NEROLI ESSENTIAL OIL (CITRUS AURANTIUM):
Botanical Name: Citrus aurantium
Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled
Part Typically Used: Blossoms
Color: Coffee Brown
Perfumery Note: Base note
Strength of Initial Aroma: Intensely floral, citrusy, sweet and exotic and is appealing to both men and women.
Neroli oil is a plant oil produced from the blossom of the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium). As with lavender, this essential oil is one of the most popular essential oils.
Orange Blossom is a fragrant distillation of fresh bitter-orange flower. This orange, also known as sour orange, is usually too sour to be enjoyed out of hand, but this very same bitterness makes this type of orange much more aromatic than the rest of the orange varieties. Almost all parts of bitter orange are used to produce beautiful and aromatic materials for the fragrance industry: the essential oil is derived from peel of a fruit, orange leaves are used in production of Petitgrain oil, while delicate white flowers serve in production of Neroli and Orange Blossom absolute.
Neroli originates from Asia, but is now produced all over the world in the Mediterranean, North Africa and China. The oil produced in France and Tunisia is believed to be the finest of them all. The best Neroli oil come from Tunisia, Sicily and France, but the volume from the latter has decreased in the past few years.
In their favoured Mediterranean or sub-tropical climate, bitter oranges can grow to a height of 9 m. It is also known as “orange blossom” and it takes about 1000 lbs. of orange blossoms to make 1 lb. of Neroli oil. The principal commercial producers of the trees and oil are Italy, France, Tunisia, Egypt and Sicily. Worldwide the annual production does not exceed 2 tonnes. 1 tonne of flowers is needed to produce 1 kg of oil – thus Neroli is highly expensive.
Although oranges had been known since the first century, it wasn’t until the late seventeenth century that Neroli oil was discovered.The name is said to have originated from the Italian princess, Anne-Marie de la Tremoille (Countess of Nerola) who used the oil as a perfume and to scent her bathwater and gloves. By the end of the 17th century, Anne Marie Orsini, duchess of Bracciano and princess of Nerola, Italy, introduced the essence of bitter orange tree as a fashionable fragrance by using it to perfume her gloves and her bath. Since then, the term “neroli” has been used to describe this essence. Neroli has a refreshing and distinctive, spicy aroma with sweet and flowery notes. It is still an ingredient for making traditional smelling eau-de-cologne.
Orange petals are often associated with marriage, purity and brides, as brides traditionally wore orange buds in their hair.
Orange flowers have been used in wedding traditions since the times of ancient China. In Chinese tradition, orange flowers were omens of purity, innocence and moral virtue, but also a symbol of fruitfulness and fertility. Brides of all nations have always worn some kind of a floral embellishment on their wedding day, and the tradition of using orange flowers has spread from the East to Europe, during the times of the Crusaders. Maidens have used fresh orange blossoms to decorate their hair on a wedding day, and this custom was so widespread that that the expression “to gather orange blossoms” took completely different connotation by starting to mean “to seek a wife”.
Neroli oil is extracted from the small, white, waxy flowers of the bitter-orange tree by steam distillation and yields 0.8 – 1 %. The blossoms are gathered, usually by hand, in late April to early May. The oil is produced by water distillation, as the blossom is too fragile to endure distillation with direct steam.
In perfumery Neroli is used as both a base note and a top note depending on the oils that it is blended with.
The main chemical components of Neroli oil are a-pinene, camphene, b-pinene, a-terpinene, nerol, neryl acetate, farnesol, geraniol, linalool, nerolidol, linalyl acetate, methyl anthranilate and indole.
FOOD / COOKING:
Neroli oil commonly used in foods such as marmalade, pancakes, custard, in eaude colognes. Neroli oil is reportedly one of the ingredients in the closely guarded secret recipe for the Coca-Cola soft drink.
MEDICINE / HEALTH:
Neroli is one of the few essential oils to be scientifically proven to increase serotonin production in the brain. As with all aromatherapy, however, the power of suggestion and individual preferences play an important part in how effective this might be. Serotonin is an important, mood-altering neurotransmitter, and increased levels of it enhance our feelings of serenity and well-being. It is believed that the tradition of bridal orange blossom garlands started because the fragrance soothed the nerves of the young brides.
BEAUTY / COSMETICS:
Neroli could be included in a blend for someone who has experienced physical or sexual abuse as a child.
This oil is all deeper supportive scent. Neroli offers a profound sense of ease. It helps one breath deeply, fill with peace and calm and feel whole. It is such a unique and beautiful note.