Fragrance

By Michelyn Camen

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Orange Blossom delights and surprises

I usually pass on most white flower scents- the gardenias, the jasmines and the tuberoses. I find them overwhelming or not quite right for my particular chemistry (unless used in a supporting role). Ladies, love your Fracas, celebrate your Carnal Flowers, and inhale the jasmine in your A la Nuit, but I reach for fragrances that bring out the aromatic perfection of the ‘other white’ flower.

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Orange blossom and Neroli are extracted from the flowers of the bitter orange tree (Citrus bigaradia), with the different methods of extraction determining the type and olfactory characteristics of resulting oils. Orange blossom oil is extracted with unstable solvents, while neroli is steam-distilled. The former is a white floral, with a sweeter aroma, while neroli is heavier, greener and spicier. The fruit of bitter orange tree produces bitter orange oil and its leaves give the sparkling grassiness of petitgrain oil. Each fragrance has a special or unique quality and we hope we found one you will try and love.

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Fleur D’Oranger 2007-Exceptional Harvest Series by L’Artisan Parfumeur

The Limited Edition: When L’Artisan Parfumeur creates their limited edition harvest series, trust us, they are ‘must haves’. In 2005, Fleur d’Oranger was the first of this new series of outstanding perfumes to celebrate a sublime harvest, from the Nabeul Orchards in Tunisia. 2007 was also a year that yielded an extraordinary harvest, one that was used to create a new limited edition of this unique orange blossom (the first edition was exhausted in just a few weeks).Since I have a trace left of the original, 2005 was THE year, but 2007 is certainly bottle worthy. It is the embodiment of a fleeting moment in time, when the orange blossom was at its peak. Lush and honeyed, it is amazingly fresh. This freshness is emphasized by other parts of the orange tree (neroli, orange essential oil, the seed, extract of the twig, the bud and the leaves).

Everything in this fragrance is near perfection. A delicious and dizzy scent with its hint of almond sweetness, it is our favourite, and we hoard it. Available at www.lartisanparfumeur.com and www.luckyscent…for now.

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Serge Luten’s Fleur D’Oranger

The Tour De Force: If you can afford to buy more than one bottle, Serge Luten’s Fleur d’Oranger deserves an heir and a spare. It’s unabashedly the most feminine of the orange blossom fragrances we tested. Orange blossom and the barest hint of those other white flowers are enhanced with traces of warm spice. A floral fantasy to wear on special occasions. Available at www.barneys.com and at Scent Bar, Los Angeles.

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From Tsi La Organics, Fiori d’Arancio

The Organic: From Tsi-La, Fiori d’Arancio is a 100% natural fragrance that is Neroli oil laced with orchids and a drop of a honey. It is strong and the drydown is almost bitter, as is typical of so many ‘green’ fragrances. The upside? The beautiful packaging and roller ball applicator as well as it is USDA certified organic; there are no synthetic fragrances or artificial colors used for those who truly prefer 100% pure plant essences. Available at www.tsilaorganics.com.

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Tom Ford Neroli Portofino

The Sensual: From Tom Ford’s Private Blend Collection, Neroli Portofino is a delightful eau de cologne and a departure from his other heavier and more intense scents. Here, the Neroli is luminous and Mediterranean; the combination of citrus oils with floral and amber notes creates a surprisingly sensual fragrance. Its one we reach for almost as much as L’Artisan’s. Available at Bergdorf Goodman.

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Blooms de Nuit by Ajne

The Precious: We adore Blooms de Nuit, created by Jane Hendler, the owner of Ajne. Divinely heady yet sweet orange blossom complimented by the subtle addition of green leaves and orange fruit offering a heavenly floral freshness that according to aromatherapy is known to calm and balance the nervous system. We instantly relax as we gaze at the gorgeous gold filigree bottle, and feel rather Zen despite its steep price; a drop or two lasts for hours. Available at www.ajne.com and at Bergdorf Goodman.

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Jo Malone Orange Blossom

The Starter Fragrance : Who doesn’t welcome a yellow signature box tied with black grosgrain ribbon? If you have never worn orange blossom, Jo Malone’s version is one we recommend you buy first as it is sure to please. Inspired during a stay at a hotel in Bel-Air, Orange Blossom is redolent with the scent of Clementine and water lily. Eminently wearable and not overly complex. Available at www.saksfifthavenue.com.

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L’Occitane Neroli

The Exotic: L’Occitane’s Neroli is also from Nabeul in Tunisia where a great orange blossom harvest is a source of riches for the families, who tend them. Neroli is a sweet, slightly zesty scent evocative of the desert sun. Not of the quality of L’Artisan, but a lovely scent nonetheless. Available at www.loccitane.com.

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From Le Labo- Fleur D’Oranger 27 and Neroli 37

The Unexpected: From the fragrance scientists and artists at Le Labo, Fleur D’Oranger 26 (the number next to each fragrance is the number of ingredients used for each scent) is composed of natural and extremely rare Orange Blossoms that took over 3 years to cultivate. This is my personal favorite of the two as it the blend of fresh florals, musk, bergamot, petit grain and lemon . There is a nuance of honeyed which i find delightful and feminine Neroli 37 is a very different scent. It includes rose, musk, mandarin orange, jasmine and vanilla – yet is somehow ‘greener’ and perhaps not quite as enticing to me , although its drydown is so fresh and clean, I would like to smell this on the back of a man’s neck. Each scent is made to order and labeled for you personally. Available at www.lelabofragrances.com and www.barneys.com.

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Creed Orange Spice

The Spicy Classic: Many Creed fragrances are classics to cherish. Orange Spice is true to its name, although its more about the fruit and the spice with just a hint of the orange blossom. But its middle note is an exceptionally fragrant Neroli and we love the bottom note of ambergris. For him and for her. Available at Bergdorf Goodman

Originally published April 2008
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