Ingredient Focus: Neroli & Orange Blossom
Posted on May 28 2021
Orange blossom and neroli are among the most important ingredients in perfumery. Both are extracted from the flowers of the bitter orange tree but with different methods of extraction and with different scent characteristics.
The delicate orange flower is a traditional symbol of purity and innocence. For instance, in Grasse, the world’s perfume capital, newlyweds were traditionally offered head wreaths made of orange blossoms.
Neroli is obtained by steam-distilling the flowers of the bitter orange tree. The obtained essence smells green, fresh and floral. The name neroli is a reference to the Italian Princess of Nerola who lived in the 17th century and who was fond of the scent, using it to perfume her gloves and her bath.
Also known as citrus bigaradia, the bitter orange tree grows in the Mediterranean. It is most useful to perfumers as all its parts can be used: in addition to the flowers, its leaves and tender buds are used to make petitgrain essence and the peel of its fruits give us the zesty bitter orange essential oil. All of these components are beautifully combined in traditional eau de colognes and other reviving citrus-based scents. Neroli is also often used to lend a fresh top note to floral scents and chypre accords.
Called orange blossom water, the scented water resulting of the distillation process has a wonderful delicate and soothing scent. It is often used as a toner for the skin or to flavour desserts in French and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is also a popular scent used in baby care products in France and Spain.
Like neroli, orange blossom absolute is also obtained from the flowers of the orange tree but through a different process of solvent extraction. The absolute is a warmer and headier scent with a pronounced floral character. One ton of flowers is necessary to produce 1.5kg of absolute. Orange blossom absolute is used in many floral and oriental fragrances, where it is often combined with vanilla, amber or musk.
In our range, you can find neroli notes in Artillery No 1, a sparkling unisex fragrance inspired by Napoleon's favourite premier quality Eau de Cologne. It is also present in Mandarin & Mint, a lively and invigorating blend of zesty citrus and fresh herbal undertones. If you prefer floral scents, try Bouquet d’Amour, a luxurious bouquet of white flowers resting on a warm subtle base of amber and vanilla. In our Flower Market Home range, the Orange Blossom Home Collection is perfect to freshen up the home and create an uplifting atmosphere.