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What Are Gourmand Scents + Our Favorites

The gourmand fragrance family is considered by some to be pretty divisive – you either love it or hate it. But this family has a lot more nuance and versatility than you might realize.

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Read on to learn about what we think are the best gourmand fragrances of all time, including ones appropriate for work and summertime wear.

What Are Gourmand Scents?

Though vanilla has been used in perfumes since at least the 1920s, the 1992 launch of Thierry Mugler’s Angel was the real coming out party for the gourmand family. With notes of cotton candy, honey, chocolate, cinnamon and caramel, Angel showed off the gourmand family’s range.

Why do people respond to the gourmand scent family? Some think it is because sweet scents might trigger dopamine release. And, of course, perfume can affect mood.

What-Are-Gourmand-Scents

Gourmand Scents and the Amber Fragrance Family

Before gourmand scents were considered to be a separate family, they were classed in the amber category. Indeed, the dry downs of many gourmand perfumes feature notes of amber, myrrh, or tonka bean.

Fernweh Editions Fern & Petals Candle

If you are looking to tone down the sweeter notes of a gourmand perfume, why not try layering it with your favorite amber?

Now – time for our favorites.

Pink-Sugar-from-Aquolina

Best Value Gourmand

Pink Sugar by Aquolina is a girly treat, starting with the clear and pink bottle. This 2004 fragrance by Givaudan and Shyamala Maisondieu is a more sophisticated version of a drug store body spray.

Top notes of raspberry, orange, and bergamot fade into a heart of cotton candy, licorice, and strawberry. The dry down is just as dreamy, with notes of caramel, vanilla, and tonka bean.

PROS: Great value for the money

CONS: Too cloyingly sweet for some

  • Sillage: Good
  • Longevity: Good
  • Appropriate for: Girls’ night out
  • Price: $

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What Are Gourmand Scents + Our Favorites

Best Gourmand for the Gourmand Skeptic

Noir Exquis by L’Artisan Parfumeur is a unisex scent for those who generally wrinkle their noses at gourmand perfumes. This 2015 scent by Bertrand Duchaufour evokes a cozy mood with subtle gourmand notes.

Chestnut and orange top notes give way to a heart of coffee, maple syrup, and orange blossom. The dry down has vanilla, ebony, and sandalwood. It is the scent of a hearty weekend breakfast during the winter.

PROS: Subtle and refined

CONS: Expensive; some find the orange note medicinal

  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Excellent
  • Appropriate for: Everyday fall/winter wear
  • Price: $$$

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What Are Gourmand Scents + Our Favorites

Best Caramel Gourmand

Candy by Prada is only about a decade old, but it is already on its way to becoming a new classic and one of the best gourmand fragrances of all time. This 2011 scent by Daniela (Roche) Andrier pairs a strong caramel top note with musk and powdery notes in the heart and vanilla in the dry down.

The result is a perfume that wears close to the skin and does not come off as overly sweet. Think of it as the grown-up gourmand.

PROS: Light, powdery fragrance

CONS: Powdery notes are too strong for some

  • Sillage: Good
  • Longevity: Good
  • Appropriate for: The office
  • Price: $$

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New-York-Nights-by-Bond-No.9

Best Luxury Gourmand

From your first glance at the bold, blue bottle of New York Nights by Bond No. 9, you know you are in for something special. A 2017 fragrance with both floral and sugary notes, it evokes the feel of an idealized summer evening in NYC.

Top notes of gardenia and jasmine flow into a heart of patchouli, sandalwood, and sea notes. What is gourmand about this scent is the dry down – coffee and caramel. New York Nights is not a cheap fragrance, but it is still an affordable way to take a luxury Big Apple trip.

PROS: Lasts all night

CONS: Way too sweet for some

  • Sillage: Excellent
  • Longevity: Excellent
  • Appropriate for: Date night
  • Price: $$$$

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What Are Gourmand Scents + Our Favorites

Best Quirky Gourmand

A little tired of basic cotton candy and sugar notes? Why not try one of the best niche gourmand fragrances with What About Pop from The House of Oud? This unisex 2019 scent from Cristian Calabro takes caramel corn as its inspiration.

Top notes of popcorn, caramel, and hawthorn are combined with mid-notes of whipped cream and vanilla. A dry down of musk, ambergris, and vetiver helps ground the fragrance and keeps it from being too cloying.

Fernweh Editions Candles

PROS: Unique fragrance

CONS: Dry down turns sour on some people

  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Very Good
  • Appropriate for: Date night
  • Price: $$$

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What Are Gourmand Scents + Our Favorites

Best Masculine Gourmand

Gourmand notes are typically confined to feminine scents, but The Most Wanted by Azzaro will have you wondering why. This 2021 fragrance has the same basic structure as other high-end masculine scents but with some delicious notes.

A top note of strong cardamom fades into a heart of toffee and a dry down of bourbon vanilla, and amberwood. All in all, one of the best niche gourmand fragrances.

PROS: Sweet scent and long-lasting

CONS: May be too traditional for some

  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Very good
  • Appropriate for: Everyday
  • Price: $$$

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What Are Gourmand Scents + Our Favorites

Best Gourmand Scent

Bath and Body Works can be a bit divisive – you either love it or you left it behind in middle school. But You’re The One is something special enough to make even skeptics reevaluate this classic mall brand.

This 2020 fragrance mixes notes of rose, strawberry syrup, and wood into something definitely sweet, but a bit more refined than your typical gourmand scent from Bath and Body Works.

PROS: Sweet and floral scent

CONS: May be too sweet for some

  • Sillage: Good
  • Longevity: Good
  • Appropriate for: Everyday
  • Price: $

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Red Vanilla Zara

Best Gourmand Perfume

We could have also tagged Red Vanilla by Zara as the best day-to-evening perfume. The mix of vanilla, praline, patchouli, and fruit make this 2015 scent quite sexy, though not too sexy to wear to work.

Much like your outfits from there, this gourmand perfume from Zara works on most body types and goes from the office to date night without breaking a sweat.

PROS: Versatile fragrance

CONS: A little too simple for some

  • Sillage: Very Good
  • Longevity: Good
  • Appropriate for: Day-to-evening
  • Price: $$

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What Are Gourmand Scents + Our Favorites

Best “Clean” Gourmand Perfume

If you have sensitive skin or prefer to buy vegan perfumes, take a look at Boardwalk Delight by Skylar. This 2022 fragrance is a great addition to Skylar’s other fresh, clean, and more natural fragrances.

Top notes of apple and water give way to a heart of coconut milk and water lily. The dry down features cotton candy, vanilla, and amber. And as the name suggests, it is light enough to wear in summer.

PROS: Hypoallergenic

CONS: Comes off as chemical-y on some

  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Good
  • Appropriate for: Summer everyday
  • Price: $$

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Final Thoughts

These fragrances have come a long way since 1992, and the answer to “what are gourmand scents?” is a lot different now.

What Are Gourmand Scents + Our Favorites

While the fragrance remains a love-it-or-hate-it for some people, it has become a staple of popular fragrances, and new combinations are constantly being developed by top perfume houses.

Try out our favorites and discover your new gourmand scent today.

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What Are Gourmand Scents + Our Favorites
Writer

Selena Marc is a fragrance enthusiast, freelance writer, and dog mom living in Houston, Texas. When she's not writing about her favorite new perfumes, you can find her enjoying yoga or a morning hike.