Beauty

The Best Caramel Perfumes of 2024- NewBeauty

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The perfume industry has been on a bit of a sugar kick over the past few years. Gourmand fragrances aren’t anything new—the category itself has been around since the early ‘90s—but as people continue to seek out uplifting nostalgic scents, the demand for sweet, succulent perfumes has boomed. 

Today’s most popular gourmand scents feature drool-worthy notes of vanilla, chocolate, marshmallow and cotton candy, but Mona Kattan, founder of Kayali Fragrances, says that caramel perfumes are making their way into the limelight. 

“There are so many gorgeous fragrances that highlight caramel notes, and because there is a bit of an obsession with dessert-like fragrances, I expect to see a lot more of this note in the near future,” she says. 

  • Mona Kattan is the founder of Kayali Fragrances
  • Erwan Raguenes is a perfumer at dsm-firmenich
  • Carlos Huber is a fragrance developer and the founder of Arquiste
  • Bettina O’Neill is the SVP of Business Development and Merchandising at ScentBird

If you browse through your local Sephora’s fragrance aisle—or quickly search ‘vanilla’ on the retailer’s site—you’ll find well over 50 perfumes that feature the note. There’s no denying vanilla’s universal popularity, but Erwan Raguenes, perfumer at dsm-firmenich, mentions that there’s also a sense of vanilla fatigue amongst consumers. “Fairly recently, vanilla is being stigmatized as being boring or bland, and with consumers continuing to seek new and exciting olfactive experiences, caramel brings a new rich, sweet facet that also evokes feelings of nostalgia and indulgence,” he says.

Caramel also mimics the sweet, warm aura that vanilla exudes, in a richer, deeper way, helping it earn a reputation as vanilla’s sophisticated older cousin. “Caramel notes typically have rich, sugary, buttery aspects and can range from subtle and creamy to lush and decadent,” explains Raguenes. “The key word here is addictive,” adds Carlos Huber, fragrance developer and founder of Arquiste.

What do caramel perfumes smell like? 

You may think that caramel perfumes smell sweet (and you’re not wrong), but due to the note’s complex silky nature, there are many intricate layers. Kattan says caramel fragrances can feel warm, dense, sticky, buttery and, of course, rich.

While there are a variety of perfumes that spotlight specific caramel notes, there are also plenty that replicate the same aroma with a mix of sugared elements. “Lactonic notes, brown sugar and tonka can mimic some of the characteristics of caramel when blended with the right ingredients,” explains Kattan. Additionally, Raguenes says that playing around with hints of maple or toffee can produce different levels of indulgence, richness and textures that embody caramel. 

You can also expect caramel notes to be paired with other quintessential gourmand components. “Caramel blends nicely with vanilla, chocolate and coffee notes,” explains Bettina O’Neill, SVP of business development and merchandising at ScentBird. For the most part, you’re likely to only find caramel layered in the base or featured as a secondary note in many fragrances. Several experts—O’Neill included—feel that caramel works better as a strong supporting role as opposed to being the main attraction. 

That’s not to say that the caramel tides aren’t shifting. As caramel perfume’s popularity surges, we’re likely to see it appearing as the headliner in new potions. Until then, you can get your fix with a number of scents where caramel subtly shines. 

Discover some of the most refined caramel gourmands below. Even if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, one sniff of these beautifully blended perfumes is sure to captivate. 

Caramel perfumes to try

1 / 8

Casamorati Lira Eau de Parfum ($305)

My teenage years were defined by Pink Sugar—the iconic cotton candy and caramel-tinged scent that, for many people, was their first introduction to fragrance. Though I haven’t smelled it in years, one whiff of Casamorati Lira transported me back to high school, and I’m dubbing this luxury perfume the sophisticated version of my adolescent signature. Bergamot and blood orange give Lira a bright opening before making way for cinnamon and licorice blossom. As it dries down, caramel takes center stage while intertwining with notes of vanilla and musks for a sweet, sensual finish that lingers for hours. 

BUY ON SAKS FIFTH AVENUE -$305

BUY ON NEIMAN MARCUS – $305

casamorati perfume

2 / 8

Prada Candy Eau de Parfum ($125)

If you were to liquify those perfectly packaged caramel candy squares and turn them into a fragrance, you’d get Prada Candy. The simple yet electrifying perfume features just three notes. The main attraction, of course, is a silky smooth caramel accord that warms with benzoin resin (a honeyed, vanilla-like note). A splash of light white musk adds a carnality that solidifies the fact that sweet fragrances can feel sexy. Despite the saccharinity, it’s not the least bit cloying and lies close to the skin. Those who get close enough to catch a whiff will be hypnotized by an inexplicable sugar high. 

BUY ON NORDSTROM – $125

BUY ON SEPHORA – $125

Prada candy perfume

4 / 8

Kayali Vanilla Candy Rock Sugar 42 Eau de Parfum ($100)

Perhaps the sweetest scent of the bunch, Vanilla Candy Rock Sugar melds together all of the sugary treats I loved as a child—and the result is a wildly nostalgic potion. Vanilla cream, bubble gum and rock sugar shine at first spritz, creating a light and bright sugar rush. The scent then warms as smooth white caramel peeks through. “The caramel note gives the fragrance an almost buttery, toffee-like texture,” says Kattan. “It’s so good you’ll almost want to eat it!”

BUY ON SEPHORA – $100

kayali vanilla candy perfume

5 / 8

Sabrina Carpenter Sweet Tooth Caramel Dream Eau de Parfum ($30)

It makes sense that Sabrina Carpenter’s perfume capitalizes on the pop star’s own sweet, playful energy. And, at just $30, it’s a wonderful introductory gourmand scent. While espresso isn’t a key note, Caramel Dream contains plenty of other sugared aromas, including almond milk, dark chocolate bean, vanilla and caramelized amber. Caramel itself may not be featured, but the amalgamation of velvety confectionary accords creates an unmistakable caramel aura. 

BUY ON AMAZON – $30

BUY ON WALMART- $30

sweet tooth perfume sabrina carpenter

6 / 8

The 7 Virtues Vanilla Woods Eau de Parfum ($88)

Don’t be fooled by the name of this scent: Vanilla may be in the title, but the caramel base is the secret spice that makes this so comforting and widely loved. Kattan even calls it one of the most beautiful caramel scents available. “The amber and rose pair so well with the dense sweetness of the caramel note,” she says. Vanilla Woods has the tendency to sell out, so consider yourself lucky if you’re able to get your hands on this gourmand dream.

BUY ON SEPHORA – $88

7-virtues-vanilla-woods-perfume

7 / 8

Mugler Angel Eau de Parfum  ($190)

“Although the traditional caramel audience skews younger and feminine, I think a sophisticated caramel perfume can reach any age and demographic,” says Huber. His top pick? The classic Mugler Angel. Billed as the original gourmand fragrance, Angel fuses sweet caramel and praline with a touch of woody patchouli for an intoxicatingly memorable scent that has proven to stand the test of time. 

BUY ON MUGLER – $190

BUY ON NORDSTROM – $190

mugler perfume

8 / 8

Le Mond Gourmand Rum Tropique Eau de Parfum ($25)

A fruity, fresh take on caramel, this affordable EDP incites joy from the first spritz and proves that rich, enveloping notes deserve a spot in your warm weather fragrance wardrobe. Coconut and pineapple give the scent an initial tropical vibe, but as it wears, creamy hints of milk, spiced rum and silky caramel add a carnal depth. A quick sniff will have you—and anyone around you—feeling love drunk without even taking a sip of a boozy piña colada.

BUY ON AMAZON – $25

le mond rum tropique perfume

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