Azahar is Spanish for orange blossom and it's easy to see the word is derived from the Arabic, like so many names for beautiful things in Spanish (azzahár in Andalusian Arabaic meaning the same, stemming from the Arabic "zahr" for flowers). What indeed could one associate more closely with Southern Spain, its breathtaking landscapes, endless beaches, pueblos blancas, its rich Arabic heritage and gitano folklore, than the scent of the Azahar, wafting through the nocturnal streets of Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada or Jerez.
Were the folks at Myrurgia up to the challenge of capturing these romantic visions which already enchanted Washington Irving, as he walked the Alhambra in awe? Well, they did a good job, but, national shame, the French can do it better.
Castorpollux has got it quite right. Azahar begins with very zesty orange citrus, refreshing, pleasant and natural smelling. It quickly settles into a soft neroli, which is not too powerful, as it is blended with soft floral notes, making for a slightly sweet general impression. Some might consider it a tad feminine but I would place it squarely in unisex territory. The general impression is of an orangey Eau de Cologne, the official designation being EdT Fraiche. It doesn't last longer than Eau d'Orange Vert, though. Which brings us to the French. D'Orsay's Etiquette Bleue is closer to what you smell walking through Cadiz at night as the orange trees scent the old cobbled streets - more neroli, and of the finest quality at that. So is the exquisite but little known Extra Vieille EdC by the house Berdoues in Toulouse. In terms of citrussy orange I prefer the inimitable Hermes Eau d'Orange Verte. I do like Azahar better than the concentrée version, however, which is too musty for my taste. All in all, Azahar does hold its own and it is recommended when seeking a pleasant mixture of zesty and sweet orange with a subtle floral complement different from all the other products mentioned. The bottle is beautiful and the fragrance affordable, especially through English channels (look to the right). I do however think that Puig/Myrurgia owe it to their Spanish heritage to go forward and create the perfect neroli cologne, whatever the cost. Of course, they may have done so, but I will not be able to try "1916" before I get to Spain.
This scent is mostly about oranges and citrus than it is about azahar and it shows at first spritz. But there is azahar on the late-mid notes and at the basenotes so it does show respect for its name. The main wave here is the citrus though: orange flowers, orange treebark, orange leaves, neroli, and bergamot that makes this scent shine and be a sort of antidepressive and evoques light and sun with a fresh spring top that follows into very stimulant midnotes and still refreshing basenotes. The scent is not as longlasting as some might expect, because the azahar oil in general is very longlasting. The sillage is pretty and short as well, but for the happiness it gives and the prettyness of it all -that’s all forgiven. It’s almost as if walking into an orange tree garden with grapefruits and soft white roses that never become too ripe or too sour. The sweetness here is minimal as well, wich I welcome. Very nice!