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Eau de Néroli Doré – A sparkling, spicy, summer pleasure

I always learn good stuff when I research my perfume stories, so today I’ll play teacher and pass on what I’ve learned about orange flower scents, thanks to wikipedia, among other sources…. here goes: 

There are two essential oils produced from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree: Orange Blossom and Neroli, and the differences between their characteristic scents is the result of the method of extraction used to produce the essential oils:

Orange blossom oil is extracted via a very expensive process called enfleurage, which uses solvents to produce a sweet, warm, and very floral orange scent.

Neroli oil is extracted through the simpler process of steam distillation, which results in an orange scent that is sweet, honeyed and somewhat metallic with green and spicy facets. 

And here’s some more fascinating tidbits… 

1. Neroli oil is named after Anne Marie Orsini, Duchesss of Bracciano and Princess of Nerola, a town in the province of Rome, Italy, who at the end of the seventeenth century introduced this essence of the bitter orange tree as a fashionable fragrance by using it to perfume her gloves and her bath. Hence the name Neroli…

2. Neroli oil, also referred to as Bitter Orange Oil,  is one of the most widely used floral oils by perfumers because the refreshing and distinctive spicy aroma blends well with other citrus oils, as well as various floral absolutes, and most of the synthetic components available.

3. Neroli oil is reportedly one of the ingredients in the closely guarded secret recipe for Coca-Cola. (This is useless information but may help to explain why Coke smells to mouthwateringly delicious on a hot day…)

And now to the main event…

Eau de Néroli Doré, launched in 2016, was Jean-Claude Ellena’s fifth contribution to the Les Colognes Collection from Hermès, and his last perfume for Hermès before he retired as Fragrance Director. Hermès describes the fragrances in this collection as “olfactory snapshots, generous figurative expressions of simple, sparkling pleasures…”, which describes Eau de Néroli Doré to perfection.

Eau de Néroli Doré is composed of two notes, according to the note list – neroli and saffron. “While there’s usually very little neroli in fragrances, I used an abundance of it, out of love, out of the ordinary.” Jean-Claude Ellen.  In a 2016 article in Wallpaper, M. Ellena says his  affection for the neroli note comes from his early days, “When I started out as a perfumer I learned to distill raw materials, including orange blossom. When you enter the world of stills, you are also immersed in a scent, impregnated with it, you become it...”

The opening is sparkly and spicy right out of the bottle, the sweet scent of orange blossoms nestled in bitter green leaves, warmed by golden sunshine, the concentration of the neroli oil allowing the green facets to offset the sweet floralcy and create a lively fresh effect. As the opening dries down, the saffron note develops and the neroli scent expands becoming more dense and rich rather than fading as citrus notes tend to do after the opening salvo. The saffron adds a salty dusty dry warmth to the sweet spiced orange blossom so that as Eau de Néroli Doré  dries down, the scent takes on an elegant golden glow that is decidedly sensuous and tenacious. Ten hours later it’s still on my skin, and I catch lovely soft wafts of it. Whoever thought an eau de cologne could end up here? 

During his time with Hermès, Jean-Claude Ellena was known for his minimalist style, building his scents around a single note paired with a contrasting note, portraying these familiar notes in unexpected ways and using his uniquely transparent aesthetic to surprise us. He says his scents are not “big stories” like complex fragrances can be, but rather he thinks of them as little haiku, simple scents that speak with a quiet voice.

For Eau de Néroli Doré, his final Hermès cologne, he had more to say. He surprised us and gave full voice to neroli, and I’m so glad he chose to speak out. I’ll be wearing his very special cologne a lot as we move through the hot hot days of summer.

Eau de Néroli Doré is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.            

Image- Citrus aurenteum -