Carlitos01's Perfume Blog


Perfume trivia - What is Neroli?

The tree...

Neroli is a now a common name for the essential oil obtained from Seville bitter orange tree flowers. Its oil, quite precious among the essential oils, is one of the most popular perfume ingredients of our time, and exales a blend of floral and citrus scent. A pound of flowers is stands for about 1,000 handpicked fragile blossoms, making it quite expensive.

The Seville orange tree is cropped in many regions around the Mediterranean bassin, including Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Iberia. However the oils from France and Tunisia are considered to be the most prized in the fragrance market. From this tree may be produced three different types of essential oils. a) Bitter orange oil is extracted from the mashed peel of the fruit when it is ripe; b) Petitgrain oil is obtained by steam distillation of the pressed leaves, shots and green branches; c) Neroli oil - the most prized - is obtained through steam distillation from the flower blossoms of the tree. Other extration methods may be followed but these are the most common ones.

In ancient times, neroli essential oil was used to help fight the plague fears and believed to relieve a lot of diseases. Ancient Egyptian priests and priestesses for instance, used this oil in the same way that common incense is used in Christian churches today. During the 12th century, the Spanish city of Seville became a major crop centre of the bitter orange tree, resulting in the common name used till today for the Seville orange. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers brought the orange tree to St. Augustine, Florida, making of it a common landscape in North America, namely in the "Orange State".

The name...

Marie Anne de La Trémoille, Princesse of Ursins, was a French courtier and a royal favourite of the King of France. She became famous for managing political influences. She held indirect influence in Spanish politics from 1701 until 1714, when she acted as head of the queen's household for the then very young Queen of Spain. Madame des Ursins has also credits of having begun to check the overgrown power of the church and the Inquisition in Spain, and of having suggested management corrections in the Spanish House of Treasury.

One of her impressive noble titles was Princess of Nerola, an Italian city in Lazio. She is credited to have introduced the essential oil of bitter orange flower as a fashionable fragrance by using it to perfume her lap, her gloves and her bath waters. In fact, it was her proeminent use of this oil that inspired the Neroli distinctive name. Since then, the name of Neroli has been used to label this essence.

Recognizing the benefits and qualities of the essential bitter orange flower oil, the Italian born perfumer Johannis Maria Farina living in Cologne, Germany, created a blend of essential oils inspired by the Princess of Nerola fragrance tastes. The blend included neroli, bergamot, lemon, petitgrain, lavender, and rosemary, and Farina dubbed it Eau de Cologne. The scent became so popular, in fact, that it gave rise to the word “Cologne” used today, and was the genesis of the 4711 brand.

The scent...

Today, neroli is one of the most common floral-based essential oils used in perfume, not only because it blends well with other citrus scents, but also because its origins from the bitter orange blossom make it a great pair of spicy and floral aromas. The aroma of this essential oil is described as "airy, fresh, citrussy, green, but with hints of sweet honey and fruity orange bubbling subtly underneath the scent foreground". It is kind of cool, clean, lightly sweet and very alluring.

The Neroli essential oil may be known by other names like Orange Oil, Bitter Orange Oil, Orange Blossom Water and Orange Flower Water.

Famous perfumes that include Neroli as strong note:

4711 - Echt Kölnisch Wasser
Amouage - Reflection Man
Annick Goutal - Neroli
Atelier Cologne - Grand Neroli
Boucheron - Néroli d'Ispahan
Chanel - No. 5
Chanel - No. 19 Poudré
Creed - Orange Spice
Diptyque - L’Eau de Neroli
Thierry Mugler - Mugler Cologne
Evody - Fleur d’Oranger
Ermenegildo Zegna-Mediterranean Neroli
Ferrari - Bright Neroli
Giorgio Armani - Acqua di Gio
Guerlain - Aqua Allegoria Flora Nerolia
Guerlain - Néroli Outrenoir
Jo Malone London - Orange Blossom
Le Labo - Perfume Neroli 36
Lush - Orange Blossom
L’Occitane en Provence - Neroli
Paco Rabanne - Lady Million
Penhaligon’s - Eau de Cologne
Prada - Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger
Serge Lutens - Fleur d’Oranger
Tom Ford - Neroli Portofino
Van Cleef & Arpels - Néroli Amara

My favourite?
Shooting Stars - Nio, by XerJoff

Meaning of "Trivia": unimportant or little-known details.