I’ve been looking for a nice neroli perfume for ages. Both orange blossom and neroli are derived from orange blossom flowers but the methods of extraction differ and this results in markedly different scents. Orange blossom absolute is thicker, sweeter and more floral while neroli essential oil is tarter, greener and brighter.
After sharing my wish to find a good neroli fragrance, my mate Esperanza of L’Esperessence very kindly sent me a selection of samples from her home in Holland. They were the perfect antidote to the grey skies and mood that accompanies January in London.
Grand Neroli, Atelier Cologne
Notes: Neroli, Lemon, Sicilian Bergamot, Petitgrain, Galbanum, Moss, Birch Leaf, Musk, White Amber and Vanilla.
Neroli lends itself to the cologne style so you’d expect Atelier Cologne to do a good job with it. Grand Neroli is not quite as zesty as the Heeley but still starts with that lemony tang. It moves from tart, through floral, to green. It’s the most nuanced of the three and I like the way it changes and develops over time. True to the brand’s remit, this is a full- bodied take on a cologne with good lasting power. However I find the musk quite prominent and that’s a deal-breaker for me. It’s a white musk which fades through the day and isn’t headache inducing like some.
Oranges and Lemons, Say the Bells of St Clement’s, Heeley
Notes: Orange. Lemon. Bergamot, Mandarine, Neroli, Petitgrain, Earl Grey Tea, Ylang Ylang and Vetiver
We used to play a singing game to “Orange and Lemons” at children’s birthday parties when I was little which means this perfume has a very happy association for me. As is often the case with old English nursery rhymes, the lyrics dating from circa 1740 are pretty grim when you look at them:
Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.
I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.
Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
Chip chop chip chop the last man is dead
The fragrance goes on zingy as you’d expect with the presence of lemon but it’s not so bitter as to make me wince. The projection lessens considerably after about 2-3 hours but this is citrus-heavy and citrus accords have limited longevity. However, the lasting power was very good despite the closeness to the skin. The Earl Grey tea accord is a nice idea but wasn’t noticeable to me. St. Clement’s is simple but very cheering and easy to wear. It’s my favourite of the three.
Neroli, Yves Rocher
Notes: Bigarade (bitter orange), Bergamot, Orange Blossom, Neroli and Musks.
Neroli is part of the Secret d’Essences collection of signature fragrances using quality raw materials. This is really pretty. It has none of the tart lemon of the two previous iterations. This feels more like a perfume than a cologne and you could say it leans more traditionally feminine in style. Neroli has a lovely golden hue with no interruptions. It has just the right balance between sweet and sour. This is probably because unlike the other two, it contains orange blossom which adds that floral syrupy-ness but also means it’s not a straight-up neroli fragrance. Sadly, its longevity wasn’t great on me but at around £30 for 50ml, you can afford to re-apply during the day.
Have you tried any of these? Do you have any more neroli fragrances to recommend me in the comments?