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Chanel Coco – Spicy oriental, classic, modern, still beautiful

Chanel Coco EdT 50 ml. - perfumeniche.com

You know those magazine stories that you read, usually in waiting rooms, about a couple finding each other after breaking up and being separated for years? After their fling or affair, life took them in different directions. They met someone else, had a family or whatever, then found themselves single in midlife. Chance brings them together, they reconnect and fall in love all over again. But this time it’s different. Older and wiser, they truly get to know each other and the new love that grows between them is deep and unwavering, a love they will share for the rest of their lives….

Well, that is the story of me and Chanel Coco. We had a long and happy relationship twenty years ago, but lost touch as the new niche fragrances and shiny new perfume bottles started to crowd my shelves. But Coco and I  reconnected unexpectedly, and now I’m in love again with this spicy oriental, which is so French and so chic and so beautiful. 

Coco was launched in 1984 at the tail-end of the 1970’s YSL Opium “monster Oriental” trend. It was created by Chanel’s in-house perfumer, Jacques Polge. His inspiration was Coco Chanel’s private Paris residence which was filled to the brim with beautiful Oriental objets- Venetian glass, Chinoiserie panels, leather-bound books, etc.  Polge brilliantly paired this inspiration with Chanel’s unique design aesthetic, resulting in a brand new version of oriental fragrance - brighter, assertive, more intriguing with dried fruit notes mixed in with the traditional spices and florals and warm resin notes. Coco revealed a level of sophistication that lifted it out of the mainstream into the realm of wordless beauty. 

My bottle is the EdT, which seems to have changed the least from reformulations, and is brighter and more transparent than the EdP. The distinctive Chanel aldehydes burst out of the bottle, like champagne, soon morphing into fruity fizziness, like a splash of liqueur in spritzer water.  A cloud of fresh natural mandarin notes mixed with sweeter orange blossoms slowly slides into the heart where the florals announce themselves. 

Jasmine, and the delicious earthiness of dried rose and carnation petals fold into cardamom, cinnamon, sweet pimento, rich clove and dark fruit notes, so that the heart pulses with plush warmth and rich aromas.  The heart of Coco is just impossibly beautiful, is all I can say, and I’m thrilled that Coco EdT dries down slowly and evenly so I get to enjoy this gorgeous heart accord for several hours. 

The dry down is creamy and resinous from sandalwood, woody and warm from opoponax and incense, with hints of animalic sexiness from leather and civet, and finally, added depth from vanilla and whiffs of bitter chocolate from tonka bean. Coco’s waft is subtle and sophisticated, the scent lasts for many hours on my skin, its spicy scent clings lightly to sweaters and scarves, making it one of my most favourite cold-weather fragrances. 

Chanel Coco is one of those rare scents the nose can’t resist, one of those “You smell so good!” or “What are you wearing?” fragrances. In fact, giving me a hug this morning, my husband who rarely comments when I wear perfume, murmured in my ear “Mmm, you smell good, you smell expensive…” Wow! The man has a good nose!

For me, Coco isn’t a blast from the past, and it is definitely not “dated” when compared to the new niche and artisanal fragrances I’ve purchased in the past year. What it truly is, and always has been, is an authentic classic, a work of perfume art that is timeless, and therefore is as beautiful and relevant as the day it was launched. 

That’s the thing about perfumes – some you will fall in love with over and over, and you will wear them and love them forever. 

Chanel Coco is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.