Kokorico: a handful of chrysanthemums and patchouli leaves

my head for am original scent…

DISCLOSURE: I am not a big fan of Le Male. I find it sweet. I recognize though that this is a historical fragrance that changed what we consider a mainstream masculine scent should smell like. I bought blind a 50ml bottle of Kokorico because in an era where standing out is a four letter word (I was thinking of “Bleu”) this bottle changes the way a perfume bottle should look like and this gave me high hopes.

Yes, the bottle feels as good as it looks. You want to hold it, rotate it and eventually spray it. And what does it smell like? Looks like the chrysanthemums that got lost from De Profundis found their way to the bottle of Kokorico. The opening is an autumnal whiff of golden yellow chrysanthemums, flowers, leaves and all. It reminds me of the opening of Byredo M/Mink, only less skanky.  The difference is that in Byredo’s perfume the flowers are stepped  on, crushed and left to rot. Here they are fresh and radiant. Now I know that fig leaf is supposed to be in the notes and believe me I know fig. I can see how a fig note may contribute in the chrysanthemum accord but I can taste no figs in this cocktail. The flowers pop out of the bottle to herald the opening and then retreat leaving a herbal bitterness that characterizes the entire composition.

About twenty minutes into the development enters the patchouli. This is not a camphorous patchouli. It is rather green dusted with powdery iris. It reminds me of the deep drydown of Borneo 1834 or even Cuir Ottoman, a dry, powdery patchouli but still no sweetness in sight. Suddenly the base starts shining with a glossy note that stands somewhere between extra dark chocolate and a dry cleaner’s accord. Shiny black leather shoes maybe? This phase reminds me of Byredo Baudelaire, another green patchouli, that unfortunately didn’t get raving reviews by perfumistas.

To wrap this up, this is a good fragrance. First of all it is masculine and it is not fruity! That certainly makes it stand out from the crowd. Then it is not sweet, which is a big relief for me. And to make things even better there are no woody-nutty notes, the kind that one finds more often than it is needed or tolerated in masculine designer scents. Despite the reported fig and cocoa notes Kokorico is not a gourmand. The fig, and I have no reason not to believe it is there, smells more like chrysanthemum leaves and a little like fig leaves. The chocolate is more like the pungent smell of mexican 90% unsweetened baking chocolate that serve as an ingredient to mole poblano and less like the belgian desert chocolate. It’s bitterness sticks to the throat. The base is intriguing because it feels more like a top with its pungent varnish like gloss. I don’t think this will ever reach the epic following Le Male had and still has because it is a lot more discreet and reserved but it certainly brings a fresh alternative to the ever growing army of dull, fruity masculine releases. This was a successful blind buy! I wish the top notes lasted longer.

Notes from Fragrantica: fig leaf, patchouli, cocoa beans, cedar, vetiver. This is officially classified as a woody oriental but I guess only because it  couldn’t fit anywhere else. It is not sweet nor spicy.

Notes from my nose: chrysanthemums, patchouli, powder, unsweetened chocolate, varnish, dry cleaner’s accord


About Christos

Scientifically minded but obsessed with the subjective aspect of things. Photos copyright of MemoryOfScent, with special thanks to Pantelis Makkas http://pantelismakkas.blogspot.com/. You are welcome to link to my blog but you are definitely not allowed to copy text or use the photos without my permission. All text and main photos are originals and property of MemoryOfScent All perfumes are from my collection unless stated otherwise.


  1. You have certainly made me MORE interested in this fragrance and I didn’t think that that was possible.

    Great review!

  2. evinick

    Ok Ok I’ll buy it! Amazing bottle but most of all I like its name. 100% original, edgy, funny and so Gaultier! Great review as always.

  3. I like bitter in a perfume and Chysanthemums are definitely an underused note. Along with marigolds, they always seemed to me to be the bitchiest smelling flowers. You’re right, at least it’s something different. I look forward to trying this!

  4. I want to see the bottle in RL and I will test the perfume. The name sounds funny: I even tried to tilt my head to see if a bottle will look more like a rooster.

  5. Pingback: Cock-a-Doodle-Doo – Jean Paul Gaultier Kokorico Perfume Review | thecandyperfumeboy

  6. Hmm. I’m now rather interested in try this one. I have never been fan of JPG as I always found his fragrances very cloying.
    I like your review, and I am really surprise as it seems that this new perfume differs from the linear JPG spirit which is to my nose over sweet and sticky vanillic-like.
    I am a little dissapointed that you don’t get the fig leaves, I love fig notes if they are well blended. Would you consider Kokorico as a natural or synthetic perfume?
    PS: Thanks for visiting my blog. I am honored! 😀

    • This one is not cloying. And it is not typical fig. It retains the greenness of the fig leaves but to my nose it smells more like chrysanthemums, I can’t say if it natural or synthetic although being a product designed for massive sales I do not expect it to be very high on naturals. It doesn’t seem annoyingly synthetic (CKone shock for him was annoyingly synthetic to my nose). I have seen many people comparing this to Guerlain L’ Instant pour homme. I cannot see the similarities, very different style overall. It is extremely close to Byredo Beaudelaire but I guess this one isn’t very easy to find and test either.

      (which is your blog? your signature does not direct me to it 🙂 )

  7. I am a biiig fan of Gaultier. That’s how it started my journey by sniffing his perfumes, Le Male was among first before years ago…
    Unfortunately, I don’t have anywhere to try this…



  8. Pingback: Serge Lutens De Profundi: the mystery remains « Memory Of Scent

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