What Does Orange Blossom Smell Like?

Orange blossom is one of the most popular floral notes in perfumery. It can star in any family and add its special twist to almost any accord. If you like delicate and fresh, you might enjoy orange blossom in Annick Goutal Néroli and Jo Malone Orange Blossom. If dark and somber is more of your mood, then Caron Narcisse Noir and Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger will fit the theme.

Orange blossom in perfumery comes from the bitter orange tree, and it’s called neroli if it’s steam-distilled and absolute if it’s extracted with solvents. (You can read my article for more detailed comparisons and examples of fragrances with these two materials). Both of these materials are expensive, although not as much as rose or jasmine essences. Neroli has a green accent that makes it perfect for colognes, mossy blends and fresh marine compositions, while the smoky twists of orange blossom absolute lend it complexity and drama that unfolds well in the similarly spiced, incense-embellished perfumes.

Many fragrances use orange blossom so generously that you can learn its nuances by picking up a blend like Atelier Cologne Grand Néroli or Louis Vuitton Sun Song.  If you want to experience the orange blossoms in their unvarnished beauty, then short of finding yourself a bitter orange tree in bloom, you can look for it elsewhere.

For instance, in a bottle of orange blossom water. This flavoring common in Middle Eastern and Sicilian cuisine is made from steam-distilling orange blossoms. The oil is separated out to be used in perfumery, but the remaining liquid has a heady scent that makes it ideal for ice cream, rice puddings, and lemonade. I once wrote an article about 10 ways of using orange blossom water, although I could think of a hundred of different applications for this aromatic liquid.

To approach this exercise like a perfumer, put orange blossom water on a blotter and study it over time. How does it smell at the beginning? How does it evolve? What happens if you put it on skin? Do you notice the green nuances giving way to the mossy, tangy darkness that is the infamous indoles? Then you can blend a cup of café blanc and enjoy the nuances of orange blossoms in yet another way.

One of the most orange blossom redolent plants that doesn’t belong to the citrus family is the black locust tree or robinia. It usually starts blooming in the late spring-early summer, and if you live in the lands with no orange groves, then it’s your chance to experience a bit of their heady glory. Black locust blossoms have a touch of coconut, with softer indolic notes than orange blossom, but when the flowers burst into bloom, the effect is spellbinding. Just like orange blossoms, they are edible and can be candied and made into jams.

Another sister-in-scent to the orange blossom is wisteria. Different varieties of this climbing plant have different aromas, but the sweet orange blossom inflection unites them all. In perfumery, if one wants to create a wisteria accord, one starts with an orange blossom and adds a bit of peach. If you live in a place where you can encounter fragrant wisterias (the ones in colder climates aren’t as perfumed), you can probably find an orange blossom tree as well, but I feel duty bound to mention this flower.

Finally, one of my most beloved scented plants is philadelphus. So close is its perfume to the orange flowers that it is even called mock orange blossom. The flowers are white and bloom only for a short while, but while they do, they smell so opulent that I feel as if merely standing next to a shrub perfumes my skin. Their fragrance has something of jasmine as well, but not being a nightblooming plant, the mock orange is softer on indoles. Either way, it’s a common ornamental plant in cities, and seeking it out is an olfactory pleasure with few equals.

What are your favorite scent plants? Or favorite orange blossom perfumes for that matter?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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112 Comments

  • Karen A: Driving in southern Turkey when the orange trees were blooming was amazing! Although not the bitter orange, the fragrance was exquisite. We’ve got some black locust trees and it’s just glorious when they are in bloom.

    Waiting for the Burkwood viburnum to open, it a rich heliotrope scent which travels far from the tree so you catch it unexpectedly in another area of the garden. Too many favorite scented plants! April 8, 2019 at 7:35am Reply

    • Victoria: I can just imagine it! Even regular, sweet orange trees have a very strong and wonderful scent. I was recently in Lisbon, and sometimes I would turn a corner and notice a magnificent scent. After walking for a while, I’d come upon an orange tree.

      You’ve solved the mystery of the beautiful scent in the park. I looked up Burkwood viburnum, and realized that it was the plant that I kept seeing–and of course, smelling. The scent is marvelous. April 8, 2019 at 7:40am Reply

    • limegreen: Wish you could have bottled that scent and brought it home to share, Karen! 🙂
      Are the bees buzzing around your locust trees? I hear about locust honey being wonderful. April 8, 2019 at 11:05am Reply

      • Karen A: Me too! It was magical. The locusts aren’t flowering yet, maybe in a couple more weeks?? The honey is delicious! Our two young magnolias are flowering though and one is so fragrant! Eau de Magnolia by Malle comes close but doesn’t *quite* capture that elusive light-like beauty. April 8, 2019 at 11:13am Reply

  • Matt armendariz: I currently have a 50+ year old massive grapefruit tree in full bloom; the entire yard is like standing in a perfume bottle. Having a variety of citrus trees, I have to say the grapefruit flower is my favorite as it’s double the size of an orange blossom with overcharged indoles. It’s unreal! April 8, 2019 at 7:54am Reply

    • Victoria: Grapefruit flower absolute is also used in perfumery, and as you say, it’s heavy on indoles, but they’re balanced really well against the fruity and green facets. I’m envious of your tree! Does it stay in bloom for a while? April 8, 2019 at 7:58am Reply

    • Austenfan: I have never smelled grapefruit flowers on the tree, but I have a gorgeous green tea that is flavoured with grapefruit flowers, so I can kind of imagine how wonderful your tree must smell! April 8, 2019 at 8:29am Reply

      • Victoria: Is that the tea from Nong Cha? April 8, 2019 at 9:08am Reply

        • Austenfan: Yes 🙂 April 8, 2019 at 9:56am Reply

      • Caitlenn: Sounds like it would taste wonderful! Can it be ordered for shipmate the US? April 8, 2019 at 5:38pm Reply

        • Austenfan: I honestly don’t know, but I doubt it. It’s only a small independent shop in Brussels. However, it never hurts to try and ask them. April 9, 2019 at 4:45am Reply

        • Andy: Caitlenn, I found this tea, which is a green tea scented with pomelo flowers, it certainly sounds like it might be similar. I haven’t tried it, but hope to soon: https://hatvala.com/flavour-tea-vietnam/pomelo-flower-tea/#product-tab-description April 9, 2019 at 9:08am Reply

          • Caitlenn: Thanks, Andy! It does sound great and I look forward to trying it once my order arrives. April 10, 2019 at 11:19am Reply

            • Andy: I would love to know what you think of it! April 10, 2019 at 2:47pm Reply

              • Caitlenn: Will do! April 10, 2019 at 4:13pm Reply

    • mml: Matt, you are me. We have an old grapefruit tree in our backyard in southern California that is now “super blooming” given all the rain this winter. It smells so rich and heady. April 9, 2019 at 8:43pm Reply

      • matt armendariz: Long Beach here! Yes to all that rain, it’s made for an unreal bloom! April 10, 2019 at 11:24am Reply

  • Austenfan: I remember the scent of the bitter orange trees in Phoenix, Arizona; my first experience of orange blossom in the wild. One of the few things that smelled good there (the desert has few smells and the city smelled mostly of car exhaust).
    I love orange blossom in a lot of different interpretations in perfume. Cap Néroli and Néroli Intense are two recent and really nice additions, but Goutal Néroli and Sweet Redemption remain great favourites as well. April 8, 2019 at 7:57am Reply

    • Victoria: I have to say, I’ve met few orange blossoms perfumers I disliked. Perhaps if they were too sweet or too synthetic. But the ones you’ve mentioned are definitely among my top favorites, especially Sweet Redemption. April 8, 2019 at 9:06am Reply

      • Austenfan: I mostly like them as well, but I remember not liking the Houbigant, which was somehow too dense (if that makes sense) and I’m not a massive fan of Lutens interpretation either. Mind you, last time I smelled it was very long ago, so I might have a different opinion now.
        Your review convinced me to try Sweet Redemption, which is now my favourite By Kilian (not that I’ve tried all of them, but I’ve smelled the Œuvre Noir collection at least once).
        But, nothing beats the smell of the real flowers on a warm night. April 8, 2019 at 10:01am Reply

        • Victoria: I kind of have to admit that I prefer the modern reformulated version of Serge Lutens’s Fleurs d’Oranger, because while I liked the original version, it was too heavy for me. I had to apply it with a pipette. One drop was more than enough for me, but maybe I was sensitive to something in the formula. April 8, 2019 at 10:27am Reply

          • limegreen: Hear hear! Not as heavy on cumin. Sometimes reformulation is a good thing. 🙂 April 8, 2019 at 11:02am Reply

            • Victoria: So true! It’s not always the end of the world. 🙂 April 15, 2019 at 10:35am Reply

  • Jodee: Iris Nobile, Sweet Redemption and Dulcis en Fundo are my fav scents with orange blossom or Neroli. As far as scented plants, I love the scent of Magnolia Trees in bloom and I can never get enough from my irises when they re-emerge in the spring. April 8, 2019 at 9:17am Reply

    • Victoria: I very much enjoy those three. April 15, 2019 at 10:31am Reply

  • Anne: So many orange blossom scent I haven’t tried that are mentioned here. I have a love hate relationship with the scent. I adore orange blossom but some perfume can be too sickly sweet and sticky, maybe to foodie. A few month ago I discovered Fleur D oranger 27 by Le Labo, I found it really really close to real blossom and absolutely lovely. It had that sweet green orange scent, that lightness and didn’t feel overly sweet or sticky. At least on me. So my favourite so far. April 8, 2019 at 9:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Le Labo’s Jasmin is also close to an orange blossom, by the way. April 15, 2019 at 10:32am Reply

  • Gayle: If you love the orange blossom fragrance…try
    “MERMAID PERFUME”.
    It’s Devine! April 8, 2019 at 9:28am Reply

    • Sophie: It’s a favorite of mine too! April 9, 2019 at 8:57am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! April 15, 2019 at 10:32am Reply

  • StellaDiverFlynn: Hyacinth and iris germanica are among my favourite scented plants, the former for its heady opulence and complexity, the later for its delicate clarity.

    I love orange blossom with a dark twist either by way of indole such as Hiram Green Dilettante, or by way of cumin or other spices like Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger. April 8, 2019 at 9:38am Reply

    • Victoria: An orange blossom with a dark twist also tempts me. April 15, 2019 at 10:32am Reply

  • Filomena: I love orange blossom fragrances. I still have a bottle of Serge Lutens’ Fleurs d’Oranger in the original formulation. I have not tried the latest version and hope it is still a good scent. April 8, 2019 at 9:49am Reply

    • Sandra: I am so jealous!
      I think the newer version is thinner compared to the older bottles but I have’t done a side to side comparison. April 8, 2019 at 9:52am Reply

    • Victoria: It is, I think, but it’s lighter. April 15, 2019 at 10:33am Reply

  • Ann Bouterse: My current personal favorite is Belle de Jour by Eris Parfums. Like being in the middle of an orange tree in Seville, but also with a sensual touch. April 8, 2019 at 10:07am Reply

  • Debby: Wisteria is such a stunning scent, I’ve not encountered any now I live in the Scottish Highlands, but they were common in my home town in Southern England, there was a beauty near my mother’s house, but the new owners cut it down (why?!).
    My favourite local to me now is wild honeysuckle, we are encouraging a patch of it in our garden and can’t wait for the warm summer evenings.
    Orange blossom perfumes: my absolute favourite is Seville a l’Aube, and I also love a very simple light one: Fragonard Fleur d’Oranger. April 8, 2019 at 10:24am Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hi Debby, I also love Seville a l’Aube. It’s one of my favourite orange blossom perfumes, alongside JM Orange Blossom. Both are very different of course, but orange blossom’s versatility is what makes it so special.

      Wisteria, hyacinth, freesia and lily of the valley are amongst the other spring flowers whose scents I love. April 8, 2019 at 3:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: We have wisteria in Brussels, but their smell is very pale, in comparison to the plants in Italy or France. April 15, 2019 at 10:33am Reply

  • Andy: Now that I realize, I’m not sure if I’ve ever smelled the true bitter orange tree, though of course all the citrus blossoms share enough in common to smell similar. Grapefruit, lemon, kumquat, and even blood orange blossoms, all of which I have smelled, each seem to have their own special nuances too, though. I’ve been in love lately with the Diptyque lait frais, which smells like I’ve been crushing orange blossoms between my fingers. It smells to me like Eau des Sens, which is also very good, but the scent of the lotion lasts as well on me, and provides the moisturizing benefit. It’s excellent for layering with an orange blossom perfume, too. April 8, 2019 at 10:32am Reply

    • limegreen: Hi Andy — The Diptyque facial lotion is lightly fragranced with the same scent, and it’s just lovely to wear it (without irritating my skin) as it smells better than the usual SPF smell. And it lasts, too, just as you have found with the lotion. April 10, 2019 at 10:01am Reply

      • Andy: That sounds nice! My favorite SPFs are unscented, but if more of them smelled like the Lait Frais, I might feel differently. April 10, 2019 at 10:42am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t yet tried this Diptyque, but I’m adding it onto my list and making a note. Thank you, Andy. April 15, 2019 at 10:34am Reply

  • Marge Clark: A reminder… Neroli essential oil (and hydrosol) is the specific for anxiety for Aromatherapists. and it blends beautifully with Vetiver, for grounding. Not perfumery, but worth thinking about. I have no idea if the Neroli based perfumes will have the same effect…worth finding a smidge of the essential oil from a trustworthy supplier. April 8, 2019 at 10:38am Reply

    • Victoria: Good to know! Thank you. April 15, 2019 at 10:34am Reply

  • Bela: I dislike neroli as much as I love orange blossom. It makes me nauseous, like gardenia and tuberose. I can detect the tiniest molecule of those scents anywhere. April 8, 2019 at 10:49am Reply

    • Victoria: Do you like the smell of Concord grapes? April 8, 2019 at 11:10am Reply

      • Becky D.: Great article yet again! I would love to know what made you ask about the scent of Concord grapes. Is there a connection between certain orange scents and Concord grapes? April 9, 2019 at 4:32am Reply

        • Victoria: Orange blossom and neroli and Concord grapes all have the same main aromatic component. April 9, 2019 at 5:13am Reply

    • Fleurycat: For me, too, there is something in some Neroli based perfumes that is intensely nauseating! I once bought a Laura Mercier Neroli Eau de Parfum that made me feel quite ill. However it is not that clear cut for me between Neroli and Orange blossom, or maybe it is just not clear when purchasing because Orange Blossom and Neroli are used interchangeably. April 9, 2019 at 6:19pm Reply

  • Zoe: What an inspiring article. Thank you. April 8, 2019 at 11:32am Reply

  • Amalia: Bitter Orange trees are everywhere on the sidewalks in Greece and they are fully bloomed with their fruits at the same time. Next month Philadelphus (From the words philo (I love) and adelphos – brother which means”he who loves his brothers”) will bloom in full glory, but the smell is closer to jasmine. Happy Spring! April 8, 2019 at 11:34am Reply

    • Mariann: I was just in Athens and loved seeing these trees! Such a happy memory April 8, 2019 at 10:29pm Reply

      • Amalia: Take deep breaths … this is our Athenian eau de parfum! Also, with the peel of the fruit we made traditional bitter orange spoon-sweet and sadly, bitter oranges are also projectiles in demonstrators hands. After “crisis”, city cleaning crews, carefully removed all the fruit in the city centre, in an attempt to deprive potential protestors of any ammunition.LOL! April 9, 2019 at 4:19am Reply

        • Mariann: Wow, but having experienced mandarins being thrown out at Carnaval in Basel I’m not surprised! The Athenian spring is so lovely. I hope I can go back! April 9, 2019 at 10:56am Reply

    • Victoria: Mmmm, a beauty! April 15, 2019 at 10:35am Reply

  • Debi Sen Gupta: I have used the serge lutens perfume for some reason it always smelled like jasmine to me. Love cooking with orange blossom water. Have made phirni with it and salad dressing too. April 8, 2019 at 12:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: It does have a lot of jasmine in it.

      I use orange blossom water in cucumber salads. April 15, 2019 at 10:36am Reply

      • Debi Sen Gupta: Pomegranate salad for me. Will try cucumber now. April 15, 2019 at 11:14am Reply

        • Victoria: Pomegranate and orange blossom is such a perfect combination. April 15, 2019 at 11:19am Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: In my mother‘s garden there was a lemon tree: smelling the lemon blossoms and using the ripe lemons (juice and rind) made me realise what a wonderful gift a citrus tree is! Also the dark green, hard leaves are wonderful and leave a lovely taste in the Cape Malay dish of bobotie: curried mest or fish mince with apricot chutney topped with a spicey egg- milk custard. Into this custard fresh lemon leaves are pressed. (One can also use fresh laurel leaves, but it‘s not quite as delightful.) April 8, 2019 at 12:28pm Reply

    • OnWingsofSaffron: Meat of course, not mest; and obvoiously bay leaves, not laurel!
      Favourite perfume: Hèrmes’ Eau de Néroli Doré. April 8, 2019 at 3:35pm Reply

      • Victoria: I like that Hermes too. April 15, 2019 at 10:40am Reply

    • Fleurycat: Likewise Kaffir Lime leaves are a wonderful addition to many foods. April 9, 2019 at 6:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: That sounds wonderful! In Sicily they grill swordfish with lemon leaves, and they add such an incomparable fragrance. April 15, 2019 at 10:38am Reply

  • Hamamelis: So many favourites on both accounts…plants: hamamelis ofcourse, viburnum burkwood, immortelle, orange and lemon blossom, black locust, lily of the valley, spring violets, hyacinth…Neroli and orange blossom perfumes Dilettante, Rubj, Annick Goutal Neroli, Houbigant Fleurs d’Orangers, Frederic Fekkai and may have forgotten one! April 8, 2019 at 1:10pm Reply

    • Andy: Hamamelis, I believe I may have asked a similar question before, so forgive me for any repetition. Are there any particular hamamelis varieties you’d recommend that you particularly admire, for the scent, floriferous habit, or any other attribute I may be missing? I’m looking for one to plant later this spring. Many thanks! April 8, 2019 at 2:17pm Reply

      • Hamamelis: Hi Andy, how nice to read your question. I always remember your kindness in my beginning perfumistahood.
        I recommend Hamamelis Mollis, also known as Chinese Hamamelis (Witchhazel), as it is very fragrant, and depending on where you will plant it, very hardy. Please report back next year when you have had a chance to smell it! April 9, 2019 at 4:23am Reply

        • Andy: Thank you! We have a somewhat local nursery that specializes in rare flowering shrubs and trees, and I have a feeling they may carry it. If not, I suspect that I’m sure to find variants of our native witch hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, around too. April 9, 2019 at 8:16am Reply

    • Victoria: Such a nice list of orange blossom perfumes. Thank you! April 15, 2019 at 10:38am Reply

  • KatieAnn: Beautiful and fascinating read! I adore orange blossom as well. I like to sprinkle orange blossom water over ice cream and drizzle a little honey along with it.
    Any thoughts on the new Chanel Paris-Venise? I haven’t tried it yet, but would love some opinions. I know it features neroli. I really want to smell this one. April 8, 2019 at 1:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: I liked Paris-Venise, and it does have neroli, rose and iris. It made me think of a lighter Misia. April 15, 2019 at 10:38am Reply

  • mj: As many Spaniards, I grew up associating orange blossom water to Roscón de Reyes, the cake eaten on Epiphany Day. Agua de Azahar, as it’s called in Spanish, is also used in many other desserts in the country.
    My favorite orange blossom scent is Hermes’ 24 Faubourg, so sunny and warm! April 8, 2019 at 1:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: That Hermes is a gem. April 15, 2019 at 10:39am Reply

  • Toni: I was surprised to discover that the blossoms of my Eureka lemon tree smell just like the Petitgrain essential oil (Natures Gift) I diffuse. It smells wonderful. I tried neroli perfumes, but haven’t found the one that I think closely matches the smell of grapefruit or orange groves in bloom. I’m anxious to try the recommendations listed! April 8, 2019 at 2:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s very hard to find the one that matches the natural scent exactly, but many come close in spirit. April 15, 2019 at 10:39am Reply

  • Lucile: All these stories made me feel so happy, as if I were experiencing those gorgeous notes. I don’t feel I know orange blossom or neroli well enough; I need to start a study! As a child (and ever since) I loved lily of the valley, lilacs, honeysuckle, and apple blossoms. One hot night in Mexico, while visiting a friend’s home, I awoke during the night. As I lay there, a breeze
    floated in, carrying a hypnotic fragrance that I enjoyed until I fell asleep. When I awoke, I thought it was a dream. Under my window grew
    jasmine and basil. Are they magic? April 8, 2019 at 4:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: What a beautiful story! April 15, 2019 at 10:40am Reply

  • Klaas: Wow, Victoria, such a lovely article, yet again!
    How I love your blog, and the comments everybody makes……sigh…….

    Anyway, Holland not being a place were many orange blossoms bloom, I have to make do with perfume! Although I must say that, since a couple of months, some neroli based perfumes turn nasty on my skin…..like real nasty…..they never used to! Isn’t that odd? As a result, I can’t finish the small bottle of Cap Néroli I bought….too bad, as I liked it very much. However, I can still wear Hermes’ Neroli Doré, L’Artisan Histoire d’Orangers and Azemour les Oranges (Parfum d’Empire). They are bliss, especially on grey winter days…. April 8, 2019 at 4:32pm Reply

    • Amy M.: Hi Klaas, me too with some orange blossoms turning on my skin! I spritzed on some vintage 24 Fabourg yesterday, and within 10 minutes it went very wrong on my skin. The same thing happens with some jasmines. (the juice was fine.) That didn’t happen a few years ago. Maybe middle age setting in and some changes happening chemically. One solution, though, is to spritz a bit on a scarf or a hanky or dark clothing 🙂 April 8, 2019 at 11:12pm Reply

      • Klaas: Middle age…..hmmmmm. I’m approaching 50, so that could be. And why didn’t I think of spraying my beloved Cap on fabric myself……another senior moment I’m affraid 😜 April 9, 2019 at 3:20pm Reply

        • Caitlenn: While not impossible, it’s less likely the skin is reacting to any particular modern perfume element than it is that the skin’s barrier function has become seriously impaired. Your skin today, and your skin next month or year, can and will react negatively to everything topical — when its barrier function is damaged. Biochemistry has a bearing, but daily skin barrier nourishment plus adequate hydration will go a very long way toward preventing any perfume from becoming one’s enemy. My reactivity to perfume was so bad every single scent I tried turned bad on my skin. Until I took a deep dive into the study of dermatology and biochemistry at any rate. I discovered 3 moisturizers that have never caused any perfume to shift: First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream, CeraVe Moisturizing Cream and Zerafite Barrier Repair Moisturizer. The following organic carrier oils are also highly unlikely to cause scent shifting: Babassu, Argan, Apricot Kernel and Sea Buckthorn. Unfortunately while these oils are rich in antioxidants and moisture, they just don’t offer the level of skin barrier treatment that the creams do. It takes about 3-6 weeks to regenerate skin barrier functionality so don’t rush to try perfume again too quickly. Plus daily maintenance is essential to keeping it intact. Don’t forget to check your cleansers either. It’s truly astounding how many supposedly gentle skincare products have proven irritants in their formula. I always recommend one of Shiseido’s oil-based cleansers, or a CeraVe cleanser, during any recovery phase. If change of seasons or extremes of weather are a factor, I always boost my own daily treatment with extra moisture by mixing one of the creams with 1/8 to max. 1/4 of one of the oils in a small to medium sterilized glass container. 24-48 hours after mixing you’ll have a month’s supply of daily care that will restore skin barrier function while keeping your skin healthy and supple. You can even turn your treatment into a luxury scented care cream if you spritz some of your favorite fragrance while mixing. If you still react to a scent after making sure your skin’s barrier is working optimally, it’s definitely time to look into an allergy, dietary, medication or biochemical cause. Of course, Amy M’s right that the only sure fire way to avoid any dermal reaction is to spray your perfume on pocket or other cotton or silk scarves. But it’s ever so lovely to have proven skincare that won’t mess about your adored perfumes while it keeps your skin luxuriously healthy and luminous! Not to mention how your personally tailored skincare will help your chosen fragrances have greater longevity every day. April 10, 2019 at 4:50pm Reply

          • Klaas: Hey Caitlenn. Well, it really seems to be just the neroli that turns bad om my skin, especially in De Nicolai’s neroli fragrances. Which is odd, because she is known for her quality ingredients. I have no problems with any ather fragrances I use.

            I do moisturize religiously 😉 April 11, 2019 at 3:03pm Reply

            • Caitlenn: Then maybe you do have an allergy to something in that one fragrance. Do note though that regular moisture alone doesn’t help build/help protect skin barrier function unless it has ceramides and related to help reinforce the skin’s ability to to repel insults and retain moisuture. April 11, 2019 at 10:23pm Reply

      • Fleurycat: I think orange oil is quite volatile and perfumes with a large quantity go off in a shorter period of time than others, so it is not necessarily a matter of age. I am older and that has not been the case for me, changes are mostly in my tastes and preferences. 😉 I started storing my Sonoma Scent Studio Jour Ensoleille and a few other natural oil based perfumes in the refrigerator to help arrest or at least slow down this possibility, but the SSS fragrance does remind me ever so slightly of an Orange oil cleaner….not good. Which is why I am so sad it is no longer available (see my post further down). I do think that vintage fragrances containing a large quantity of citrus (especially natural essential oils) do not age as well. April 9, 2019 at 5:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Aw, thank you so much! I’m happy to hear it, and it means a lot to me. All of these comments are so fascinating and I learn a lot reading them.

      What if you spray on fabric? April 15, 2019 at 10:41am Reply

  • Klaas: Oh yes, my favorite scented plant must be lavender. Its fragrance makes me feel good. I always go for a walk in the morning, and I pass some lavender shrubs on my way. Their lovely smell greets me before I see them and I always stroke its flowers with the palm of my hand to fix some of it’s smell on my skin….hebacious, campherous, flowery, summery, melancholic….. April 8, 2019 at 4:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: Lavender smells like Provence to me. Always a good thing. April 15, 2019 at 10:42am Reply

  • Amy M.: Wonderful article, Victoria. Thanks to an older article you wrote on Orange Blossom, I bought the Mynoume ob water and love it for cooking, tea, and freshening sheets and towels. My favorites include Jo Malone Orange Blossom, L’Occitane Neroli (a deep love – so sad it’s been discontinued), Guerlain AA Flora Nymphea (honey and Orange Blossom), Cap Neroli, and Neroli intense by Nicolai. I also love Le Labo’s Neroli 36. Happy Spring! April 8, 2019 at 11:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: Mymoune’s floral waters are among the best, especially their orange blossom distillate. It smells like an orange garden in full bloom. April 15, 2019 at 10:42am Reply

  • Inma: Such an interestingand inspiring article, thank you! The first thing I´ll do will be to get an orange blossom water and “study” it.

    I feel specially intrigued by Caron Narcisse Noir, another one for sampling.

    Here in Seville robinias and wisterias are in bloom (finishing) although cinamomos (melia azedarach) is the main character for me these days. April 9, 2019 at 4:08am Reply

    • Victoria: What does melia smell like? April 15, 2019 at 10:43am Reply

      • Inma: I would say it reminds me of Glicinias although a much thinner perfume, somehow just a layer of Glicinia. It is so subtle that it seems to include water and a lot of space.

        Nevertheless these days you breath their perfume as there are so many in Seville. It is a soft a very clear companion. April 16, 2019 at 8:55am Reply

        • Victoria: Mmm, sounds so beautiful! April 17, 2019 at 5:05am Reply

          • Inma: It is. This year melia´s perfume instead of orange blossom for our Easter. Séville à L’Aube would have been different! April 17, 2019 at 8:33am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: Lovely article. My favourite skincare product is Aurelia Probiotic dry body oil which contains Neroli, Lavender, Rose and Mandarin oil. This is really nice before bedtime, as the scent really relaxes and aids sleep. A must try for any Neroli scent lover.

    As for favourite plant scents, my favourites include Freesias, Roses, Mimosas, Tuberose and Lily of the Valley. The Lily of the valley now starting to bloom in my garden. April 9, 2019 at 7:47am Reply

    • Victoria: Those are some of my favorite scented flowers too! April 15, 2019 at 9:41am Reply

  • Sandra: Excellent article, I want to go and drink a cafe blanc.
    I don’t think I ever smelled the orange blossom.. we don’t have that in the north east.
    Today I am doused in Givenchy Néroli Originel April 9, 2019 at 8:40am Reply

    • Victoria: I hope that you can track down a black locust tree, though. They smell heavenly. April 15, 2019 at 10:30am Reply

  • Fleurycat: When I was a child my grandmother brought us Orange Blossom Eau de toilette and Quince preserves from her tropical winter holiday. They were so unique, and I would characterize the Orange Blossom as both bitter and sweet, but both were memorable. Years later in California, surrounded by Orange and Lemon trees in bloom I remember wishing I could find a perfume that came closets that intoxicating yet innocent fragrance. Discovering Philadelphus on a walk one day, I felt similarly. To inhale their heavenly scent is to be transported. I later planted several varieties in our garden. I didn’t know that Robinnia blossoms produce a similar fragrance. I have a “Twisty Baby” Robinnia that I planted 8 years ago, that bloomed for the first time last year. The few blossoms were too high up to smell, but they are so beautiful, very like white Wisteria. Thank you for your insightful and informative article, a pleasure to read, as always. Speaking of Orange Blossom fragrances, does anyone know if any Sonoma Scent Studio perfumes can be had anywhere? I never had the opportunity to try Bee’s Bliss, but I love Jour Ensoleille and I learned that Laurie was closing her business to late to purchase any remaining perfumes. April 9, 2019 at 4:45pm Reply

    • Fleurycat: I meant to say too late. April 9, 2019 at 4:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: Robinia blossoms are also edible.

      Unfortunately, Sonoma Scent Studio perfumes seem to have disappeared as Laurie wound down her business. Many of us miss her perfumes. April 15, 2019 at 10:45am Reply

  • Fleurycat: My favorite scented plants are: Daphnes (many, but Odora is a favorite), almost all citrus blossoms: Orange and Meyer Lemon are favorites (I have never smelled grapefruit blossoms, and can’t wait to try); night blooming Jasmine, pink Jasmine polyanthum for it‘s powdery scent, Stargazer and other fragrant Oriental lilies, Philadelphus (many), Lily of The Valley and Magnolias (especially the lemony ones), Freesia, and Roses (David Austin’s Abraham Darby, Jude the Obscure, Gertrude Jekyll, Sharifa Asma, The Ingenious Mr. Fairchild, Teaclipper, and A Shropshire Lad, to name a few, as well as Margaret Merril a floribunda, that begins with a creamy lemony scent, then turns more floral and spicy and posesses an ever evolving scent) and many more I’m sure. I won’t list perfumes here, but it is worth noting that most of these flowers are fragrances I rarely like (or that disappoint) in perfume form. While I love Freesia, Magnolia and Lily of The Valley, their fragrance in perfume form rarely translates well for me. Most are too green and astringent. On the other hand there are many Roses, Jasmine, Oriental Lily, and as noted, some Orange Blossom perfumes I adore, especially after I stopped looking for the rose scents I experience in nature. So many perfumes I now do like are necessarily complex blends, both natural and synthetic, and not as easily found in nature, with resins, Iris/orris, incense, powder, “skin” scents, musks, etc., though I do gravitate toward the higher quality, more natural ingredients found in perfumes like those made by Amouage and others. Still there is nothing quite like inhaling the scent of a fragrant rose! April 9, 2019 at 6:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love learning about all of these varieties. April 15, 2019 at 10:45am Reply

  • Lydia: Wonderful article.

    I never connected wisteria to orange blossom, but that’s been one of my most favorite scents since childhood. There used to be wisteria vines entwined with the branches of the covered wooden arched walkways near Central Park’s West 72nd entrance, and I used to wait for it every spring. There’s some now growing around Belvedere Castle, although they’ve been restoring that site so it may not be accessible right now. I know wisteria is considered a highly invasive plant, but I really hope they don’t remove it. I used to also love coming across it in Georgia (less often than you might expect, because gardners usually went to war with any wisteria that appeared in their yards).

    I used to find the orange blossom note in perfume too strong (and even a bit nauseating) but now I really enjoy it. My favorites are Seville a l’Aube and Histoire d’Orangers. I recently tried a sample of Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs and enjoyed that a lot. It’s lighter that Hd’O, but in the same family, I thought. Seville de L’Aube is like nothing else and actually reminds me more of a sweetened Habanita. I tried one on each wrist a few days ago and they really were like fond cousins. Habanita also has orange blossom, although it seems a lot less prominant to me in it.

    I did a search on your blog for orange blossom notes to jog my memory of ones I’ve tried, and I noticed that Coty L’Origan came up. I have a vintage splash bottle of it from, I think (based on the art deco label and bakelite cap), the 30s or 40s, and it still smells quite nice. I never noticed an orange blossom note, but now I will be taking deep sniffs and searching for that. April 10, 2019 at 1:01am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much!
      Yes, L’Origan definitely is an orange blossom classic. Even the cheapened drugstore versions of this perfume had a bright orange blossom signature, although the original was sumptuous. And then you have the great Guerlain L’Heure Bleue. April 15, 2019 at 10:47am Reply

  • Carla: I spent some time at a local greenhouse recently burying my face in the jasmine blossoms. Such a heavenly scent. I walked away with pansies in containers as it is still cold here.
    I am intrigued by philadelphus. I had not heard of it until I read “Farm from Home” by Amanda Brooks. (She has such style but apparently only wears E-centric molecules for a scent, how boring!) April 15, 2019 at 10:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: It should be easy to track down, as it’s one of the most common ornamental plants in the cities.

      I would like to find a jasmine sambac plant, since whatever jasmine I have doesn’t smell nearly as good. Then again, it doesn’t bloom much either, probably because it’s too cold here for it. April 16, 2019 at 3:15am Reply

  • Aurora: I always love your posts about perfumery materials with all the botanical details.

    I am ridiculously sentimental about spring flowers: hyacinths, bluebells (I currently stop every day to smell them in people’s gardens), irises, how I miss the ones in the garden when I grew up, the scent was luscious and I don’t know what type they were, wisteria which you mention (I didn’t know the scent was related to orange flower).
    My favorite perfumes with the note are the Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger ones. April 19, 2019 at 3:51am Reply

    • Victoria: I find that these materials are often discussed without finding parallels among the more familiar scents, so it was interesting to see how large the olfactory world of the orange blossoms can be.

      I also love spring flowers. I bought a little pot of muguet yesterday, and its scent made me so happy. April 19, 2019 at 5:11am Reply

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