Some time ago, I ordered a sample of Fleur d'Oranger 27 from Le Labo. Before I ordered the sample, I wanted to see what other fragrance enthusiasts had to say about Fleur d'Oranger 27. My hopes were dashed based on the overwhelmingly negative reviews that were posted. Some of the general complaints about Fleur d'Oranger 27 were that the scent didn't smell like orange blossom at all. Others said that they detected a floral note that was unidentifiable. Some commented that it smelled like a household cleaning product or toilet bowl cleaner. The positive comments that were made said that people enjoyed the scent but that it might be too floral to be considered a unisex fragrance. With all that said, I ordered it anyway just to test for myself.
The sample from Le Labo arrived quite quickly and was packaged very nicely. They provide 5ml glass rods with atomizers which makes sampling their fragrances very easy. The first test I made was just a spritz on my arm and suddenly, something seemed terribly familiar to me. I kept thinking Orange Blossom of some kind but it wasn't exactly that. I revisited my arm again and it was at that time that I knew what I was just experiencing but couldn't believe it was true.
As a gardener, I am familiar with many different types of ornamental flowering plants. There is one in particular I will bring to your attention that is a personal favorite. The Latin name is "Philadelphus coronarius," but more commonly known as Sweet Mock Orange. Sweet Mock Orange is a deciduous shrub that has been cultivated for about 400 years. It is prized for its profuse, sweetly-scented white flowers which appear in early summer. It is native to Southern Europe, and today is used as an ornamental plant in landscape design.
What's all the talk about Sweet Mock Orange you ask. I'd like to present my impressions of Fleur d'Oranger 27 from Le Labo. The floral scent that I experience with Fleur d'Oranger 27 is exactly what one experiences when smelling the flower from the Sweet Mock Orange shrub. If you were wearing a spritz of Fleur d'Oranger 27 on your arm and were standing in front of a Sweet Mock Orange shrub you might not be able to distinguish the two. It is probably the purest example of extraction that I have experienced thus far. Regardless of Fleur d'Oranger 27's components, there is nothing that comes closer to Sweet Mock Orange than this. Sweet Mock Orange was given its name based on its single or double flowers scent that was reminiscent of Orange Blossom. There is no direct connection between the two species except for the uncanny resemblance in the way their flowers smell. Yes, the direct translation of the French name "Fleur d'Oranger" is Orange Blossom, but perhaps Le Labo might consider changing the name to "Fleur de Seringa" to better represent this fragrance. ("Seringa" is the Sweet Mock Oranges's name in French.) I find this one of the most interesting fragrances that I've tested from Le Labo, and feel that perhaps some people are trying to connect this fragrance directly to the given name. There are hundreds of fragrances called sandalwood, none of which smell the same and few of which smell anything like sandalwood. I also understand that most people haven't experienced the Sweet Mock Orange to appreciate how closely Fleur d'Oranger comes to this shrub's beautiful fragrance.
The real question is, would I wear Fleur d'Oranger. As a man, I have mixed feelings about whether I find this fragrance a "unisex" fragrance or not. There are certain elements that make this feminine and perhaps far too few that make it masculine. I appreciate the botanical aspect, but an overwhelming single association to a favorite flower might not be enough to make it something to wear. Would I wear it to be reminded of the Sweet Mock Orange in the dead of winter? Yes, I would.