One could not guess by just looking at me but I am half Italian. Calabrese to be exact. My Great Aunt married a Sicilian and now I have cousins living in Catania in Sicily, near the foot of Mt. Etna. (An active volcano) I have visited my cousins several times and each time I have adored Sicily. An island in the Mediterranean, it's rich volcanic soil and beautiful culture make me happy every day I am there. One thing I remember most about visiting my Great Aunt is that she always had a bowl of fresh oranges on the table. She had a couple of orange trees on her little farm. She also had jasmine blooming around her kitchen door, so every time you went out back to fetch some new oranges you were greeted with the fresh jasmine as well as the orange blossoms at the same time. It was an exquisite mixture of scents that I thought could never be replicated, until now.
Houbigant Paris has recently released a new fragrance called Orangers en Fleurs which celebrates the orange blossom. This fragrance brings me right back to Catania on my Great Aunt's farm. Sitting under the grape arbor while dappled sunlight filters through. An ocean breeze makes the orange blossoms on the trees flutter and send their intoxicating fragrance my way. The only sounds are the leaves rustling in the wind and the familiar staccato of my Great Aunt and mother speaking in Italian while they prepare the afternoon meal. I breathe deep and smell the orange blossoms and jasmine on the back porch. It's combined with the roses of the neighbor's trellis and the nutmeg being grated in the kitchen. The fragrance simply envelops me like a cool satiny scarf. This may not be paradise, but it certainly is heavenly.
According to Houbigant Paris, Orangers en Fleurs is "inspired by the legendary Queen Victoria", who happened to adore the scent of orange blossom and was know to wear it quite liberally. The fragrance has a "sophisticated scent" centered around the head notes of orange blossom, with a heart of Turkish rose and Egyptian jasmine. The fragrance is highlighted by tuberose and orange leaf absolute. The accord (Accord is basically a balanced blend of fragrance notes that when combined lose their individual identity and create a completely new fragrance) is delicately balanced by the floral note of ylang-ylang, slightly spiced with nutmeg. The dry down, or mellowing of the fragrance reveal those cedar notes that keeps Orangers en Fleurs from becoming to sickly sweet and childish. One of the nicer things about this fragrance is that a little goes a long way. I put this on at 6 AM and still 10 hours later I can still catch whiffs of it.
As far as the Eau de Parfum structure, it goes like this:
Orange Blossom, Turkish Rose Absolute (A.K.A. The essence of the rose), Egyptian Jasmine
Tuberose, Eau de Brouts (The orange leaf extract) Ylang-Ylang, Nutmeg
Cedar Wood, Musk
There are many Orange Blossom fragrances on the market these days. Some are less expensive than others, but I find that out of several that I have sniffed, this one by Houbigant Paris and another one by Serge Lutens happen to be the most true to the fragrance as possible. It is very easy to get that synthetic scent when working with orange blossom, but Houbigant Paris avoids that by using the finest raw materials and ensuring the highest level of purity for their creations.
Now if you will excuse me. I would like to spray some Houbigant Paris Orangers en Fleurs and take myself back to the island of Sicily where the sun is shining, the ocean breeze is blowing and the orange blossoms and jasmine fill the air.
Houbigant Paris Orangers en Fleurs is available in parfum and eau de parfum potencies. Both, 100ml/3.3 fl. oz. Orangers en Fleurs Parfum, 100mL retails for $600 USD and Orangers en Fleurs Eau de Parfum, 100mL retails for $180 USD at NeimanMarcus.com or in your local Neiman Marcus store. Don't have a Neiman Marcus near you? Call Kathy Shoreman at Neiman Marcus Tysons in Virginia 571-533-4972 and she can help you attain a bottle of heaven over the phone.
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