I’ve been to the Yucatan Peninsula only a couple times, but enough to fall in love with the scents there. I became obsessed with the copal incense my hotel burned and the perfumes from Coqui Coqui incorporating elements from the area. As a result, my impression of fragrances from the area revolved around exotic woods and resins.
Monstera by Xinú is a little different. Its most obvious reference is the Monstera deliciosa plant native to the area. You’ve probably seen Monstera. We had one in my home growing up, and my mom used a leaf to make a print. Apparently they grow fruit, which perhaps account for a high, sweet note that reminds me of watermelon, or rather the sweetness of the artificial watermelon scents in gum and candy. That’s not to say it’s cloying, but there is a definite candylike character. Other reviewers have pointed out a pineapple note, but it’s more watermelon-y to me. Floral notes include datura, sacred ear flower, and bull horn orchid–none of which I am terribly familiar with scent-wise, to be honest, but surely they round off and soften the sweet notes of the Monstera.
Monstera is oddly both watery and lush–that high fruity note makes it seem basic, but then you smell the green complexity beneath it. The first time I tried this I thought I would buy it for sure. Now I don’t think I will. It arcs a little bit too much to the sweet, while my tastes run toward the earthy. Perhaps it reflects an aspect of the Yucatan that I have not been lucky enough to experience yet. Smells tend to strike a chord with something deep within our brains–my mental file is only turning up Hubba Bubba on this one, sadly.
Regardless, I love the concept of this perfumer, which focuses on the scents and botanicals of the Americas, which symbolize “vastness and exoticism, a permanent search and discovery.” I would almost buy a bottle just for the artwork and packaging. Check it out–maybe Monstera or one of the others will pluck one of the neurons deep within your brain case.