The Excitement of Sweet Orange
At Barbershop Botanicals we love to use the finest natural ingredients and one of our favourites is sweet orange. You’ll find it in Sartorial, Rum Spice, and Nirvana, and nothing says happiness like a hit of citrus. We all reach for oranges when they’re in the fruit bowl but how are they used in perfumery? We wanted to know a little more about it and so we asked Brazilian born perfumer Daniel Pescio to shed a little light on its background.
Sweet orange is one of the most consumed fruits in the world and makes us instinctively think about vitamin C and a punch of energy! However, the smell, colour, and taste is very rich and more complex and versatile than we could imagine. Originally from ancient China, the fruit is actually a hybrid between mandarine and pomelo, and the main producers now include Brazil, Italy, Spain, and America. However, this daily favourite took a little while to travel around the world.
In Europe, around the eleventh century, the original bitter orange arrived but it wasn’t until the end of the fifteenth century that the sweet version found its way to our shores. It became instantly popular because of its sweet taste, and even the great magician Houdini created a show inspired by it called “The Magic Orange Tree”, where the illusionist made fruits grow in front of the audience’s eyes. The cost of this novelty was originally astronomical but, over time, it became a fruit bowl staple.
We use the essential oil in perfumery and this is obtained by squeezing it from the peel. If you scratch the skin of the fruit then you’ll instantly be able to smell the oil as it starts to seep out. But what are the benefits of this amazing oil that is sweet, juicy, fizzy, sparkling, and zesty all at the same time? Well, sweet orange has both Yin and Yang aspects, and offers a perfect balance between calming and energising. That’s why it’s used for reducing stress, lifting our mood, and even promoting happiness.
In perfumes, sweet orange is often blended with many other citruses such as grapefruit and bergamot, both of which are used by Barbershop Botanicals, but it also combines beautifully with some that are more aromatic. Used alongside energising ginger for example in Smoked Citrus or the anxiety relieving patchouli in Sartorial, this sweetened burst of excitement adds the perfect dose of uplifting positivity that we all need so much at the moment. The fact that it smells so fantastic is an added bonus!
Daniel Pescio is an independent perfumer based in Paris.