The Coco de Mer is a giant palm tree found only in the island nation of Seychelles. Before the 18th century, the palm was known only by its seeds, which used to float from the then uninhabited region to the Maldives. These seeds were known by various racy names, including the “bum seed,” a name given by sailors because their double shape reminded them of a woman’s rear end.
When Victorian explorers discovered the palms in the Seychelles, they were shocked by the overtly sexual and oversized flowers of the male and female plants, and some even considered the Coco de Mer the true forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden.
Because of this lore, and their salacious shape, the seeds of the Coco de Mer are prized as collector’s items and as fertility totems. Even England’s Prince William and his new bride Kate were given one on their honeymoon in the Seychelles. The seeds, which are the largest in nature, take ten years to mature, and are used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. The fruit, for those few who’ve tasted it, is said to have an earthier taste than its more mundane coconut cousins.
The rare Coco de Mer seed also yields an intensely moisturising oil, which is incorporated into Molton Brown’s Ultrasmooth Coco de Mer Body Lotion. The lotion, which also boasts the inclusion of wild honey (know for its healing and humectant properties), has a light, creamy texture, and a powdery floral scent that is almost a “classic” lotion scent from a time in the imagined past. My skin is happy with it: just a little makes everything smooth.
The Coco de Mer Body Lotion is an urbane interpretation of an exotic, romantic past, a getaway to somewhere that exists only in our imaginations. And maybe that’s what draws me to it – I can imagine all these past associations as I enjoy my modern products in their perfectly functional, well designed packaging. In the end, I may enjoy telling tales about sailors and their rough imaginations, but it’s smooth skin that I want to take home with me.