It’s high summer and time for joyfully fresh fragrances in keeping with the mood of holidays and happiness. Enter a whole new breed of citrusy scents. Not, of course, that these notes are anything new – Louis XV’s gardener planted groves of orange trees to satisfy his master’s need for a new perfume every day, and many of my favourite fragrances have hints of citrus.
What is new is the sophisticated way citrus is now being used, adding touches of drama rather than forming the main plot. And while these scents are traditionally not very long-lasting, today’s parfumeurs run the citrus vertically through a fragrance so that the dry-down can be just as uplifting as the initial spritz.
Leading the charge is Cologne Indélébile (£155 for 100ml extrait de parfum), created by the great Dominique Ropion for Frédéric Malle. The premise was to produce an opulent cologne-like scent that is fresh and timeless but also complex and enduring. Ropion has taken the deep, musky base he used in Géranium pour Monsieur and Portrait of a Lady and layered it with zingy orange-zest oil, neroli, lemon and bergamot. This is one to splash on and fall in love with.
Roullier White has three lively new additions. Laboratorio Olfattivo’s Noblige (£90 for 100ml EDP) is so named because its creator, Marie Duchêne, aimed for something poised and elegant. It opens with bergamot, orange and lemon, then comes the woody aroma of musk-mallow seeds, soft neroli, iris and lavender, while in the dry-down there’s a complex base of creamy vanilla, earthy iris wood, buttery tonka bean and a sensual white musk.
Party (£115 for 50ml parfum), from Swiss brand Sentifique, is packed with bitter tangerine peel, giving it a celebratory, upbeat vibe, while precious magnolia blossom, pimento and sparkling aldehydes add to the summer freshness. And from Spanish perfumer Jimmy Boyd comes the carefree Made in Ibiza (£40 for 200ml EDT), a bright, breezy scent that captures the essence of the island. Lemons and bergamot dance across the top, in the middle lies mandarin and at the base are verbena, thyme, amber and vanilla. The bottle has a stalk of thyme running through it.
Also from Spain is Entre Naranjos (among the orange trees, £130 for 50ml EDP), from Barcelona’s master perfumer Ramón Monegal, which sees orange blossom sharpened by orange zest, lemon, neroli and amber.
Lastly there is Carthusia’s Bergamotto (£60 for 100ml EDC) inspired by Capri, where the scent of citrus is everywhere. Top notes of bergamot, orange, lime and sunny angelica are softened by a bouquet of jasmine, clary sage and star anise. Base notes of cedar and amber add a certain elegance to the mix.