Thursday, April 17, 2014

Orange Blossom, Lemon Flower, Neroli- My Top Picks

The air on the Amalfi Coast and the Sorrento Peninsula is intoxicating right now with the scent of orange and lemon groves. The trees are heavy with blooms and fruit, and you can smell them wherever you go in and around Sorrento. For a fragonerd, walking around those parts is an exercise in sniffing, comparing, and recalling favorite perfumes that evoke this beauty, though truth be told: you have to be there in person. While nothing compares to the real thing, here's my very personal list of perfumes that offer a hint of this magic:

The Obvious Choice
*Serge Lutens- Fleurs d'Oranger and Fleurs de Citronnier. The sultry and the innocent.
* Il Profumi di Firenze- Costa Mediterranea. Sitting outdoors in Sorrento drinking a frozen limoncello.
* Vero Profumo- Rubj. Bottled sunshine with more than one twist.
* L'artisan- Seville à l'Aube. a rare case of perfume that was worth the hype.Smells better on the Husband, but I can definitely appreciate the beauty.

Easy To Find And Surprisingly Good
* Jo Malone- Orange Blossom. Almost too pretty to be real.
* Dior- Pure Poison. This is what happens when  Carlos Benaim, Dominique Ropion and Olivier Polge create a perfume.

The Discontinued
* L'Occitane- Neroli (original). It used to be magic. None of the sequels came even close.
* Mona di Orio- Jabu. A luminous, joyful perfume that stirs the soul.
* L'Artisan- Fleur de Oranger. One of those mid-2000s Harvest editions that redefined luxury.
* Guerlain- Aqua Allegoria Flora Nerolia. It's good to remember that the Aqua Allegoria series didn't always suck.

The Naturals
* Ayala Moriel- Zohar. A slightly fruity and honeyed twist on the classic theme.
* Providence Perfume Company- Divine. Orange blossom and neroli over a gorgeous animalic base.

I had the hardest time narrowing this list down and no matter what, couldn't limit it to a top ten. Still, I'm sure some truly brilliant ones have been left out, so what are your favorite perfumes in this category?


  1. I shall try your Serge Lutens picks, they sound intriguing. It was devastating when Mona di Orio Jabu was discontinued. And shoot me, but I really enjoy Chloe eau de Fleurs Neroli. I do not enjoy Tom Ford Neroli Portofino.

  2. L'artisan Seville is my favourite, along with Goutal's Neroli (not the cologne). Interesting, though, what you say about having to be there - I feel that way about jasmine perfumes vs the actual heavy sweet-fecal scent of jasmine in the heat and breeze down in Menton in the summer. Nothing, no matter how well crafted, ever matched the feeling of being there and being enveloped in the natural scent.

  3. I really like Alien Aqua Chic (2013- orange blossom water), Chanel Eau de Cologne, Annick Goutal Neroli EDT (2007), Tom Ford Neroli Portofino (original, it was reformulated last year- not good). Profumium Acqua Viva also very lovely citrus. Dior's escale Portofino was also very nice.

  4. Pure poison is pure perfection.

  5. Love those travel posters! Such an ideal vacation destination after this winter - OK, pretty much always an ideal destination. Great list of bottled sunshine scents! But I haven't tried the Providence Divine yet - remedied that by heading straight to Etsy. Some other perfumes in this category (at least sort of in this category) that I've also been known to compulsively reach for recently are AG's Hadrien (so many memories), Charenton Macerations Christopher Street, SIP's Fire and Cream, FM Bigarade Concentree, TDC's Bergamote, MdO's Eau Absolue and Aftelier's d/ced Citron. I also have to admit that I really like wearing Mandy's single note botanicals (have been collecting them for years) and, more recently, aside from cooking with them, have started to actually wear some of her Chef's Essences either alone or layering them with other perfumes and the citrus ones are particularly wonderful to wear. I'm not sure if they might potentially cause terrible skin issues, but they never have for me.

  6. I can't imagine a summer without a small spray bottle of Jo Malone's Orange Blossom tucked in my purse. It is so authentic right down to that subtle touch of earthiness that you smell when walking through an orchard. There are hundreds of acres of citrus trees in the small valley where I live and, when the trees are in bloom, it is like heaven on earth. Jo Malone's soft fragrance is a nice recreation of that sensory sensation.

  7. Thank you for your list. I've only tried a couple of them, and several I've never heard anything about before.

  8. I lived in SW Florida for many years, the scent of orange groves is a favorite of mine. One scent that replicates the scent of orange blossom perfectly is Eau de Cologne by Fragonard. My bottle is older (my guess would be 80s) and it's pure heaven, greens, dewey blossoms and earth all rolled into one little bottle.

  9. I love Elie Saab; the EDP and the EDT. The former is lush and honeyed and the latter is sparkling and bright.

  10. I have Fragonard Fleurs D'orangers, which is light, and I love it, I think it reminds me of time I spent is southern France as a student, so I find it perfect, even though it doesn't last long. I'm on a kick to find the perfect orange blossom, and I do like Seville, oh, and I tried Madame Piguet (I think...), which is my favorite of the samples I got from STC.


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