Nov 12, 2018

Perfume Review: L'Occitane's Néroli & Orchidée


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Today I'll be reviewing L'Occitane's Néroli & Orchidée. The fragrance is part of the company's La Collection de Grasse which pairs ingredients from the Mediterranean with scents from distant lands. Néroli & Orchidée combines two white flowers from two continents: white Madagascar orchid and Grasse neroli. It's a light fruity floral with notes of peach, fig milk, muguet, white musk, and iris.


For those of you who may not know, L'Occitane en Provence (commonly known as L'Occitane) is an international retailer of skincare, fragrances, and home products based in Manosque, France. The company was founded in 1976 by Olivier Baussan who wished to create a company that celebrates the traditions of his native Provence. The company name literally means "The woman from Occitan in Provence." All of L'Occitane's products are developed and produced in Manosque, where its 1,000 employees work. L'Occitane strives to preserve traditional cultivation methods by: supporting a program of raising almond trees in the Haute-Provence Alps, preserving species by planting rare Immortelle flowers in Corsica, and developing partnerships with organizations that support the development of scented and aromatic plants (such as the Office National Interprofessionel des Plantes à Parfum). In addition to products sourced from Provence, shea butter is purchased by L'Occitane directly from women's groups in Burkina Faso with Ecocert certification. La Fondation d'Entreprise L'Occitane is a private organization founded in 2006 by the company to support visually impaired people and help the economic emancipation of women in Burkina Faso. L'Occitane does not conduct animal testing, and no animal products or by-products are used other than beeswax.


L'Occitane is one of the few luxury European brands that has stand-alone shops in every major city of India. Although they are a bit pricey, I love their ethically sourced shea butter skincare products for my dry, eczema prone skin. L'Occitane's fragrances perfectly capture the scents of the south of France. (Which reminds me of my native California with its Mediterranean climate.) I have hesitated in the past to purchase any of L'Occitane's perfumes as they tend to suffer in longevity. I'm not paying over $20USD for a scent that lasts only 20-30 minutes, I don't care how fabulous it is.
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 Néroli & Orchidée was absolutely love at first whiff! I adore white florals and this one does not disappoint. Fortunately, the eau de toilette has good longevity and is interesting enough to set it apart from your usual neroli offerings. The fragrance is also available in a perfumed body milk, perfumed shower gel, perfumed solid soap, and a perfumed candle. I believe they recently added a scented hand cream too. Néroli & Orchidée was created by Grasse native Karine Dubreuil in Spring 2014. Here's what the ad for Néroli & Orchidée states:
"A tantalizing and lovely fragrance, Néroli & Orchidée Eau de Toilette blends the scents of two precious white flowers in a beautiful harmony. A heart of radiant neroli essence from the Mediterranean is blended with caressing white orchid absolute from Madagascar. Fruity bursts of orange and heart notes of peach complete the sensuous bouquet, which lingers delicately on the body throughout the day."
Additional notes include mandarin, fig milk, muguet, musk, and iris.

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Now, what exactly does "caressing white orchid absolute from Madagascar" smell like? I'm getting rather irked with all these popular perfumes that list some rare orchid no one has ever heard of or just plain "orchid" as a note. The Orchidaceae family has about 28,000 currently accepted species, distributed in about 763 genera. In addition to this, since the introduction of tropical species into cultivation in the 19th century, horticulturists have produced more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars of orchids. Furthermore, all these orchids have their own distinctive scents. There is an orchid that smells like coconut, and others that have scents similar to chocolate, lemon, baby powder, cinnamon, and many varied things. I am guessing that the white orchid from Madagascar is this:

L'Occitane's Néroli & Orchidée, perfume, review, La Collection de Grasse, neroli, orchid, scent, perfume review, orchidee, eau de toilette,

Angraecum sesquipedale, also called the Christmas Orchid, Darwin's Orchid, King of the Angraecums, Star of Bethlehem, and the White Orchid of Madagascar. It is native to Madagascar and releases a heady fragrance at night reminiscent of lilies, Nicotiana, and to my nose the cool, metallic, fresh, green notes of lily of the valley or muguet. Night-fragrant flowers often produce scents reminiscent of jasmine, honeysuckle, tuberose, lilies, and gardenia. When you see orchid listed as a note for a fragrance, this is most often what you are getting. Muguet or lily of the valley is also listed as a note in Néroli & Orchidée so it's part of the "caressing white orchid of Madagascar" accord I suppose.

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In the opening of the fragrance, I get a blast of bright and brisk neroli flower and a bit of juicy Mandarin orange. As that settles down the lily of the valley peeps though and what I suppose is the caressing white orchid. Its cool floral notes lend a fresh, Spring-like air to the warmth of the orange blossom. Then the velvety green fig milk and peach show up.  The peach is realistic but not too sharp. Underscoring it all is a delicate silvery tinge of iris and white musk. Given the list of notes, you might think it'd be overpowering but the overall impression is elegant, feminine, delicate, sophisticated and airy. Neither the fruit nor the floral notes overpower each other. It remains clean and fresh lasting about 6 hours in miserable Monsoon heat and humidity. In moderate weather, the fragrance remains with discreet sillage for 8 hours or more.


There are a total of 9 fragrances in La Collection de Grasse. Of all the fragrances in the collection, this was my instant favorite. I'm looking forward to making my way through all of them to see if I find any more gems. If you're looking for a light fruity floral scent that's not too sweet and suitable for Spring and Summer  - this is it!
Have you tried any of the La Collection de Grasse scents?
If so, which one do I need to try next?
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