Coco fragrance notes

  • Head

    • angelica, mimosa, frangipani, mandarin, Pimento, Coriander
  • Heart

    • cascarilla, orange flower, bulgarian rose, jasmine, Carnation, Ylang ylang, Cinnamon, Orris, Tuberose
  • Base

    • labdanum, ambrette seed, opopanax, benzoin, tonka, vanilla, Olibanum, Musk, Honey, Civet, Patchouli, Vetiver, Sandalwood

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Latest Reviews of Coco

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I love this so much. It has way too many notes for me to be able to pinpoint a good number of them, but when I’m wearing it, I get hints of rose, cinnamon, honey, amber, and iris. Sometimes I get them all at once, and sometimes one will peak out at me saying, “Here I am!”. Coco is rich and complex. Sweet in the way flowers are sweet but definitely not the sweetness of modern perfumes. It has a bold spicy feel without being hot. To me, this perfume embodies the feel of autumn. The changing of the leaves, the crisp air, and the smoky scents of burning fireplaces in the distance. I feel like this can be worn any time of the year, but shines best as the leaves are turning and summery clothing is traded for sweaters and boots. I feel like wearing this, you know exactly what you like. And you are not held hostage by one set of beauty standards.

Like so many chanel perfumes, for me, this is a beauty. I love everything about it.
24th October 2022
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, when I was approximately 1/3 of my current age and weight, I was a model. In Tokyo. I was just a tiny bit too short for Paris... It was the 80's, I was a teenager, and it is truly crazy how much I used to make in a day back then. Life isn't fair, make hay, seize the day and all that.

My agency was located across a shopping district and the quickest way for me to get there was by walking through a major department store and out the other side. Anyway, in the center of the lobby-- right before I could walk out, right there in front of the big glass doors-- stood four Chanel perfumes on a pedestal under spotlights: No. 5. No. 19. No. 22.

And Coco.

HOW could I resist? I was eighteen. Y'all know what I did next.

No. 5 on my right wrist, No. 22 on the left, No. 19 on one side of my neck and Coco on the other and I was Perfume Godzilla, crushing the city with my high heels in my fragrant glory! I was powerful, beautiful, menacing, unstoppable.

My happiness lasted about ten minutes. Once I reached the office my agent Had A Talk with me. Do you know they don't really wear perfume in Japan? Lol, well, I know that NOW. It makes no sense, because they have perfume prominently displayed in the stores-- at least they did in the 80's-- and people bought it, too! They just did not wear it. "It was not worn."

I was very careful after that. But determined. My agent wasn't the boss of me. And so every time I went through the store, I sneakily sprayed some on, just a little... and just one.

And that one was Coco.

Chanel 19 is the best, obviously, we know that, it's in the Bible somewhere. But 19 is almost too good to wear too often. Coco is more playful and wearable. It's a more refined upscale feminine spice fragrance; like Opium refined for the ladies of high society. It's cool and clove clove clove clove.

It's pretty. I personally prefer the EDP over the Parfum.
11th July 2022

This is absolutely gorgeous, especially in parfum concentration owning several spray bottles of the extrait and a couple of the edp also in vapo-sprayers. Over the last 20+ odd years I have detected slight differences in formula and longevity of these two concentrations, sadly becoming thinner requiring regular top up applications, I do prefer vintage bottles with the extrait juice the color of deep canary yellow bordering on a feint tinge of orange a sign of the many white florals used in it's construct, everything about this parfum is so perfectly balanced, what's not to like with the combination of mandarin orange, frangipani, rose & jasmine all emboldened with the most exquisite blend of spices, the older formula contains the most creamiest gorgeous sandalwood including vetyver of superb quality available then, my second best vintage from Chanel would have to be Bois des Iles followed by the extraordinary No's.5 & 19, but that's another story :)
In my opinion one of the greatest civet based honeyed oriental perfumes of the twentieth century... A true MASTERPIECE!!!
27th November 2021
Some resinous materials have acid overtones,* and these off notes can be felt when resins or balsams are used in large quantities.
Their effects can be prominent in what Arctander calls ambra* perfumes, so when this happens, it’s common for perfumers to hide or disguise the offending notes.

Coco doesn’t try to hide its acid overtone but instead - like Youth-Dew - it aims to disguise it. In this case with a spicy accord, which also has peppery and burnt sugar tonalities. These are backed up by the gritty indole of orange flower, and the woody, earthy, spicy and camphoraceous elements of patchouli.**

Because ambra constructions tend to be base heavy, they are long and linear. And this is the case with Coco.
The acid overtone stretches way down into the body, making Coco feel a bit purse-lipped after a while, although there is a powdery sandal and balsam note in the drydown - which softens it up a little.

There’s some sweetness, but it’s kept well back (for an amber) and overall, Coco feels dry and acid-sour as much as sweet.
This is could be a brave and admirable ploy, or it could have been making a virtue of necessity.
All the same, I find it rather stark, and starkness isn’t something I look for in ambers.

(Vintage sample, nearly empty)

* Steffen Arctander – Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin

18th November 2021
ooh! intense, warm, rich, intimate. For me it's a cooler weather choice or a special occasion.
18th September 2019
The 1980's was full of big perfumes, and newly-appointed house perfumer at the time Jacques Polge needed to make a big perfume to compete with the likes of Yves Saint Laurent Opium (1977) or Giorgio Beverly Hills (1981). Already having achieved a new paragon of masculinity with Antaeus (1981), Polge needed to repeat a similar success in the feminine segment, an objective that eventually lead to the creation of Coco Chanel (1984). Obviously titled after the late Gabrielle Chanel's nickname, Coco was meant to channel the strength of will and businesswoman aesthetic of the house founder, and indeed contains the essence of her often-terse and condescending manner as well. Coco is not a friendly perfume, not happy, but full of the kind of bold animalic vigor that shoulderpad blouses and teased hair of the decade often signalled to hapless men who stood in the way of the take-charge middle class 80's woman. Polge blended both opulent florals and heady spices in a note-packed kitchen sink style similar to perfumes of the early 20th century, which was a rare move for a perfumer who would later become famous his conservative restraint and plush blending, making Coco as much a young "show-off piece" as Antaeus was.

There are simply too many notes to sift through them all, but the opening of Coco demonstrates a similar aldehyde rush as the legendary No. 5 (1921), but with angelica, pimento, frangipani, and mandarin giving a sweet zing that is very feminine and fruity in the start. The very indolic heart of jasmine, rose, tuberose, cascarilla (coffee seeds) and neroli is delicious, with some iris and ylang-ylang to sharpen things up. Midway through this veers gender neutral and curious men who love animalic perfumes will start finding reward in Coco at about this point. Heavy animalic honeyed sourness of civet and styrax merge with incense elements of opoponax, olibanum, sandalwood, musk, and patchouli, while labdanum, oakmoss, and vetiver bring in a chypre-like golden focus near the end. I can't always discern which notes are doing what as stated above, but knowing the characters of each and how they mingle, the "big picture" Jacques Polge paints isn't hard to see. This is a fruity floral oriental animalic chimera which comes in disarmingly saccharin sweet at first before turning the lights down and bringing out the leather straps. Feminine to masculine, light to dark, friendly to Faustian, that was Gabrielle Coco Chanel in life, and that is also how her posthumous namesake perfume is as well.

This was likely an office perfume in the 80's, since everyone wore everything everywhere, but with the increased social consciousness of perfume use in the 21st century, Coco is best worn in evenings for romantic gatherings or just personal enjoyment. This oriental kaleidoscope works surprisingly well in all weather thanks to the brightness of the top and warmth of the heart, plus a lack of cloying notes like vanilla or tons of amber to cook on skin. Eau de Parfum is richer and more-suited to ladies, while the Eau de Toilette is sharper and a tad more raunchy, making it the better bet for men. Any version is suitable as a unisex oriental, but knowing CISHET predilections, I make my suggestions thus. Polge would settle into watery or fruity florals for women and ultra-blended semi-orientals or woody ambers and fougères for men through the rest of his career, but like with Antaeus, he really let the horses out of the stables with Coco, and it's wonderful; ravishing even. Time has taken its toll on some of the animalic heft in more recent batches of Coco, but all versions are still the strident "don't mess with my success" 80's estrogen bomb as intended, so go easy on the trigger when testing or wearing. Thumbs up!
8th May 2019
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