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  1. #1
    bokaba's Avatar
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    Question Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    I am aware of the physical differences between these orange notes, however I would like to know how they smell differently from one another. Thus far, my understanding is that Bergamot derived from the peel of the bitter orange, neroli from the blossoms, and petitgrain from the leaves and bark. How do they smell and function in a fragrance?

    I take it that bergamot smells like a bitter orange rind, neroli is a little more floral, and petitgrain is heavily woody and/or resinous.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    I'd like to hear some informed opinions on this one, as well! I've only recently begun to appreciate hesperidic notes, and can't tell them apart very well.
    In the meanwhile, the single note exploration forum is useful.
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  3. #3
    tsmba's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Bergamot is the scent of Earl Gray tea, if you are familiar with that. My impression is that neroli and petitgrain are similar....one merchant told me petitgrain has been described as a "poor mans' neroli"....so my guess is that neroli is derived from the actual flower and is more potent.

    Good question....I'm looking forward to hearing from someone who is more knowledgeable!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Hope this helps:

    Bergamot is expressed from the outer rind of Citrus bergamia and its odor profile is : Fresh, Sharp, Lemon, Sweet, Rich, Herbaceous, Peppery and Dry. It belongs to the Citrus-like odorant group.

    Neroli is flower of Citrus aurantium var amara and its odour profile is: Light, Floral, Bitter, Herbaceous, Green, Oily. It belongs to the Oranger-like and Floral odorant groups.

    Petitgrain is leaves and twigs of Citrus aurantium var amara and its odour profile is : Bitter, Floral, Spicy, Sweet, Heavy, Woody, Warm, Citrus, Herbaceous. It belongs to the Oranger-like odorant group.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Bergamot is orangey, bitter, with hints of pepper. Yes, this is the smell of earl grey tea!

    Petitgrain is slightly orange, with a 'thick' and almost soapy texture. It's woody and green, too. It smells like what it is, orange flowers mixed with leaves and twigs.

    Neroli is sweeter than petitgrain and more overtly floral although still quite orangey.

    Orange Blossom absolute is also derived solely from the flowers of Citrus Aurantium but is extracted via solvents whereas neroli oil is steam distilled. The absolute is a richer and more honey-like orangeflower note, with some indoles present. Some of these are also slightly woody in teh drydown, but I think this may be due more to a bad source (twigs mixed in with the florals) rather than the solvent extraction method alone.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Good comments. I asked the same question a while ago, and that generated additional insightful responses.
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/218...ossom-special?
    Last edited by odysseusm; 19th January 2010 at 02:04 AM.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Sometimes petitgrain smells like the wooden stick that's left after eating an orange popsicle, if that helps.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Guys:

    Follow this link and read the posts in the threads named for each note. There's a lot of good information there, especially about the more well-known notes.
    Last edited by JaimeB; 19th January 2010 at 08:46 AM.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Where does bigarade (Malle Bigarade Concentree, Creed Citrus Bigarrade) fit into all this? According to wikipedia, bergamot is a different subspecies of Citrus aurantium while amara is the subspecies associated with neroli and petitgrain. Does bigarade come from the peel of the amara variety or something totally different?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Quote Originally Posted by jwpianoboe View Post
    Where does bigarade (Malle Bigarade Concentree, Creed Citrus Bigarrade) fit into all this? According to wikipedia, bergamot is a different subspecies of Citrus aurantium while amara is the subspecies associated with neroli and petitgrain. Does bigarade come from the peel of the amara variety or something totally different?
    According to Nigel Groom (The New Perfume Handbook (2nd Ed.), Chapman and Hall, London:1997), Bigarade is the essential oil obtained by the expression of the rind of the fruit of the bitter orange (or Seville orange) tree, Citrus aurantia (var. amara). "Bigarade" is the French name of the bitter orange tree.

    Neroli is the product obtained from the blossoms of the same tree by enfleurage. The name is traditionally ascribed to
    the seventeenth century Italian Anne Marie Orsini, duchess of Bracciano and princess of Nerola, Italy, introduced the essence of the flowers of the bitter orange tree as a fashionable fragrance by using it to perfume her gloves.

    Petitgrain is the name generally applied to the oil obtained from the leaves, buds and twigs of the same bitter orange tree; this is more specifically named Petitgrain Bigarade. There are other types of Petitgrain: Petitgrain Citronnier, which comes from the same parts of the lemon tree (Citrus limon); and Petitgrain Mandarin, from the leaves and twigs of the Mandarin tree (Citrus reticulata). "Petit grain" is French for small seeds, a reference to the materials used to produce the essential oil.

    The essential oil obtained by expression or steam distillation from the rind of the fruit of the sweet orange (or Valencia orange) tree, Citrus aurantia, var. dulcis, is called Oil of Portugal. "Burtughal" is modern Arabic for both Portugal and orange; the classical Arabic word for orange is "naranj," from which the Spanish word "naranja" and the Portuguese "laranja" are derived.

    "Orange blossom" as a note description in perfume can denote oil obtained by enfleurage
    from the blossoms of the sweet orange tree, to distinguish it from Neroli, which is obtained from the flowers of the bitter orange tree.

    Oil of Lemon is an essential oil obtained by expression of the rind of the fruit of the lemon tree (Citrus medica, var. limonum).

    "Fleurs de Citronnier" can refer to the oil of lemon blossoms. "Citronnier" is the French name of the lemon tree; "fleurs" is flowers.

    Oil of Cedrat is a name given to a mixture of oils from various citrus sources. The word "cédrat" in French refers to the citron tree and fruit. ("Citron" is the French word for lemon.)

    Bergamot Oil is the oil obtained by expression from the (inedible) fruit of the Bergamot tree (CItrus aurantia, var. bergamia). It is probably the most important (and most expensive) of the citrus oils. Most of the world supply comes from southern Italy. The name is said to come from a Turkish phrase, "beg-armudi," meaning the prince's pear, owing to the pear-like shape of the fruit. Bergamot oil a hallmark of the formulation of chypre scents, but it is also used in many other formulations, It is especially prized for the green and resinous character it combines with the citrus note.

    Limette refers to the oil of the rind of the fruit of the lime tree (Citrus medica, var. acida). "Limette" is French for lime fruit.

    I hope that about covers it.
    Last edited by JaimeB; 20th January 2010 at 08:31 AM.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Wow, Jaime - extensive info there!
    So, my guess is your descriptions are based on (essential) oils, right? So if I have no immediate access to those (save some very low-grade stuff) which fragrances would you recommend to contrast say orange blossom & neroli?
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  12. #12
    SillageMonger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Mr. bokaba......while I am not an expert on the notes that you have mentioned here, I can tell you that if you try the following two fragrances, you will intimately know all three of the notes that you are inquiring about. These two are classics, with respect to the three notes to which you have referrered: Tabac Original, and Capucci pour Homme.
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Quote Originally Posted by veuve amiot View Post
    Wow, Jaime - extensive info there!
    So, my guess is your descriptions are based on (essential) oils, right? So if I have no immediate access to those (save some very low-grade stuff) which fragrances would you recommend to contrast say orange blossom & neroli?
    It can get quite expensive to buy your own 'perfume organ,' but some people collect individual samples one or two at a time to spread out the cost. There's always the question of quality, too: how pure, how good are the samples you're buying. It can get expensive if you buy complete sets.

    Just for reference, you could look here: http://shop.osmoz.com/default.asp. They have I think seven different sets, and I can't say how complete they are, or if there's one that really contains all the citrus-based scents you'd like to smell, but you could check it out in detail if you're interested.

    In some cases the differences are not large between one of the citruses and the other, say if you are comparing citrus flower notes, but in the case of the citrus rind oil, they are more distinctive. Some of these differences may only matter to an experienced perfumer who is blending lots of notes and finds that one or another fits better into the whole.

    It's more of a problem with citrus. With florals, you could try different tuberose soliflores and compare ones with tuberose oil from different origins, but citrus oils (except for the blossom notes) ore too fleeting to be treated as single-note-dominant centerpieces for a finished scent.

    You might try making a study of the scent pyramids of different eaux de cologne, and try to make allowances for the herbal and floral notes. You can find two very similar pyramids, where the only remarkable difference is between say neroli and orange blossom. By comparing them you wouldn't smell a clear difference between the two, but at least you could see how they work differently in different accords.

    I'm sorry I can't make any better suggestions than these, but some of these are small differences after all.
    Last edited by JaimeB; 20th January 2010 at 06:24 PM.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Quote Originally Posted by JaimeB View Post
    According to Nigel Groom (The New Perfume Handbook (2nd Ed.), Chapman and Hall, London:1997), Bigarade is the essential oil obtained by the expression of the rind of the fruit of the bitter orange (or Seville orange) tree, Citrus aurantia (var. amara). "Bigarade" is the French name of the bitter orange tree.
    Thank you, Jaime. That is very helpful!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Quote Originally Posted by JaimeB View Post
    Guys:

    Follow this link and read the posts in the threads named for each note. There's a lot of good information there, especially about the more well-known notes.
    Hey Jaime:

    I quoted you because your post is so old. But that link is pure gold! There ought to be a page of required links that comes up every time you log in, and that should be one of them. I've been here nearly a year and I never would have found it otherwise. Thanks.

    The reason I was looking at this thread was because I just tried the Bruno Acampora Sballo oil. It opens with an absolutely jaw dropping green bergamot or petitgrain note. I really had to try to figure out what it is. It opens like Ma Griffe, and Jean Carles himself would be impressed. I find it way too feminine for me to wear, and that's a shame shame shame.

    Are you familiar with either of these? Do you know what that top note is? I'm thinking it might even be galbanum, which I think is bitter, but I also think it's woodier.

    Thanks.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    hi guys I'm new to this site but I recently purchased some neroli oil used in some of my aromatherapy products coming from Florida and having a father in the citrus industry I have long smelled the smell of orange blossom in the air and my father used to bring home different types of citrus oil for me now as far as I can tell and please let me know if I'm wrong am I right in saying that neroli oil should not smell heavily like orange oil because what I just bought and I'm about to send back smells more like bitter orange oil and has no floral scent whatsoever am I right in thinking that this is an unsatisfactory product

  17. #17

    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    Quote Originally Posted by Indie_Guy View Post
    Sometimes petitgrain smells like the wooden stick that's left after eating an orange popsicle, if that helps.
    in this same vein:

    --Neroli smells like orange blossom water used in cooking, JPG Le Classique Male, and an Yves Rocher neroli scent that is very true to life;
    --Bergamot has been covered: earl grey tea
    --Petitgrain is, as a wood, very crisp and dry and smells like Yardley Black Label, the original Armani men's cologne with the fuse top, and like a twiggy dry crisp austere kind of humourless version of the above

  18. #18

    Default Re: Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain?

    My basic understanding between the three, in relation to each other:

    bergamot: citric, sweeter, sometimes even fruity depending on the interpretation, not as tar/bitter/sour as lemon, and fruity in comparison to neroli and petitgrain which are floral

    neroli: whiter than the others, clean and more floral or "blossomy," almost soapy

    petitgrain: like neroli but a little more indolic or dirty, like a rose (still, not "dirty" dirty)




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