Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chanel Coco by Chanel: fragrance review

Coco by Chanel must be among a handful of fragrances on the market to have not only one, but two flankers without being a spectacular market success to begin with. Flankers are supporting fragrances coat-tailing on the success of the original perfume, borrowing part of the name of the original as well as the bottle mould, but differing in scent and target demographics. Coco has two: Coco Mademoiselle, an alarmingly successful best-seller for youngish women that has far eclipsed the original, and Coco Noir, a woody fragrance of recent crop with dubious presence on the market as yet. Today Coco seems old fashioned and aimed only at mature women, fading-to-market-black, but soon after it came out it profited of a marketing campaign that positioned it as a sexy debutante scent, fronted by then teenager Vanessa Paradis! Funny how perceptions change and we used to wear Ungaro Diva and the like when not yet out of high school, right?

The most astounding personal association I have with Coco has always been one that pertains to its market share, not the scent itself: In all my many years of perfume observation & appreciation I have never met in real life a person owning a bottle of Coco, a fact which had always struck me as weird considering the continued presence of the perfume on the counters. Chanel No.19 is also an undivided presence on the local counters (and a steady seller according to SAs), but I actually know people who wear it, I smell it on the street from time to time and I have seen bathroom shelves with a bottle of it proudly displayed more than once or twice. Someone must be buying Coco too, then, right?
But let's take things at the top.

Aiming to capture a more Baroque side of Chanel, taking the sobriquet given to Gabrielle Chanel by her escapee father and inspired by Gabrielle's Rue Cambon apartment with its casket-like rooms full of Venetian glass, Chinoiserie panels and leather bound books, house perfumer Jacques Polge set out to compose a true 1980s perfume following the commercial smash hit of YSL Opium: bold, brash, take no prisoners. And he succeeded in the most part.

The fragrant secrets of Coco by Chanel
One of the peculiarities of Coco is that it was among the first perfumes to be conceived not as an extrait de parfum first but rather envisioned in its diluted form of eau de parfum. The market had gone away from the more discreet, more intimate use of parfum extrait and demanded a really powerful spray that would announced the wearer before she was seen; ergo the eau de parfum (and sometimes the parfum de toilette) concentration, less expensive than extrait but rivaling its lasting power, while at the same time being extra loud thanks to the volatility boost via the spraying mechanism.

The secret ingredient in the formula of Coco by Chanel is the inclusion of the base Prunol*, a rich and dark "dried fruits & spices" mélange famously exalted in Rochas Femme by Edmond Roudnitska, which gives Coco a burnished hint of raisin. The cascade of honeyed spices immediately asserts itself: pimento, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and clove, while the overall feeling is one of amber plush and resinous warmth (with a wink of leather) with the flowers folded into a rich batter and undiscernable. The patchouli (tucked into the Prunol base) gives a whiff of chocolate, though, in the words of Susan Irvine, not even a fashion innovator of the magnitude of Chanel would have considered a note reminiscent of a bedtime drink as worthy of consideration in fine fragrance. (One would perversely wish she had lived through present fruitchouli-infested times to see how she'd chuckle under her smartly cuffed sleeve.)

A Perfume Apart
Coco by Chanel enjoys something of a revered status among perfumistas, so it's not clear whether it should be considered an "underrated perfume" in the first place, but my inclusion in the Underrated Perfume Day series isn't totally random as it would appear on first sight nevertheless. First of all it was demanded by quite a lot of readers. Secondly, this is the kind of perfume that I should be theoretically crazy about (a spicy oriental in the mold of my beloved YSL vintage Opium, Cinnabar, Feminité du Bois and Krizia Teatro alla Scala) and yet I am not. Indeed I have been trying it on and off for decades now.

However when married with a huge bottle of Coco (extrait de parfum in spray no less) I had the following peculiar problem, for something so -allegedly- admired: I could NOT swap it with other interested perfumephiles no matter what! I tried everything: stooping to suggesting I'd trade for inexpensive eaux de toilette from mainstream brands, offering to supplement with generous niche samples, pleading "please take it off my hands, it's a shame it should collect dust, just take it already". No one wanted it. I finally gifted it off to a women's shelter where its whereabouts have been lost to me. The perfume lover who had sold it to me in the first place recounted to me the exact same problem: "I spent two years trying to get this thing off my hands; when you came along and showed an interest I couldn't believe it".

Is Coco by Chanel something that perfumistas like to reference but rarely -if ever- wear? Are its wearers merely nostalgic for the 1980s, a time they were young and more optimistic, and therefore owning a little bottle is just that, a memento of carefree times? Is it, finally, past its due and not that spectacular to begin with? I think a bit of all those things. One thing however that it did magnificently well was its advertising by Jean Paul Goude: Vanessa Paradis as an exotic bird in a cage whistling to the meowing of a big greedy cat outside and "l' ésprit de Chanel" as the tag line. Coco Chanel would have been proud.

For more perfume reviews of such fragrances check out the Underrated Perfume Day feature and scroll for more musings. 

*For modern takes on the Prunol type base in perfumes, look no further than Bottega Veneta eau de parfum, Chinatown by Bond no.9 and Mon Parfum Chéri by Camille (Annick Goutal).


  1. i own and wear coco. i really love it. i also love coco noir and want to buy it, but havent yet. my mom who loves cinnabar does not like coco. i do however spray coco less than i would like to. i like it so much i worry about using it. hahha. i think ill start using it more because i could buy another bottle if i used it. haha.

  2. I have a 5ml decant of Coco and don't really wear it. I do have to agree with the authors of The Guide that it does smell dated an '80's dated. I have to be in a certain mood to wear it though. It's nice but I really can't get past that dated smell.

  3. I have a vintage eau de toilette mini. I've been wearing it this week as it's been very cold here. I don't think it smells dated at all, compared to say, my 1950's #5 parfum (sacrilege, right!?). I was in high school when this came out and I def. feel like some others that came out then do smell past their sell-by date. But not Coco.

  4. In the early 80's, after hearing about the new perfume from Chanel called Coco, I asked my mother to bring me a bottle from Paris because it wasn't available yet in the U.S. She did and I never could love it. Inappropriate as this comment is, I have to tell you what my then husband said about Coco...It smells like the dog threw up. I promptly got rid of it, but now wish I had just poured it out and kept the lovely bottle!

  5. Well, I'm a Coco fan for life. I've posted this story on other blogs so please forgive me for repeating myself, but I fell in love with Coco when it was first released; I was then a waitress in my 20s. I received a large tip one night and the next day bought a bottle of Coco edt. That night, I met my husband for the first time and he loved my perfume. Since then, Coco has often been his anniversary gift to me; he always makes sure I have a bottle on hand. Right now I have a vintage bottle of the edt that I swapped for and I wear it often, especially in cold weather (although I was living in steamy Houston TX when I bought my first bottle.) I would have been all over your bottle of extrait, E! So I don't care if it's dated, it's a perfume I love. And I've worn #19 since I was in high school in the 70s. It's the perfume that feels most like "me".

  6. how perplexing...i own a large bottle of coco, and wear it frequently. when empty, it will be replaced by another. it's a go-to fragrance for me. i don't find it dated at all! i think it is very simply beautiful, timeless, ageless, and of good quality. i found it fairly recently, and have no nostalgic associations with it. i don't care for coco mademoiselle, which to me smells a bit clumsy and yet facile at the same time. coco noir is ok, but not as lovely as the original coco. i can see how it might not be embraced equally by everyone, but i can't see it as unpleasant or outdated in any way, though of course perfume preference is highly subjective. perhaps its blase reception by perfumistas is simply because it does not stand out in any extraordinary way: it isn't very loud, nor very subtle; it isn't weird or striking in any obvious fashion; it wasn't/isn't ground-breaking; it's just a high quality, well-composed, well-executed perfume. one might almost describe it as well-bred, or 'solid'. perhaps it lacks edginess, or glamor, for many people due to an unconscious perception of it as too well-bred to be sexy or modern? i find it perfectly lovely and utterly reliable, perhaps because of these same qualities...

    1. Anonymous20:55

      I agree also :) It is simply divine. It is the older more refined sister of Coco Mademoiselle. I love it and it has become my signature scent. Over all the House of Chanel is untouchable.

  7. Wow I found that ad really disturbing. The ominous cat/thunder and then the woman and caged 'bird' disappearing at the end. The vertiginous camera angles. It actually creeped me out and that plus the intended message that they can feel confident because they are..inside?... I don't feel like that's going to sell much perfume. But then it was the eighties.

  8. I happen to know that Alyssa Harad loves Coco! I have another friend, not a perfumista but she is interested in perfume, who likes it as well. Like you, I keep trying it and never falling in love. In this category I prefer the original Fendi.

  9. Hannah03:11

    I know that Victoria from the wonderful EuaMG loves Coco and wrote a lovely piece on it:

    Personally it's one of those fragrances that I keep sniffing and liking. It's more complex, more nuanced, and much bolder than many mainstream perfumes today. I appreciate the lingering spicy-ness of it, but it's just a little too "more, more, more" for me. I only recently have really been able to wear perfumes because I get headaches/nauseated from them somewhat easily. Coco tends to trigger that nausea if I wear it, especially in close quarters. Fun fact, though. Today I was at the fragrance counter and picked up Coco to spritz it on paper, and there was a woman waiting behind me so she could try it on. So there are still people who enjoy it!

  10. Anonymous06:33

    I personally feel it's due a big revival. Think of all the less well formulated noirish evening perfumes - Coco Noir, Jasmine Noir. There's also Tom Ford's Black Orchid - a huge spicy dark floral that's rendered more contemporary with its more moist floral/fruity notes, but again, like Jasmine Noire and Coco Noir it's various components hang disjointed in the air for me, like a skeleton that's just received an electric shock!

    I owned and wore Chanel's Coco in the 80s and loved it. But it has to be worn in the right way, on skin, not on clothes or hair, allowed to warm up so its harder edge softens. Definitely not in summer and NOT in the office. Coco in summer in an office is a recipe for nausea.

    My friend recently began wearing it again (she'd been wearing Daisy and Chanel No. 5 and they just weren't quite hitting the mark for her, she wanted something rich and satisfying. I must say she wears it well - not too loud, it's lovely.

    I'd wear it again. I'm always seeking a good noirish evenng perfume. Portrait of a Lady almost came close, but Coco is just so well blended. I've always preferred it to Opium, but again, Opium has to be worn lightly and therein lies the key to these 80s sillage monsters. Mind you, Poison will always be unwearable to me!

  11. Sarah K12:03

    Interesting! I also have, and love. Coco, though I don't wear it that often. I find it softer, more rounded and more luxurious-smelling than Opium, 24 Faubourg or even Coromandel and don't think it's dated at all.

  12. I find all your replies fascinating, thank you, and will come back to each and every one of you with specific comments shortly!

  13. Eleonore18:10

    I was offered a huge bottle of Coco when iot went out and fell in love with it at 1rst sniff! I've loved it and worn it sor several years and people kept complimenting me for my signature fragrance (at the beginning it wasn't so well known..) and I totally agree with what Rostrang writes: only on the skin, never in Summer, it's a winter fragrance...And then I found it was too much, even in winter and I abandonned it on its shelf...I've been wearing it again since last year when Coco NOir was issued to compare them and I like it better now...but it's not a fragrance I would wear everyday, whereas in the 1980s I did.. and never found it overpowering or "too much"...It's funny, isn't, the way our taste change..5now I would wear Beige by Chanel everyday, I love it!!!)But I would say it's a fragrance I feel sentimental about and keep loving!...sorry for this long comment:-)

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  15. Over here in Germany the original Coco has still a lot of lovers. I would not be surprised if it was a bigger seller here than N°19. Probably because it is very comforting in the long and cold wintertime. Additionally a lot of German women still adore the big and heavy Florientals from the 80s and 90s.

  16. Count me in as another who loves Coco. Coco was my first Chanel fragrance when I was young, and I bought the large stoppered bottle and I still have it, though it's basically empty. I recently had to go buy another on etsy since I worried it was reformulated and I wanted to wear it again. I really love it but do not wear it a lot, but then, with all the perfumes I have I could say that about many, ha! I agree, a winter fragrance for me.

  17. Anonymous05:59

    I have to add my voice to the chorus! For 20 years I've been replacing empties with new FBs... Since I contracted FCD (fragrance compulsive disorder) I don't wear it as often as I did in the 90s, simply because now I am working my way through so many other fabulous scents. But when I do wear it, I love it...

    --Ann AKA Oakland Fresca

  18. annemariec09:00

    I had a flirtation with Coco a few years ago but like Hannah, I find it a bit 'more, more, more', and I rarely wear it now. I recall that the EDP that I bought on eBay was well-used but even so, quite cheap. There may be something in what you say about its reputation being greater than its actual use, and yet every time there is a review on a perfume blog, plenty of people pop and say that they adore Coco. I certainly agree that it gives niche 'noir' scents a run for their money.

  19. :-) Here's another person to add to the Coco-loving list: my wife, the one and only Madame Persolaise. She's been a fan for years and frequently wears it. Interestingly, she also used to wear Femme when it was still in vintage mode.

    I think the 'problem' with Coco, if there is one, is that it isn't quite dramatic enough. It's trying to do the whole 'elegant, understated Chanel' thing whilst being an oriental, and the two don't quite go together. It's beautiful... and yet... you wouldn't sell your soul to the devil for it.

  20. Anonymous01:23

    Back in the late 80's Coco was my signature scent. I was in my early 20's at the time and I thought it smelled amazing. In fact, I still own three (!) vintage bottles of the stuff. Only, I never wear it. Somehow, I just don't care for it anymore. It smells dated to me and "not youthful," which is something I never thought about when I was 20, but, now it has become something I am more cautious about. (No sense in highlighting the situation!) I put some on after reading your thoughts and I haven't changed my mind-- I just don't really like it anymore. Oh, well, tastes change. People change....

    Happy Holidays! Cristine

  21. Black,

    oh good for you!
    Funny you're saying your mom who likes Cinnabar doesn't like Coco, because between the two I too prefer Cinnabar. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Eld,

    hmmm, I wonder whether it's just the "retro" vibe that is bothering people, I don't really think so. I suppose it's more along the lines you say that you have to be in a certain mood.

  23. Nancy,

    thanks for commenting!

    Hmm, it's very interesting what you say. Myself I don't find No.5 dated in any formulation but my nose picks up the musk like crazy and that's never been "dated" to me. (Arpege I do find more "dated" than No.5 for instance, since less musky). Ha!

    And a mini. Ah, but those don't really count in this experiment. Show me the real humongous bottle on your vanity people!! [just kidding, but you know what I mean, so many folks just have a decant or mini around but never upgrade to a full bottle]

  24. JW,

    ah, nothing like the tender comment of a close one mentioning dog vomit to make you fall headlong in a love affair with a perfume! :-D

    The bottle is typical Chanel: very elegant in all senses of the word.

  25. A,

    Coco fan for life: that's heartening!! And thanks so much for repeating yourself here for our benefit.

    This is a heartwarming story and a very special one. May you wear it in good health all your life.

    Yet, I just love how you find No.19 more "you" all the same! (I love No.19 and wear it all the time in summer, when it's hot and I'm sweaty, like I do with Bandit edp).

  26. NFS,

    that's highly interesting. Not only a decant/mini/bottle owner, but a replenishing, repeat buyer as well like Rosarita above.

    People, we've got two dedicated fans so far! (in case anyone is counting)

    I TOTALLY agree with you: it's not extraordinary and yet it's very good too. Theoretically I like it: it's not too sweet, it's not too bitter, it's rich and well-bred, it's not too loud like Poison is, it's…very good. And yet….I can't bring myself to wear it.
    It could be that its lack of edginess as you put it make it not particularly "hip" with perfumistas and the rest of folks find it too mature to consider it sexy in the contemporary style, I don't know…

    It's an interesting phenomenon! You must wear it very well, though, I'd love to smell it on you!

  27. Gorgonzola,

    I on the other hand find the advertising really spectacular and the creepy factor attracts me like moth to the flame. It's a nice idea that confidence because you're inside contrasts so much with the spirit of Coco herself: who's the wearer of Coco, the caged bird or the predator cat? :-)

  28. Elisa,

    you will have to send me photographic evidence of huge bottles standing on a vanity and of discarded clothes impregnated with the smell of Coco! (LOL, this is a joke, but it has a point).

    Personally, I must find a particular moment when I sit down and say "now I will wear Coco and try to appreciate it". By its very nature this is the way to get disappointed actually, so I'm might be doing the poor perfume a disservice. It's such a well blended thing and I never appreciate it in full…

    The original Fendi was a most noteworthy typhoon! Surprised people remember it, I thought I was alone. Thanks for saying that!

  29. Hannah,

    thanks, will check it out.

    But like I joked to Elisa above, I will need actual proof.

    I believe that theoretically, intellectually, we all appreciate the likes of Coco. It's a well made perfume. It has a lot going for it, but it doesn't inspire….passion, you know? At least that's the way I see it. It might inspired passion to the women who really really wear it and don't expect it to turn their world upside down but stealthily become part of themselves…like with Victoria or Alyssa.

    But I'm certain there are women buying Coco. It wouldn't survive on the market if there weren't. That's a fact.

  30. Rosestrang,

    an interesting point of view.

    Thought I agree with the overuse of "noir" in both mainstream and niche sector as an attractive point up till recently, the actual perfumes you mention (well, 2 out of 3) are well made. They offer a very good formula with perfect balance of intent and effect, though they're admittedly less "noir" than the baroque and dense style of Coco!

    I was nodding my head on how you wore Coco, though, as I could never wear it like that. We never get that really intense, prolonged cold that necessitates a very dense and very hard perfume that would be warmed by the body and the hair. Therefore if Coco is saved for only a few days while on a trip to a cold country, it's a waste for me. :-( I can't imagine sitting next to someone wearing Coco in the summer. It'd be cruel beastliness on their part!

    Your friend should explore more since she's at it, beyond Daisy and No.5. Maybe you can introduce her to more esoteric fragrances? That would be lovely for you two to have endless matter for discussion ;-)

    As to Poison, last time I wore it someone asked me if I had been drinking. (I mean, whoa? WTF?)

  31. Sarah,

    OK, I'm counting you too as a fan.

    (Ah, but then you have caveat "I don't wear it often").

    How very fascinating that you find it more luxurious than 24 F or Coromandel: those two are right up there to the plush and luxe factor for me. They just smell…posh, you know? Coco is a bit more strident, to my nose. I should definitely resmell side by side to compare this effect and see how it fares with newly opened eyes. Thank you!!

  32. Eleonore,

    I tried, I tried and I tried some more. I even capitulated and bought the extrait from someone, as I mentioned in my article. :-/

    (et j'étais juste au pointe de crever quand je l'avais porté!)

    Compared to Coco Noir, they're night and day (and not in the intended way!). I suppose the change of the cultural milieu and the environmental "cleaning up" (less smokers around in public places, more detergent smells in ventilation systems) plays a role in that.

  33. Martha,

    I find this the most fascinating comment of all.

    Germany: Coco rules over No.19 sales.
    Greece: No.19 rules over Coco sales.

    I think this speaks volumes about not only the weather but the cultural expectations of perfume in the first place.

    Thank you for providing such an interesting insight!

  34. Stelma,

    counting you in, no worries :-)

    (wow, we've amassed a fan club)

    But there you are: you don't wear it a lot!!

    Lots of people come out and say "I love it but don't wear it a lot". WHY are you not wearing it a lot, then, people? Why?? isn't it a waste not to?

  35. Ann,

    a dedicated fan with lots of repeat buys. I believe you. You must wear it beautifully (Spraying a Q-tip and hiding it in your boot perhaps? I could never find a way to wear this subtly)

    Also found your comment very interesting: perhaps one reason it's underrated is that people are so much more immersed in hundreds of launches and thousands of niches today. And Coco is discussed as an afterthought.

  36. AMC,

    you feel me. It's so "more" that it somehow contrast with my "all in moderation" classicist credo that is part & parcel of my heritage. It engulfs me.

    I have a theory that people commenting on perfume blogs have quite a collection of fumes and therefore Coco is part of them and intellectually they like it and wear it from time to time, but it's not on their "most used list". If you know what I mean.

    That said, it's certainly much better than lots of dreck on the shelves today.

  37. D,

    ah, you must never let Madame Persolaise read this comment then, since you prefer others to her favorite. It would crush her feelings.

    I find what you say to be hitting the nail on the head. It's very well bred for an oriental and though beautiful it doesn't inspire mad folly. I wonder why. But it's true.

  38. Christine,

    thanks for commenting, how enlighting what you say about the perceived image of age in relation to perfume. I know what you're talking about as so many women of a certain age are careful of these things in our ageist culture.

    It's also interesting that you have changed your taste in regards to Coco. It goes to show that as we mature we don't necessarily lean on to more complex smells, but it could be the reverse (or rather it could be that as we mature we gain more conviction in what we love at that particular moment? Feel free to elaborate if you like).

    And happy holidays to you too!

  39. Anonymous14:47

    Wow, I've worn Coco faithfully since its release in 1984. It's my signature. I have five bottles of EDP or EDT, a bottle of parfum, and the gorgeous body cream. I've never smelled it on anyone else in all this time. Now I know why -- and I'm glad. (More for me.) SUCH a shame you had difficulty giving away your huge bottle of it.

    Great article.

  40. Anonymous14:54

    P.S. I suppose that it doesn't smell dated to those of us who have worn it since the '80s (like rosarita) because we've worn it constantly. Sure, it smells like the '80s to us, but it also smells like the '90s, the '00s, and the '10s!

    Marsi (the Anon directly above)

  41. Anonymous15:34

    I was born in 1990 and at that time my mum wore coco briefly. I love it! I've worn it since I was 18. Every friend, relative, boyfriend & co-worker has complimented me on it. They've all been my age too. I don't think it's dated. Just not fashionable if you know what I mean.

  42. Anon,

    yes, it was odd that no one was taking it off my hands. It was such a great bottle and…anyway.

    Wow, so much for you indeed, Enjoy!

    And great point about the continuity of wearing something not marking it as of a specific decade; this happens for me with Opium. So I know exactly what you mean.

    And thanks for the compliment, Marsi.

  43. Anon,

    that's great feedback. Apparently I'm alone in my feeling not quite right with Coco (and never getting a compliment on it, sniff sniff). It's a lovely fragrance which just doesn't sit with me the way I'd like it to be.
    However I'm psyched to hear many people continue to wear it and enjoy it, as that means there's hope yet for this kind of fragrances, which is…encouraging!

    Yeah, not fashionable is just right. I know what you mean. Fashions come and go.

  44. Coco is one of finest perfumes ever made. A real achievement, the perfumer must have been inspired by a simple old French accord (there is a list of those somewhere in google books I believe - look under Poucher). I could be wrong but Egoiste reminded me very much of one of them as well.
    In any case, this is a pure example of fine perfumery, complex and charming, very refined and elegant. Perhaps this is the reason a lot of women appreciate it but don't wear it. It is not very "flexible" but unmistakable for any luxurious event.
    I've had created a masculine interpretation of COCO (for myself) a couple of years ago, by injecting a huge amount of sandalore into the formula and some iso e super to enhance the wood effect. It smelled dated and impressive.
    COCO, Loulou, Opium. I wish I could smell them again in their first vintage formula. They literally turned heads those perfumes, bigger than life they were..

  45. Started wearing this in the early 90s then it was eclipsed by Mademoiselle and became difficult to find. Maybe it is a generational thing but I love it and have located it again online. Looking forward to wearing it again.

  46. ION,

    your expert knowledge always appreciated! :-)

    I did love those big orientals. They sorta shaped me (alongside chypres), if you know what I mean.

    Interesting about the sandalore +iso e making this reconstruction smell dated. A ha!

  47. Michelle,

    thanks for commenting.
    Hope you enjoy the newer batches. Some report they're a bit different. But then again what isn't? It's still a very good perfume.

  48. Oh my goodness, I love Coco, and you can count me among the longtime loyal wearers! I'm now in my early thirties, but received a small miniature sample bottle as a 12 year old in a department store, and to me it was just the most sophisticated, beautiful scent - so French, so 80s, so sexy - I always felt that when I became a woman it would be my signature. Years of dabbling with other perfumes through my early twenties went by, but always stopping for a spray of Coco when in stores, because I still loved it. Finally at 27 I felt like a woman enough to buy my first bottle... and I haven't looked back. I wear it every day and love that people compliment me on it and ask what it is, because it's so rarely worn by others! Curious about this but grateful that Chanel still make it!

    1. K80,

      thanks for sharing your experiences with Coco. It's mature but in a good way. Thank heavens they didn't discontinue it in favor of the Mademoiselle flanker. ;-)
      Hope you enjoy it here and welcome to Perfume Shrine!

  49. I love Coco and have since the first time I smelled it. Wear it, No. 5, and Allure... absolutely cannot stand Chance or Coco Mademoiselle...

    My 2 daughters, ages 25 and 28 are also big fans of Coco... maybe it has something to do with body chemistry-- all of us have gotten frequent compliments when wearing it.

    1. If it suits, then....all the more enjoyable!!

    2. I believe it definitely has to do with body chemistry. I have always worn Coco since about the mid-80's and always get compliments on it, and have been stopped by strangers saying "wow, you smell so good"! I have tried other fragrances, but to no avail nothing on me has compared to Coco. Dated, or simply classic.

  50. Anonymous06:02

    I wear it all the time and love it... get lots of comments out of the blue about it too. Shame I just ran out, need to get some more. I was born in the 80's so not sure if I care about smelling like the 80's. Lol.

    1. Anon,

      maybe go for a bottle, everything old is new again. Right? The 80s had some formidable perfumes going, that's for sure.

  51. These compliments out of the blue are the best. Ring truest, I find.

    I never did understand the "shaming" about the 80s. I thought they were very stylish (if one wasn't a soccer mom with a mullet that is, I'm talking more fashion conscious people)

  52. Anonymous15:28

    I would have swapped the Coco Extrait with pleasure! I´m 39 and I love Coco since I was 20. It is a very sophisticated, timeless but sexy scent, much more individual than Coco Mademoiselle and Chanel Chance. By the way, first Testimonial for Coco was Ines de la Fressange, Vanessa Paradies followed her at the early 90ties!

    1. There is no comparison between the older Chanels and Coco Mlle or Chance, absolutely none. That said, some of their Exclusifs are really impressive and lovely. But what a pity the regular line is dumped down huh?
      Yes, Ines was the first face for it, in the print ads too, you're absolutely right. But it's the bird in a cage commercial with Paradis that really made the impression to me, yes? ;-)

    2. Anonymous08:12

      Totally agree - I feel very sophisticated when I wear my Coco - even to the supermarket! I have bought 1922 recently and absolutely adore that too, unfortunately we can't get it here in NZ!

  53. Anonymous04:17

    I went to the launch of "Coco" in Brisbane, Queensland Australia in the 1980's - maybe 1984 or 5 - I can't requite remember. It was in an "old world old queenslander" and all manner of French food was on offer. It was very grand, well be-fitting the guest of honour - Coco eau de Parfum. As it was a special event every woman in attendance received a "goody" bag that had the black spray atomiser cover with the bottle. It was to be my first of many bottles. Whether it is the heady excitement of the launch that I remember fondly, the wonderful time the 80's were for me or just the fact that Coco is still an amazing scent that when worn begs identification from passers-by, I love it.
    As the woman herself said " a fragrance should announce a woman's arrival and delay her departure".

  54. Anonymous08:10

    I started wearing Coco by Chanel in my 20s and am still wearing it over 20 years later. I love it and was surprised by your article that it didn't appear popular. I don't wear anything else (perfume wise) and I can't see that changing any time soon.

  55. Thanks for this article, I loved to read it! Count me in as another dedicated fan. I was in my early twenties when Coco came out and Chanel 19 was my signature then until when I was in my forties. My very elegant aunt wore Coco in the 80s and 90s and I always associated it with her, so, although I loved it from the beginning and did buy a big bottle of Coco EdT in the 80s, I never wore it then, because it was "hers". Meanwhile, Creed's Fleurs de Bulgarie, a birthday present from my husband, started a rose craving and a quest for the perfect rose scent. While collecting about 30 of the most exquisite and precious rose perfumes, I found myself drifting towards rose compositions with a warm and lasting base, and, my aunt having changed her signature long ago, opened my 30 year old bottle of Coco EdT. Wonderful! For the past couple of years, I found myself wearing Coco more and more often despite my collection of Annick Goutal, Les Parfums de Rosines, Serge Lutens, Creed, Frederic Malle, you name it...I want Coco. When my vintage bottle was empty, I went out to buy a new one and threw a tantrum in the shop, because I didn't recognize Coco as I knew it and the shop assistant tried to tell me that the formula hadn't been changed! Ever since, I am on the lookout for vintage bottles of the 80s or early 90s preferably and in more concentrated versions and meanwhile found and finished two 50 ml splash bottles of Eau de Parfum and a 7 ml pure perfume which is even warmer, richer and more gorgeous. I keep a small stash and I am well into a 100 ml Coco EdP right now, currently wearing a few drops of Coco pure perfume. Want a photo? The color I associate with Coco is golden brown or brownish gold and I feel this is so me, maybe because I am a brunette with golden overtones (still my natural hair color) and green eyes. I nearly wept when I read the story of your big 30 ml spray bottle of parfum extrait! I would gladly have swapped it with any precious niche perfume I own! But then: You probably made a woman in need insanely happy with your gift!

  56. Anonymous16:36

    COCO is the only perfume that can replace GEM. I loved GEM, but it is not on the market anymore. COCO stays, :-)

  57. Such an amazing perfume, COCO smells amazing, and is my favorite by far, I cannot wait for my husband to buy me a bottle lol, I just got a sample too from, came quickly! So worth trying out.

  58. Anonymous04:14

    I first smelled Coco when I was 16 and in Paris on a school trip in the late '80s. And then promptly bought a bottle of the EDP "splash" bottle and brought it home with me. And I haven't looked back since. I firmly believe that perfume smells different on different people, and for whatever reason, Coco has always resonated with me and suited me. Folks have always complemented me on how my perfume smells -- and more than once, other women have said, "Coco! I wouldn't have guessed. It smells so nice on you, and smells so horrible on me." I don't think it smells dated at all. Mysterious, sexy, elegant, glamorous... all those things. Or perhaps that's just how I feel when I wear it :) Unfortunately, I think the latest reformulation is terrible. More vanilla and soap vs. exotic/oriental notes. I'm not good at describing specific notes in perfumes, but Coco doesn't smell the same anymore, and it doesn't have the same lasting power. I'd buy a vintage bottle if I knew a reputable place to buy one...

  59. Found this article today. I wear Coco since 2012. Born in 1981 it might have left an impression on my memory as a child. The vintage (pre-2014) version is sublime. I seeked our and equally love Edt (the first concentration I tried), EDP and extrait. Slightly different but all precious to me. Fortunately we can find bottles online from earlier batches, early 2000s bottles still suit me.

  60. Anonymous10:36

    First wore Coco in the 80's, when I was early twenties. Loved how unique the scent was. I still wear it and like it, but sadly it smells totally different to the original.

  61. Anonymous20:39

    I’m 50 and I just discovered Coco. I lived through the 80’s and can distinctly remember not liking Opium. It smelled sickly to me. It might be because clouds of wafted everywhere and advertising with samples in magazines was pervasive. But I love Coco. I haven’t had much experience with fragrance so I doesn’t smell dated to me. It’s a gorgeous fragrance and I’m wearing it frequently. It is a complex fragrance and it dries down in to a lovely sophisticated almost powdery amber.

  62. Anonymous18:47

    This article got under my skin as I adore Coco. I have worn it every December- February from the year I turned 35 to now my age of 42. I get lots of compliments on it. My kids who dislike most strong perfumes enjoy smelling it. I cannot fathom how a perfumista could dislike it with so many boring sugar sweet department store flower bombs walking around. Coco is timeless and elegant and like a warm hug. It is the cashmere of perfumes and is absolutely radiant at Christmas. I have the EDT, EDP and the pure extrait. Then again I gag at the orientals you preferred over it so to each her own. I think most would prefer to be in an elevator with COCO than the others


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