When it comes to fragrance keepsakes, I know many perfume lovers who continue to cling to a dusty bottle (or two) of their saccharine, coming-of-age scent purely for nostalgia’s sake. After all, is there anything more comforting than a vanilla-infused spritz of the fragrance that saw you through your teenage years? To this very day, I still reminisce about my first fragrance: Avril Lavigne’s Black Star Eau de Parfum, which combines two of the ’00s most vital perfume ingredients (a celebrity endorsement and a syrupy aroma). Even just a glance at the star-shaped bottle takes me back to 2009. Yes, the scent itself was sickly sweet, but the subtler notes of pink hibiscus, black plum and dark chocolate spoke to me—and have been inspiring my fragrance choices ever since.
Sure enough, over a decade later, my signature scents continue to be anything sweet and floral. However, now that I’m in my late 20s, I’ve found that the key to preventing sweet perfumes from veering into cloying territory is to choose fragrances that combine honeyed sweetness with hints of musk or sugary top notes with a spicier base—sweet perfumes but with a grown-up twist.
So whether you too are a lover of sweet scents or are looking for a sugar fix when it comes to your next perfume purchase, allow me to convince you. Ahead, keep scrolling for the 12 best sweet perfumes to try now. Trust me—these ones are anything but sickly.
1. Ouai Rue Street Honoré
I love it when a fragrance has the ability to take you back to one of your favourite memories, and Ouai has managed to do that beautifully with this perfume. Inspired by a summer evening spent wandering the streets of Paris, the sweet, floral scent captures exactly this with its top notes of violet, ylang-ylang and white musk.
2. Huda Beauty Kayali Utopia Vanilla Coco 21
Kayali can do no wrong with its fragrance launches, and Utopia Vanilla Coco is no exception thanks to its sweet yet mature scent. It has a perfect blend of honeysuckle, Italian jasmine and sandalwood, and each scent from Kayali is designed to be worn alone or layered up for a unique scent.
3. Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia
This is a newbie to my collection, but nonetheless, it fits in perfectly with its floral yet delicate sweet scent. It wasn’t just the fact that Miley Cyrus fronted the campaign that sold me on it. The dreamy pink bottle, embossed gold cap and Gucci’s signature floral pattern might have had something to do with it. The scent is inspired by the gardenia flower and melds beautiful white florals with juicy pear blossom and just a touch of sweet brown sugar.
4. Jimmy Choo Floral
Jimmy Choo’s Floral holds a super-special place in my heart, as it was the fragrance I purchased during my first holiday to Paris, and for this very reason, it will always remind me of warm croissants, beautiful views and happy memories. It’s got a fruity yet musky blend of notes including bergamot oil, sweet pea, apricot flower and magnolia flower oil. Delicious.
5. Lush Rose Jam
Anyone who adores a floral scent is sure to fall in love with this, as Rose Jam really packs a punch with its blend of Sicilian lemon and rose oils. Plus, its lasting power is incredible and easily takes you from day to night! If you just can’t resist the scent (like me), then it’s also available in a body spray, shower gel and bubble bar.
6. Ariana Grande Thank U, Next
I’d describe this perfume as a strawberry-and-fizz picnic on a summer’s day. Packed with top notes of white pear and wild raspberry, there’s a sweet blend of juicy and musky notes. And while broken hearts don’t often symbolise something cute, please don’t even get me started on how adorable the broken heart–shaped bottle is.
7. Glossier You
Glossier’s You fragrance certainly needs no introduction, as the pink pepper and floral scent has continued to dominate the perfume world since its 2017 release. As many people describe it, it has a truly warm, softly sweet, familiar feel to it. No matter the season, scene or time of day, it’s sure to fit in.
8. Molton Brown Mesmerising Oudh Accord & Gold
An oudh perfume might not be the most likely fit in a line-up of sweet scents, but hear me out. Have you ever smelt a sample size of a fragrance and instantly fell so in love that you just had to buy the full-sized version? Well, that’s exactly how my love for this stunning scent from Molton Brown came about. The unique blend of warm cinnamon leaf, elemi and black tea gives off an amazing sweet but spicy spritz that isn’t overpowering in the slightest.
9. Britney Spears Fantasy
I’m sure at some point or another, we’ve all had a bottle of Britney Spears’s iconic Fantasy perfume—a super-rich floral fragrance with top notes of lush red lychee, golden quince and kiwi. If you can only handle your sweet perfumes in small doses, then this one probably isn’t for you, but if that is your thing, you’ll instantly be hooked.
10. YSL Black Opium
It only takes one sniff to understand why YSL’s Black Opium continues to be in such high demand. Its heady blend of pear accord, mandarin essence, vanilla, white musk and patchouli is truly captivating. If you’ve had this on your wish list, bite the bullet, as you will not regret it—it’s a modern classic.
11. Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb
Bursting with fruity and floral notes from sambac jasmine, patchouli and amber, Flowerbomb is a whirlwind of super-sweet sensations. But that’s not to say that it’s sickly sweet. In fact, the floral notes mean that every time I spritz it, I’m inclined to imagine myself running through a field of flowers wearing a long floral dress. Dreamy.
12. The Body Shop Japanese Cherry Blossom Strawberry Kiss
The Body Shop has managed to create an affordable sweet fragrance infused with the scent of Japanese cherry blossoms—the national flower of Japan. It’s the perfect summery scent with notes of pink peony, amber and strawberries. If The Body Shop fancies making this very fragrance into a line of bodycare, I will gladly invest.
Up next: I wore a different perfume every day for a month—these seven earned me compliments.