For those who have wandered the orange-tree lined streets of Cordoba, in southern Spain, the smell of NEROLI will take you back. Sadly, most of us have never been to Cordoba or have smelled NEROLI. We may have smelled orange flowers, but NEROLI magnifies their aroma by about 500%. Because it is made by distilling orange flowers – It takes many large baskets of flowers to make a tiny bottle of the essential oil – neroli is very expensive.
There are four vehicles that deliver an aroma of orange: first, is a simple tincture or distillate of orange zest. While irresistible, it releases a simple smell of oranges, delightful, but familiar and in no way mysterious. It has the same complexity as the smell of the zest itself.
A less familiar smell is that of petitgrain. Even though it’s relatively inexpensive, petitgrain is clearly derived from an orange tree and has an intriguing and long-lasting aroma. Petitgrain is made by distilling the orange tree’s stems and leaves. It is often used in “neroli” or “orange blossom absolute” as a substitute for the real thing.
Unlike petitgrain, neroli and orange flower absolute are very expensive. This is because they are made from the flowers of the tree and not the fruit, stems, or leaves. Orange flower absolute is made by soaking the flowers in hexane to draw out the aroma. The hexane is then evaporated (in a vacuum which allows boiling at a low temperature), leaving behind the syrupy and sticky absolute.
NEROLI, also made from the flowers, is a distillate – an essential oil – and not an absolute or tincture. Much like the absolute, it takes many many flowers to make a small bottle of the distillate. The smell is divine.
BPC’s NEROLI contains no orange peel or petitgrain; it’s made with pure neroli from France, where the very finest quality oil is produced.