When I was 16 years old, I got drunk off Malibu rum with a few of my friends, and then got super-sick and puked it all up. Classy, I know. But that seems to be the gist of underage drinking.
Anyway, for a really long time, the smell of coconuts turned my stomach. I didn't like ANYTHING coconut-scented; it all reminded me of Malibu, and I was not getting close to that.
Things have changed... I mean, that was ten years ago. One morning, I woke up and thought, I NEED TO SMELL LIKE A COCONUT BEACH LADY EVERY DAY, IMMEDIATELY. And I therefore began a quest for scents that invoked a warm, lush beach and not a bottle of something they use to make pineapple upside-down cake shots.
MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA REPLICA BEACH WALK
First off, can we talk about this new scent series and how gorgeous its packaging is? I want them all solely because the bottles are so damn pretty, and I love the simple experiences they've bottled into scents, from Lazy Sunday to Funfair Evening.
Beach Walk blends the obvious coconut of suntan oil with a little lemon and pink pepper, as well as bergamot and musk to evoke the feeling of warm, salty skin. You get the feeling of ocean waves via the bergamot and cedar notes, the tanning oil from coconut and the warm, floral scent of summer air with ylang ylang and heliotrope.
My only qualm with the Replica series is that they’re eau de toilettes, which means they’re just as fleeting as the experiences they convey.
ESTEE LAUDER BRONZE GODDESS
Bronze Goddess has become a bit of a classic. It hibernates during the cold months and is reissued every spring along with a new Bronze Goddess-themed makeup collection.
Bronze Goddess is an "eau fraiche skin scent," which means its lasting power is not great. It's a soft, enticing little mix of beachy Tahitian gardenia, sandalwood and coconut that stays close to your skin instead of blasting tropical notes all over tarnation.
You know how there are shampoos that just smell good--not fruity, not sweet, not squeaky-clean--just good? That’s how this smells to me.
CREED VIRGIN ISLAND WATER
When I opened the bottle of Virgin Island Water for the first time, I inhaled deeply and smiled. This perfume is one of two I've found (the other being the immortal Frederic Malle Carnal Flower, which I will be able to afford and purchase someday soon) that smells exactly like ME, like my "essence," if you will. I am 100% head-over-heels in love with it.
Virgin Island Water is built upon the notes from the copra, the white part of the coconut. With a blend of lime, bergamot and musk, it's much more fresh than it is pure coconut suntan oil. It's not warm and sweet, but rather airy and almost masculine.
When I wear it, the coconut seems as though it's being carried past me on the wind and I’m just chilling on the patio drinking a mojito.
SARAH HOROWITZ PERFECT COCONUT MILK
Perfect Coconut Milk smells just as it claims: pure, sweet coconut with a strong but not cloying milk note courtesy almond and vanilla. It's rich but still appropriate for a beach day, and of all the coconutty fragrances I tested, this one works best year-round.
I asked Sarah herself about its origins: "I wanted to create a coconut scent that felt like an experience … The middle note is what makes this fragrance work. It is an orange blossom/gardenia accord that I created to transport you to and island in bloom. I love it for its complexity and its creaminess. The drydown is sweet, but not sugary."
EBBA MISS MARISA TROPICAL
Miss Marisa's tropical flanker scent is interesting because, on paper, it's full of notes I don't love, like mango and peach. I'm not one for fruity scents, so I was surprised by how much I truly enjoyed wearing the oil around for a day.
It's cheerful--the kind of perfume you'd wear out on the water to drink cocktails with your best friends. The mango-coconut blend is balanced out nicely with a little bit of ginger.
I love mixing Demeter's easy, one-note blends with other fragrances, and Coconut plays well with white florals like Fracas or even something as simple as Skin Trip coconut lotion.
There's nothing fancy about Coconut, but that's the magic of it. Use a spritz or two to enhance your favorite beachy scent, or add it to vanilla for something creamier and sexier.
Do you love coconut or hate it? Wait, do you love Malibu? Do I love Malibu? I think I kind of do.