What does orange blossom smell like and what’s the difference with Neroli?

Orange blossom is a complex ingredient, almost a fragrance in itself! It has a complex scent and can be interpreted within a large palette of notes. Sometimes, it builds on its heady, floral-animalic note while at the same time, it has a fresh, baby-like, soapy clean scent.

Did you know that orange blossom and neroli come from the same flower? A different extraction process results in different type of extracts, which are both used to bring our different notes in a perfume.

The different extracts produced by the bitter orange tree

The Orange Bigarade, or bitter orange tree produces different types of extracts used in perfumery.

  • from the fruit: the bitter orange essence
  • from the leaves: the petitgrain bigarade essence
  • from the flowers: several extracts: the orange blossom absolute, the orange blossom water or the neroli essence

Despite coming from the same flower, neroli oil and orange blossom absolute are quite unlike each other and perfumers use each extract for different purposes. Neroli has a more pure and innocent scent, with citrusy and light facets. Orange blossom absolute is like its warmer sibling, far more honeyed, headier and a little dirtier.

As a result, neroli pairs well with other citrus, green and herbaceous notes while orange blossom absolute blends well with other heady floral and oriental notes, where it can help bring a fresh, soapy, clean scent.

An indispensable perfumery ingredient, neroli is effortlessly bright, citrusy and green with subtle undertones of honey and orange. It works perfectly in white florals, Eau de Colognes and any floral scent. It adds a light floral, citrus element and is a great ingredient for unisex compositions.

Because orange blossom natural extracts are extremely expensive, perfumers often reproduce the smell of the flower from a blend of natural and synthetic perfumery raw materials. Synthetic components like Aurantiol, Anthranilate de Methyl and Nerolidol can be used to reconstitute the smell of orange blossom, as part of an accord.

Did you know

you can bake with orange blossom water? This popular flavour used in oriental and French pastry is typically used in madeleines (little French cake) and in Moroccan and Tunisian pastries. It is also a very soothing scent, in France and Spain for example, orange blossom is a popular scent used in baby care products.

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