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Neroli is frequently utilized in colognes and is also found in fragrances with floral notes, such as the famous Jardins de Bagatelle by Guerlain, inspired by a real garden. In this perfume, the heart is composed of white flowers (neroli, jasmine, gardenia), evoking joy, lightness, and sensuality.
If you are not familiar with the neroli scent or are interested in the history of its powerful aroma, this article will provide an overview of what neroli smells like and its origin.
What is Neroli?
The term "neroli" originates from a small Italian town near Rome and a princess who lived there. The fragrance of neroli, which filled the air during spring, enchanted Anne Marie Orsini (also known as Anna Maria de la Tremoille, and originally French).
She was the first to extract essential oil from orange blossoms, which she used to scent her clothes, baths, and gloves. (Gloves and perfumery have a deep connection, as explained in our Perfume History section.)
Believed to be an aphrodisiac, the locals were enthralled by this alluring oil, which reportedly combined floral, sweet, and musk notes.
What Does Neroli Smell Like?
Neroli has a floral and sweet aroma. Initially, the scent is citrusy and very zesty, oscillating between the tartness of bergamot and the sweetness of mandarin. Over time, the notes evolve into a more opulent and expansive floral bouquet.
At its core, neroli retains a very sweet, almost gourmand quality. For some, it evokes childhood memories, fresh linens, the joy of family vacations, and treats made by their grandmothers.
The smooth notes of neroli evoke a sense of tenderness. Neroli is primarily used in heart notes, as showcased in fragrances like Neroli by Yves Rocher or Eau de Neroli Doré by Hermès.
Neroli's Combinations with Various Olfactory Families in Perfumery
When paired with woody notes, Jardins de Bagatelle becomes a smooth and captivating fragrance that has remained timeless. Neroli is also combined with woody, spicy notes and can be found in some men's fragrances, such as 1 Million Intense by Paco Rabanne. In this scent, neroli appears in heart notes, accompanied by rose and cinnamon. The top notes feature cardamom, pepper, and nutmeg.
In the base notes, leather, sandalwood, and chili wood emerge. The spice medley is softened by rose and neroli, resulting in a fragrance that signals the resurgence of masculine allure. Paco Rabanne even describes it as an addictive scent!