Le Labo Fleur d’Oranger 27 and Neroli 36 : Perfume Review

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Orange_blossoms

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Why do I reach for Le Labo Fleur d’Oranger 27 and Neroli 36, even though I have a pile of other interesting Le Labo samples in my lap? Something about the sweet radiance of tiny white flowers, underscored by the alluring complexity of indoles makes this note simply irresistible. While my heart is captured by L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger, I am always prepared to explore this note further.

Le Labo Fleur d’Oranger (27 refers to the number of ingredients used) opens with the familiar green floral freshness of orange blossoms. Its creator Françoise Caron (the nose behind such loveliness as Jean-Charles Brosseau Ombre Rose) essentially weaves the citrus tartness of bergamot, the floral sweetness of orange blossom and the green leaf quality of petitgrain into a simple eau de cologne. It is highly enjoyable, but as the composition develops, the feeling of floating on a cloud of white petals vanishes. The flatness is particularly evident when compared with L’Artisan’s rendition side by side. Where L’Artisan captures the exuberance of spring flowers in full bloom, highlighting their various aspects as the composition dries down, Le Labo Fleur d’Oranger hits the same note over and over again.

Neroli 36, the composition by the young Firmenich perfumer Daphné Bugey, has the same aquatic-hesperidic-floral accord that one might notice in a number of fresh florals. My initial impulse was to compare it to Frédéric Malle En Passant, although truth be told, the differences override any surface similarities. It plays around the orange blossom theme, although the effect is clean and hesperidic, rather than sweet and floral. While initially pleasant, Neroli attains an unappealing, slightly synthetic sharpness. Although I prefer Fleur d’Oranger 27 to Neroli 36, neither composition conveys the quality that makes orange blossom such a fascinating floral note—the sparkle it retains despite the languor of indoles. I suppose that as far as orange blossom soliflores are concerned, L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger should not fear rivals for the time being.

Fleur d’Oranger 27 includes notes of orange blossom, musk, bergamot, petit grain and lemon, and Neroli 36 is constructed out of neroli, rose, musk, mandarin orange, jasmine and vanilla. The fragrances are available directly from Le Labo website, as well as from their store at 223 Elizabeth Street in Nolita (212- 219-2230).

Orange blossoms from netstate.com.

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24 Comments

  • N: Thank you dear V for this lovely review.
    I cannot wait to try these. A dear friend sent me a few of Le Labo samples – will see if these are there.

    Hope you are well. Things have been busy but look forward to catching up. April 26, 2006 at 3:26am Reply

  • Laura: I agree with you about both of these—they do not sparkle at all, have no originality. In fact, you wonder why they even bothered to make neroli and orange blossom scents, both of which have been done and done and done—and done with more zest. (Get it? ;D.) I agree with you, too, the l’Artisan one is the current soliflore orange blossom queen. My huge mock orange bush (Philadelphus corianus) is in bloom and its scent is celestial. Why can’t somemake make a mock orange blossom perfume?! April 26, 2006 at 5:13am Reply

    • Claire de Schwarz: Laura, mock orange is also known as Syringa and Floris have made a perfume and range. Enjoy. July 9, 2013 at 7:49am Reply

  • Christina H.: I completely agree that these definitely to not hold a candle to L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger.Also, if you take into account the fact that the 100ml bottle of these scents cost $180.00 and the L’Artisan $250.00 I think the price difference isn’t great enough to pass up the L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger.The L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger seems so light,crisp,breezy and somehow sparkly to me.Ethereal. April 26, 2006 at 9:14am Reply

  • Kristen: I love the smell of orange blossom/neroli, but for years I could not find one that would suit me. Anything with a remote hint of orange blossom in it dried down to something hideously reminiscent of funeral flowers and mildew. I tried the L’Artisan, the Serge, the Malle En Passant…and many others. It was so frustrating!

    While I was at Le Labo I walked away from the first table where Fleur d’Oranger and Neroli sat, without even a sniff. “Nope, can’t wear those. Next!” But something made me come back and try the Neroli, and indeed this is the only orange blossom fragrance that I have ever been able to wear.

    Fortunately, I don’t get any of the synthetic sharpness you described; after a little while, Neroli 36 just becomes part of me, like warm sun on skin, slightly powdery. Like waking up in Florida. I’m glad I went back to that table to sniff it after all! April 26, 2006 at 9:15am Reply

    • katherine x: I had the same reaction Kristen and I love it! I know I’m anosmic to certain notes – still trying to figure out which ones – but whatever they are I’m glad for it because I don’t get the synthetic vibe from Neroli like Victoria. It’s all blossoms and powder for me. And it lasts for days! How great is that. May 6, 2016 at 11:02pm Reply

  • Marina: I haven’t gotten to trying Neroli yet, but I thought Fleur d’Oranger was a pretty little scent. Nothing to write home about so to say, but pretty. April 26, 2006 at 11:05am Reply

  • violetnoir: I have a sample of Fleur d’Oranger 27 that was sent to me by a lovely friend. I love bergamot, but based on your assessment, I do not think that I will be in any hurry to test it.

    Hugs! April 26, 2006 at 11:33am Reply

  • Robin: These were not my favorites from the Le Labo line either V…but please stop bringing up that $$$ L’Artisan 🙂 April 26, 2006 at 1:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: N, I really did not care for them at all, but maybe you will have more luck than I did. Hope that you are well and that your work is letting up. April 26, 2006 at 4:31pm Reply

  • Diane: My goodness, you are driving me insane. This review is making me simply more mad for a bottle of L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger. I’m clutching onto my pocketbook to little avail. My credit card is practically leaping out and what haunts me is the following recitation: “Buy me, for I am an orange blossom soliflore extraordinare: unrivaled, memorable, and a relative bargain.” April 26, 2006 at 4:56pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, I adore the smell of mock orange. The fragrance is simply beautiful, like a combination of jasmine and orange blossom. I would also love a perfume that captures this fragrance. April 26, 2006 at 6:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Christina, yes, I am yet to discover a better orange blossom soliflore than L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger. It has the sparkling, ethereal quality of orange blossom, but lasts remarkably well. I used up what I had fairly quickly, which rarely happens to me. Now, I am excited about Narcissus. April 26, 2006 at 6:06pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kristen, I am glad that Neroli works well for you. To me, it is the least authentic neroli rendition I have encountered, but your body chemistry might be just right for it.

    I would say that neither Serge Lutens nor Frederic Malle offer the true orange blossom effects. The former is mostly tuberose and the latter is lilac. Have you tried Jo Malone Orange Blossom? Many people like it very much. Annick Goutal also has a neroli soliflore, which is pretty. April 26, 2006 at 6:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, I agree that it is pretty, but for the price, it seems to me like a rather unexciting composition. In general, I am less enchanted with Le Labo line than I thought I would be, but the concept is quite interesting nevertheless. April 26, 2006 at 6:11pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R (violetnoir), do try it! Perhaps, you might find it more interesting. I would also be curious how you prefer it vis-a-vis L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger. April 26, 2006 at 6:13pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I am doing it solely to tempt you further! 😉 April 26, 2006 at 6:13pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, I am laughing over “the relative bargain” comment. Yes, I suppose that relative to many other things in life, it is cheap. 🙂 However, one thing is true–it is the orange blossom soliflore extraordinaire! April 26, 2006 at 6:15pm Reply

  • cheezwiz: Oooh, every time I hear about L’Artisan’s Fleur d’Oranger, I want it more and more! Maybe I can squash this desire with a decant – but the packaging is so gorgeous!

    Other orange blossoms I like: Annick Goutal: too bad it was a ltd. edition, I think it’s so lovely they should have made it permanent.

    Jo Malone: this is what started my orange blossom mania. Very nice light transparent fragrance. April 26, 2006 at 9:13pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Cheezwiz, I though that a decant would be enough, but after I finished mine off, I knew that I need a full bottle. The packaging is gorgeous! I love the delicate engraving on the sides of the flacon.

    I enjoyed Annick Goutal soliflores, and I wish the house brought them back. Le Jasmin was lovely, and so was Des Lys. April 26, 2006 at 11:48pm Reply

  • koneko: I love reading your orange blossom/neroli reviews… after all, you were the one to introduce me to so many favorites! I will have to try these, although my heart pines for F d’O! April 27, 2006 at 11:19pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, do try these, although if your heart pines for F d’O, I would recommend it instead. Much better in all respects! April 27, 2006 at 11:29pm Reply

  • joy: My favorite is Le Labo Neroli 36. Like wearing a sunny beach day, absolutely wondeful. I can see the glittering waves and feel the breeze when I sniff this transporting fragrance. August 22, 2011 at 12:24pm Reply

    • katherine x: Me too. This is a new find for me. I love it and it lasts forever on my skin. Heaven. May 6, 2016 at 11:06pm Reply

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