Ariana Grande’s Cloud Perfume Sold Every 11 Seconds Last Year
There’s something I should tell you about right from the start: I generally hate gourmet perfumes. Anything that smells like vanilla, coconut, or the inside of a Polly Pocket house is usually a miss for me. This could be influenced by my mother, who never encountered a sweet scent she didn’t like, or attributed to my high school shirt-folding job at Limited Too. But if the scent is sweet, I usually pass it on. This is why Ariana Grande’s Cloud perfume makes me so incredibly confused.
Unlike any celebrity scent before it, the scent is somehow able to combine a blend of floral and gourmand notes in a way that isn’t cloying or overtly sweet. Instead, Cloud smells clean, fresh, and like you’re barely wearing perfume.
So it makes sense that Cloud has garnered countless rave reviews from beauty editors and customers since its launch in 2018 (it’s also racked up thousands of reviews on ULTA Beauty, where it also happens to be the most sold). Not to mention, Grande’s perfume has a near-perfect score on Influenster, and according to the brand, a bottle of perfume sold out every 11 seconds last year.
But what is it about Cloud that has called into question my deep hatred for gourmand perfumes, and how did this cutesy bottle make me question my whole identity as a perfume? Still a dedicated beauty writer, I set out to investigate.
What does the cloud in the bottle look like?
As a fragrance, Cloud stands out completely from other Grande fragrances. While bottles like Sweet Like Candy and Thank U, Next smell like many other celebrity perfumes — that is, sweet and sweet, like a cookie-scented holiday candle — Cloud is a bit more mature. Lavender blossom, juicy pear and bergamot make up the top notes while coconut, praline and vanilla round out the center.
But once the scent wears off, that’s when things get really interesting. Instead of the typical sugar hit, Cloud has a base of musk, blond woods, amber and cashmere. It adds an incredible warmth to the fragrance which gives it a masculine edge, which I’m sure drew me to fragrance in general.
What is the smell of the cloud on the skin?
I’ve smelled Cloud two ways: sprayed on a Post-It and on my skin (your body heat can significantly affect a perfume and make it smell totally different from the bottle). When I sprayed it on paper, my nose instantly wrinkled. It smelled exactly like the sweet, cloying celebrity perfumes I’d despised since first sniffing Curious by Britney Spears in high school. I wasn’t looking forward to wearing it on my skin – I had nightmares about rubbing it in the shower only to find it lingering when I tried to fall asleep.
When I sprayed it on my skin, however, I was quite impressed. (I may have exclaimed “wow!” out loud in my empty apartment.) The first thing that hit me in the nose was the bergamot and lavender flower. Both are flowers, sure, but somehow not heavy or migraine-inducing. Adding the juicy pear may have toned down the flowery notes, making it much cleaner. As the scent faded, I started to experience the more indulgent scents. The vanilla was definitely present, but the addition of the coconut gave it an earthy edge that added a subtlety to the otherwise sweet sweetness.
Cloud really won me over after about an hour – that’s where the heat came in. It smelled like I had mixed a boyfriend’s musky cologne with a Gucci Bloom spritz. The intensity was gone, but the freshness remained.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that Cloud is available both in Eau De Parfum and 2.0 “Intense” version. There is no difference in the notes, but the Intense perfume smells, finally, more intense.
What does cloud pair best with for overlay?
Some have claimed that Cloud is an affordable look-alike for the cult Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 Eau de Parfum (which sells for $325 for 2.4 ounces compared to Grande’s $45 for 1 ounce), but that claim has also caused many Reddit argument.
Since I loved my first experience with Cloud, I decided to mess around a bit and see how it stacks up with other scents I have in my collection. Overall, I’ve found fresher, lighter scents to work best with it. While the aforementioned Gucci Bloom made the flowers stand out, my favorite Margiela Replica Lazy Sunday Morning seemed like the best couple. The lightness of the lily of the valley and iris notes softened the more gourmand scents of Cloud, while the white musk added to the warmth in a very nice way.
All in all, I think Grande’s Cloud will become a regular in my fragrance closet, especially now that I know it pairs well with some of my other favorite scents, and how surprisingly sophisticated it is for a celebrity perfume (sorry, Britney). It may not have completely changed my mind about celebrity perfumes, but it opened me up to the idea of trying more indulgent scents. I would count that as a win.
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