Monday Question – What Is Your Favorite Tropical Perfume?

Summer is here and it’s the time when we reach for our most exotic florals. This is the place to give and look for recommendations for perfumes that conjure up long days at the beach and mellow evenings under the stars.

Which tropical perfume is your favorite?

What kind of perfumes say “tropical” to you?

Are you a fan of coconut, tuberose & co?

question-markMy Answer:

It was only last summer that I really started to appreciated the beauty of a heady, enveloping, warm tropical floral. I am a famously wimpy perfume lover, so this category had me plain scared. Receiving compliments left and right when testing such scents had me convinced though (not really, I only use the compliments as proof and validation for wearing whatever I please ;)). When the sun is out and especially in the summer evenings such a perfume is magical. Here are my favorites:

The newest tropical floral I’ve discovered is Arquiste Flor y Canto, a gorgeous tuberose scent. Tried and true faves are Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess, Montale Intense Tiaré, Ormonde Jayne Frangipani, Malle Carnal Flower, Nasomatto Nuda, Parfums MDCI Peche Cardinal, Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia and Yosh Ginger Ciao.

For pure, non-sweet coconut indulgence without the florals try Honoré des Pres Love Coco.

What do you recommend? What is the perfume of your summer dreams?


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This entry was posted in Estée Lauder, Floral, Frederic Malle, Fruity, Honoré des Pres, Jasmine, Monday Question, Montale, Nasomatto, Ormonde Jayne, Parfums MDCI, Tuberose, Yosh and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

103 Responses to Monday Question – What Is Your Favorite Tropical Perfume?

  1. Jordan River says:

    Coccobello – James Heely. I want to sit under that palm tree and read perfume blogs.
    And about a thousand perfume years ago I would have said Aqua di Gio; a ‘fume not oft mentioned on your travels. Moving well past calone I would now say the mint and abinsthe bearing Memoir Man for a summer evening; cool with a green sheen.

  2. Ellia says:

    First thing that comes to my mind when I think of tropical perfume is something with tiare, frangipani and exotic fruits (coconut, mango, papaya) in the composition. I really enjoy Intense Tiare Montale, Manguier Metisse Huitieme Art Parfums, Pulp Byredo, Batucada L’Artisan Parfumeur, Songes Annick Goutal in summers. My last discovery is Eau Turquoise parfums de Nicolai 🙂

  3. Lynley says:

    Hi Birgit 🙂 I didnt used to like tuberose or heady white flowers at all, but now the headier and more indolic the better! I also love Nuda and Narcotic Venus, Fracas, Beyond Love etc, and Azuree Soleil (pre Bronze Goddess..) This summer (gone in this part of the world unfortunately) I bought some Mahora to see if it was really that awful, and rather like it! I also love Manoumalia, and consider it the most tropical of my summer white flowers. I’m glad I don’t get the rotten vase water note in either of the last two 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I don’t think Mahora is bad at all! 🙂
      Manoumalia was a bit much for me, but that might have changed, I will re-test it, thanks for your recommendations.

  4. behemot says:

    Ugh..I know I am a weirdo, but I don’t like anything tropical. Mu favorite summer day is the one I could wear my orientals.. Is there any hope for me?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Sure there is hope! I never thought I’d come down the tropical lane ever, but here I am…
      and if you never come around to tropicals, no matter, there are so many gorgeous orientals to explore. 🙂

      • arline says:

        I am with behemont!!! 🙂

        I do love coconut oil though, and when I slather myself with it, I am left with a summery, slight coconut scent, but I just put on my amber anyway.

        Katie Puckrik mentioned, that she wears Ambre Sultan in the heat of the summer, and I have been doing the same, (though this is not my favorite amber, by a long shot), it seems almost refreshing to me.

        I would love to love tuberose, but it smells too soapy on me. I cant deal with that. I am sure there is something out there for me. Same is true for jasmine. any suggestions???

        • Olfactoria says:

          The jasmine for me is Nuda, because it is so rich and deep, no soap in sight. Also the was Roja Dove uses jasmine (and the kind he uses, Grasse jasmine) is spectacular, so for jasmine I’d recommend those.

  5. Alice says:

    I’m not keen on big/heady white florals, but have always enjoyed Patricia de Nicolai Juste une Reve (white flowers, coconut, peach) which surprised me, until I noted Michael Edwards classifies it as a woody oriental, not a floral. So perhaps its a bit ‘borderline’, certainly a dryish coconut seems to predominate for me. Lately I’ve wearing the huitieme art Ambre Cerulean in the warm weather. The lemon verbena lightens the oppoponax/tonka – a perfect summer oriental!

  6. Figuier says:

    Oh how I wish the *weather* was tropical to match all the lovely perfumes in your list! My favourite tropical is Songes, the edt is less oriental and vanillic, and has the stronger tropical vibe I think. Nuda I love, but would never call it tropical – jasmine to me is a very classical note. I also have a bottle of the Tom Ford Azuree Soleil dry oil spray – it’s great, but somehow I always go for Songes instead.

    • Olfactoria says:

      A jasmine as rich and warm as the one in Nuda says tropical to me, I can’t help it! 🙂
      The weather here took a turn from tropical to arctic today, there seems to be no middle ground at all.

  7. Loulou, Yves Rocher Noix de Coco de Malaysie (worn together) – sheer gorgeousness. I really liked that Arquiste as well actually; I need to get to know that whole line better.

    Recently, and I know this compromises my dignity a tad, I have been wearing Gwen Stefani G, an ever so slightly ozonic woody apple coconut that strangely smells gorgeous on me. You should see the bottle, though. Like something a three year old girl would have in her bag next to her lunchbox.

  8. Safran says:

    Hi, tropical to me, means coconut, mango, pineapple, tuberose, gardenia, beach, sea and rain forest, depending on mood and scent. Favourites are Carnal Flower, Cococabana, Rivages des Syrtes, Un Jardin apres la Mousson, Stephanie de St. Aignans Royal Palm (don’t know if that still exists) and also her Embruns d’Ambre (my favourite and only summer amber), Virgin Island Water, AG Gardenia Passion and AG Ninfeo Mio.

  9. annemariec says:

    Not a genre that has ever attracted me much, but I did have a brief crush on Guerlain’s AA Tiare Mimosa last year. It got me through a difficult time when I was caring for a sick relative. But just as quickly, it started smelling synthetic and nasty. You know how that can happen? But I keep it on hand just in case I click back into it again.

    In the meantime – Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse! Great stuff!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’ve heard so many good things about the Nuxe oil (which is not available here).

      I like Tiaré Mimosa, but like you, not always. 🙂
      I hope your relative is better!

  10. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Hm, I’ve never considered Tuberose as a tropical note, but then again that flower will kill me in both warm and cold weather, anyway. I’d love some coconut in my parfume, but it’s a rather difficult note (too often turns out to be sickly sweet and artificial). Or some juicy pineapple. And while I love Frangipani as a flower (in fact, it’s my favorite), I haven’t find my HG parfume with it yet. The same is valid for Tiare. But in spite of all these, I have my Tropical Parfume : Bahiana 🙂
    (and I’d like to mention Jo Loves’ Mango with Lime as well)

  11. Tara says:

    Thanks for this question B, it’s giving me lots of possibilities for my perfect tropical perfume. If money were no object it may well be Peche Cardinal but otherwise I intend to check out Montale’s Intense Tiare and though not a heady floral, Jo Loves – A Shot of Thai Lime over Mango.

    I guess I’m having trouble finding a tropical scnet becuase I’m not good with tuberose or coconut but there are clearly there are other ways to go.

  12. Farouche says:

    I’m afraid that I have nothing new to add, but I love summer fragrances and look forward to wearing them, until it’s fall and I can’t wait to bring back the big guns: the orientals and incenses. This summer I’m currently wearing Ninfeo Mio (one of my top 10 frags), Bronze Goddess (wearing today), Virgin Island Water, Ginger Ciao, and Un Jardin sur le Nil. I only have full bottles of the first two, a travel bottle of Jardin, and a large decant of Virgin Island Water. Sadly, I’m down to my last drops in my decant of Ginger Ciao and will need to commit myself to a full bottle but am waiting until July to buy so that I will have gone a full quarter without buying any perfume. But next week that order is going in!

  13. TerryM says:

    I must mention the lovely tropical perfumes Flor Azteca and Gardenia Exuberante. Both are from the Exotic Island Perfumer ( Juan M Perez). I am not a “big white florals” fan at all and these are two that have truly captured me. It may be fragrances like this that convert white floral haters to lovers! I haven’t tried Waters of Aswan and Magnolia de Verano, but they are next on my list.

  14. leathermountain says:

    A wonderfully generous Perfume Fairy Godmother from Perfume Posse recently treated me to quite an assortment of tropical scents. They snuck up on me — I thought this was all about citrus, but I ended up finding quite a bit of coconut! My absolute favorite so far is Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’ Bermuda Lyme.

  15. Vanessa says:

    Oh, this has got me thinking…I like OJ Frangipani very much, also Ajne Calypso, which features the frangipani note. Saffron James Ume and Lea are pretty, and from Hawaii, so you can’t get more exotic than that – when you live where I do, I mean. And I would add Lalique Flora Bella, which is the stuff of a Bounty advert in a bottle!

  16. Sherri says:

    Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia is beautiful in the heat and humidity. SoOud Ouris and Kilian Flower of Immortality, while peach and not mango, also have somewhat of a tropical feel in the heat, and Carnal Flower, while classic, is the ultimate tropical queen tuberose, in my mind.

  17. Suzanne says:

    Parfums DelRae Amoureuse is my absolute favorite tropical perfume. Though I don’t own full bottles of these, I’d say that Yosh Ginger Ciao and SoOud Ouris would quickly follow. As you know, I also love Montale Intense Tiare and Carnal Flower, though for some reason I think of Carnal Flower as being very Mediterranean (just my own associations).

    I could go on listing but will stop there, as so many of the perfumes I love would probably fall into this category. 😀

  18. A real goofball of a tropical scent is Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s Hippie Chic which is Nag Champa and Coconut. Weird but wonderful in the hot weather, oh and for me, Gardenia Petale is tropical.

  19. Tarleisio says:

    Oooh, there’s just something about tropical, isn’t there? 😉 Whenever I want one of those “Am I there yet?” olfactory vacations in a bottle, I reach for… Micallef Ylang in Gold, Bronze Goddess (no getting around that one, is there?), Ormonde Jayne Frangipani, Carnal Flower, Juan Perez’ Flor Azteca, Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, and sometimes Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus. I dearly wish I had a bottle of Honoré de Près’ Love Coco, because it’s one of the best coconuts I know. And for a total change of pace, Geo F Trumper’s Extract of West Indian Limes when it’s beastly hot and sticky. (I keep it in the fridge!). Works wonders, every time! 🙂

  20. rosarita313 says:

    I am a big wimp when it comes to white florals and have been dipping my toe into the genre very gingerly this spring. I have a sample of Intense Tiare and Jasmin Full that I’m getting to know, drop by drop, and Bronze Goddess has become a staple summer scent the last few years. Sur le Nil is a staple too, and this year I’ve added Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile d’Fleur to the mix – it’s gardenia by way of that Black Orchid truffle note. I didn’t care for it in the winter, it’s much nicer in the heat and might be a good one to try for people that don’t want to give up their heavy perfumes in summer. I do love my big, rich resin-y perfumes more than tropicals but I’m willing to keep my nose open to new things 🙂

  21. There is a company that originated in the Florida Keys called Key West Aloe. They make several tropical fragrances; all of them are wonderful in the summer. One year I took a set of samples when I was wandering around in France and gave them as gifts to my hosts. They turned out to be a good choice, and people asked where to order full bottles. Black Coral is my favorite, but there are many others just as nice. They also carry a full line of bath and body products to go along with each scent.
    I like to use small amounts of EL’s Beyond Paradise and mix it with Kiehl’s Musk during the summer. Jean Patou’s “Patou” is a very crisp and clean fragrance that draws lots of compliments during the beach months…

  22. Eva S says:

    Carnal Flower is one of my biggest favorites, and I would pick some lilys- Lys Soleia and Lys Mediterrane. Peche Cardinale is gorgeous as well, I’m waiting for a sample of Flower of Immortality- maybe that one will fit the bill as well.
    I don’t know if VP Rubj extrait is exactly tropical but to me it’s perfect with warm sunny days!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Rubj is indeed perfect in summer!

      I was very disappointed with Flower of Immortality, despite its name it dies a rather quick death on my skin after a borderline-artificial peach accord has its five minutes in the spotlight.

  23. Dearest Olfactoria
    The Dandy does like a tiare too and Guerlain’s Sous le Vent (the body mist not the original great perfume) fits the bill, there’s something luxuriously bain de soleil about Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia too… if I’m feeling madly tropical though, it’s time for Cacharel’s as-bonkers-as-Carmen-Miranda-in-a-cocktail lounge Eden.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  24. fleurdelys says:

    Lou Lou by Cacharel and Tuberose 3 L’Animale by Histoires de Parfums are two tropical favorites.

  25. Amy Bella says:

    When I was a teenager, I loved Sand & Sable. I should probably pick up a bottle (cheap thrill!) and try it again. I really don’t gravitate to the white flowers these days, but I think I am going to try a few of the suggestions here and expand my hot, tropical horizons!

  26. Bronze Goddess would go on my list too! As would Kenzo Jungle L’Éléphant, ELdO Fils de Dieu, Bombay Bling, and Montale’s Mango Manga (spritzed very conservatively). Another great Monday question!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m a bit afraid of Montales in general and the name Mango Manga inspires downright panic, but since you like it, I will put it on my list.

      • It is definitely potent! Kind of like the ripest (overripe, really) muskiest mango. The kind that you bite into and the super sweet juices immediately begin to run down your chin and dribble all over your clothes. It is also oud-y, definitely a Montale.

        That being said, spritz a blotter and approach conservatively.

        • Olfactoria says:

          Even better to make the SA spritz the blotter while I stand well away… just to be on the safe side. #suchawimp

          • You are not a wimp at all! I had a Mango Manga spritzed blotter in my purse and it perfumed my apartment for days! I can’t believe that it was originally only for the Japanese market . . .

            I get very overwhelmed by Montale. There are so many in the line and almost everyone one is a giant powerhouse, good or bad. That being said, I just tried the new Café Intense and really liked it. It is much drier and wearable than a lot of others in the line that I can think of.

          • Olfactoria says:

            That is why I’m so surprised that Tiaré Intense is so wonderful, for a Montale it is positively discrete.

          • I have to check out Tiaré Intense because I was thinking the same thing about Café Intense.

            Hmmm . . . I’m seeing a pattern here: maybe anything they label intense is meant to be ironic!

          • Olfactoria says:

            Hahaha, you are onto them! 😀

          • Hee hee! I am 🙂

  27. Fun reading all of you ladies choices. I’ve been dipping my toe into the floral pond recently so all of these comments gave me some great insight into what I should be trying out. I own Bronze Goddess. I did get along pretty well with Intense Tiare last time I tried it. The new Le Labo Lys 41 seems to fit right in with a lot of these and I’ve really been enjoying it. More fruity than floral, Slumberhouse Pear + Olive is a lovely summer option.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Pear+Olive is a great hit with many, I should really get around to order samples of Slumberhouse sooner rather than later.
      I’m glad you are enjoying your foray into the floral realm, David. 🙂

    • leathermountain says:

      I just tried Slumberhouse Pear and Olive, and I was so sad not to love it. For me, it was crazy sweet like I was looking around to find the spilled juice that I needed to clean up before it got sticky. I couldn’t smell olives, or even brine. I did feel a kind of oily effect, but it didn’t suit the pear IMO. For a completely different take on oily goodness, I recommend Andrea Maack’s Coal. I haven’t found way to wear it in summer just yet, but that won’t stop me from trying!

  28. Lila says:

    Oh, how I love me some tuberose and coconut! I enjoy Beyond Love By Kilian as well as Gardenia Petale although I feel that BL has a more tropic feel to it than the latter. One line of fragrance that I have become smitten with is Neela Vermeire’s. The mango in Bombay Bling could put it in the tropical category I think. I don’t recall experiencing mango in a perfume before and I appreciate how sophisticated that note was portrayed.

  29. Joe says:

    Nothing says tropical more brightly to me than Guerlain’s Mayotte.

  30. Cybele says:

    Manoumalia is the queen of tropical florals to me, I love it’s lush and soft quality and actually the absence of coconut. Besides this very special scent I love PCTG, Carnal Flower and ones in a while some Beyond Love. I tried OJ Frangipani several times but find it somewhat watery and fleeting- it smells pretty but I can’t really grasp it, maybe I am anosmic to it. I also use Nuxe Oil.

    • Cybele says:

      forgot to mention Vanille Galante, I perceive it as very tropical!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Nuxe and Manoumalia again, must try asap! 🙂

      • Cybele says:

        Manoumalia just has such great softness, I only know a similar sensation from Coco Chanel and maybe Bois de Iles (probably I am repeating myself here). I adore it for being ultra tropical while not tacky in the least, to me it really seems of highest quality. Birgit, could you elucidate OJ Frangipani for me? Do you perceive it as light as I do?

        • Olfactoria says:

          I do. Frangipani is certainly not in the same category for me as heavy hitters like Manoumalia or Songes. It is a light and very pretty scent that makes me happy, but it is not a sultry, enveloping one and that is not its intention either. It lasts about four hours on me.

          • Cybele says:

            Thank you, Birgit. I am getting the impression Frangipani is a tropical fragrance almost too light for the tropics- will give it a try in more moderate climate…

          • Olfactoria says:

            That is a very good thought! I’ve only ever tried it here in a moderate climate, and never in high summer temperatures.

  31. Cybele says:

    Also tropical but both way too heavy hitters for me to wear are Amaranthine and Datura Noir

  32. Undina says:

    Last time I went on a tropical vacation I took with me Bronze Goddess, OJ Tiare and Frangipani. This year I might add Bombay Bling, Hermès Vétiver Tonka and maybe Ineke Hothouse Flower.

  33. Isabeau says:

    I am in the Cote d’Azur right now on holiday and in front of the house is a beautiful jasmin tree, wow that smell makes me so happy! I love tropical fragrances: La Nuit-Serge Lutens, Jasmin Full, Jasmin de Nuit-TDC, Gardenia by Isabey, Cruel Gardenia, Andre Gas Ensolleile-moi: sunshine in a bottle and love the new Le Labo fragrances Lys 41 and Ylang 49! Also great are Hilde Soliani Mangiami, (melon and mango) and Sipario pineapple!!

  34. To be honest with you, Kai smells to me very much like the perfumer simply added some sambac jasmine and tuberose essential oils together, perhaps tossing in a few green notes, diluted with denatured alcohol and some fixative, and called it a day. Mind you, it’s very pretty, and I might be tempted to wear it in the summer, for a sundress scent, but it’s sort of the olfactory equivalent of a milkshake: milk, ice cream, blend. That’s it, you’re done, and it’s delicious but it didn’t take any skill to make. Also, it’s gone in a flash.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’ve never tried Kai as it is not available in Europe, so I can’t comment. It doesn’t strike me as very complicated from what I’ve heard, but that can be just what one wants from time to time – simplicity. That it is gone so quickly though is surely unfortunate.

    • leathermountain says:

      I have no idea what skill might be involved (or not), as I have none to compare with, but I can heartily recommend Kai deodorant. I wasn’t as crazy about the EdT. It smelled synthetic on me, which didn’t seem to fit the vibe of the composition.

  35. Pingback: Monday Question – What Is Your Favorite Vanilla Perfume? | Olfactoria's Travels

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