I once heard that you have the most objective view on a city two weeks after you’ve lived there. Once you become overly familiar with a place, you begin to lose perspective; the quirks of the city blend into the background after you’ve seen them enough times. Soon, experiences and knowledge start to crowd the frame too. All of a sudden you’re no longer living in the city as a wide-eyed observer. Instead, you’re viewing a version of the city that is yours alone, and you begin to lose track of the observations you made early on.
My experience with Brown Sugar makes me think that this phenomenon happens not only with cities, but with hobbies as well. I first encountered Brown Sugar when I barely knew my own taste in perfume. I was still wandering around Sephoras trying to test what I perceived as ‘the essentials,’ perfumes referenced often in online forums that everyone else seemed familiar with. When I walk around a store now, my brain buzzes with the reputations of each bottle I see, and I write off trying around 95% of fragrances I’m unfamiliar with just because of their Fragrantica ratings or their houses’ reputations. Even when I try something I’d normally like, my established preconceptions can distort that good experience into something less than impressive.
I would never have smelled Brown Sugar if I encountered it today; Fresh’s reputation as a house is solid, but nothing special. But there was a simple reason I ended up buying that bottle so many years ago. I really liked it. Even now, with a nose that has smelled literally hundreds more perfumes, I can’t help but smell this simple, sweet little fragrance and find something that demands to be talked about.
Brown Sugar notes:
Lemon, Tangerine, Red Berries, Sugar, Honeysuckle, Magnolia, Peach, Caramel, Amber, Cypress
Many perfumes on the market swing for photorealistic representations of specific food and drink, but rarely does one succeed as effectively as Brown Sugar does. No, this perfume does not smell like brown sugar – it smells like lemonade. The sharp tartness of the drink immediately strikes the nose upon application, and it’s countered beautifully by the sugary notes in the mid and base of the perfume. Brown Sugar enchants for the first hour and is likely to draw delighted looks from anyone fortunate enough to catch a whiff.
As a citrus-forward perfume, it should come as no surprise that Brown Sugar’s performance isn’t remarkable. Yet even as it begins to fade to a skin scent, it holds onto the enchanting citrus sharpness and sugary sweetness. The main player that arrives in the base is cypress. The sappy evergreen note is a welcome addition and serves to draw out the perfume’s pleasant core as long as possible.
It’s possible that other fragrances do what Brown Sugar does, and better. Even so, Brown Sugar’s delightful rendition of lemonade comes at a very reasonable price point, and its mediocre performance shouldn’t be a problem in the summer weather that suits it best. What does hype and reputation matter when a perfume is simply lovely for what it is? Brown Sugar might not leap off the shelf, but maybe it should. It’s enough to make you want to look at the world of perfume with fresh eyes and wander down a path the trained mind would normally overlook.
You can purchase Brown Sugar here.
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The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.
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