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Note Series #23 – CITRUS

Ambersweet oranges - wikimedia commons

The essential oils of citrus fruits, lemons, oranges, and limes, are usually found in the top notes of many fragrances. Fresh, zesty, aromatic and nose-tingling, they are unstable little molecules which quickly fade as heart notes develop.  Citrus fruits are from the Old World, used for millennia by many cultures - eaten as fruits, as flavouring in cuisines, as natural remedies rich in Vitamin C – got a cold or sore throat? drink lemon tea with honey! Their colours and flavours and scents are universally symbolic of  good health and well-being.

In fragrances, lemon is perceived as sour and tart but with a sweet undertone, very aromatic and vibrant, the zest of the skin providing a luminous burst of pure lemon scent.

Orange is perceived as sweet and juicy and aromatic, slightly bitter when the zest is added. The entire tree is used - orange leaves become the greener petitgrain note, the sweet white flowers are the orange blossom and neroli notes.

The green lime is perceived as sour, sharp and zesty, with a tartness that blends so perfectly with herbal and resinous wood notes, hence its use with alcohol – vodka tonic is not complete without a wedge of lime!

Bergamot, an inedible green citrus fruit classified as an orange, is a cross between a pear lemon and Seville orange or grapefruit. It has a unique aromatic citrus scent used frequently by perfumers,  a sweet/sour/bitter quality with a complex fruitiness. It's also used as a flavouring in teas, such as Earl Gray tea.

Perfumers creatively use citrus notes as the main attraction in fragrances. Here are four of our favourites, all wearable by women and men.

Note Series #23 – CITRUS – four 1ml. decants, regular $18.00 for $15.00

Lemon by Mary Greenwell - fresh, zesty and divine

Mary Greenwell is the influential British makeup artist who is known for creating make-up styles tuned to the new catwalk trends. One spritz of Mary’s scent took me directly to Sicily. Lemon bursts open with bright yellow fireworks, an intense fresh accord that goes way beyond smelling just great. It smells like the freshest just-squeezed juice from the sweetest, plumpest, biggest, most perfect lemons just picked off the tree, amped up by mounds of brilliant yellow lemon zest. And then other familiar citrus notes join this explosion of scent – lime, bergamot, mandarin and bitter orange. Is it sweet? No. Is it sharp? No. Is it fresh? Yes! It’s divine!

Entre Naranjos by Ramón Monegal - warm, complex, and elegant

A citrus with white floral and aromatic green accords, Entre Naranjos is zesty and sheer, and features notes of tunisian orange blossom, bitter orange, petit grain, neroli, amber and Indonesian patchouli leaf. From the first moments of its cologne-like opening, right through to the aromatic dry-down, Entre Naranjos is really all about orange. I see orange, as well as smell it, and taste it , but this orange is an elixir, not a candy.

Lime Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone – fresh, bright, and herbal

One of the first releases by the British perfume brand, Jo Malone, Lime Basil & Mandarin is considered a modern classic by niche lovers. The listed notes are: lime, mandarin, bergamot; basil, white thyme, lilac, iris; patchouli, vetiver, and costus. The opening is true lime, the smell of lime from a zester rubbed on the rim a cocktail glass, green, sour, aromatic, which sweetens ever so slightly, and slowly, by the addition of mandarin. Then the “twist”, the herbal accord appears,l notes of basil and thyme are exceptional, and just right, and transform the rich citrus into a top-notch classical cologne. No wonder Kate Middleton used LB&M in candle form to scent Westminster Cathedral for her wedding.

Monsieur Balmain by Pierre Balmain – zesty and sunny and sophisticated

Monsieur Balmain is a straight-up scent – no fruity, gourmand, oriental, synthetic, or overdone notes to be found here at all – and it is ALL about the lemon. Just one spritz out of the bright yellow frosted bottle feels like the bottle has been turned inside out. It’s a fresh-squeezed lemon - the juiciest, sunniest, zestiest most mouth- watering lemon accord I’ve ever sniffed. In the heart, a quiet chorus of aromatics, rose, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, rosemary, thyme, oakmoss give the lemon an edgy energy, then settles into a sophisticated vibe. I’m loving this “lemonessence” which lasts right through the smoothly aromatic herb and sandalwood dry-down, sunny right to the end. It has Monsieur in its name, but Madame loves it, too. Pure bliss!

Note Series #23 – CITRUS is listed in our Decant Store. Four 1ml. decants, regular $18.00 for $15.00.