Coqui Coqui: The Mexican Brand You Need In Your Beauty Cupboard
I love a good artisanal fragrance. Because there’s 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 unusual scent too, you instantly bond over your refined taste in fragrance and mutual love for, say, 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. My friend and I had booked a couple of quiet nights in Valladolid, a sleepy town in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. We chose it because it’s yet to be hit by the Cancun masses. So it was certainly not a travel destination where I was expecting to find such as 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.
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. But when the Mexican government retracted their land title and forced them to shut up shop in Tulum, they packed their bags and moved their flagship to Valladolid instead. There, thanks to the brand’s near immediate success, Coqui Coqui has even opened up another boutique hotel 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 which contain Yucatan-influenced notes. There’s everything from lighter mint to creamy coconut to heady tobacco and cedar. The brand has also more recently launched a Polynesian line now that the co-founders have relocated to Bora Bora.
Truly committed to its artisanal approach, Coqui Coqui manufactures a limited number of every scent. Of course this only increases the brand’s appeal; you really have to get these babies while they’re hot. And much like other quirky fragrance brands, all of Coqui Coqui’s scents are unisex. I love this. Too many mass fragrance brands exclude heavier woody and spicy notes from what they define as “feminine” fragrances.
And still - there’s more. If you pop into the Coqui Coqui 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 foyer of a Mexican aristocrat’s home. There are beautiful floral-tiled floors and vintage wooden side tables stacked with Taschen-style 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 making most of these purchases as a backpacker (honestly, my bag gets heavier by the day) I also couldn’t resist buying one scent for the road. After much deliberation, I chose 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 Chanel 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 about time I 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
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