Love from the Tree of Life

– 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…

Love Coco!

Notes: Coriander, coconut, vanilla

Honoré des Près Love Coco is available at Beautyhabit and First in Fragrance

9 thoughts on “Love from the Tree of Life

  1. Ooh, I have to try this, be it only because of the cilantro! And the rest of the fragrance sounds great too, especially in today's scorching heat!

  2. Alnysie – yes, you really do have to try this! Cilantro in a perfume – in a way that works with coconut! That's audacious. And Love Coco is perfect for summer heat! 🙂

  3. B, you boldly went where no perfumista went before…and beat a path through the jungle for the rest of us to follow! 😉

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves coconut – for its scent, and for the effect!

  4. This is really very impressive. It smells like fresh coconut, which has nothing to do with the sun lotion/ artificial food flavouring one might expect. And cilantro is not my favourite herb (I have come to tolerate it in food with years of training) but works surprisingly well with coconut. Not something I would consider wearing but definitely surprising and a must-try for every coconut lover.

  5. Memory – you're absolutely right – Love Coco is a fresh!! coconut, and how many of those are out there, I wonder? Usually coconut fragrances are drowned in a vanilla vat and smothered in syrup, but Love Coco is none of that, and that alone deserves an accolade or five!

  6. Another lovely review! I love this foray into the coconut world by HdP and think Olivia Giacobetti has done an amazing job at exploring its green side.

    In terms of coriander, I think she used the essence of the seeds, not the leaves. In the States the seeds are referred to as coriander, the leaves as cilantro, and they are really different in scent and flavor.

  7. Nevermind! You're right, the notes are listed with “coriander leaf” aka cilantro!

    That makes me want to go try it again, because like you, I can't think of another fragrance I have tried that includes cilantro! Off I go to dig up that sample 🙂

  8. ScentHive, thank you so much for your comment! Yes, indeed it IS cilantro – with that grassy/parsley/sweaty-sock vibe, rather than coriander seed, which is nutty-warm and spicy! This is quite possible the best coconut I've ever encountered – outside of original Coppertone and EL Bronze Goddess, of course! 😉

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