Bitter Orange Smells Sweet : Favorite Perfumes

Bitter orange peel has a beautiful sweet-floral fragrance, with hints of spice and pine. Yet, in contrast to sweet orange, bitter orange essential oil is less commonly used in perfumery. In this the final episode in the bitter orange series, I will explain why it is so. Then I will talk about some of my favorite bitter orange perfumes and describe how bitter orange notes contribute to their characters.

The perfumes mentioned in this episode include
Frédéric Malle Cologne Bigarade
Jo Loves Green Orange and Coriander
Miss Dior Chérie L’Eau
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine

The previous episodes covered orange blossom and neroli:

Another video was devoted to my personal favorite ingredient, petitgrain.

As always, I’d love to hear what citrus fragrances you enjoy wearing.

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24 Comments

  • Debi: How is blood orange different? I have a Forest Essentials hand scrub with blood orange essential oil April 16, 2021 at 12:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s a bit sweeter, but it also depends on the variety. Some smell pine-like. April 19, 2021 at 2:47pm Reply

  • Kimberly: I recently purchased a bottle of Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Mandarin Basilic. I like it. I haven’t quite figured out how to wear it yet because it smells like fresh tangerine or clementine to me. I tried layering it with Herba Fresca but that didn’t appeal to me. I keep wanting to smell more of the floral come through. I might try layering it with a floral of some sort. I have L’Occitane Neroli & Orchidee. That might be interesting. April 16, 2021 at 1:01pm Reply

    • Kimberly: So I layered the Neroli & Orchidee with the Mandarin Basalic. Win/Win. The Neroli & Orchidee smells beautiful by itself but it tends to be heavy on my skin. The Mandarin Basalic helps cut through the heavy floral in the N&O, The N&O adds the floral element to the Mandarin Basalic. It’s an option anyway. April 16, 2021 at 1:51pm Reply

      • Victoria: Oh, I just saw your comment. Great to know that it worked out. April 19, 2021 at 2:48pm Reply

    • Victoria: There is not too much floral in it. Perhaps, you could try layering it with an orange blossom perfume. April 19, 2021 at 2:47pm Reply

  • rickyrebarco: I really enjoy the scent of bitter orange. Jo Loves Green Orange & Coriander is a favorite
    and I also really like JC Ellena’s Bigarade for F. Malle. I now have to try Miss Dior Cherie L’Eau. I have found some other flankers in that brand that are quite nice. Thanks for another great video! April 16, 2021 at 1:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: Some flankers are very good, sometimes even better than the originals. April 19, 2021 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Phyllis: I own Bigarde and Orange Sanguine and enjoy both of them, especially in warmer weather. April 16, 2021 at 3:45pm Reply

  • Eudora: Thanks for being so generous. To my surprise I am enjoying Eau de Rochas. I tested it and loved it without hesitation. I find it very classy and perfect for Spring. I bought also the lait perfumee and it is a joy. It makes me very happy! April 16, 2021 at 5:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s a perfect summer fragrance. April 19, 2021 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Fazal: I must concede I have never tried bitter orange. My initial enthusiasm for grapefruit and the immense disappointment that followed has turned me off to non-sweet varieties of citrus fruits 🙂 April 16, 2021 at 7:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Grapefruit is a completely different beast, though! April 19, 2021 at 2:49pm Reply

  • Aurora: Thank you so much for this whole series. I enjoy Eau des Sens and an Aqua Allegoria dating from several years back – I wish Guerlain had made it part of the permanent collection, it is called Nerolia Bianca. April 17, 2021 at 2:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: I liked Nerolia Bianca too. April 19, 2021 at 2:50pm Reply

  • carole: Oh, I have two orange colognes that I love: Bigarade Concentree, and Bond no 9 Little Italy. The Bond fragrance I bought for almost no money at Winners, and it has a cheerful orange bottle, and the smell is to die for. Clean clear citrus, with a touch of coriander, and jasmine. It’s by the same nose as Eau de Hadrien, which i always thought was Annick Goutal and Isabel Doyen, but fragrantica says it’s Francis Camail. Oh, I have Mandarine Ambre which is also a beautiful orange cologne. Thank you for the hours of good reading, Victoria! April 17, 2021 at 7:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: The perfumer was Henri Sorsana. Isabelle Doyen didn’t work with Annick Goutal on this perfume. She only did the cologne version in 2013. April 19, 2021 at 2:53pm Reply

      • carole: I had no idea! Thank you, Victoria. I’m always amazed and astounded at how much you know. Thank you for sharing this knowledge. Now-I’m off to find out what else he made that I might enjoy 🙂 April 19, 2021 at 8:08pm Reply

        • Victoria: Glad that it was helpful. Henri Sorsana taught Annick Goutal perfumery and he created quite a few fragrances for the house such as Eau de Monsieur, Eau de Lavande, Folavril, Eau de Camille, Heure Exquise, Rose Absolue, Passion, Tubéreuse–and of course, Eau d’Hadrien. April 20, 2021 at 2:43am Reply

  • Natalie: Unfortunately here in the USA Roger & Gallet’s Bois d’Orange is hard to find and online is more expensive than European prices currently. I’d try it otherwise. I just got the new Orange Peel by Jo Malone and it has notes of bigarade and orange peel. I haven’t received it yet, but I am expecting something more warm and marmalade like and not dry and refreshing. I usually run from sweet fragrances, but I got it due to nostalgia for orange marmalade. I am hoping the orange peel bitterness will cut the sweetness. April 19, 2021 at 3:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: In Europe, it’s a standard pharmacy brand, but yes, I suppose that they don’t distribute it that much in the States. April 20, 2021 at 2:40am Reply

      • Natalie: I wish we had it at our pharmacies. I got my Orange Peel cologne and it has a pronounced bitter orange note and not too sweet fortunately. On me it is actually crisp and zesty with woody undertones. I prefer Orange Sanguine, but it is worth sampling if anyone is a bitter orange lover. April 22, 2021 at 6:39pm Reply

  • CC: Wouldn’t Hermes’ L’Eau d’Orange Verte fit in this group too? It’s so bitter you can feel it – very pleasurably – in your back teeth. To me it smells of holidays in a clean, uncomplicated way but with more force than milder colognes. April 22, 2021 at 8:19pm Reply

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