Cochine’s sumptuous scents from Saigon

Cochine is one of those fragrance houses glossy magazine editors might talk about in hushed tones, because maybe they don’t want everyone to know their scented secrets just yet. We fell in love with Vietnam’s first luxury fragrance house a while ago, and have no such qualms about sharing them with you, which is exactly why we were so thrilled to get our hands on some of the Cochine Floral Collection Discovery Sets!

Read on to see exactly why we were so enamoured, and how Kate Crofton-Atkins created her dream fragrance house…

One of perfume’s greatest magic tricks is the ability of time travel – propelling us back to very particular moments in life as though those people, that moment in time, wwere with us, were happening right now. But perhaps the most wonderful atribute of wearing scent is the feeling it gives us of being whisked away to some other (hopefully more exotic – and warmer!)  – place in the world. Cochine’s founder, Kate Crofton-Atkins was already deeply in tune with her senses. But it wasn’t until she left London (and her high-power job at L’Oréal), upped-sticks and moved to Saigon, that her life took on an entirely new direction…

Describing how she was ‘instantly struck by the city’s unique style, elegance and romance,’ Kate soon became obsessed with the streets abundantly draped with swags of jasmine intoxicating the air, and so magnificently set against the backdrop of so-chic French style architecture. At that moment, so enthralled by the scenes around her, Kate knew she had to set about capturing these in fragrant form… and so Cochine was born.

With the evocative inspiration of Saigon filling her head and leading with the idea that she wanted to create perfumes that brought to life this special place and unique moments shared there, Kate partnered with a fragrance house based in New York to bring the dream into a scented reality. Spending over a year just sourcing the essential oils harvested from plants in Vietnam, Kate and the perfumers worked hard for yet a further year, making sure they were blending the perfect combinations of these precious ingredients ‘…to reflect Saigon’s diverse flora and distinctive blend of Oriental charm.’ Furthermore, the Cochine products themselves are all made within France and Vietnam to retain the original sensorial inspiration for this perfume house.

True to their ethically sound heart, Cochine don’t stop at the products themselves, but spread the goodwill by supporting sustainable farming projects, such as the Agarwood Project founded by The Rainforest Project, explaining, ‘This Foundation has created a durable and commercially viable solution to the problem of over-harvested aquilaria trees, which are cut down in order to extract agar wood (oudh) oil.’

Sensuality, Saigon and sustainability are at the heart of every single Cochine fragrance, then, and it’s no wonder the first fragrance was jasmine-based, an olfactory flash-back to the first time Kate breathed in that scent when she first arrived in Saigon. And so, White Jasmine & Gardenia ‘…evokes the lush floral scents that infuse the sun-filled streets and gardens of Saigon. White petals of jasmine, gardenia and peony combine to unfold an enchanting aura that is soft yet elegant.’ Even using the decadent hand cream of the same fragrance is a sensorial delight – the delicious scent of the waxy white flowers making an everyday luxury of a daily routine.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese Rose & Delentii brings to life the freshness of just-cut flowers with the dew still on their petals, combining top notes of rose and bergamot with a breath of violet, rosewood and the rare, scented orchid, delentii, indigenous to Vietnam and which flowers for only two months a year. It’s a sophisticated and utterly charming scent to wear, and this one became a go-to rose for several members of The Perfume Society who fell in love with it!

And oh my goodness, Tuberose & Wild Fig is every bit as luscious as it sounds – a truly stunning example of how heady white flowers should be handled, with the extremely costly Tuberose absolute melting into the ripe richness of fresh fig. Slightly milky, shot through with layers of citrus and delving into the cool woodiness of vetiver and cedar in the base this was inspired by an evening walk through a Saigon garden. Closing our eyes, we can almost feel the foliage brushing past, a tumble of petals at our feet, the warm caress of the heavenly scented air on our skin.

Let’s escape there, right now…!

Cochine Floral Collection Discovery Set £35 for 3 x 8ml eau de parfum

Written by Suzy Nightingale