– a review of Honoré des Près ‘Love Coco’
For a summer vacation after my eighth birthday, my stepfather – all his life a merman of the first order – took my mother and I on a sailing trip to the Bahamas. On a Bimini beach at sundown that first day, I saw a sight I’ll never forget, something so incredible, it burned itself into my memory forever.
A local boy, not much older than me, walked up a coconut palm and picked a coconut. In no time at all, he was back on the beach with a huge, oblong, yellow-green nut, whacking off the woody husk with a few deft strokes of a lethal-looking machete. Then, in one stroke he sliced open the coconut and held it out to me, the coconut water gleaming inside in the red-gold of the sunset, and the sharks coming in just visible in the water beyond the reef.
That, my friends, is a coconut! The quintessence of coconut, extrait of tropics, humidity-distilled summer – life as a beach!
So when you can’t get to the beach – never mind the tropics – you can at least wear it!
So ingrained is the scent of coconut with summer, it’s been a mainstay of suntan lotions since the glory days of Coppertone, since even before the SPF was ever invented. Hawaiian Tropic would not be the success it is were it not for all that coconut, all the time.
Christopher Brosius of CBIHP gave us ‘At the Beach 1966’, the scent of my childhood summers, we have the utter fabulosity of Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess, whose fans are legion and I’m one of them, we have perfumes that feature coconut as a perfume facet such as Kai, and now, we also have the certified organic, all-natural Honoré des Près Love Coco, created by Olivia Giacobetti.
Giacobetti has a talent for making perfumes as sheer and transparent as gossamer silk, even something that can be as cloying as coconut.
With Love Coco, she doesn’t disappoint, because this coconut is anything but cloying. This is not your usual hypersweet liquid coconut cream pie, this is not some 24/7 Live Nude Coconuts! overload, Love Coco is none of these things. It is, rather, that highly remarkable creature…
A green coconut.
It opens not with coconut, but with fresh, emerald-green coriander/cilantro, and to be honest, if that’s not daring, I don’t know what is. Coriander – cilantro as it’s known in the US – is a culinary herb much beloved in Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and Mexican cuisine for its ability to elevate spicy food to an entirely new level of delicious. On the other hand, there are many people who can’t stand its unique aroma that sits uneasily somewhere between herbal-minty and sweatsock. I’m not one of them and love the stuff, so I have no problems with it, but I can’t for the life of me recall when it was last used in a perfume – and worked so well!
The coriander refreshes the coconut and keeps it right off the tree. This isn’t a sweet coconut, but a sheer, rounded fresh coconut that even stays that way when vanilla – just the merest whisper – enters the scene and stays until the far drydown.
It’s deceptively simple and yet never boring, it’s green and light and yet not too fleeting. It is, in fact, the perfect and perfectly unusual coconut.
Scientific research will have it that coconut has a certain effect on the masculine gender. I can’t say I’ve had the chance to road-test it for real, but I can say that it worked as well on a six-year-old as it did on his father who came by for the day, and I had not a word of complaint, which isn’t always the case with a lot of things I wear!
Even bad boys like a day at the beach!
In tropical countries, the coconut palm is called the-tree-of-many-uses, since every part of it can be used for something. It is also called the tree of life, which is how I like to see it – giving shade and shelter from the hot sun, sustenance and sugar…and a green, fresh, delectable beach-in-a-bottle called…