Evocative and indolent.
I tested on my skin a vintage version which i found really classic and evocative. The note of neroli is intense (intensely floral and orangy) but flanked throughout by a sort of soapy rose, some "vintage" hesperides and by a touch of woods and vanilla (vaguely a la Classique Gaultier). The soapiness is barely "laundry/detergent" (and spicy) type, barely fresh (i detect a light boozy vibe for a while) and slightly aristocratic . The aroma of this L'Occitane is indeed nostalgic and decadent, ideally conjures sort of indolent afternoons in the gardens of an english nobiliary building. There is a final ambery embrace for sure with a virile (bit syrupy and dusty) secret spark on my skin. A classic orange blossoms fragrance able to seduce with its romantic aura. Really well appointed orangy indolence.
I hope I'm writing this for the correct perfume. This is for the bottle with the beautiful Art Deco lettering and drawing of orange flowers. L'Occitane's original Neroli perfume is described online as a "treasured and rarely offered fragrance." In order for a new box to re-sell at around $400 for a 1.7 oz bottle, it helps to be rare and in high demand. For such an expensive neroli perfume, the first question is: Is it good? Short answer: Yes. Straight out of the bottle, it smells organic and botanical with a high percentage of natural ingredients, chiefly neroli and orange blossom. The base is nice, too--a rich, creamy amber that glows for hours. The color of the perfume is alarming--dark pink-orange--and probably leaves stains. The color reminds me of Anne Pliska, and the aroma has a bit of that same vibe, too. ( I have never smelled any of the new L'Occitane Neroli, but it would be hard for me to believe that it would be as nice as this first version.) Second question: Is it worth the price? Long answer: If you wear this type of head-turning fragrance enough to warrant the cost, if that amount of money is no big deal to you, if you don't mind falling for a discontinued fragrance, and if you're not expecting high art as much as a swooning, sweet, realistic orange flower perfume, then yes.
28th December, 2011 (last edited: 08th January, 2012)
*** This review is of the now discontinued Neroli EDP, not the new incarnation ***
Ignoring the mass confusion regarding the name (L'Occitane has various fragrances with some combination of the L'Oranger/Neroli/L'Oranger Neroli moniker), the dark red/golden brown hue of the Neroli EDP certainly is a forebearer of the pocketful of neroli kryptonite resident within the bottle. From the get go, a dense, syrupy accord of neroli unravels on your skin displaying all the characterisitc floral, citrusy and spicy shades of good quality neroli oil. The focus is more on the spicy aspect, with the nose tingling spices in the heart notes (I detect warm, herbaceous coriander) and a woody note morphing the composition into something else. The "woody note" smells a lot like cedar (unless its a petitgrain adulerant, gasp!), and the base (evident after an hour or two) is a tonka and vanilla finish, a respite some may say, after a 'masala neroli on a fire stick' show of the first half.
Neroli EDP seems to be quite moody. The "neroli" half of it satisfies - it does smell like a top shelf neroli note, with a more ravenous "darker" feel thanks to its spicy character, but the second half consisting of a dominant cedary woody note can feel a bit abrasive and scratchy as if the perfumers ran out of budget after blowing their top on a quality neroli ingredient. Wearing more than 3 sprays in warm weather brings forth this mutant cedar note even more, and it threatens to overwhelm the long lasting neroli top note and the decent softer base. Wear it in cooler weather where the stars align: the exotic neroli note dominates, takes the cedar note under its arm, and joins the smooth base to form a moderately unique and enjoyable neroli fragrance. It may be moody, temperamental and display some flaws here and there, but like a hot, rich girlfriend with bad BO and zit or two, you try to make it work.
Do you want to fall in love again? Well, let's start with saying that hands down the best Neroli scent if not one of the best scents ever! Nothing comes close. What is Neroli anyway? After doing some research, it's the flower on the orange blossom tree. I once heard that it takes over 100 neroli flowers to create this juice. Whether that's true or not is immaterial. The scent opens with a tremendous green leaf and floral note. Leads you into a lush, fragrant grove somewhere in the countryside in Provence or Tuscany. Never has a fragrance transported me to another place such as this. Rose gardens pale in comparison to the majestic beauty of this. Next, the intoxicating Neroli takes over in the heart. Now this is where it gets confusing. Is Neroli supposed to be this floral? I don't know but I've fallen in love. Truly, an anti-depressant if there ever was one. Joy to the nth degree, smiling like a sunny Saturday afternoon in the summertime. Perfection at the tip of your nose. Lasts for hours on end, senses satiated at last. Walks off in batch of vanilla/tonka but still the neroli/floral lingers like a pleasant memory. It should be noted that it's an EdP, and it lives up to its name, lasting for ages upon ages. And I must add, it is quite possibly the finest scent you will sniff in your lifetime. Be glad you did because this one is utterly and incomprehensively discontinued. Must all beauty be destroyed??? Beg, borrow and steal for this. It's worth it!!!!!
What a shame L'Occitane decided to continue this gem! It was probably the best from their lot and we should all petition to have it reissued.
The liquid has a vivid orange color, almost verging on red - the scent itself is just as thick, dense and intense. The opening is heady, intoxicating; the drydown is smooth, creamy and seductive (I detect some sweetness as well as greenery). My search for the perfect neroli is over, but sadly, now that I have found it I shall have to use my bottle sparingly since it seems unlikely I will be able to find a replacement.