Bring on the Winter Zing: Getting Fresh With Neroli

Okay, yes. We tend to associate citrus fragrances more usually with warmer weather – where juicy lemon, lime, orange and even the more unusual yuzu are used for their refreshing, thirst-quenching appeal. However, holy moly, we need brightness more in these earlier months of the year than at any other.

So, what else can we look for when summer-y Colognes just feel wrong, but we CRAVE freshness nonetheless? Well, we would be well advised to lean into scents that put us in mind of the sunshine one gets on the very best of winter days. The kind of light that sparkles on frosty leaves, adds glitter to even the greyest pavement, and brings a feeling of almost childlike joy (despite the bitter weather!) An ingredient we would urge you to look for to recreate such sunshine-and-ice-kissed moments is neroli.

 

 

It’s truly one of THE most prized perfumery ingredients for gifting a uniquely floral freshness and zing to a fragrance’s formula. But where does this magical note come from, and how does it differ from other fresher notes?

The bitter orange tree – Citrus aurantium var. amara – is one of the wonders of the fragrant world. (You might better know it as the Seville orange tree and associate it with marmalade.) The leaves and twigs give us petitgrain, while the cold-pressed peel of the fruit gives us bigarade. But it’s the olfactory orgy of white neroli blossoms which get ‘noses’ (and fragrance lovers) really excited: airy, citrusy, green, but with whispers of honey and orange bubbling subtly underneath; it’s like taking scented  stealth vitamins that seep into your consciousness and make everything a bit better; or a short break to warmer climes in order to recharge your soul. In bottles, how much handier (and less ruinous) to access for instantaneous uplift, though.

 

Neroli is extracted by steam distillation of freshly-picked flowers, a process which much smell akin to perfume heaven, while the name ‘neroli’ comes from a small Italian town near Rome, and a princess who lived there. Anne Marie Orsini (aka Anna Maria de la Tremoille, and originally French, though basically adopted as Italian because that’s how it rolls when you’re noble and rich ), fell in love with the scent of neroli, which fragranced the air in spring. Can hardly blame her, really, because it’s surely one of the most universally pleasing smells in the world, and oh lord (or Princess) – how we are craving springtime right now!

Ah well. Until the opaque tights can be safely ditched, and until the actual change of season; might we suggest you make like Anne Marie, and similarly seek out these neroli-centric scents for some added joy and sparkle in fragrant form…?

 

 

 

 

Mizensir White Neroli £185 for 100ml eau de parfum

Radiating the gasp-making mood-shift of dawn’s first ray of light touching the ground, neroli gently shakes the senses awake, scattering pearlescent dew drops of hedione among the fluff of white musk and spiritual drifts of frankincense.

 

 

 

 

Granado Limāo & Néroli £52 for 100ml eau de Cologne

Encompassing the entire bitter orange tree’s gifts to perfumery, the neroli adds clarity and pale sunshine slicing through clouds, petitgrain brings leafiness, invigoratingly bracing lemon and the more herbaceous lime a tonic for the soul.

 

 

Edeniste Neroli Sensuel £68 for 30ml eau de parfum

Expressing the tender nature of neroli, the white petals are wrapped around the more biting wakeup call of petitgrain, harmonising perfectly with juicy pear and luminous peach (still sun-warmed it feels) for a fresh caress at any time.

 

 

 

 

 

Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa £104 for 50ml eau de Cologne

The classic gets sultrified, the freshness of neroli and iconic Calabrian bergamot charismatically sizzled up with slices of ginger, atop a supple leather, cedar and patchouli-snuggled base. Marvellously smile-inducing, even on Very Trying Days.

 

 

 

Maison Crivelli Neroli Nasimba £85 for 30ml eau de parfum

The neroli smoulders unusually amidst oodles of orange blossom and luminous mandarin contrasted with the cool spice of cardamom and deep, animalic purr of Saffiano leather. Like discovering your pockets are lined with soft yellow velvet.

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

 

Fragrances For… The Winter Solstice

While selecting fragrances for the Winter Solstice, why not let it snow in the scents you wear? Perfumers have been inspired by frosted leaves, frozen lakes, mystical, white-tipped mountains, and all manner of wintry scenes.

Recently, we were blanketed by snow in the U.K. and the countryside was like a Christmas card come to life, while London looked for all the world like a real-life Rom Com. For a while, anyway. Though beautiful, snow and ice sadly cause travel chaos, and that pristine perfection turns to grey slush before long. But with the Winter Solstice, we want to keep the thrill of snowy scenes alive in the scents we choose…

 

 

4160 Tuesdays Doe in the Snow
A crystalline breeze brushes snowflakes on eyelashes, a world tinged white while eating peach sorbet in the midst of a magical forest’s wedding feast.
From £32 for 15ml eau de parfum 4160tuesdays.com

 

 

 

Moncler Pour Femme
In the chicest ski resort, powdered snow flecks cold metal, a crisp morning breeze of bringing the mountains closer with drifts of icy flowers’ frozen petals.
£113 for 100ml eau de parfum harveynichols.com

 

 

 

Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige
Now available in sparkling scented body gel form, this crackles like a frost fairy’s mirror coated in face powder, coaxed from its ice layer by a flicker of candlelight.
£95 for 100ml sparkling body gel lessenteurs.com

 

 

 

Frederic Malle L’Eau d’Hiver
Soothing whispers of endless comfort swirl in exquisite minimalism, a blanket of iris covering frosted hawthorns, radiant hedione glistening through melting icicles.
£210 for 100ml eau de toilette libertylondon.com

 

 

 

Creed Silver Mountain Water
Cascading alpine streams conjured via chilled cassis, sparkling citrus, iced tea and the mercurial illusiveness of ambergris: purity providing welcome breathing space.
£185 for 50ml eau de parfum creedfragrances.co.uk

 

 

 

Kingdom Scotland Albaura
An icy gasp of air, the magnificence of a mountain conquered by a woman ahead of her time, marvelling at fresh snow, wild berries and botanicals, her own bravery.
£120 for 50ml eau de parfum kingdomscotland.com

The House of Oud Wonderly
Snow in the desert? Picture this: warm copper bowls of apricots, almond blossoms blooming, plumes of smoke curling skywards, snowflakes falling on sand dunes.
From £30 for 7ml eau de parfum ab-presents.co.uk

 

 

 

Roos & Roos Mentha Religiosa
An interplay of shadow and light, a crackle of mint awakens the fizz of bright bergamot, mellowed by powdery iris, threads of patchouli, and cold, clear incense.
£175 for 100ml eau de parfum roosandroos.fr

 

 

 

Zoologist Snowy Owl
Silvery snow hides life, but in the beat of a white feathered wing the owl swoops, furry voles snuggled in mossy tunnels oblivious as the world sleeps and glistens.
£210 for 60ml extrait de parfum bloomperfume.co.uk

 

Skandinavisk SNÖ Candle
A fragrant light to guide you through the darkest winter nights (and days), it fills the room with frosted berries, frozen timberwood and pushes stubborn walls back.
Now £19.20 for 90g osmology.co

 

 

L’Atelier Parfum Rose Coupe de Foudre
‘Somewhere between a shiver and a heartbeat,’ they say, ‘an intoxicating passion.’ Frosted magnolia unfurls, buxom buds bursting free; roses, berries, no regrets.
£95 for 100ml eau de parfum uk.latelierparfum.com

 

 

 

Cloon Keen Atelier Frosted Moon
Ethereal moonlight kisses frosted grass, sparkles of ice shards piercing beneath winter’s mantle to vetiver’s welcoming earthiness: spring’s bulbs warmly cocooned.
£120 for 100ml eau de parfum lessenteurs.com

 

 

 

Agonist Blue North
Spearmint-tinged botanicals, ginger-tingled herbs and cardamom-kissed woods pay scented tribute to the startling beauty of remote landscapes plunged in darkness.
£135 for 50ml eau de parfum averyperfumegallery.co.uk

 

 

 

Diptyque Neige Candle
Once upon a winter’s midnight, in the depths of a blue velvet sky, phosphorescent shapes are traced in sparkling heliotrope, a cosmic shimmer of cold white musk.
£38 for 70g selfridges.com

 

 

 

 

For further reading on the fascinating ways perfumers can conjure a sense of ‘cold’ in their compositions, and how we can actually use our sense of smell to predict an oncoming snowstorm before a single flake has fallen, read our lead feature in the winter edition of The Scented Letter Magazine – this multi-award-winning publication is FREE to read in a digital, flickable format, and to get yours, simply sign up, here.

 

Written by Suzy Nightingale