Andy on some of his most versatile orange blossom perfumes. On the difference between neroli and orange blossom (and other fragrances with these notes), please see an entry in our Perfume Lexicon.
It’s often that I look at my bevy of perfume bottles, samples, and decants, and wonder which one I might choose if I could only wear a single fragrance, day in and day out. After some consideration, I’m often apt to think Atelier Cologne’s Grand Néroli would be a perfect choice. My first instinct is usually to think I’d select a perfume that I could be sure would surprise me with unexpected twists and take me on an infinite journey every time I wore it, but Grand Néroli is none such a perfume.
In fact, when I think more practically, I realize that owning only one perfume bottle would require that my scent be interesting yet simple, and versatile enough to suit every occasion while still possessing a memorable appeal. In light of this theoretical dilemma, I don’t hesitate to choose Grand Néroli, because this refined, fresh fragrance always feels like the right thing to wear, no matter what.
It’s certainly true that Grand Néroli breaks no new ground, categorizing squarely as an orange blossom cologne. A classical arrangement of materials from the bitter orange tree provides a similar polished, relaxed feel in Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier, and even this year’s newest release from Bottega Veneta, Knot, among countless others. What especially tickles me about Grand Néroli, however, is the fact that it never seems to lose its initial sparkle, with an emphasis on zesty citrus rind and crisp, green neroli, the steam distilled essence derived from fresh orange flowers.
The opening stages of Grand Néroli strongly remind me of Lebanese orange blossom water, which smells of fresh, green petals. The initial effect of this perfume is almost exactly like a favorite drink of mine—a squeeze of lemon, a splash of orange blossom water, topped off in a glass with plenty of mineral water. Like Grand Néroli, the drink is greenly floral, effervescent, and shot through with citric brightness.
Between Orange Sanguine and Cédrat Enivrant, Atelier Cologne has earned the distinction of creating light citrus fragrances that last well. In Grand Néroli, citrus plays only a supporting role, but one of my favorite things about this perfume is that it too features an incredibly long lasting citrus note. From the verdant top, through much of the drydown, a sprightly lemony accent remains, and I love the way it seems to guide me from the top notes into Grand Néroli’s floral heart.
Once the fragrance reaches this stage, the neroli shines fully, with nary a touch of orange blossom’s more sultry, indolic side in sight. On the whole, this mellow nod to orange flowers smells clean, sophisticated, and pretty. At times I also notice a slight woody or moss-like tone that seems to add texture and keep the green floral notes from smelling one-dimensional. Nonetheless, simple or not, it’s during this stage that Grand Néroli inspires within me a feeling of well being and refreshment—it just makes me feel wonderful to wear it.
While not a statement perfume, I find that Grand Néroli has great lasting power, seeming to linger easily through the entire day as an enjoyable skin scent. In any case, whether its appeal lies in creating a Mediterranean fantasy, or simply in providing some light refreshment, Grand Néroli is a perfect anytime perfume choice. Like most orange blossom colognes, it’s as classic as a collared shirt and as comfortable as a pair of jeans—in short, versatility, bottled.
Atelier Cologne Grand Néroli includes notes of Moroccan neroli, lemon, Sicilian bergamot, petit grain, Persian galbanum, moss, birch leaf, pure musk, white amber and vanilla from Madagascar.