Scent Trend: Neroli
Move over rose and jasmine, there is a new flower making a big impact this season and it is popping up in both men’s and women’s fragrances. Neroli appears to be the new ingredient of favour amongst the top perfumers who are blending it in unique and sophisticated ways. It is taking a star role in the world of perfumery. Here’s a quick look at the fragrance trend:
Neroli is a fragrant essential oil distilled from the blossom of the bitter orange tree. Perfumers like to use it in fine fragrances because it has layered facets to its character. Its scent is honeyed, sweet with spicy and green facets making it ideal to use in the mid-notes of a fragrance. You’ll find it used in both men’s and women’s scents as it is a versatile ingredient. But it isn’t the only ingredient to come from this flower.
Orange flower is also extracted from the bitter orange tree but it has a slightly different scent. It is sweeter, warmer and more floral than neroli. That is because orange flower essential oil is extracted through a process called enfleurage. This is a solvent process whereby the scent is extracted using unscented fats. Neroi, on the other hand, is extract through steam distillation. Both processes are widely used in perfumery and result in very different smelling oils.
The name “neroli” is credited to an influential duchess by the name of Anne Marie Orsini who was the princess of Nerola, Italy in the 17th century. She introduced the essence of bitter orange tree as a fashionable fragrance by using it in her bath and to perfume her gloves. Members of European royal courts used to perfume their leather gloves and garments because the process of tanning hides had not been completely perfected at the time. These leathers smelled terrible and individuals were forced to try to hide the odours with perfumes. What’s more, Venetian perfumers became renowned for creating perfumes specifically for leather gloves.
So why is neroli such a popular note in perfumery? It plays well with other ingredients. It blends very well with citrus oil, floral absolutes and most synthetics. For this reason, it has become one of the most popular notes in modern perfumery. It is also rumoured to be a key ingredient in the top secret formula for Coca-Cola.
As with any ingredient, quality varies wildly. And you can really smell the difference between a low grade and premium neroli oil. If you get a chance, try any of these neroli fragrances the next time you visit a fragrance counter. Each is very well blended and you’ll smell the beautiful neroli notes.
The best way to discover neroli fragrances is first thing in the morning when your sense of smell is at its most discerning. You can really experience the full character of the note. By the end of the day, your sense of smell can be suffering from a sense of fatigue and you don’t always get the whole character of a scent.