Citrus Showdown

By Charna from Providence Perfume Co., 100% natural perfume

 I love the scent of citrus.  Bring on the blood orange, the yuzu the red mandarin!  Recently I ordered a slew of citrus oils to restock my supply.  Ordering citrus oils in smaller quantities is important as citrus essential oils can loose their fresh aroma quickly.  Cold pressed citrus oils have the most incredible aroma (important for perfumery use) but also the shortest shelf life due to the high proportion of terpenes which promote oxidation.  Best to purchase these citrus oils in small quantities and replace more frequently.  Another tip to keep citrus oils vibrant?  Store in the refrigerator to help preserve freshness.

As a citrus loving perfumer, one conundrum I face is the photosensitizing nature of cold pressed citrus oils.  Use too much cold pressed lime essential oil in a perfume and you may find the area where you spritzed darkened and irritated after sun exposure.  Bergaptene free bergamot oil is essential to any perfumers palette as the photosensitizing bergaptene has been removed.  Steam distilled citrus oils do not photosensitize, but I find the aroma dull.  Cold pressed citrus oils sing, whereas steam distilled citrus oils hum . . . quietly . . . off-key.  You get the idea.  Always utilize caution when blending with cold pressed citrus oils.  Andrea Butje of The Aromahead Institute recently published an informative article on citrus oils that don't photosensitize such as green mandarin and sweet orange. Great info!  To read her blog post in it's entirety, click here:

I recently ordered yuzu, blood orange, bitter orange, green bitter orange, bergamot and 10-fold orange essential oils.  I've never experienced any of the folded citrus oils.  I was curious about the usage of folded oils in candles and possibly perfume application.  Folded citrus oils are concentrated and lower in d-Limonene terpenes. The higher the number of the folded oil, the more times it's been folded, or concentrated. I must admit I was disappointed by the 10x orange essential oil.  Despite it's strength, it lacked the fresh quality cold pressed essential oils possess.  Smelled from the bottle the 10 fold orange oil smells strongly of the bitter white pith of the orange rind.  When diluted and applied to the skin, the bitter pithy aroma eventually dissipates leaving a long lasting orange aroma.  Further experimentation is needed to discern if folded citrus oils will suit my perfume palette.  

While I've been a fan of Liberty Natural Products cold pressed Dominican Bitter Orange oil, my new bottle arrived smelling dull.  A disappointment.  Happily I ordered Bitter Green Orange from Eden Botanicals which was fresh and green and much more to my liking.  Similar in aroma to a sharp yuzu it adds a crisp clean top note aroma I adore.

With the low cost of citrus oils, sampling from a variety of suppliers is always preferential as quality varies wildly.  Have a citrus gem or dud to share?  Feel free to leave a comment.

If you have any questions about a natural fragrance or a natural perfume please contact Charna at 401.256.8272.

Mini Review of The Little Book of Perfumes by Turin and Sanchez

It's not every day I'm offered a free pre-release copy of a book - let alone one about Perfume.  Needless to say, I was suspicious but hopeful when I replied to the email I was sent by a Penguin publicist requesting I review a new book.  My copy of The Little Book of Perfumes the Hundred Classics by Tuca Turin and Tania Sanchez arrived a few days later.  As I'm a big fan of the original book PERFUMES-The A-Z Guide by Turin and Sanchez, I was excited to read their new pared down perfume primer. Note to publicists: this is an incredibly smart way to generate buzz in the perfume community-very smart indeed!

First, the cover and design of the book is eye catching. A graphic black and white printed cover opens to hot pink liner pages.  Snazzy.

As I thumbed through the pages reading reviews of the 100 Classic Perfumes, I was most happy to note that Luca and Turin devoted a good deal of content to dealing with the revisions of many of these classic perfumes due to IFRA regulations.  Many of these classic perfumes have been so heavily revised they are but a shallow remembrance of their former greatness.  I appreciated that the authors were careful to re-sniff the revised 2011 perfume versions with many of the natural ingredients removed and meticulously note the changes brought about by IFRA's restrictions.  

No Oakmoss Allowed!

No Oakmoss Allowed!

When teaching my Introductory Natural Perfume Blending classes, one of the topics that most surprises students is the modern revisions to classic perfumes.  When I explain that the current versions of the favorite perfumes, perfumes they have strong scent memories attached to; fragrances worn by their mother or grandfather will never smell the same they are shocked and sometimes angry.  I was pleased the authors focused on these changes and the foreward written by Tania Sanchez speaks volumes on the topic of regulation.  

Along these lines, my favorite review in The Little Book of Perfumes is written on a perfume that many consider the holy grail of classics: Guerlain's L'Heure Bleue.  The review of the original perfume is as one might expect, glowing.  Turin writes, "This is Guerlain the virtual pastry chef at his best, with a fragrance that teeters on the edge of the edible for hours without missing a step.  If you're Red Hot Riding Hood and a hungry wolf just rang the bell, this is the one for you."

Regarding the revised 2011 version of L'Heure Bleue Sanchez writes, "A pretty stranger has come in claiming to be your best beloved.  It is hard to be angry with her.  She is clearly out of her mind; they look nothing alike.  You sit and wait patiently for your love to turn up.  The windows go dark, night after night while the stranger smiles and dawdles, waiting for you to forget.  Can you?"  I love this review, witty and making it's point clearly.  Please stop messing with our perfumes!  Let the consumer decide.  Excessive regulations on possible allergens are not the answer.