New intense scents tap into a hyper-masculine fantasy of living, playing…
By Deborah Fulsang
Move over lemon and lime, today’s sunniest new citrus perfumes embrace your more exotic cousins—hello tangerine, mandarin, pomelo, kumquat and yuzu.
Citrus is a staple in the world of perfumery of course; a classic family of notes that defines the character of the entire eau de cologne class of spritzes. That family of scents began to flourish in the 18th century’s “la cour parfumée” or “perfumed court” of Louis XV and is once again enjoying a heyday.
For more detail on the history of citrus in perfumery, take a read on this Bois de Jasmin post: Citrus: Perfume Lexicon & Fragrance Notes.
Today, citrus scents—and colognes—are trending for several reasons. Perceived as unisex, they blur gender distinctions. That’s a good thing as far as we’re concerned, as one should wear a scent because they love it regardless of whether it was originally concocted for men or woman.
Citrus perfumes are also fresh and aromatic, and both traits appeal in our foodie culture. They’re also a refreshing change for those of us who’ve tired of the abundance of sweet fruity-floral perfumes on the market.
Citrus notes also boost our mood. Their sparkling essences remind us of sunshine—perhaps because citrus is grown in tropical climes. And their colours too—sunny orange, yellow, green and shades inbetween—are upbeat, happy hues.
And with the latest crop of citrus notes being woven into perfumes, from kumquat to pomelo, tangerine to yuzu, these new scents satisfy our craving for newness. Of course everyone wants to smell wonderful, but smelling unique is even better—hence the influence and growth of niche perfumes.
THE NEW FRUITS
So what does pomelo smell like. This citrus fruit, which looks like a bowling-ball sized grapefruit, tastes similar to a grapefruit but sweeter. (For foodies, more on the taste of a Pomelo here in Kitchn’s awesome website.) We see pomelo turning up in Atelier Cologne’s new Pomelo Paradis, alongside mandarin and blackcurrant in the top notes; orange flower, rose and mint in the heart; and vetiver, iris and amber in the base. A fresh, aromatic and sultry scent for the summer!
And tangerine. In Atkinsons London 1799 Jasmine in Tangerine, we have this citrus note adding a tart twist—or a cologne-like spin—to a classic jasmine style floral perfume. (Read more on the difference between oranges and tangerines here.)
Not to mention mandarin. Mandarin and blood orange combine in Thierry Mugler’s new A*Men Ultra Zest fragrance. The press material calls this scent “an energy-packed fragrance cocktail”. For the record, there’s mandarin and blood orange along with ginger in the top; spicy cinnamon, coffee and black pepper in the heart; and the base combines rich vanilla, patchouli and tonka bean.
And yuzu. This fruit, similar to a grapefruit in appearance but smaller, delivers a dry intense citrus fragrance from its peel, akin to bergamot but sweeter and tangier both. We see yuzu in the top notes of Versace’s new sassy fruity-floral Bright Crystal Absolu perfume (with companion notes of pomegranate, raspberry, peony, magnolia, lotus flower, amber, wood and musk).
For the new and more sophisticated Balenciaga Paris L’Edition Mer perfume, we have yuzu in a fresh, aquatic expression. It’s combined with green shio leaf and floral, oceanic and wood accords.
So whatever your taste in citrus, there’s much to choose from this season, and whether you lean to tangerine or mandarin, pomelo or yuzu, know that citrus marries beautifully with warm sunshiny days. Or can help channel that weather too on that days when the sun doesn’t shine!
We’ve long loved citrus scents, partly because they make us happier. Seriously. Read more on citrus as mood booster here.
Atkinsons London 1799 Jasmine in Tangerine, $240 (100 ml), www.holtrenfrew.com. Check out the fragrance’s ingredient details in our Perfume-o-pedia.
Atelier Cologne Pomelo Paradis, $110 (100 ml), www.ateliercologne.com. Find more perfume details in our Perfume-o-pedia.