Kooky for coconut (by Ann)

 In the course of my sampling and spritzing in the weeks after my Memory-Laden Monday post on Ysatis, I came to a rather surprising realization:  I’m a sucker for coconut in perfume. I’m fine with it on an edible level, but in perfume — oh, yes!

Mind you, not the loud ones that scream “Smell me, I’m a tropical drink!” but the soft, creamy, subtle ones, such as the aforementioned Ysatis and the glorious Carnal Flower. Also the scents in which the coconut-like aspect of tuberose comes through, as it does (at least to my nose) in Dior’s New Look 1947. And as I investigate further,  I see it making an appearance in several others that I like: By Kilian’s Liaisons Dangereuses, vintage Chloe (a college-era staple), and Chopard’s Casmir, which I wore when it first came out.

I knew I was officially a perfume coconut-phile when, thanks to a kind and generous friend, I recently sampled Honore des Pres’ Love Coconut and huffed my wrist with abandon.

And as I look at my tea collection, I see that I’ve gone through several tins of Zhena’s Coconut Chai, and am enjoying Tea Forte’s Vanilla Orchid and Hazelnut Truffle teas as well (both of which contain it). What’s next: cravings for coconut cream pie?

Do you have any fave coconut scents? Or as you think about your fragrance collection, is there a recurring note or theme that runs throughout?



  • Flora says:

    I adore coconut in both food and perfume. Monoi-infused coconut oil is wonderful; I have a bottle for keeping my winter-chapped hands in shape. One of my favorite and less obvious coconut fragrances is the old (discontinued) Madame de Carven. It is a rich floral bouquet with a coconut undertone that I find quite addictive. I am trying to collect a lifetime supply of it.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Flora! Not familiar with the Madame de Carven. That oil sounds really nice; do you buy it ready-to-use or make it yourself?

  • Moi says:

    Other than the drop dead gorgeous Ysatis, my faves are Balenciaga’s sadly discontinued Michelle (fortunately, there is plenty of vintage stock on the ‘Bay), EL Bronze Goddess, and Serge Luten’s Datura Noir. Mmmmmm . . . coconut is a terrific note!

  • Vasily says:

    Since we’re talking food, one of my favorite Southern pies is sweet potato with coconut and rum. I’ve made it several times over the years using the late Bill Neal’s recipe (he was owner of Crook’s Corner in Carrboro NC when I lived there). It’s a festive pie that’s great at the holidays. Here’s a version of the recipe though it’s not Bill Neal’s:


  • Musette says:

    Wow, am I late to the party or what? But I have to say that I LOVE the suntan accord. LOVE IT! Sand and Sable! Satellite Ipanema! Bronze Goddess! Of course, I rarely wear them in this weather – maybe I should reconsider….:-?….it’s sleeting outside, could use a little beachification.

    I had NO idea there was coconut in Carnal Flower. Huh. But now that I think about it, that’s probably what gives it that slickery-smooth quality. Yum!

    Hate coconut in dessert-things, LOVE coconut in Thai food, sweetened, then hit with a blast of chili pepper. Yum. It’s one of those fine-line foods for me, weaving in and out of like/dislike.

    xo >-)

  • hongkongmom says:

    before bronze goddess there was a limited edition by tom ford i think azuree soleil in the retro blue box? very yum, delicate and soft coconut! the body oil was a touch stronger. all my other favs are already mentioned.
    the most “me” notes are sandalwood and amber, followed by tobacco and tuberose, and hi sweet anne….haven’t yet got it tghtr but haven’t forgotten….

    • Ann says:

      Hi, lady! I do remember the Tom Ford one, but I never got to try it. It sounds divine (maybe TPC or eBay have it). I’m with you on the sandalwood, amber and tuberose, but not so much on tobacco, though I’ve found some I like (LA’s Havana Vanille). No rush on the mailing; it’s sweet of you to think of me; thanks!

  • Ninara Poll says:

    I *adore* coconut, even when it smells suntan-oily or food/drinklike. I love eating it, smelling it, drinking it, handling it, wearing it… I once had a dream where I was on some tropical beach and rolled around in shredded coconut and fell asleep in it all moisturized and covered in its oil and meat :) It’s not a dominant note in my collection — honestly, I don’t think my collection *has* any notes or themes beyond “Stuff I Won or Picked Up at a Discount” — but I sure would like to try more of the non-foody coconut scents!

    • Ann says:

      Love that dream — what fun! Thanks for sharing, Ninara. Our lovely Posse peeps have given us a lot of fragrance “food” for thought today, so I see lots of sampling ahead!

  • Julie says:

    I love coconut in scents and don’t mind smelling like suntan lotion or a tropical drink! But I actually didn’t care for Love Coco – I thought it smelled too much like Thai food. Guess I like ’em sweet. My favorites are EL Bronze Goddess, Harajuku Lovers “G”, the aforementioned super cheap YR Coconut, Smell Bent St. Tropez Dispenser, and CSP Vanille Coco (although that one is a little too sweet for me now).

    • Ann says:

      Hey, Julie, you’ve got a couple mentioned that just made it onto my radar (The Smell Bent, Harajuku and CSP), so it looks like I’m going to have a ball sampling those. Thanks!

  • Elisa says:

    I also love coconut in perfumes — Liaisons Dangereuse, as you mentioned, has an amazing coconut note, and I don’t think anyone has mentioned Philosykos yet, my favorite fig.

    Coconut lovers, try using virgin coconut oil as a body oil. You’ll smell like a giant Mounds bar.

  • Teri says:

    I just made a batch of macaroons this past weekend. I had a hankering for coconut. I adore edible coconut. My fav candy bar, hands down, is Mounds. I enjoy a little bit of coconut in a fragrance, but like you, I like it subtle. I don’t want the coconuts to hit me over the head, just waft in gently on a warm breeze.

    There are several notes that make repeat appearances in my fragrance wardrobe, but there is one in particular that I only ‘discovered’ after I became a serious perfumista. And that one is rhubarb. Such a big ‘who knew?’ I seem to gravitate to any scent that has a bit of rhubarb to it.

    • Ann says:

      Oooh, Teri, macaroons, huh? I’ll be right over :)
      So funny that you mention rhubarb: I adore it, and we just enjoyed a strawberry-rhubarb pie. Will have to give it a try in scent. Thanks!

  • HemlockSillage says:

    I just realized after reading your post that I too, like coconut in fragrance. It adds a milky smoothness to the fragrance. As long as it does not turn to suntan oil accord, I love it.

    It’s in lots of things I like, that have been mentioned–Carnal Flower, Nuit de Tubereuse, Mona di Orio’s Tubereuse. It is clearly a good note to combine with tuberose. It also goes well with fig–the Premier Figuier as has been mentioned, and I think I often hallucinate it within fig perfumes; my brain just adds it in automatically. It is also lovely with milky woods, like PG’s Cadjemere. I think there are more, like in Intense Tiare and Manoumalia, but those may be hallucinatory as well :)

    Thanks for a thought provoking post! Be well.

    • Ann says:

      THAT’S the one (Cadjmere) that I was trying to think of! Yes, there’s a nice dab of it in there. Thanks for jogging my memory!

  • karin says:

    Ann – Another coconut scent to try if you haven’t yet – Yves Rocher Coconut (Noix de Coco) EDT. So cheap, too – only $6 for 20ml, and YR is always having other ridiculously crazy discounts.

    • karin says:

      Oh, and curious is anyone’s tried Sage Onyx? Notes: dark coconut, oakmoss, tobacco, vanilla nectar.

      A couple of other good coconut scents – Profumi del Forte Vittoria Apuana and Creed Virgin Island Water!

  • mals86 says:

    I love to eat coconut! When visiting Hawai’i a few years ago, The CEO and I discovered haupia, which is a sort of thickened coconut milk pudding. Turns out he doesn’t hate coconut FLAVOR, he hates the texture of the coconut meat. Now, me, I love shredded coconut. Coconut shrimp, ambrosia made with fresh oranges and freshly grated coconut, Thai peanut noodles, coconut cake… yum.

    It’s not a favorite note of mine, however, although I do find it in some favorite perfumes that are nonetheless not *about* the coconut: Carnal Flower, vtg Chloe, Dolce Vita (fab in parfum, BTW), PdN Juste une Reve, Balenciaga Michelle. Fragrantica says that Jolie Madame has coconut, though I definitely don’t smell it there. At one point I bought a mini of Mahora off ebay, and liked it very very well for six hours – at which point it became unbearably shrieky on my skin. I passed it on to a friend, and she loves it.

    It might be clear to you at this point that many of my very favorites include tuberose. :)

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Mals! I knew if you commented today you’d be our Tuberose Queen!! You’re right — I think the texture of coconut turns some people off, like the CEO, but they find the flavor’s OK. You hit on some of my fragrance faves as well, although I can’t do Dolce Vita so much as the something a bit icky (cumin?) amps up on my skin and is not so pleasant. BTW, interesting on the Jolie Madame; wouldn’t ever think of coconut in that …

    • gwenyth says:

      Had to jump in again!…..
      Speaking of liking the FLAVOR of coconut but not the texture– I have had good luck with using a small food-processor to finely grind coconut so there is plenty of flavor without the texture of the ‘shreds’ that many members of my family dislike.
      It might not work for everyone, but it works for me… :)

  • rosarita says:

    I like coconut in foods, altho I’m not a rabid fan. I describe my perfume style as *brooding*, and I’m most fond of dark notes: resins, incense, woods, amber. However, I also adore Monyette Paris. This past summer, I was downright obsessed with Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, and delighted in every coconutty drop. :)

    • Ann says:

      Rosarita, I’m with you on the dark notes as well. I like Monyette, too, but have found that the somewhat similar Kai works better on my skin. And I’d forgotten about Bronze Goddess — way up there on the yum-o-meter!

  • pam says:

    Coconut! Yes, I have a bottle of Casmir and that is a prominent note. And I get compliments when I wear it. But coconut always reminds me of the beach and related suntan lotions, not that that’s a bad thing! Just sayin’.
    I am drawn to lavender, as in Jicky and Pour un Homme. Also, to cedar.

    • Ann says:

      Hey, Pam! That Casmir really wowed me when it came out. I had a full bottle of it and nearly used the whole thing (rare for me). I feel a craving for it coming on, so need to smell it again soon!

  • Vasily says:

    The chocolate/coffee/spice notes in MPG’s Santal Noble sweeten it up and create an illusory coconut effect to me. I’m at the tail end of a bottle of Santal Noble, and its only shortcomings are rather mediocre longevity so I’m not sure I’ll purchase another bottle. More explicitly, I found MPG’s Bahiana restrained and complex in its use of a coconut note, and very much enjoyed my sample of it though I probably wouldn’t purchase a bottle because of the poor longevity.

    • Ann says:

      Vasily, those scents sound great and I’ve heard good things about them, so I’ll have to get on the stick, sampling wise. I like several things from the MPG line — just wish it were a little easier to find. Am dying to sample their Cuir Fetiche …

  • Olfacta says:

    Years and years (and years) ago, when I was new to California, some friends brought a big bottle of coconut oil back from Fiji. We wore it to the beach. I still remember the smell and how it gave the skin a beautiful sheen.

    Recently I got some fractionated coconut oil for making perfume oils. It really makes the most wonderful moisturizer for the skin and gives that same sheen although, alas, no fresh-coconut smell.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, lady. I bet that oil was divine. I need to try it for moisturizing, but am wondering if it might be better for spring/summer rather than winter.

  • Calypso says:

    I think the coconut note in Premier Figuier makes it the best fig fragrance out there. I don’t like it in much else, but I too own a bottle of Mayotte/Mahora and love it.

    • Ann says:

      You’re the second person to mention Mayotte/Mahora, so must try that. Not a huge fan of fig but I’m open to sampling them, so will give the PF a whirl. Thanks!

  • Sherri M. says:

    Coconut is definitely my favorite in food, but in perfume I think if it’s not handled well, it can cheapen the composition, not mention make everyone near you wonder where that “suntan lotion smell” is coming from.

    I love some of the perfumes you’ve mentioned; MDCI Cardinal Peche is another example of coconut handled well, though personally it is too peachy-tuberosey diva for me.

    Some common threads in my collection are jasmine, orange blossom, vanilla, almond and sandalwood (did I cover every note..lol?!)

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Sherri. Amen to that cheap “suntan lotion smell”! Think you’ve got a lot of great notes covered there :)
      P.S. Thanks for the reminder — will have to go dig up my MDCI sample of that.

  • Civava says:

    It is Ysatis. I think in my collection a connection is leather. I’m comfortable with tobacco, vanilla, leather, coffee…and florientals. But things can change ;-).

    • Ann says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I’ve really started coming around to leather lately. You’re right; I think our noses/tastes can go through stages where we’re focused on certain notes. It sure makes life interesting though, doesn’t it?

  • julie says:

    Mayotte (aka Mahora returned as one of Guerlain’s “Les Parisiennes”) is a comforting tuberose/cocnut/frangipani scent, and i don’t care what Luca Turin has to say, I like it! I spray my pillowcase with it. Thought I’d be through with it once the cold weather set in, but it’s actually nice to have a tropical foil to the short days and wet gloom (Cleveland seems to be turning into Seattle).

    Carlos Santana for Women has a coconut vibe going, along with a hint of bracing green. I wear it when I go dancing. I’ve alos referred to it as Shalimar for stoners.

    • Ann says:

      Yum, Julie, thanks for the suggestions; that Guerlain on a pillow does sound nice. And “Shalimar for Stoners” — well, it’s a good thing my tea wasn’t finished brewing — ha!!

    • gwenyth says:

      Chiming in here with some love for the much-maligned Mahora (Mayotte). I LOVE the gorgeous tropical garden feel to Mahora/Mayotte and will never understand the negative feelings it garners. The coconut note is softly present, but not overdone and it adds to the “tropical” feel.

      Another fragrance with a soft coconut vibe is Miranda by Fragonard. It is more understated than Mahora/Mayotte, but is nonetheless a gorgeous tropical floral. I wear this frequently on summer nights!

  • Madea says:

    Cedar. I never gave it a single thought as a note, but I got some perfume oil that contained cedar as a note and eveyone raved about it.

    I also love saffron. On me, it’s metallic-spicy, which is Seriously Cool.

    As for coconut, most foody scents have been ruined for me by the multitude of cheap bodysprays that every dorm I ever lived in absolutely reeked of.

    I’d like to find one that I could get behind, but thus far I’m not encouraged :(

    • Ann says:

      Oh, yes, Madea, cedar is nice, and saffron as well. I can only think of Safran Troublant off the bat, but it’s lovely. You’re right — coconut does have a bad rap, but the good ones make up for it.

  • nozknoz says:

    I’m especially fond of deep sandalwood and resins – from vintage Vol de Nuit to ancient-modern treats like Caron Parfum Sacre, Via del Profumo Mecca Balsam, SSS Tabac Aurea and Tauer L’air du Désert Marocain.

    PdN used to do a coconut-tuberose perfume, Cococabana. I wasn’t able to make up my mind about it before it was discontinued. Also, I agree that Chloe, which I used to adore back in the day, had a wonderful coconutty dimension.

    I had a chance to sniff the Osmotheque recreation of original Parfums de Rosine Fruit Defendu. It was an amazingly modern-smelling almost coconutty scent, very special. Now you know what to ask to try when you visit the Osmotheque! :-)

    • Ann says:

      I like some of those as well, Nozknoz, especially the Tauer and the Parfum Sacre. Yum. Now you’ve got me intrigued as to that Cococabana, and also quite envious that you got to visit the Osmotheque — lucky you!!

    • Austenfan says:

      I own a bottle of Cococabana, and really like it. It is not my favourite of hers, but I find it very wearable and interesting. It’s a good perfume for summer. ( or a pick-me-up in winter).
      I tried the Love Coco, when the trio came out. Liked it. It’s very different from the Nicolaï. This is a savoury coconut. It was my least favourite of the three new Honoré des Prés, but I was very smitten with the other two.

      • Ann says:

        Thanks for the info. Got to get my hot little hands on a sample of that Cococabana — a winter pick-me-up sounds great right about now.

  • Lisa D says:

    I am a coconut FIEND – not necessarily in perfume, but in the realm of food, I just can’t get enough. I fry in coconut oil, I shmear with coconut butter, I sprinkle with shredded coconut, etc.

    I’ve been wanting to try Love Coconut for a very long time – any chance your generous friend would consider swapping a sample for one of Love les Carottes, Sexy Angelic or Nu Green?

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Lisa! I’ve heard about cooking in coconut oil but never tried it, and also the coconut butter. Must investigate and would love to hear more about its health benefits. My perfume pal just sent me her sample (that’s all she had), but I’d be happy to share part of it with you to try.

    • nozknoz says:

      Lisa D, I also love to eat coconut and have been meaning to try the virgin oil ever since reading in the last year that it’s now though to be good for you, like olive oil and other mono-unsaturates. That Thai soup with coconut milk, galangal, lime and chicken is another fav. Yum!

      • Lisa D says:

        nozknoz, in Thai restaurants, I’m the barbarian slurping from the bowl of Tom Ka Gai, with little drips running down either side of my mouth…..sorry for the image.

        The coconut oil imparts a really lovely flavor to all kinds of dishes – it is especially good with shrimp, and combines well with any type of curry flavor (like a Thai curry paste, or a standard Indian Madras curry powder). I’m so happy that it’s now in nutritional favor. It’s also good as a skin oil and deep conditioning treatment for hair.