Fragrance Reviews Scent by the sea: Cote d'Azur

Scent by the sea: Cote d'Azur

10/07/09 07:48:15 (7 comments)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

I very rarely fall in love with perfume oils because so many of them are either too sweet or offer a drydown that smells like a scented wax candle. It was with some skepticism that I tried a number of perfume oils recently from online retailer, I’m happy to report that Scent by the Sea has the distinction of not only offering reasonably-priced fragrance oils, but I think the perfumers, Kim & Kel, are well on their way to a successful enterprise in perfumery.

What first caught my attention was the creative art direction that accompanies descriptions of their creations. I loved the imagery and was immediately interested. When I received my collection of brown vials, I was once again excited but this time it was due to the little brown paper labels and amusing names – e.g., Sweet Hashish, Morpheus, Lolita, Salome, etc. “So far so good,” I thought to myself, but what do they actually smell like?

I was originally going to review Morpheus, a sweet, powdery lavender, vanilla, ylang and amyris wood aroma that can stand alongside the best of the mass market men’s fragrances, but then I discovered Cote d’Azur, the last of my Scent by the Sea samples. I put it on and right away I deeply exhaled and sighed with pleasure. “What is that,” I wondered?

At first I thought “chamomile”, and then I recognized the coconut. This worried me because I’ve only ever found one coconut-themed scent I’ve actually liked – Creed’s Virgin Island Water…but that was nicely balanced with a lime and rum accord. Then I decided that there must be a soft, powdery white musk note as well, and I’m a sucker for anything with white musk. Then I realized that what I was actually smelling was a lavender/vanilla pairing, an accord that usually works well for me and spells “relaxation” to my scent-obsessed brain. It was here that I began to find references to Caron – the lavender and vanilla Pour Un Homme de Caron and the similarly-themed Royal Bain, though Cote d’Azur has none of the fizzy violet topnotes.

Without consulting Kim & Kel’s online descriptions, I decided that I was in love with whatever chamomile/coconut/lavender/vanilla/white musk might be in Cote d’Azur and took it with me on vacation for a weekend in Washington, DC. My friend and fellow perfumista, Molly, a lover of all things lavender, was also excited by what she smelled and though I tried other Scent by the Sea samples that weekend, I kept on coming back to the Cote d’Azur.

On my skin, Cote d’Azur doesn’t really provide the image of a French Riviera getaway and I can’t really pick out a champagne note (if I had, I might have bumped up my rating). For me, this is soft grey velvet, plush and smooth, a warm bath in a dimly lit room, my favorite cozy blanket and pillow. After a few wearings I decided that this fragrance alone could become Scent by the Sea’s cult hit creation - I expect big things from Kim & Kel and advise you to get on over to their shop on and check out their fragrances before success raises the prices or Scent by the Sea’s “blue coast” is retired to make way for new creations. I’m pretty picky about perfume oils, but Cote d’Azur is a terrific success in my opinion.

From new niche house, Scent by the Sea, Cote d’Azur is a perfectly-blended, unisex perfume oil centered around coconut and lavender.  

I’m not a huge lavender fan and luckily, Cote d’Azur whispers lavender rather than shouts it; many coconut aromas can be cloying and fake-smelling, but Cote d’Azur is as smooth as your favorite velvet pillow; incredible longevity; fantastic price.  
Cons: Little development and stays close to the skin; the 1/8 oz size can be used up pretty quickly.

Notes: "Lavender, champagne, vanilla, coconut." Scent by the Sea

Reminds me of: This one reminds me of numerous other scents but doesn’t actually smell “just like” anything else I’ve tried; recalls Pour Un Homme de Caron and Royal Bain de Caron, Creed Virgin Island Water, Profumi del Forte’s Vittoria Apuana, Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Coco, etc.  
Designer’s Description:
“When you take the train from Paris headed south, you slowly leave the cosmopolitan grace of the North behind and enter a different France. The sparkling sunlight of Le Sud (the South) seems to awaken a sensual, physical side of Gallic culture. Well-heeled sun worshipers, on arriving at the Cote d'Azur, shed their sophisticated black in favor of the coolest summer whites. A holiday by the sea means a leisurely cycle in the early mornings, sunbathing in the afternoon, and an evening of champagne cocktails and good conversation – all pursuits that celebrate the senses. This perfume invokes the hedonistic vibe of the French Riviera in high summer, with notes of lavendar, champagne, vanilla and a hint of coconut. Blended with jojoba and fractionated coconut oil, in a 1/8 oz glass screw top bottle.” Scent by the Sea

Number of times tested:
Numerous wearings on whole body.

Number of sprays applied for this review:
 N/A – a small dab to the back of my left hand.

Fragrance Strength:
Perfume oil.

(Linear / Average / Complex): There is no development here – all 4 key notes are blended such that no individual note is really discernable.

(Short / Average / Long-lasting): Cote d’Azur lasts a good 8 hours after only a tiny dab to my skin.

(A Little / Average / A Lot): This one stays very close to the wearer, probably a good choice for work/office.  
Note About the Packaging: Simple cylindrical brown glass vial with black screw-top – you’re paying for the oil, not the bottle! The name is printed on antique brown paper that hangs from the vial by a pink silk cord.

You can purchase a set of samples for $10 from

Images:, Limbo Poet, Sanderovski and Linda, FotoosVanRobin

Author: Marlen Harrison (perfumecritic)
Fragrantica Writer

Creator and Editor of, Marlen Harrison was also author of's ADDICTED column and one of the community's moderators. Marlen has been a regular contributor to NowSmellThis blog, BeautyAddictMag, and The Washington Blade. He is currently completing his PhD in English Composition and TESOL and teaches at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.


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Sounds nice! I'd just like to add that the photos are of Etreta, the coast of Normandy and not the Cote d'Azur, South of France.

817 flowers
817 flowers

Thankyou for bringing this site to my attention. I have purchased these wonderful oils, actually both sample sets. I can't even choose my favorite yet - love all of them. Totally awesome - great packaging. So enjoyable!!


Perfume from this line are pleasant :) i love them. Most of the perfume oil are linear thou. The sellers (Kim and Kel) are very nice too!Really care for their customers :D

Scent by the Sea
Scent by the Sea

Thank you kindly for your effusions on our humble elixirs! We look forward to making new addicts from your readers :^) Look for a holiday sampler pack Nov. 1 featuring 3 new perfumes.
-The potion makers of Scent by the Sea


Thanks! Again, I'm not usually a fragrance oil fan, but I've been really impressed with many of their scents. Lolita, Salome, Cinema Rouge, Sweet Hashish and Morpheus are also winners.


Dear Marlen, I also like the images, bottles and advertisements. I love lavender, and have it in different versions, including pure oil. And I must try Cote d'Azur now ;o)

Have you tried Frangipani and Fiori di Roma, they sound appealing to me ;o)


Excellent write-up! I could actually smell it in my mind. I think I might just stop over there and check out their oils! Thank you for bringing them to my attention! I'm in much need of something else that's relaxing and lovely at the same time. =)


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