Coconut is the airhead of perfumery; the fluffbomb; the beachy, pineappled ditz, and a note that seems to invite scorn from a large number of seasoned perfumists. When coconut is listed as a note in a perfume, there are many who seem to almost panic at its presumably nut-brained, bimbo IQ; its lithe, suntanned flesh, its sheer happiness, who must be assured that the coconut note in question is not too prevailing, that there is just a hint, isn’t there? (as in Olivia Giacobetti’s tastefully coconut-laced fig perfumes L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier and Philosokos); that its swaying, palm-fringed tropicalia will not infringe too much on their delicate, rose incensed senses.


I am quite the opposite. I love coconut. In food, in drinks, as perfume and incense, even to bathe in ( I use Phillippine coconut cooking oil once or twice a month for this purpose – it is fantastic for the skin), and I think, ultimately, that for some bizarre whim of destiny, I probably suit coconut scents more than any other (even vanilla included).  It is a smell I find comfortably effortless and pleasing, an aroma  that I love to emanate from my skin.  I find it nerve-binding; optimistic; an escape into easier, balmier climes and skies that let me breathe some relief and simple ease: to me it just smells delicious.


And so, as a committed coconut lover, and as a kind of coconut ‘coming out’, and as someone about to go on holiday to a place where coconut is in virtually everything (apparently the area of Java I am going to is famous for its rich, coconut laced dishes..) I present to you, here in brief, some of my lovely bunch of perfumery coconuts . If you know of any more worthwhile scents that any of us coconut lovers out there would be likely to enjoy, please do feel very free to share the hairy love.




















In my view, the best perfume bargain in the world.


I do not exaggerate. We all have a staple in our wardrobe, often one that is cheap for when the pricey and cherished stuff runs out or feels too precious for us to touch, and this happens to be mine. Coconut, yes; but not piña colada, or too creamy, or too synthetic, or ‘too’ anything.  Rather, this lovely perfume is a vanillic almond coconut, as cosy and pleasing as a big new white bean bag on the floor of a brand new apartment, and as comforting as your favourite coconut almond shampoo and conditioner ( I used Boots’ best for years at university, and this scent reminds me of its sweet, soothing perfume).

A scent of easy calmness and perfect balance, Noix De Coco, which I first discovered in Mexico City (YES! there is an Yves Rocher shop right next to our hotel…I will sneak in and buy loads of perfumes when Duncan is having a sleep!), and which seems to vary in colour from transparent to lactic cloud depending what country you find yourself in –  I personally prefer the latter, for the illusion of just-cracked fresh coconut milk –  may not be a complexly orchestrated, artistic ‘masterpiece’, but then it doesn’t need to be (and to me, to be honest, it probably smells nicer anyway: for the price of a bottle of By Kilian’s Playing With The Devil, for example, I could literally buy 20 bottles of this, and I know which one I would rather smell of).


I use Yves Rocher by itself, or sprayed on clothes, in summer or in winter (when it really cheers me up on a cold January day), or else I find it works as a delicious extender and mixer of other scents that either comprise a coconut note that you feel needs augmenting (Cacharel Loulou, Montale Intense Tiare, Givenchy Ysatis), or else a novel and unexpected addition for intrepid layering (Kouros works beautifully with this, as did, to my counterintuitive surprise, vintage Calèche parfum).


And at around 9 Euros for a 50ml bottle, an absurdly low price I think for such a pleasant scent, you can use this little coconut treasure as often, and as much, as you like.


I personally try to never be without it.







A more luxuriant, delectable, rounded and, amazingly, 100% natural, organic coconut is I love Coco, from Parisian outfit Honore Des Près.


This fleshy, almost airy, soil-drinking white coconut scent comes onto the skin living and breathing: the beachy breeze blowing through the rough hairs of its shell; the cool, milky inner chambers moist, threaded and full of essence. As the day goes on, the scent gets fattier, creamier, but nonetheless remains a real, caressing, high quality coconut perfume that in my view is one of the best on the market.






This is a sheer, coconut water for the moneyed and the rich; for the Russian-minted oligarch and his monogrammed tailored white shirts, sipping cocktails with his blonde, bodied consorts on the French Riveria. Elevated, fixed, a Creedishly silvery and dashing coconut note is cleverly and effortlessly shot through with an extended addendum of lime for summery, emphatic effect. Unusual, lingering, and strangely sexy, this is a scent with a definite vacational je ne sais quoi.






Probably the funniest scent in my collection, this unwearable party trick is a far less upmarket cocktail – more cheapo 18-30 Club Med – the lads and lasses chundering into the swimming pool  – than the immaculate, smooth-pressed, ‘beautiful’ yacht people above. I do kind of like this though : a syrupy, boiled sweet pineapple colada steeped in leeringly sweet, condensed, coconut juices that is always a fun way to get a party started ( ….”fancy a spritz?”)


(…party guests wailing and rushing for the bathroom in instantaneous, insulin shock…..)





I have been wearing G recently at work, and this scent is the only coconut I can imagine being suitable in the office. G is apparently what La Stefani herself wears, and I really like it too, a lot. Slim-lined, sheer, a touch ozonic; but a long-lasting, clear and surprisingly robust modern coconut perfume with an imperceptible, ‘green apple’ top note and a pleasant, but never acrid, woody, cedary base note that works as an excellent counterpoint for a workday, contemporary tropical. G  manages that desirable, but rarely adroitly accomplished, feat of persistent, idiosyncratic subtlety. It may be simplistic, but it is a scent that is executed without pretence and that does its job very efficiently. I have been very pleased with its performance.


There is also a special summer version, ‘G By The Sea’, available, which I am quite eager to get my  hands on as it is apparently more oceanic and tiare-laced than the original and sounds like the perfect summer perfume, though the chunky plastic mermaid (gargoyle in drag?) of the bottle will not be accompanying me to the classroom, I can tell you.  





When I first smelled this at Berlin’s KaDeWe department store a couple of summers ago, I was beachfoaming at the lips with want, but  simply didn’t have enough cash left to purchase it as I discovered it right at the end of my holiday.


What I smelled and sighed over at that time was a creamy and rapturously delicious infusion of natural smelling plumeria/tiare,  sponge-petallish and alive, with vanilla, raspingly fresh coconut and an unusual, ravishingly delicate and ethery top note from the banana tree – fruit; leaves….


If this all sounds too much, it probably is ( on the card I felt as if I had died and gone to heaven as it really seemed to somehow capture the essence of that warm and tropical breeze I so adore, but I found it, on skin, a touch cloying when I came across it again at London Liberty last year, so definitely try it on skin first).  


Nonetheless, I still have my languid, stolid, coconutty eyeballs fixed ignobly in its direction, and will simply have to get my hands on it again at some point. This is lapping, lulling beach in a bottle, a  coconut symphony; a  sigh of sappish sweetness and light.


SEXY COCONUT (pour lui et elle) – JEANNE ARTHES


While the popular image of Japan – austere, severe, exquisitely beautiful – is certainly true in many respects (particularly in traditional cities such as Kyoto and Kamakura, where I happen to live), there is another much more fun, trashier side to this country that finds its expression especially in the summer time here, when kids from the city flood to the coasts and get tropical. Jeanne Arthes is a low-market brand that does quite well here with its Sexy Boy and Sexy Girl fragrances, and, interestingly, this sweet, appealing take on Chopard’s Casmir (also a coconutty, drippingly luscious vanilla sandalwood worth looking at) is the only one billed as ‘unisex’ (one of the many fascinations of Japan is its intriguing twists on gender, particularly among the youth..)

See those skinny, pretty young Nihonjin splashing in the waves, emerging for some beer and some pizza, and a quick spritz of Sexy Coconut, a sharp and fruity top accord over coconut, peach and ambery sandalwood, before they head off to some reggae, rockin’ beachside bars..   





A cold, streaming blast of coconut; joss sticks, a cocktail of nuclear-strength noix de coco synthetics and reconstructed coconut flesh that means real, high gravity coconut business. I do find Coco Extrême a bit much sometimes ( it could almost be a Marvel Comics super-hero; Coconut Man, shooting through the city skies, leaving vapour trails of cocolo nimbus in his wake as he battles his nemesis, the bile-firing, pit from-hell-screeching OUD COP)  but I have to say that I do sometimes use my (now almost empty) bottle of this perfume as a top-up, a tiny touch on the neck to complete, nicely, an outlandishly tropical profile ( I once went to a party wearing Loulou, Yves Rocher Noix De Coco, and then, the moment I arrived, just a touch of Coco Extrême, and I can tell you the compliments came rolling in like a lovely barrel of coc…




I have in my collection a coconut body lotion I picked up at the Tokyo flea market for almost nothing one Sunday, something by a Thai company called Ma Praw, and it has the most hilarious, deliriously lip-dribbling effect: it smells exactly like a Thai meal has just been put on the table:  a coconutty, jasmine steamed rice that fills up the entire room,  putting Etat Libre D’Orange’s intriguing limey, coconut Fils De Dieu to shame with its strength, delectability and intensity.


We had some friends staying recently, and one, Elaine, had sneakily put on some of this body lotion after her shower. As I mounted the stairs soon afterwards I found my mouth involuntarily watering in some Pavlovian response ( I adore Thai food ), the entire air from the bottom of the stairs to the top vibrating an edible coconut rice that seemed bizarrely incongruous in the context of perfume: can you actually imagine going out of the house smelling like this? ( I can, and have, and will, naturally…).


Indian Coconut Nectar may not have the same gustatory power, but it is a very foody, almost savoury and edible coconut perfume all the same that reminds me somewhat of those delectably sweet coconut desserts you get in Indian restaurants; or the spice-laden coconut ice creams they serve known as kulfi. It has that dense, stranded, honey-infused and dessicated thickness that I associate with such desserts, and in the solid perfume version that I have, makes a very pleasing and strength- inducing firmness that I like to dab on the wrists and neck  (with a furtive drop or two underneath of the unctuous Ma Praw for good measure).  




And so to the night. The sun has gone down, we retire to our beach huts, or our condo, and shower up for the evening’s pleasures ahead. This little number, clearly influenced quite strongly by Dior’s doughy sex bomb Hypnotic Poison, isn’t a bad way to sit at the bar, perfumed up for the night, tipsy and sunkissed, the feeling of the sun still pressing your shoulders; your eyes roaming the joint; the condensation on your iced glass pleasingly wet and promising.









Then later, why not slather on the sinful, almost sickeningly sweet decadence of the Coudray amalgamating of thick, ambery vanilla notes with the boudoirish creams of coconut…..smear yourself down, oozy and glistening, with the crème de corps; spray on some edt, smothering away all your anxieties, and with warm, voracious slowness,  bite your way out, then, into the coconutty; palm-laden; fecund; tropical night.  




It is yours.
















Filed under Flowers


  1. Cath

    OOOOHHH, another coconut lover here!!!! Not ashamed to admit it.
    In summer I can’t live without my coconuts (hmm, that sounds weird).
    I use the coconut body milk from The Body Shop and I find it delicious. Apply generously after the shower, spritz some of the coconut body mist on top, and you’re good to go.
    Too bad they don’t sell the EDT in Japan.
    And I wish Yves Rocher would hurry up and open a shop in Japan already. Their Vanille Noire smells like vanilla bean creme dessert, it’s such a comforting scent. I hope you get a chance to try it!

  2. I adore coconut in everything! Though I must admit that I have never found a coconut perfume. Thank you, I now have several to try!

    I have used an amazing coconut lotion for years – my aunt and grandma discovered it in the seventies. It’s called Skin Trip. I think it’s made in Colorado. The most creamy real coconut I’ve ever come across!

  3. Wow, thanks for this palm laden journey. Is this Part 1 of 8 à la Vanilla? I am awaiting Coccobello. Happy Holidaze to you both. You can sing the Pina Colada song and escape.

  4. Lilybelle

    I had a small bottle of YR Noix de Coco (mine was the milky fluid), and I agree: it was great stuff. I love beachy smelling coconut scents – suntan lotion and tropical drinks under an umbrella on a beach, a salty breeze. My husband used some of my sunscreen recently (it was “Australian Gold”) that I had picked up in a flipflop shop on one of our beach trips, and he smelled soooo delicious! I wish he’d wear it more often. I like it better on him than on me. I also had Bath & Body Works’ Lime Coconut Verbena a while back, and that was allegedly a dead ringer for Creed’s Virgin Island Water. I don’t know VIW but Lime Coconut Verbena was great on a summer’s day. For the present, however, I can’t wear coconut. I love it, but it doesn’t love me. It has been making me feel a little queasy when I wear it (body chemistry fluctuations). By Kilian’s (speaking of BK) Beyond Love, which is rather gorgeous imho, has a coconut note that disturbs me.

    • Maybe that is what disturbs me as well: I do like that perfume, but there is something internal, fatty and superfluous that doesn’t entirely work. Coconut should never be sublimated.

      • Lilybelle

        You know, I think you’ve put your finger right on the problem. “Coconut should never be sublimated”. That is very good advice to any perfumer.

      • One genius use of coconut, though, was in Balanciaga’s Michelle, in which it is so subtle, yet welded to that woozy tuberose…you can make it out, but it is not obviously coconut somehow. Mmm.

      • Sorry for the lateness of replying, Madame Lilybelle. I look forward to our continued correspondence!

  5. I’ve never taken coconut seriously as a note before. On rare visits to exquisite Kauai I would coat myself with luscious scented coconut oil, and then when I went home would put such frivolities behind me. But I realize that I took coconut very seriously during the years that I was obsessed with southern Indian and southeast Asian cooking, and when I remember the nutty-milky tang of perfectly fresh coconut flesh, I think yeah, I could wear that.
    I’m terribly jealous that you’re vacationing among Javanese cooks. Do keep us posted. I hope that your vacation is the opposite of repressed and “dutiful.”

    • Oh god I hope so.

      We adore Japan, but after seventeen years I think we are reaching some kind of watershed.

      The id is seriously RISING and struggling, and mine is very fierce, and I am no longer really seeing why it must continue to be strangulated, no matter how exquisite its surroundings are.

      • A strangulated id will always rise! I wonder if you have to be trained from childhood to those levels of repression, because if not indoctrinated from an early age, you are sooner or later going to say “why can’t we just say what we think?” and then do it, and who knows what will happen then? Maybe you need a stint in Australia or the American Southwest, where free speech is a cherished and much-exercised right. I grew up in the Deep South, which on the surface is a repressed society but which in fact cherishes eccentricity as long as you show some polish about it. I just cannot imagine living long-term with the level of social repression that you’ve alluded to. Well, coat yourself with slithery coconutty stuff and enjoy your vacation.

      • Thanks.

        Regarding repression etc, with Japan it is a VERY complicated issue, as the repression I am talking about is what makes the country so beautiful, and also what gives it a strangely liberating quality. I would need to write reams on the subject to even begin to get at what I mean.

      • And strangely, though I would happily visit both Australia and the American southwest, neither of those places hold a deep attraction for me in terms of places to live. I think because I AM so feral and strangely open that I almost perversely seek this out. I love Virgos, and Japan is most definitely a Virgo country.

  6. Katy

    Another lover of coconut chiming in here. Love coconut and jasmine together. The idea of these two notes in beer, tea, or some savory dish makes my mouth water. Have a lovely coconut jasmine shower gel and body lotion I slather myself with before applying white floral perfumes. Yum! Put coconut conditioner in the hair. Use a coconut gel for my naturally curly hair and when we are all feeling a little down, add coconut cream to our spicy black beans! Coconut donuts are also a favorite. Have a lovely trip and do write.

  7. Rafael

    Whenever I get into these moods (and the thought of coconut doughnuts is definitely getting me there…) I pull out the Sira des Indes. Ecstasy and Rapture!

  8. Dearest Ginza
    Oh dear.
    Expertly written as ever though this is, and I being one always ready to congratulate someone on their coming out, I fear we must absolutely part company here.
    It’s not that I dislike coconut… I DETEST IT!!! (almost as much as I normally do the use of capitalisation).
    Honestly, it is my nemesis, olfactory kryptonite to this not-so-super Dandy.
    And it has always been so.
    As I child I would dread fun fairs and their coconut shies with adults trying to outdo each other to win the little me the revolting eponymous prize.
    Bounty Bars (the name sends a shiver down the spine) represented not ‘a taste of paradise’, but a flavour from one of the worse rings of Dante’s Inferno.
    And as for Malibu… who needed to invent alcopops when this wretched stuff had been around so long.
    Enough, save to say that if there’s even more than the merest of hints of the horrid hard shelled thing in a perfume, I must back a way, seek dark and cool and rest a while.
    Thank you though for this superb guide for now I know exactly where not to go.
    And please, don’t be offended, I’m not coconut-phobic.
    I mean some of my best friends like coconuts.
    It;s just I’m not in favour of people pushing their coconuts down my throat.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  9. As a lover of well-made cheap thrills, I’ve got a bottle of the Yves Rocher myself and you’re right, sometimes it just hits the spot. I’ve never tried layering it though, I’m not sure why, as it seems so obvious once you mention it. My only other coconut frag is Bronze Goddess, it’s such a great skin scent on me for days when I want to feel effortless.

    Have you tried the Sarah Horowitz Perfect Coconut yet? It was part of the Olfactif sampler set recently, so I’ve been hearing some buzz about it online.

  10. I have recently come across and reviewed a coconutty fragrance that has me completely hooked, has surprised and delighted me and changed my idea of what a coconut perfume is capable of being. It’s ‘Furze’ from Gorilla Perfume. The coconut is accompanied by vanilla and mimosa which I originally thought would smell like cheap body lotion. How wrong I was! The mimosa is soapy and a little green, hanging suspended above an oozing, creamy vanilla and coconut custard. It is such a contradictory fragrance, definitely a little odd but for me it really works. I don’t know how you feel about Gorilla Perfume, they certainly fly in the face of convention and some of their releases are rather too bizarre for me. ‘Furze’ is just heavenly though.
    Love Susie.
    P.S- superb blog, so glad I found it 🙂

    • Thanks. And thanks also for the Furze info. You know, I have smelled that one and quite liked it; I smelled more mimosa (linden?) and some kind of vanillary substance than coconut, but you have made me want to go back to it.

      Agree that the Gorillas are weird, but I LOVE the bottles, and reckon that this is the one I would choose from the line.

  11. Martha

    I’m late to the coconut party, but glad I finally arrived. Thank you, Ginza, for creating a list of cococentric perfumes.

    I have met people who say they don’t like coconut, but it is beyond me to understand their dislike of it. Perhaps while you are in Indonesia you will also drink some green coconut water. It is delicious!

  12. silentangel

    And you should have amongst all the samples I sent you some Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar solid perfume….I am quite sure that I sent you that one! Or at least a sample vial of the eau de parfum!

  13. ErinPearl

    Wonderful post, so joyful. I am a longtime lurker here and I’ve been meaning to tell you how much I love your blog. You are one of my favourite contemporary writers, in any medium.

    Also, I love coconut! I have the Yves Rocher (I’ve ordered their Vanille on the strength of your recommendation over on Olfactoria’s Travels) and use it often. I also love Bronze Goddess which I think has some coconut to it although I’m not sure. Really want to try the G (for gargoyle!) fragrances too, yay for affordability 😀

    One happy coconut memory for me goes back a few years to when I worked in a Glasgow off licence for six months; customers would often come in freshly toasted and redolent of coconut, straight from the tanning parlour next door. It always made me smile, and they were usually in a good mood by that point too 🙂

    Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday with more coconuts than locusts, can’t wait to read all about it!

  14. Heya,
    Why aren’t there any Yves Rocher stores in Oz? So annoying,
    Portia xx

  15. Mmmm … I think I need to bust open a coconut right now. I get my coconut fix here in the high desert by splitting a whole bunch of fresh Mexican vanilla beans and packing them into a jar of coconut oil. I let them steep for a month or two, then use the resulting vanilla/coconut yum as my regular moisturizer — head to toe.

  16. silent angel

    virgin organic coconut oil (yes, the kind you cook with) slathered all over my body as a moisturizer….nothing smells better than that….I have been using Indian Coconut Nectar perfume as my go to for a summer fragrance (and btw in its base is vetiver, one of your favorite notes). But, in your fashion, I have added to it a dose of essential oil (new caledonia sandalwood absolute, to be exact) just to give the dry down a bit of oomph…..

    • Since I got back I have tried your coconut oil thing with my vanilla beans and some ylang ylang oil. Really nice, actually, in the bath or as a moisturizer. Thanks for the tip. I think I really couldn’t have too many vanilla beans.

  17. ninakane1

    Palmers cocoa butter! Divine! Long-standing staple! My few words on the subject! But coconut is intriguing as a scent. Very subtle. I’d love to try it with peppermint!

  18. Katherine

    I know you’re on holiday, but surely that’s long enough now… Seriously missing your updates in my inbox! Looking forward to your return!

  19. Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus and commented:

    The summer holidays are finally here.


  20. I commented on this one before, so all I want to add now is the beauty of your wording about those who “seem almost to panic …at its lithe suntanned flesh, its sheer happiness.” This is worth reading twice. We have all felt the need to snipe at joy, and may we put it well behind us whenever we can.

  21. Enjoy your summer holiday. I cannot believe how fast this summer is going…August is almost half-way over. The coconut scent I’ve been wearing this summer is Heeley’s Cocobello.

  22. jennyredhen

    did you ever get any G by the sea???

  23. Liza

    Have you tried this? it came out this summer but sold out immediately at my local store. I did sample it and its a coconut and vanilla sin. Very good!

    • I have heard amazing things about it, actually. Desperate to try it! Hopefully they will have the sense to release it mainstream in some form.

      • Liza

        I’ve read that there will be no mass release of Terracotta, but we never know. As of last week it was still available at ГУМ department store in Moscow 🙂

  24. bellaciao

    I read this last Sunday and on Monday went to Yves Rocher to get the cheap coconut thrill. 3,50 EUR for 30ml, the best possible lunch break deal. I wanted to re-create your layering experiment with Caleche. What can I say? It smells divine! Not that either of these perfumes could not survive on its own, together however they are perfect for this time of the year where winter cannot let go and spring is still too weak for a full entry. Since there can never be too much of a good thing for me I also use the Pacifica coconut lotion, one has to set the stage properly after all:)-

    • Love the pacifica, though worry that it might smell a bit toasted for the angelic Caleche, which blends so gorgeously with the Rocher. It IS the best coconut, is it not? I miss it. There are no Yves Rocher shops here. Next time I am in Europe…

  25. Vintage BN!!! Tropical accolade. My guilty pleasure of eating Bounty Bars, The milky chocolaterie version, and my coconut loving cooking all immmersed in one. The Ma Praw with the effect of becoming a ricedish yourself too enviable for Words. And the end, so beautiful, so poetic, almost out of reach …

  26. I am searching endlessly for a replacement to Bath & Body Work’s Exotic Coconut from the Pleasures Collection. Are you familiar? The scent is very warm and toasted unlike their more recent scents containing coconut. Bottles of this scent are almost $50 on ebay and amazon, that’s how rare it is. Please please please tell me you have a suggestion. I even sent a sample to get a custom match created, but it was terribly sweet. Not only did I lose $60, but also some of my supply which I have been very careful with over the past 2 years. B&BW has no plans on bringing it back and I’m devastated. From their site:
    Top Notes: Papaya, Guava, Pineapple
    Mid Notes: Toasted Coconut, Milk Accord, Vanilla Bean
    Dry Notes: Creamy Musk, Warm Sandalwood, Tonka Bean

  27. jennyredhen

    On a recent Air Asia Flight I bought Victorias Secret Coconut Passion Perfume containing Vanilla, coconut, aloe vera and chamomile and the matching body lotion … Yum Yum Yum.. Victorias Secret seem to have shops all over the place .

    • This is something I could most certainly succumb to myself. I have smelled it at one of the Tokyo airports actually, and thought it rich and sweet but definitely possible. Nothing will ever beat the Yves Rocher coconut, though I am CRAVING IT.

      • jennyredhen

        we dont have Yves Rocher here so doomed to 2nd besr.. that Victorias Secret coconut is very sweet and syrupy… I think it was the shots of vodka they were handing out at the Duty free shop that tipped me over the edge

      • I would have been exactly the same!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s