Possibly the most recognised fruit in the world, our little citrus friend has claimed its place in the kitchen, especially during breakfast, formed a strong partnership (and very delicious one too) with duck, and is to perfumers what rice is to the Chinese. The humble orange, thought to be the love child of pomelo and mandarin, plays such an important role in perfumes that I feel it is only fair to give it a mention. This cheap and widely available material is not only versatile, but indispensable in this delicate art of mix and smell.
Act 1 - Les Nuit d'Hadrien by Annick Goutal
Sitting under a cypress tree at night in Tuscany and inhaling the Mediterranean air is what Les Nuit d'Hadrien purport to express. This is a timeless story of indulging in the simple desires nature has to offer. There is no extravagance here, just a basic need to be comfortable.
Les Nuit d'Hadrien is charming and lightly European. She blooms with green citruses accompanied by spices and a teaspoon of brown sugar. This bitter-sweet ensemble transform into a cool temperate forest with wild cypress, basil and juniper before settling down to a gentle base of amber and vanilla. This sensual arrangement makes Les Nuit d'Hadrien a perfume you can wear forever, if you can only choose one. ****1/2
Act 2 - Solo Pop by Loewe
Recently introduced Solo Pop is a new generation flanker of the Loewe Solo family. Inspired by the pop-art movement and Andy Warhol, Solo Pop represents the modern man in his pursuit to balance work and pleasure.
As I am typing this, I cannot help noticing how my writing style changes with each perfume I smell. With Solo Pop, I just want to get it over and done with. Solo Pop opens with citrus notes that in my opinion, smells bizarre. After pondering, my still-useful brain came up with an apt description - orange-scented air con cleaner. The aromatic heart notes featuring thyme, coriander, verbena, lavender and rosemary did nothing to make it smell less synthetic. Instead, the air con cleaner is smelling more like expensive Lysol.
Matching the scent to the concept, I think Solo Pop is quite a synthetic success. Orange from a spray can. **
Finale - Little Italy by Bond No. 9
A neighbourhood area in lower Manhattan thriving with tourists and dozens of Italian restaurants and shops, Little Italy once housed a large population of Italians. I believe the general consensus is Italians are loud and passionate people.
Bond No. 9's Little Italy certainly did not shy away from that. This is one loud and proud orange, and even more in your face than the juice-squirting Sunkist ad. Forget about top, middle and base notes. Little Italy is an epic linear orange story. Peel 100 oranges till your hands wrinkle, and smell them and you smell Little Italy. From the zest, to rind to juice, this perfume is a full tribute to our very humble orange. Do not be mistaken and think this smells like orange essential oil. It does not. The essential oil is too gentle and soft to be Italian. This is concentrated orange powered with a good dose of hair spray. Haute couture orange. ****