Romantic and delicate, orange blossoms are traditionally associated with bridal veils and communions, while their enchanting tart scent is a principle component of classical perfumes. Derived from the flowers of the bitter orange tree, orange blossom essence intriguingly pairs white floral innocence with a seductive animalic richness. This Lolita-like character is the reason why orange blossom is indispensable in the perfumer’s palette: its multifaceted quality allows for different effects, from light and effervescent to dark and sultry.
Whenever I want to experience orange blossom at its most exhilarating, the fragrance I reach for is Annick Goutal Néroli (third picture). This elegant composition captures the beguiling beauty of orange blossoms, highlighting their verdant tartness with aromatic basil. In the same vein, Lancôme recently launched Ô de l’Orangerie (second picture), an orange blossom-enriched companion to the venerable classic Ô de Lancôme. It is based around the fresh, citrussy orange blossom accord, with orange zest and cedarwood accenting the floral notes.
On the sultry side of the orange spectrum, I never fail to be moved by Hermès 24, Faubourg (first picture). Its luscious orange blossom is set into an exquisite amber and musk accord, allowing for a memorable interplay between the elegance of white flowers and the smouldering sensuality of warm animalic notes. Similarly opulent is Oscar de la Renta, which was first launched in 1977. Its heady orange blossom and tuberose blend have been reinterpreted this spring as Esprit d’Oscar, a fresher, brighter version. Yet, for all of Esprit d’Oscar’s breezy charm, it is not the bouquet of a blushing bride. A haunting timbre of incense and patchouli lends a dark, moody twist to the radiant floral heart in a beautiful tribute to the dual nature of orange blossom itself.