Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Although this spring we have several new orange blossom perfumes, from Lancôme Ô de l’Orangerie to Guerlain Floral Romantique, I still pledge loyalty to an orange blossom fragrance that offers the most authentic tribute to the beauty of this marvelously contrasted note–Annick Goutal Néroli. Néroli is not a complicated fragrance, yet with a few carefully balanced accords, it conveys both the sparkling innocence and the languid warmth of orange blossom.
Created in 2003 by Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen, the dynamic duo behind the Annick Goutal fragrance line, Néroli is built around the combination of orange blossom absolute and neroli. While both come from the bitter orange blossom, different processing methods result in different olfactory profiles. Orange blossom is darker, richer and more voluptuous, while neroli is greener and fresher. Their complementary qualities make for a particularly multifaceted orange flower accord. The composition is accented with aromatic basil and bergamot, while vanilla and cedarwood create a smooth, polished base. While the initial impression of Néroli is effervescent and green, it becomes velvety and floral as it dries down.
In fact, the main reason I prefer Néroli over many other orange blossom fragrances is its pronounced floral aspect. It gives Néroli a delicate, petally feeling, which contrasts with the sharper, greener character of fragrances like Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, Christian Dior Escale à Portofino and Atelier Cologne Grand Néroli. While Néroli does not quite reach the exquisite richness of L’Artisan Parfumeur Fleur d’Oranger, it has an exhilarating quality that makes it suitable as a refreshing summer fragrance or an uplifting cologne. On the other hand, this winter it has been among my staple fragrances, which is probably why I fared so well through our incessant snows. Néroli reminded me that the spring is not that far away.
Néroli includes notes of bergamot, petitgrain, neroli, orange blossom, cedarwood, and vanilla. Néroli was originally released as a limited edition along with Le Chèvrefeuille, Des Lys, Le Jasmin, Le Muguet and La Violette. Since then, Néroli has joined the permanent collection. Available from Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York, Aedes and other retailers. $115, 100ml.
Sample: my own acquisition