Scent Gourmand

sinless pleasure for the perfume glutton

Tag: Bond No. 9

Suntan oil perfumes that bring you right to the beach

suntan lotion perfumes - fragrances that smell like suntan lotion

Summer is now approaching, and it’s soon time to head out to the coast and cool off in the ocean. Time to embrace the feeling of play and freedom by enveloping your senses in beachy, suntan-oil-like fragrances! This post introduces some perfumes that relish memories or dreams of basking in oil on some tropical beach in some random paradise.

The list focuses on those perfumes that mimic the scent of classic, coconut-y suntan oils and lotions, with a few exceptions. Many of these scents are sweet, delicious, succulent, and bright. Not all of them are to my personal taste, but they do all hit the vibe. I’ve attempted to include a variety from different price ranges, and have listed them below according to house genre. None are new releases.

Try eBay to get good prices on these. If you don’t live in North America or the UK, I recommend StrawberryNet, as always (free shipping to just about anywhere!)


Born in Paradise – by Escada

At first sniff, you get fresh, salty, sea water with lots of coconut and pineapple and watermelon. This is a non-serious vacation scent if there ever was one. It’s a pleasantly optimistic,  sweet, summer day scent that is not too sweet and won’t annoy.

Bronze Goddess – by Estée Lauder

I’ve only sampled the 2011 version, and found it a bit sticky and cloying, but definitely suntan-oil like. There are many flankers for this one -Sun Goddess 2011, Soleil, Capri, Eau Fraiche Skinscent… All carry the same delicious summer vibe, and it’s indeed well-loved. Loved to the point where many reviewers have rated it 5 stars. It does have that ability to express summer indolence while being wearable and refined.

Elle L’aime by – Lolita Lempicka

Not too suntan-oily and beachy, but if it’s the coconut aspect you are after, this is a really lovely fragrance indeed. It has that sweetness that Lempicka is famously adept at pulling off without being too cloying or sickly. The top notes of lime, neroli, bergamot are so bright you need sunglasses, and that fresh splash of light slowly disappears into cloud of creamy Pina Colada decorated with white flowers. There are meaty chunks of fresh, woody coconut in this cocktail, and as you’re sipping it with delight, a handsome bar boy comes by to serve you up some complementary coconut cream pie. Obviously I like this one.

Sun Delight – by Jil Saunder

As there is actually no coconut in this, it is not typical beach scent, but somehow still evokes the coast. It is still reminiscent of Pina Colada with a touch of vanilla, but enjoyed in a swimming pool changing room, with a bowl of frangipani flowers on the counter and suntan oil someone spilled on the floor. Carefree, fun stuff!

Terracotta Voile d’Été – by Guerlain

This is a warm, dry, and complex fragrance consisting of spice-dusted carnations toasting slowly under the sun, copper-baked earth drizzled with melted butterscotch and root beer, and vanilla ice cream with a light spritz of vinegar. Somehow beachy, somewhat amazing, and sadly somewhere quickly fading.

Niche / Indie / Artisan

Aloha Tiare – by Comptoire Sud Pacifique

This Hawaiian tiare scent evokes tropical beaches, palm trees, heat, coconuts, refreshing cocktails, and good times. It’s creamy, smacks of dense and loud white flowers (sharp opening, check), oozes luscious silky coconut, has a Flintstone vitamin, candy-like dry down, and is playfully unisex. Excellent longevity. It’s a Bikini Atoll bomb, so one spray will do.

At the Beach 1966 – by CB I hate Perfume

The theme of this one is Coppertone sun lotion from the 60s, blended with the North Atlantic:  wet sand, seashell, driftwood and just a hint of boardwalk. Sadly, I’m not sure if this is true, as I actually not put my nose on this one. One thing is for sure: CB I hate perfume is know for creating scents that are real to life; more to interpret memories literally than (just) to smell good. Apparently, some say it bears similarity to Bobbi Brown’s Beach (see below), which is a great deal cheaper.

Beach Walk – by Maison Martin Margiela

This one starts with bergamot and lemon, developing with pink pepper, ylang-ylang, coconut milk, musk and heliotrope.  It doesn’t have that salty or ozonic feel to it until the drydown (when it’s a tad synthetic), but definitely replicates an atmospheric beachiness without too much coconut.

Coco Figue – by Comptoire Sud Pacifique

Another successful summer scent by CSP. I almost went through a 100 ml bottle of this a few summers ago. It’s authentic to its name, milky delicious, but not long lasting (though people around me have said they smelled it way later in the day). The fig note contains the whole tree and does freshen up and soften the composition, but not enough to balance it out, as the coconut is very real – earthy and watery, yet also creamy. There is vanilla and a great deal of sugar, but I haven’t been able to decide if it is actually sweet or not. There is a Hawaiian Tropic opening and it can be abrasive. Though I did manage to go though a whole bottle in a short time, my mood dictated when I wore it – sometimes it was bliss, at other times sickly, sticky, and harsh. Better in the dry down, but by then it’s very close to skin.

Fire Island – by Bond No. 9

With neroli, breezy jasmine, cardamom, creamy tuberose, some salty air by the sea, and white musk underneath, this one is potently beachy.  I think it smells of high-end, long-lasting European sunscreen. It’s again similar to Bobbi Brown’s Beach in many ways, but this performs better and the cardamom keeps it interesting.

Intense Tiare – by Montale

This Montale beast features tiare flower, coconut, rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang and vanilla – a winning combination. I know many don’t care for Montale for its use of synthetics, but it’s those synthetics that make their fragrances perform so well! This bears semblance to two others on this post – CSP’s Aloha Tiare above and the one by Yves Rocher (below).

Prodigieux – by Nuxe

More complex than Monoi Eau des Vahïnes (below), this one opens with citrus, drives with gardinia and mongolia, and rests onto pebbles drenched in coconut milk with a dash of vanilla. It’s clean without a soapy feel and isn’t too sweet. It’s neither fruity nor tropical, but very versatile and ageless. Sadly it doesn’t last long, but be wary – over spraying may put you off.

Songes – by Annick Goutal

Frangipani, tiare, ylang-ylang, and vanilla – a simple and slightly sexy, charming concoction that is tropical without the coconut suntan lotion. The indole is slightly over ripe, but it’s earthly and not as headache inducing as it could be. It’s too rich and pretty for my personal tastes, but I admit it is a beaut!

St Tropez Dispenser – by Smell Bent

If you like simple accords, this one might make you sing: jasmine (gardinia-esk), coconut, musk, and green stuff.  As a 70s man-made suntan lotion fun scent that does not take itself seriously, it’s not particularly sophisticated. It’s better mixed with the sweat you will ooze off from the sun than on freshly washed skin.

Vanilla Coconut – by Lavanila Laboratories

This one is simply Banana Boat suntan lotion to me. Not synthetic, not lacking in milky coconut cookie goodness… or sweet vanilla syrup.

Wish – by Lollia

I almost blind bought this one – then restrained myself as I am in collection-curb mode (so no, I haven’t sniffed it!). It has a spicy citrus opening of bergamot, cinnamon, and pepper, leading into rice blossoms, jasmine and ylang ylang, joined later by amber and vanilla.  It’s described on Fragrantica by reviewers as “sweet almond-y vanilla sugar-y perfect baked glory” and a “sugared pastille.” Some describe it as Christmas appropriate, others as beachy. As I like both vibes, I may end up getting a bottle just yet.

Drugstore / Beauty Brand / Celebrity

Beach – by Bobbi Brown

This one is spot on when it comes to embracing the salt, sand, and the Coppertone thing  – with a dash of floor cleaner. It’s fresh, but not clean, and very literal. Actually I’m impressed with how organic and literal it is. Being a completely artificial composition from a conservative brand, I admit I was not expecting such realism. I’m not sure how long I would want to smell it on my person, however. This perfume comes up consistently in the popular choice for beach scents.

Coconut – by the Body Shop

This is baby powder and overripe bananas mashed into lacquered wood and heavily sprinkled with a coconut version of condensed milk. Yet it is also a surprisingly authentic straight-up coconut smell. Too sticky a juice for some in summer, perhaps.

Gold Sugar – by Aquolina

Fronted with screechy synthetic orange citrus, this one thankfully then heads into a sweet creamy coconut Crème brûlée, grounded in some white musk. But if Aquolina’s sugar bomb scents don’t float your boat, although a lot more refined, this one might sink you, too.

Miami Glow – by Jennifer Lopez

In theory: Juicy pink grapefruit, coconut water, passion fruit and black currant fade into orange blossom, helitrope and cyclamen, finishing sensual and sunny in a vanilla, musk, blond woods, and amber. In reality: lemony bug repellent dipped in thick fruit juice that has almost started to ferment in the hot sand where it has been left, alongside a few rancid coconuts. On me it thankfully dies quickly, but taste is subjective; others may not want it to.

Monoï Eau des Vahines – by Yves Rocher

This happy summer fragrance exudes exotic retro notes of tiare flower, ylang-ylang, coconut and vanilla – with nuclear sillage and decent projection. Similar to another from Yves Rocher (Monoï de Tahiti) and also bears a resemblance to Guerlain’s Terracotta once it settles in.  A budget gem if you are OK with the the heady synthetic tiare.

Secret Coconut Passion – by Victoria’s Secret

This is a warm vanilla coconut macaroon – much more vanilla than coconut.  It’s very goumandy, like warm skin on the beach covered in light, sweet syrup. It’s the typical sweet and girly = sexy equation from VS with which I very often disagree. It projects poorly.

Suntan Lotion – by Demeter Fragrance Library

Linear, literal, and NOT long-lasting, even for a Demeter frag. With the citrus opening, it’s supposed to smell like Bain de Soleil Orange Glacée, but many say it resembles Mr. Clean bathroom cleaner. Worth all the resprays necessary? You decide.

Tiare – by L’Erbolario

Tiara flower, sweetened by coconut milk and Damask plum. This Polynesian delight turns into a gourmandy gardenia in a woodsy base.  Both the packaging and sweet, strong scent itself seem more appropriate as room spray to me. Indol from the white flowers might be present for some noses.

Tahitian Holiday – by Avon

A tropical and sea notes of sun, palms, sand and sea, sold for a song. Synthetic-y, but for the price, F&%$ it. There is not much coconut, but a lot of sun cream (cheap sun cream).

Waikiki Beach Coconut – by Bath and Body Works

OK, so it is not exactly Virgin Island by Creed as some suggest, but for the price, it’s bloody close enough!


And that’s what I’ve come up with. Agree with this list? Comment if you’ve something to add!

20 brands that make solid perfume


If the DYI route to making solid perfume is not your thing, there are plenty of manufactures of perfume in solid form. Commercially-available solid perfumes have a tendency to stem from natural perfumery companies, some of you might be happy to know. I get pretty excited when it comes to perfume, but most of the brands I know and love do not serve up scent in solid form. But here’s a list of 20 brands I enjoyed researching, half with which I was surprisingly unfamiliar.

1) Aroamas

This company has designed its scents exclusively with the traveler in mind. Small sized, lightweight, stick-shaped packaging means you can easily carry a few scents with you on your trip without perceptibly impacting your baggage weight or size. I haven’t yet tried any of their smellies, so I cannot give their line a thumbs up just yet, but I approve based just on their savvy concept. They’ve even given cleverly appropriate names to their fragrances, like Bermuda Triangle, My Thai, Parisian, and Journey. You can get all ten in their current collection for $80 (Australian dollars, I presume, as that is where they are made).

They have “man scents” as well, but please note that the male-female fragrance marketing concept done pretty much everywhere is a load of utter hogwash! Who says florals are feminine and musks are masculine? This irks me to no end, but I acknowledge that it does work for sales, if marketing research results are any indication. In any case, I hope they smell good and last more than a wee hour.


UK company Lush Cosmetics seems to have a presence in a great many cities worldwide. The smells wafting out of their branch shops are overpowering (I get a headache just walking by a store, and the average schnoz can detect a retail presence a block away), but a few of the perfumes are actually half-decent and not unoriginal by any stretch, and yes, they are sold in solid form in light tin packaging as well. As Lush products are not high end, in my opinion, I feel their prices are inflated.

3) Pacifica

Pacifica offers a variety of natural perfume options – spray, roll-on, and solid. All are vegan and cruelty-free. Spray perfumes are made with corn-based alcohol and a blend of essential and natural oils. There are no parabens, gluten, or artificial colors. The solid perfumes in lightweight tins are made with a blend of coconut, soy, and apricot waxes. Nice! My favourite from the line is Mediterranean Fig, which is delightful for summer. I can confirm that the fragrances I’ve tried from their line are neither strong nor long-lasting, however.

4) L’Occitane en Provence

In major Japanese cities, L’Occitane is even more omnipresent than Lush. Japanese tend to go for the light, floral, and mainstream stuff, and this brand does not disappoint. In contrast, I don’t think Lush perfumes do as well here as some of them are little too original (though their bath stuff does well). I have bought several items from L’Occitane over the years, but the only bottle of fragrance I’ve ever happily purchased is their Verbena, which is a citrus scent great for particularly hot summers. Sadly, citrus notes don’t last long on the skin. Like Lush, I also feel L’Occitane is a tad pricey for what it is. In any case, although not always available online, they often sell solid versions of their fragrances.

5) Ganesha’s Garden

This small company handcrafts solid perfume that comes in a fair-trade, carved soapstone box from Agra, India. The perfume base is made of beeswax, coconut oil, and sweet almond oil, with vitamin E as a natural preservative. Yes, all natural! There are 12 exotic scents to choose from, such as patchouli, sandalwood, white lotus, and green tea. I have not tried any of their stuff, as the hippy image is not my style, and I imagine I’d be scooping out the buttery delights to smash into one of my uber lightweight tins if I did possess one of these, as their stone boxes look very weighty and impractical for travel, and travel is the only reason I use solid perfume (and I don’t really like how they look, either, to be honest).

6) Indah

Australian Indah Organics sells solid perfume balms made with a blend of coconut and castor seed oils, beeswax, and shea butter, and a variety of pure essential oils. The products are palm oil and cruelty-free, and the company is committed to being responsible and transparent. Although a bit less than Ganesha’s Garden, there still is a hippy vibe to this brand. Their tin packages appear to be practical for travel.

7) Crazylibellule and the Poppies

The creator of this perfume brand from France is the founder of the wildly popular Sephora beauty retailer (which she sold back in 1997). Translated, the company name means “crazy dragonfly and the poppies,” and its chief product is the Crazy Stick, or parfum solide en stick.

8) Sweet Anthem Perfumes

This company sells a total of 26 different affordable scents in solid twist stick in lightweight plastic. They also sell their solid perfumes in beautiful compact cases, which are course weightier, but very pretty. And their solid refill cartridges for these go for 12 USD. Can’t say I’d heard of them or tried them, or that I personally find the brand particularly enticing, but they might be good.

9) Mélange Perfume

French-inspired but out of LA, Mélange singles contain the companies most popular fragrance blends in a signature base of natural beeswax and jojoba oil. Mélange claims that their perfectly-formed solid perfume glides onto the skin and disperses the fragrance beautifully. They are double the size of many solid compact and are decent for travel, selling for 18 USD each.

10) Patch NCY

Soap and paper factory Patch NYC offers 12 fragrances in solid form, all with very trendy bespoke packaging. The company started off making hats, interestingly, and now has a whole line of lifestyle and home design products, including solid perfume. Again, I’ve no idea about the quality of their fragrances, but the their solid perfumes, which are all oil-based balms made from jojoba and beeswax, come in some seriously adorable little travel-size jars.

11) Ape to Gentleman

Here’s something different. The retaW fragrance solid perfume option from Ape to Gentlemen is contained in an aluminium tube, which is compact and chock full of scent. It’s available in four popular fragrances that are evidently marketed toward men. Interestingly, the website automatically displayed the price in Japanese yen for me, which was 1800 (about 15 USD at the current exchange rate). This is definitely a great one for travel, as you can roll it down to save space as you use it up. Knowing me, I’d loose the bloody cap as it’s so little…

12) Tokyo Milk

No, the brand does not hail from Tokyo, let me assure you. But the company is trendy in its vintage appeal, and I’ve been tempted to buy from them many times before. On occasion, they offer solid forms of their perfumes, but last I checked they were only offering one – their Sugar Plum scent, selling for 18 USD.

13) Roots Rose Radish

This California brand has a very high-quality, all-natural bespoke feel to it. Their solid, apothecary perfumes are sold in beautifully hand-crafted shells that are not exactly practical, but rather stunning, I think. The company is “dedicated to creating sustainable health and beauty care with the highest quality ingredients.” The ingredients used are handpicked (therefore local) and all are handmade. The fragrances are beautifully simple in composition as well.

14) True Nature Botanicals

True Nature Botanicals boasts a toxins-free approach to perfumery. They only sell 3 scents – Noble Citrus, Noble Woods, and Noble Foral – and they are only available in solid form. What’s more, they are only available online. Their scents are not cheap, but that’s likely because they “spare no expense when it comes to ingredients.” They claim they spend at least 5 times more on ingredients than the leading luxury skin care and perfume brands. I think the canisters are metal however, which are likely heavy.

It’s not surprising that they would spend more on ingredients to justify their pricing. Mainstream designer brands of perfume, like those you find at duty-free shops, are notorious for using cheap synthetics; the money they do use goes into heavy fashion marketing techniques. I don’t personally mind spending money on fragrance (Geez, if I think about the money I’ve put into scent sensations over years past…), nor am I 100% averse to the use of synthetics, to be frank. But I tend to favor niche brands, which are also expensive, but that’s often a result of their typically quality ingredients and more often occurring fragrance artistry.

15) Frazer Parfum

Perfumer Tammy Violet Frazer “works only with the finest quality raw materials celebrates art and design while spearheading African luxury.” While the organic and natural perfume products produced in a sustainable manner, and while the perfumes themselves seem exquisite, this brand’s biggest and most obvious appeal to travelers are the containers, most of beautifully carved wood, handcrafted in collaboration with local artists. Check out the company’s YouTube channel. Caveat emptor: this will definitely leak if allowed to melt!

16) Diptyque

Moving away from the wallet-friendly smellies, Diptyque is 4-5 times pricier than most of the previous brands on this list and more mainstream in its ingredient choices. However, their stuff smells pretty frickin’ amazing, and they are one of my favourite brands, though I do have many favourites when it comes to perfume. Paris-based Diptyque has been developing their sophisticated collection of personal fragrances for over 40 years. However, their beautiful containers for the solid versions of their perfumes are too heavy. I have a little bit of their best-selling Philosykos (another fig concoction) left, so I may make my own solid perfume out of it. Wait, who am I kidding? It’ll be gone in a week.

17) Aftelier

Aftelier Perfumes is another one of my high-end favs, and this French line boasts all-natural ingredients. I believe all the company’s scents are all available in a solid base of organic unfiltered beeswax and jojoba oil. They come in a variety of gorgeous custom cases that will dig deeply into your travel budget, however. But if you are in love the cases, which although metal do not appear too weighty, it’s quite possible she’ll sell them empty so you can add in your own concoctions.

18) Le LABO

Le Labo fragrances of New York (and Grasse – the French center of perfume, of course!) sells its classic collection in solid form, and you can buy refills separately. The container is heavy-looking, but two refills will cost less than half of the original in its fancy-pants metallic container. Why is it that luxury needs to be translated by having such weighty packaging? This is annoying for travel.

19) Bond No. 9

Bond No. 9 is a NY house that names all its fragrances after New York City neighborhoods, which is a winning marketing concept. One of their scents, China Town, has been acclaimed as a masterpiece, and I also really love New Harlem, which smells like maple syrup, coffee, french toast and a touch of tobacco. It’s pretty frickin’ lush, and I still have a decanter left in my collection. A few of their scents are available in solid form, but the often crystal-embossed, beautiful metal containers do look heavy.

20) Amouage

Amouage, I would say, is one of the most refined of international brands, and many of this house’s fragrances appeal to my senses, though not my wallet. I have never owned a bottle from Amouage, but I have gone through many samples. Their solid versions, although far from cheap, are a lot more affordable. As you would guess, the compact case is made of a weighty metal, but it is divine, and if I owned a compact I would use and recycle it for my DYI perfumes after its contents depleted. When I was in Dubai, I must have accumulated hours in the malls browsing in boutiques like Amouage. Middle Easterners love their fragrances, and they like them powerful and rich, too. Here in Japan, the custom is to perfume the air, not the body, and the preferred olfactory stimulation is light and unobtrusive. I am most definitely someone who lives in the former camp.

Whether you make your own or buy a brand, here’s to smelling good on the move! Did I miss any solid fragrance brands you would recommend?

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