It’s always fun to switch up your fragrance as the days grow shorter and autumn begins to hint at winter. At this time of year, it’s traditional to switch to a scent that’s a bit spicy, musky, or gourmand. But what if you are a die hard floral devotee? While lily of the valley is luscious in spring and refreshing in summer, it hardy evokes the feeling of curling up in a cashmere turtleneck. What to do? No need to abandon your signature love of florals; ladies ( and gents), it’s time to try a fragrance with orange blossom!
Orange blossom, also known as neroli, is a gentle and noninvasive floral aroma that can range from luscious to austere. It’s softness hints at powderiness, but it’s also spa-like and refreshing. I fell in love with orange blossom when I was down on the gulf coast of Florida last spring; I had never experienced it in real life before (just in essential oil form), and the way that it carried on the salty, humid evening air was truly a thing to behold.
Done well, this is the feeling that an orange blossom fragrance can give you. If you long for summer days or your midwinter’s getaway, your fragrance is Orangers en Fleurs by Parfums Houbigant Paris. This fragrance is the creation of perfumer Jacques Flori, whom I was surprised to find, in my research for this article, also created the incredibly unique and rare scent that I brought back from last summer’s travels in Italy (Reminiscence Mi Fa–not available in the U.S., as far as I know). Orangers en Fleurs is an orange blossom surrounded by a lush and dewy bouquet of flowers: rose absolute, egyptian jasmine absolute, tuberose, and ylang comores. A wisp of spiciness is lent by a dash of nutmeg, lending the fragrance its autumnal appropriateness, and cedarwood and musk serve as a remotely earthy backdrop to the composition. Houbigant fragrances are composed with only the finest raw materials, which, if you’re used to wearing synthetic, mass-produced scents, is an utter revelation. You will smell expensive. You will feel expensive. If you’ll forgive the vulgar expression of outright superficiality, a fragrance such as this is the olfactory equivalent of a giant rock on your finger. Incidentally, Ivanka Trump’s signature scent is also from Houbigant–the classic Quelques Fleurs. Available exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus stores nationwide and online.
If you are seeking a floral that is slightly darker and drier, with more present base notes, your scent is Clive Christian V for Women. To the younger nose, V will have a slightly vintage fee–it’s a chypre, which is a type of fragrance structure defined by citrusy topnotes, a floral heart, and a mossy-animalic base, with oakmoss and musk. V features all of the above–citrus, along with peach and neroli at the top, a generous floral heart with notes of jasmine, carnation, ylang, rose, gardenia, orange blossom, chamomile, lavender, and heliotrope, and a positively autumnal base of honey, sandalwood, ambrette seed, benzoin, amber cistus, oakmoss, patchouli, leather, frankincense, labdanum, and musk. Peppers both black and pink, along with coriander, punctuate the heart of the composition with a vaguely masculine assertiveness, and although Clive Christian also offers V for men, this fragrance could certainly be carried off by a fellow with impeccable style (my bow-tied, bearded, velvet-blazered, artfully tattooed and outstandingly shoed friend Ryan, a devotee of Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, Prada totes, and all things McQueen, comes to mind). Exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus stores nationwide and online. Oh, if you need a celeb endorsement? It’s rumored that Katie Holmes wore Clive Christian No. 1, “the world’s most expensive perfume,” at her wedding to Tom Cruise. While this might lead you to equate the scent with her doomed love story, it’s reassuring that orange blossom is traditionally associated with joy and betrothal, most certainly ensuring that your own love story will endure indefinitely.
Want to incorporate the romance of orange flower into your beauty regime without adopting a new fragrance? Try one of my new faves, Paul & Joe Moisture Lotion. With organic safflower seed oil (recommended by dermatologists for its exceptional compatability with human skin), organic olive oil, meadowfoam seed oil, and orange flower water, it’s so lightweight and non-greasy that you can apply it to your skin using a cotton pad after cleansing. The positively adorable, vanity-friendly, vintagey and shabby-chic compatible bottle doesn’t hurt, either. Available at b-glowing.com, beautyhabit.com, and Bergdorf Goodman,