I first bought this for myself when I was a teenager and I love this. It has been my signature fragrance for years. The newest reformulation has me glad that I have two bottles of EDP I bought back in the nineties. I bought the Parfum this last year and love it. I would highly advise anyone buying this to go for the Parfum instead of the EDP or EDT. You won't be disappointed.
29th December, 2014 (last edited: 02nd January, 2015)
I'm never sure if I like Coco: I don't actually dislike it as I do Allure, and the downright ghastly Coromandel and Bel Respiro, but every time I smell Coco, it leaves me disappointed.
When I first tried it in the mid 80s, it instantly reminded me of Opium, though softer and not as spicy. Shortly I afterwards I bought a bottle, as at the time I was very much into Oriental scents, and immediately wished I hadn't: I liked it, but it always felt like it should have developed into something deeper on my skin, but never did.
When I smell Coco now, I still feel there is something missing from this perfume. It no longer reminds me of Opium, but more of a somewhat fruity oriental with a slightly Guerlain-ish vanilla and tonka bean base.
Though it is far preferable to some of Polge's more recent creations, Coco is not a perfume I would ever buy or wear again.
Genre: Woody Oriental
Coco was Chanel’s contribution to the bevy of dense spiced amber orientals that helped define 1980s perfumery, and I find it hard to discuss without reference to its earlier counterparts, Opium and Cinnabar. All three lean heavily upon cinnamon, cloves, opoponax, and heady rose and orange blossom, but coming from Chanel, Coco is more refined and elegant, less dense and garish, than either of the others, and hence much easier to wear.
Coco’s amber is less dark and viscous than Opium’s or Cinnabar’s, its clove is less pronounced, and its opopanax is less exposed and angular. Fewer spices and a persistent sweet citrus note brighten Coco’s heart, and the floral accord is softened by a powdery mimosa that plays no apparent part in the Lauder or the St. Laurent. Together with a more prominent vanilla in the drydown, this powdery accent rounds and softens Coco’s contours, rendering it more pretty and slender than its rivals while at the same time aligning it more closely with the Chanel house style, as established by No. 5, Bois des Îles, and Cuir de Russie.
While no fragrance in this style could reasonably be called understated, Coco comes closer than most. Sillage, projection, and endurance are all ample, but next to Opium, or even Cinnabar, Coco seems downright retiring. Whereas Opium and Cinnabar, applied lightly, make perfectly fine masculine orientals in the vein of Jaïpur Homme or JHL, Coco always strikes me as more gender-specific. On the other hand, its relative sense of proportion leaves it much more viable for today’s women than its more flamboyant predecessors.
Review for the EDT.
I absolutely love this one! A warm, spicy, sensual oriental. I love how this smells. In fact I actually think this is unisex. Cloves, Spices, Amber, dark resins, creamy sandalwood, I can see this totally working on a man. I also see this much in the same way that I would something by Serge Lutens (whose perfumes are very rich and heady and are inspired by Morocco).
The fragrance itself opens up to me with a blast of cloves, I also get a type of orange blossom smell, and peach or plum (dried fruit accord). I also detect Jasmine, and Jasmine is actually my favorite smell. There is also some prominent rose, but the base is where it all happens; resins, amber, vanilla and tonka, dry sandalwood... it's all there, and it's very very evocative!
I've heard that Jacues Polge wanted to evoke Venice with this perfume (just as Shalimar was inspired by India and Opium by the Middle East and Southeast Asia etc.), and I can totally see Venice in this. Italian, Baroque and also Oriental, with spices and rich, warm sensuality. Jaques Polge himself would later refine the spices (along with more wood, leather and tobacco) to create his eventual masterpiece "Egoïste" released 6 years after Coco.
I remember trying the female Opium EDP and I think this is a lot more wearable for those who couldn't wear that. It's Chanel, and a Chanel is never too loud, it knows just when to stop and hold you there, without being too loud or overpowering. In fact to my nose Coco is like a spicy, exotic, oriental version of No. 5; and just like No. 5, it makes a statement. It's grown up, it's mature, but also sensual and in-control. It's for someone who knows a little about life and is experienced both in mind and body. Someone who isn't afraid to be who they are, instead they celebrate it.
I don't know if that description helps, but that's what Coco brings across to me. Warm, sensual, passionate, loving and even a little amount of danger at the edges. It takes guts to wear this, but it's totally worth it. Pure Emotion in a bottle.
How does Coco manage to smell fruity when there are no fruits listed in its ingredients? Masterful blending and the use of damascenes. Spicy, sweet, strong and warm.
Barbara Herman's notes are somewhat different from those listed above:
Top: Mandarin, Pimiento, Coriander
Middle: Rose, Carnation, Ylang Ylang, Cinnamon, Orris, Patchouli, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Tuberose.
Base: Olibanum, Amber, Benzoin, Vanilla, Musk, Honey, Civet
This is not a demure scent. It is right out there and in your face, like Patou's Joy or Lanvin's Arpege. Turin calls it "elegant spicy" and gives it four stars. He also points out the new use of damascenes, which smell like "complex dark, dried fruit."
This is an ultra-feminine scent for a mature woman. Guys, stay away - not even remotely a unisex scent. Quite fine and for me, Chanel's best scent for women.