Orange Blossom Base

Orange blossom is one of the oldest and most important perfumery notes. It was central to the first colognes in fact. The price of orange blossom (and the closely related neroli) is very high so replacements of a high calibre are needed. This accord is based on a formula by Poucher with a minor tweak to make it more natural and closer to the best orange blossom absolute I have smelt. It’s a small tweak but makes a big difference. This is also incredibly natural smelling – about as close to the real thing as you can get synthetically I think.

Orange Blossom Versus Neroli

Orange blossom and neroli are both extracts of orange flowers (the best being from bitter orange). The main difference is that neroli is steam distilled while orange flower is chemically extracted with alcohol and/or fats. Orange flower is the more valuable of the two. Two other products come from the orange tree: orange oil (extracted from the peels of the fruit) and petitgrain – extracted from the leaves and twigs through distillation.

Interestingly, petitgrain forms the base of both neroli and orange blossom substitutes. The main difference being that neroli accords benefit from the use of indole, terpineol, hydroxycitronellal and amyl cinnamic aldehyde while orange blossom relies on the benzoates, phenyl acetates, and iso-eugenol (clove like base note).

The Formula

This formula relies heavily on petitgrain which is cheaper than neroli and orange blossom. I use Robertet’s bigaradier heart, which is fractionated and blended to the most woody floral notes resulting in a product far more like neroli but at a much better price.

Quantity Ingredient Comments
400 Petitgrain The best you can afford
200 Phenylethyl Alcohol Sweet and rosey
100 Linalool Less in orange flower than neroli
100 Nerol Extracted from geranium
50 Methyl Napthyl Ketone Oranger crystals
50 Aurantiol Methyl Anthranilate/Hydroxycitronellal Schiff base
30 Benzyl Acetate Jasmine note
30 Orange Blossom Absolute Can omit but adds naturalness
20 Phenylethyl Acetate Sweet honey note
9 Iso Eugenol Clove base note
1 Methyl Benzoate Smells like feijoa
10 Aldehyde C-10, 10% Important part of most orange blossom/neroli accords

This really is a stunning orange blossom accord – you will never need another. Give it a try! Incidentally, this comes in at around $28 an ounce, versus the nearly $400 an ounce for orange blossom absolute.

  • I.D.Adam

    I came up with a fairly similar orange flower accord and noted that the longer I could get the linalool to last the better it was. I used several linalool chems and natural sources in doing this. Also, a touch of galbanum was nice too.

    Thanks again.

    • jfrater

      I have had nothing but disasters with galbanum (including spilling a bottle on myself!) I must spend more time with it to see if I can get my head around it.

      For linalool I almost always use natural linalool ex bois de rose. It is very refined.

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