Tuesday Neroli Showdown

For a very long time I dreamed of smelling niche perfume thinking that Poland wasn’t the country where such brands would like to grow their business. When I finally discovered that I was wrong and that there’s a place for niche here, I started exploring. One of the very first smells that fascinated me was the smell of neroli – the essence of orange flowers water distillation. I found this scent that can be icy, cold, floral or even metallic, very intriguing. I learned a lot since then, my tastes changed but neroli is still my sentiment and I always crave for a good one, especially in the summer.


In 2018 Patricia de Nicolai initiated what the brand was calling as a ‘year of neroli’. First she created Cap Neroli which I already reviewed. Later in the same year she decided to release one more neroli perfume but this time it was supposed to highlight the intensity of this white flower. Neroli Intense begins with a full spectrum of colors and impressions. At first the bouquet is powerful & heady – indolic almost like jasmine flowers. For a brief moment it’s cold to the point it feels almost metallic. After a few minutes it mellows down, neroli becomes softer, rounder and citrus-fruity notes come to play. Sweet juice of orange, mouth-watering scent of mandarin and a bit of zestiness from rinds of both are especially charming on my skin. Addition of tarragon introduces a delicate contrast that is slightly herbal and hay-like. Heart of Neroli Intense is simply overflowing with floral radiance. Here we have orange blossom which is softer & more floral than neroli. Any time I smell it, I just want to smile. Patricia also worked with pittosporum blossom but I’m not familar with its scent. What I can smell though is a fleshy verdancy of sun-caressed leaves – petitgrain does a great job here by providing some share where you can hide. Drydown of this composition is still very flowery and citrusy (orange-y especially) but there’s now a beeswax accord that makes the base more solid, less airy and diffusive. Patchouli adds depth without having much impact on ‘neroliness’ of Neroli Intense. Musk is used for some sensuality and better staying power. It’s a very well done scent!


L’Orchestre, a brand established in 2017, present an interesting approach of combining music with perfumery and each of their fragrances is interpreted with a unique music piece. Where perfumer – Anne-Sophie Behaghel in this case, imagined neroli, a musician imagined the sounds of flamenco. Flamenco Neroli is the smell of purity and freshness. It has a gentle, clean opening that is relatively soapy. After a couple of minutes it becomes more vibrant thanks to citrus notes of bergamot and bitter orange that give more color and sweet juiciness to the perfume. Ginger which appears a little bit later adds a nice, refreshing fizziness that also reveals a twist – a light lemony spiciness after some time. Heart of Flamenco Neroli is very pretty and has a summer floral vibe to it. If compared side by side it would be pretty similar to Nicolai’s one but latter one would be slightly stronger. Couple of hours later a citrus undertone in this perfume becomes slightly chalky but this serves only as a transition phase that leads us towards woody drydown notes. This part focuses on cedar in two variants – from Virginia and from Atlas. The scent is obviously woody, dry-ish and not as smooth as it has place in Neroli Intense. Woodiness makes it more rough and with uneven surface. When this perfume dries down it becomes more masculine in my opinion. But overally this is a soft, dreamy take on neroli, I would love my bedsheets to smell like that every single night.

Do we have a winner of this small neroli showdown? Probably not because some of you will find Neroli Intense by Nicolai to be more appealing while to a different group it’ll be L’Orchestre Flamenco Neroli. Whatever your choice might be, both of these fragrances are great and worth recommending if you like the note. Were I to chose a winner for myself here I would go with Nicolai as I think it would cut through the summer heat in a nicer way. These 2  are eau de parfum and while Neroli Intense comes in 30, 100 and 250 ml bottles, Flamenco Neroli comes only in 100 ml flacon.

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13 thoughts on “Tuesday Neroli Showdown

  1. Jillie says:

    Another happy, sunny review. I like the way Patricia de Nicolai produces refreshing, almost eau de cologne like scents that have depth and longevity, so I would probably vote for her!

  2. MMKinPA says:

    I’m not familiar with L’Orchestre, but I own both Cap Néroli and Néroli Intense in the 30ml bottles (hooray for small bottles!). I have a decent size Nicolaï collection, it’s one of those houses/perfumers that fits me. Néroli Intense for the win in my book!

    • lucasai says:

      I knew this brand existed, then at Esxence I missed them and didn’t try. They are newly added to Perfumeria Quality Missala range, that’s where I got my samples.

  3. hajusuuri says:

    Wow! Both of these sound really appealing! I have a love-hate relationship with orange blossom where too much is too much; I am looking at you Arabian Oud Ghroob.

    Come to think of it, what is the difference between orange blossom and neroli?

  4. Holly says:

    Neroli and orange blossom are among my favorite notes! I have a decant of Neroli Intense that I need to explore. This is the first I’ve heard of Flamenco Neroli and L’Orchestre – I don’t think they’re here in the US yet.

  5. rickyrebarco says:

    These sound lovely. I am a fan of Patricia Nicolai’s perfumes. She is so talented. My favorite orange blossom/neroli is Van Cleef’s California Reverie, delicious and fresh!

  6. Undina says:

    I usually do not mind citrus perfumes but I rarely reach for any of them when I choose what to wear.
    PdN is one of the brands that, I suspect, I would have liked more had they been more accessible here.

    • lucasai says:

      I very often reach for citrus, mostly in the summer, but when I do I like to have a choice. But you bought Clementine California because you wanted, right?

      Shame Nicolai isn’t well accessible in the US. Those are good and still reasonably priced fragrances.

      • Undina says:

        I have at least several citrus-centric perfumes that I really like, I just noticed that I tend to choose something else for wearing – unless I remind myself that I haven’t worn one of my favorite citruses in a long while. Clementine California is one of those favorites… I should wear it tomorrow 🙂

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