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British Family Perfumers Since 1730

Know Your Notes | Neroli

May 1, 2019


In light of the launch of our new fragrance, Neroli Voyage Eau De Parfum, we speak to Penny Ellis, in-house perfumer at Floris, as we explore the aromatic fragrance of neroli, sourced from the fragrant flowers of bitter orange.

"One of the most fragrant flowers, orange blossoms are a vital material to the perfume industry and give us two of our most extensively used materials, neroli and orange blossom. The difference between neroli and orange blossom is a result of the process of extraction that is used to obtain the oil from the blooms; neroli oil is extracted by steam distillation of the freshly picked blossoms from the bitter orange tree and orange blossom from solvent extraction of the same blossoms. The resulting odours have slightly different nuances, neroli has a hint of sweet honey floral but with airy, brighter green and spicy facets, while the orange blossom fragrance is overall a slightly sweeter and more orange citrus. During the distillation process, a beautifully scented water is also produced, which makes its way into floral waters and flavourings which are widely used around the Mediterranean.

The scent of neroli, with its light, sweet-floral odour and elements of citrus perfectly complements other hesperidic notes and is used as a top note in many modern fragrances.  Together with its enduring floral qualities, neroli is a long lasting citrus fragrance that also acts as a natural fixative, allowing the overall fragrance character to last longer on the skin.

Orange flowers have been a symbol of purity, innocence fruitfulness and fertility since the times of ancient China.  The tradition of brides using orange flowers as a floral adornment has spread from the East to Europe, where the flowers are often placed in bridal bouquets. The expression "to gather orange blossoms" now takes a completely different connotation, starting to mean "to seek a wife".

The name ‘neroli’ comes from a small Italian town near Rome, and a princess who lived there, Anne Marie Orsini  who fell in love with the scent of neroli, which fragranced the air in spring.  She was the first person to distil orange flowers to make essential oil, which she used to scent her clothes, baths and gloves. It had the reputation of an aphrodisiac, which started  a trend among the people for this seductive oil, which is was blended with sweet floral notes and musk."

Neroli is perfectly paired with fresh white florals, or colognes and has always been extensively used in fragrances for both men and women. Neroli can be found in our newest fragrance launch, Neroli Voyage Eau de Parfum, where the initial citrus burst is paired with marine freshness as well as a number of other fragrances including, No. 89 Eau de Toilette, Night Scented Jasmine Eau de Toilette, Special No. 127 Eau de Toilette and Limes Eau de Toilette.

The  scent of orange blossom features in Bergamotto di Positano Eau de Parfum, where it's sweet undertone is paired with bergamot and mandarin, smoothed by vanilla.



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