About ten years ago I had a serious Crabtree & Evelyn habit. One of my favorite lines was their original Citron, a sparkling tangy grapefruit, mandarin and lemon blend that could perk up even the slothiest anti-morning person. When it was discontinued I stocked up as much as I could and kept buying the shower gel on eBay until the prices sky-rocketed. Obviously, I wasn't the only fan.
Crabtree & Evelyn have been slowly rebuilding the brand and emerging from their too long-rut. The first thing I wanted to know about their new Citron range of products was if it was anything like the original. Well, it isn't. The 2011 Citron is decidedly warmer than the sharp and crisp version of yore. This is a completely new scent with notes of citron lemon, lemon rind and lemon leaf, sweet honey, juniper, cypress and peppery coriander seed. It's more lemony but less tangy, if that makes any sense, and the dry-down of all the products I've tried was a warm woody musk. None had a very strong projection or longevity, making them ideal for morning bathing before applying the real scent of the day.
The three Citron products I've tested are the bar of soap ($10), Body Scrub ($22) and Body Soufflé. The quality made me very (very!) happy- excellent texture, kind to my winter-dry skin and very smooth. It really felt like the good ol' days of Crabtree & Evelyn, which is really about time. A couple of years ago I was shocked to see how bad were some of the body washes, they didn't look, smell or feel like C&E products. But that seems to be over now and if these new line is any indication I might be willing to go back to some older favorites.
Normally I'm much more of a shower gel person, but the Citron bar of soap is really good. It doesn't dry my skin at all and the combination of scent and texture takes me back to some glycerin soaps from my childhood (my mother probably remembers the mandarin and apple ones). The body scrub is very creamy, with bigger but fewer grains than I expected. The performance was good, but I would have preferred smaller and rounders particles. It's a comfort zone thing.
I love the body soufflé. I can't have enough good body creams and Citron is definitely one I enjoy. It's rich, melts into my skin and gives me hours of relief from dryness and a smooth feeling that lingers all day, even if the scent doesn't.
I know some of you are curious about comparing the scent of this C&E line to the discontinued Honey & Lemon by L'Occitane. They're not even close. The L'Occitane was very musky to my nose and had a lot more honey. I always used their body cream when wearing Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier. The new Crabtree & Evelyn is more zesty than floral and not very sweet.
Crabtree & Evelyn Citron Body Collection is available online (crabtree-evelyn.com) and from their stores at your local mall. The products I reviewed here were sent for my consideration by the company.
Art: Italian Citrus by Giovanni Ciuccio