Orange blossom and neroli are a bit confusing, as ingredients. They’re both from the small white flowers that blossom on the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantia) – which is much more fragrant than the orange tree which produces the fruit for eating.
Orange blossom is extracted from the flower through the use of solvents. Neroli (which you can read about under ‘N’) is steam-distilled. They’re subtly different, in the hands of perfumers. Orange blossom absolute is richer, sweeter, headier – there are hints of that other white flower, jasmine, about it (and if you look at its chemical make-up, there are similar aroma compounds in both).
Orange blossom can be used almost symbolically in fragrance, as well as for its bewitching scent: over time, it’s come to represent purity, moral virtue and innocence, but fruitfulness and fertility, too. As a flower, orange blossom has long played a role in weddings: maidens have carried it in bouquets and woven it into bridal headdresses since the time of the Crusaders, when trees were brought from the East to Europe, and began to flourish here.
What better ingredient for fragrances suitable for brides, then…? But in fact, orange blossom’s versatility lends itself to all kinds of fragrances – so it’s very widely used, acting too as a natural ‘fixative’ to prolong the life of will-o’-the-wisp ingredients. You can enjoy it in colognes, Ambrées chypres, as well as petal-perfect florals.
Smell orange blossom in:
Francis Kurkdjian APOM Pour Femme
Hugo Boss Boss Orange
Le Labo Fleur d’Orange 27
L’Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l’Aube
Mad et Len Eau de Fleur d’Oranger
Melvita Orange Blossom Floral Water
Penhaligon’s Orange Blossom
Robert Piguet Mademoiselle Piguet
Serge Lutens Fleur d’Oranger
Tom Ford Neroli Portofino