Coqui Coqui: The Mexican Brand You Need In Your Beauty Cupboard

I love a good artisanal fragrance. There’s just nothing quite like discovering a signature scent that feels like it belongs only to you. And when you do eventually bump into someone who’s picked that same perfume too, you instantly bond over your unusual fragrance tastes and mutual love for, you know, Le Labo’s Vetiver 46.

So you can imagine my sheer joy when I discovered Coqui Coqui, a small artisanal fragrance brand, in the heart of Mexico. A friend and I booked a couple of quiet nights in Valladolid, a quaint town in the Yucatan Peninsula. We chose the city because it has yet to be hit by the Cancun masses. So it certainly seemed like the least likely destination to discover a cool beauty brand.  

But after many chats with our hosts at the beautiful La Casa Flor Boutique hotel during which I confessed my - ahem - obsession for all things beauty, the lovely Casear suggested we drop into a local fragrance shop, Coqui Coqui, which was a mere few blocks away.

The beautiful displays in the Coqui Coqui shop 

Little did I know we’d serendipitously stumbled upon an absolute beauty gem. Though Coqui Coqui is still relatively new (it was founded in the early noughties) it has a rich and interesting history. The brand was founded alongside a hotel and spa in Tulum by former models Nicolas Malleville and Francesca Bonato. However, when the Mexican government retracted their land title and forced them to shut up shop, they packed their bags and moved their flagship to Valladolid. There, thanks to the brand’s near immediate success, Coqui Coqui has now opened another boutique hotel (with an attached concept store) and has expanded into candles, chocolates and even honey. 

But it all began with Coqui Coqui’s beautiful bespoke fragrances influenced by the sights, sounds and scents of Mexico. The original line includes 11 fragrances, all with Yucatecan-influenced notes. There’s everything from lighter mint and coconut to heavier tobacco and cedar notes. The brand has also created a new Polynesian line now that the co-founders call Bora Bora home.

Truly committed to its artisanal approach, Coqui Coqui only manufactures a limited number of every scent. Of course this only increases the brand’s appeal; you really have to get ‘em while they’re hot. And much like other quirky fragrance brands, all of Coqui Coqui’s scents are unisex. I love this; too many mainstream fragrance brands exclude heavier woody and spicy notes from their so-called "feminine" fragrances. 

Books in display in the Coqui Coqui shop

And still, there’s more. If you pop into the shop itself, expect a treat. Based on the chicest street in Valladolid, it’s a true reflection of the brand’s aesthetic. Walking in, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the elegant foyer of someone’s home. There are beautiful floral-tiled floors and vintage wooden side tables stacked with Taschen-type books. And the fragrances themselves, packaged simply but beautifully, are displayed lovingly throughout the room. Wander further back and you’ll find candles fitted in glass domes and delicious hand soaps you’ll be desperate to take home.

Though I couldn’t justify most of these as a backpacker (honestly, my bag continues to get heavier by the day!) I couldn’t resist buying one scent to take with me on the road. After much deliberation, I picked Eucaced, a wonderfully warm blend of eucalyptus and cedar notes. And I’ve worn it every single day since. Both on those rare dressy days to complete my look (because as the wise Coco once said, "perfume is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory") and on those ordinary days to remind myself that despite seven months on the road, I do still have some sense of style. So it was time to do Coqui Coqui justice and give it a shout out in this month’s Beauty Cupboard. Go and give it a try; I promise you'll find a scent that feels like it's been designed just for you.

Where You Can Shop Coqui Coqui:

Bricks and Mortar: Stockists around the world

Online: Coqui Coqui  The Line  Net A Porter