, it settles into the skin so beautifully and stays there all dang day. This fragrance is life changing, friends.
So, in conclusion, I'm into sweet perfumes now. They're so fun and so extra and give a big middle finger to subtlety, which is an energy I can really get down with right now. There's still a time and a place for my woody faves in my scent wardrobe, but for the purposes of lifting my mood and raising my confidence with a single spritz, I definitely won't hesitate to reach for those warm, gourmand scents. If you want to be like me and Rihanna, I'd recommend Love, Don't Be Shy. If you're shopping for other options, keep scrolling for more sweet perfumes to try.
Shop 19 Other Sweet Perfumes
Best Overall: Killian Love, Don't Be Shy Extreme Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Neroli, orange blossom, rose, marshmallow
This new, limited-edition launch is a more intense version of Rihanna's favorite Kilian scent, calling in stronger notes of rose and orange blossom for a crisper take on the ultra-sweet classic.
Customer Review: "Just Wow! This fragrance is a masterpiece. It develops beautifully throughout its lifespan and lasts 8+ hours on my skin. The rose scent is perfectly done. It made me wish for spring and my garden. This scent was so delicious that I bought a backup right away!"
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Jasmine, saffron, cedarwood, ambergris
This is a great starter scent if you want to dip your toe into the sweet scent pond without sacrificing woody notes in the process. It's the perfect middle ground.
Customer Review: "By far the best fragrance I have ever purchased. The first time I had the pleasure [of] smelling it was in a sample pack. Outside of getting compliments, I could not stop smelling myself. The price becomes irrelevant after you have the fragrance touch your body. Definitely worth the purchase!"
Victor&Rolf Bonbon Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Mandarin oil, orange, jasmine accord, caramel
This indulgent scent is sweet without veering into the cloying territory. Plus, how pretty is that bottle?
Customer Review: "Bonbon wraps you in a cashmere blanket of sweet caramel sugar, creamy peach, and fragrant amber. It's bold and beautiful. It envelops all who smell it in its luxury. It's a sugary delight with staying power. I feel like I'm in a candy-floss cloud when I spray this. There's nothing 'dark' about Bonbon. It's all sugar, unicorns, rainbows, and cupcakes. A gourmand lovers delight for sure. I also really like the bottle design looks great on the fragrance shelf. A must-own for people who like sweet fragrances."
Acqua di Parma Mandorlo di Sicilia
Key Notes: Musk, vanilla, almond, star anise, bergamot, orange
Reviewers of this unisex scent liken it to the smell of a root beer float. Intriguing!
Customer Review: "Mandorlo di Sicilia translates to Almond Tree of Sicily. Its smooth, luxurious aroma lingers on the skin and beckons everyone to ask what you are wearing. The soft vanilla, cedarwood, and white musk clings close to the skin and has a calming, soothing effect. Layer it with the Body Lotion, and you're set for the day. I love wearing this for all seasons. It is a unisex fragrance, and trust me...you will love it, and so will everyone who comes in contact with you."
Mugler Angel Muse Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Cotton candy accord, raspberry jam, strawberry jam, candy apple, cream, hazelnut, vetiver, vanilla, praline
You may need to remind yourself that this one isn't edible. It's at once herbal, spicy, and sweet.
Customer Review: "This gem is amazing! I have to admit the first two hours are very strong, so one spray goes a long way. I received a lot of compliments on this perfume hours after I sprayed it on even. This is one of my favorite gourmand perfumes ever! I wouldn't recommend this for someone in their teens or twenties, though. If you like gourmand perfume, give this a try! Worth every penny!"
Prada Candy Eau de Parfum Spray
Key Notes: Caramel, musk, vanilla, benzoin
The name says it all. This one straight-up smell like candy.
Customer Review: "Candy by Prada is a deliciously sweet fragrance reminiscent of the scent of cotton candy. It's subtle enough to be enjoyed and lingers on clothing, apparent long after the first spritz! An excellent choice for anyone who enjoys sweet over floral. We do!"
Lancôme La Vie Est Belle Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Iris, patchouli, vanilla
This scent brings in powdery, floral elegance combined with earthy, musky, and sweet aromas for a full-bodied experience.
Customer Review: "This has been my absolute favorite signature scent for years. I get so many compliments with it. I have tried changing my scent by trying different other perfumes, but I keep coming back to this one. It's a very long-lasting, strong, feminine, and addictive scent without being too overpowering."
Key Notes: Tobacco, plum, peach, amber
If you could imagine a perfect balance of warmth, milkiness, and smoke, this would be it. It marries a complex blend of juicy fruit scents together with tobacco for a true amber experience.
Customer Review: "Tobacolor is such a beautiful and refined fragrance! I love to wear it during the colder months of the year, but I often crave it, so I wear it year-round. It is definitely unisex, in my opinion. The notes in this fragrance are refined and of excellent quality. I couldn't be happier with my purchase! I will definitely repurchase it, as this is a staple in my perfume wardrobe!"
Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Coffee, white flowers, vanilla
This fragrance is warm, spicy, and intense. It's the kind of scent that enters the room before you do.
Customer Review: "YSL Black Opium is totally different from anything I have or have experienced. The vanilla, coffee, and flower blend is exotic, sophisticated, floral, and absolutely delicious. Dries down as a rich deep aromatic floral with several notes. The closest scent I have is Trish, another exotic blend with tonka beans. Love both."
Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Tobacco leaf, spices, tobacco flower, vanilla, cocoa, dry fruit accord, wood sap
Spray this one in the morning, and it will remain on the skin well into nighttime. It's creamy, fruity, and woody all at once without being confusing.
Customer Review: "This scent is my new bae - I'm a woman, and this is the best vanilla scent I've ever smelled. Not overly sweet or birthday cake-ish, it's a nice dry vanilla with a smoky tobacco overtone. As other reviewers have mentioned, a little goes a long way, and I could still smell it on my wrists after a 12 hour day. Well worth every penny I paid for it. I will buy again and again."
Tom Ford Tubéreuse Nue Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Tuberose absolute, India Orpur, Szechuan peppercorn, suede accord
Soft and musky, this floral fragrance evokes a walk through a lush garden bursting with white flowers.
Customer Review: "A fragrance that makes you feel luxurious and is very unique. I will admit I wasn't sure of it as first as I found it a bit potent smelling the first few times I applied it, but it has grown on me, and now it has become one of my signature scents. It is definitely on the floral/sweet side than anything, but it has something that also gives it a sexy edge that makes me feel like a woman."
Sol de Janeiro Sol Cheirosa 62 Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Salted caramel, pistachio, vanilla, sandalwood, almond
It smells like a vacation.
Customer Review: "I always like to read reviews prior to purchasing any fragrances. I personally never smelled the formula before, but I absolutely LOVE the current one so much, so I ended up purchasing. Such a warm vanilla scent with sweet pistachio tones. A great everyday scent."
Kilian Princess Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Ginger, green tea, marshmallow
If you're worried Love, Don't Be Shy might be too sweet for your liking, here's a similar (but spicier) option to try.
Customer review: "I had this perfume before it was reformulated, loved it and wore it all the time. I was hesitant to purchase the new formulation for a while because of some negative reviews...I am so glad I gave it a chance. To me, it smells just as good as the original. Staying power could be better, but I absolutely love how this scent dances on my skin. You smell so yummy with this on!"
Kayali Vanilla | 28
Key Notes: Vanilla orchids, tonka absolute, amber woods, musk, amber, patchouli, brown sugar
This quintessential vanilla perfume is pure and sweet without being sickly.
Customer Review: "I am absolutely obsessed with this perfume. I got it as a sample, and after using it once, I had to buy the full size. It is the perfect vanilla scent, not too sweet. I find it's less strong by the end of the day, [but] you can definitely still smell it! I want to wear it every day; it's so good."
Ellis Brooklyn Sweet Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Pear, orris, marshmallow
The name of this one might be slightly deceiving in that it might lead you to expect an overly sugary scent. In reality, sparkling fruits jump out first, and the sweetness is really in the finish.
Customer Review: "This fragrance is to die for! I am a very, very big fan of Ellis Brooklyn fragrances, and this one did not disappoint. It is definitely a more sweet and sugary scent. It's not too overpowering but still stays nicely on the skin. It's worth smelling it in-store or trying the mini they have available."
Fresh Sugar Lychee Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Grapefruit, Italian lemon, lime blossom, lychee, mango flower, freesia, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber
There's nothing better than a mix of sweet and citrus.
Customer Review: "Sugar Lychee has been my 'go-to' fragrance for several years. It is light, a little spicy and sweet, with a touch of citrus. It stays interesting all day at work without that old fruit smell that some citrus fragrances can change into. I still receive compliments on it, even after all these years. Hope Fresh continues to make this one!"
Dolce & Gabbana Beauty Dolce Garden Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Mandarin, magnolia accord, neroli, frangipani flower accord, coconut essence, ylang-ylang, vanilla absolute, almond silk accord, sandalwood accord
A spritz of this sweet and floral fragrance will transport you to the Sicilian gardens that inspired its conception.
Customer Review: "I'm obsessed with this line of Dolce perfumes! I got this and the rose. I've never been able to find a perfume that fits me till I found these. It has a very floral scent at first, almost like an after-scent of coconut. Very light, but it lasts for hours. A little bit on the wrist and neck, and I can still smell it at the end of the day!"
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Orange, patchouli, Turkish rose
If Chanel No. 5 is too overpowering for your taste, this warm, floral mist is a great alternative. It's definitely sweet but takes on a more cologne-like identity on the skin.
Customer Review: "The aroma of Coco Mademoiselle makes you fall in love from the moment you open it. It gives a sensation of freedom and independence. It is a really exquisite aroma. I would say that it is a captivating aroma. I think it is one of those perfumes that everyone likes."
Serge Lutens Dent de Lait Eau de Parfum
Key Notes: Almond milk, coconut, cashmeran, vanilla
This one is almost bitter to start, but it soon gives way to a creamy, smooth, and sweet scent that melts so beautifully on the skin and wears close to the body.
Customer Review: "Unexpectedly love this as a wearable scent! I was expecting something not super wearable but nonetheless artistic and interesting, but this is a symphony of opposites that somehow work. Powdery yet with sharp metallic notes with sweet, nutty undertones. Very pleasantly surprised. Performance and sillage both very decent!"