A sublime study of sunlight and summer in a fragrance. The judicious use of supporting materials really allows facets of this fascinating hero ingredient to shine.
Orange blossom, neroli oil, bergamot oil, ylang-ylang, floral musks.
What note could herald the coming of spring more than orange blossom? What raw material could so poetically evoke sunlight falling through dappled leaves? Naught, say I. Naught more than the beautiful Neroli Oranger by Matiere Premiere.
Neroli Oranger opens soft, bright and warm. An abundance of creamy, cottony orange blossom and neroli tumbles from the composition. Spirits rise, temperatures soar and suddenly winter is banished from sight. There is something almost relentlessly positive and optimistic about neroli and orange blossom centred fragrances and this one is no exception. It has that energetic citrusy rise, coupled with a warm cottony fall. There is a clean, clear, brightness about the scent which is slightly dry at the start, it calls to mind warm cotton sheets somehow, tending towards cosier rather than crisp but not vacating that idea entirely.
The bitterness in fragrances like these is always an interesting facet to observe. Take it away entirely and the scent becomes fluffy and diaphanous, leave too much in and it becomes rubbery and sour. As one might imagine, the best perfumers seem to try and find an appealing balance of light and shade somewhere in the middle. The handling of this is deftly done here. There is just enough bitterness to throw the softer facets beautifully into the foreground, but the harder edge never seems to desert the fragrance and provides it with both structure and backbone. It also means that this wears distinctly unisex as well.
There’s a tantalising hint of astringent greenery in the fragrance, it just peeks out here and there, but it acts as a very pleasing counterpoint to the luscious white blossoms and the zing of the citrus.
If two words would suffice to describe the heart of this fragrance they would surely be “lift” and “radiance” and whilst the scent is very firmly centred around the orange blossom and neroli aspects, there are other facets to be discovered behind and amongst the different shades of the hero ingredients. For example, at one point in the middle of the wear, the scent almost has the feel of having pink pepper in it – that feeling of highly energetic molecules pinging around your sinuses that is invigorating and zesty.
As the scent rolls on it becomes creamier and also more floral, as the elements highlighted by the ylang-ylang come into focus. There is a fleshy, inflorescence aspect to it which evokes the delicacy of an orange blossom petal, the plumpness of it and the velvety feel, really beautifully. Towards the latter phases of the fragrance, there is also a honeyed vein, languid and rich, it gives a hint of sweetness without ever really rolling the scent towards sugary. Indeed, although this vein is there, the whole fragrance never wears particularly sweetly at all.
The final bars of the fragrance hum along to a floral, musky tune. Although this is an appropriately powered scent there is an almost intimate, secretive way in which the scent draws to a close. It’s as if it is drawing you nearer to whisper sweet nothings in your ear as you watch the sun set.
The other stuff
The perfumer exhibits some really nice work in Neroli Oranger in the way in which he has balanced the fluffy aspects with the creamier ones, the powdery tones with the zesty ones. As well a being a study in orange blossom, this fragrance also feels like it is a bit of a study in scented texture too.
The longevity of Neroli Oranger is great, it easily lasts all day from a morning application – around 12 hours or more – and barely seems to diminish in projection throughout that. The scent projects to at least handshake distance and possibly further with a greater amount sprayed, and it trails beautifully and elegantly. Just be careful to not choke out your co-workers though if you decide to overspray it whilst in the office!
Neroli Oranger feels like the sort of fragrance which would wear well during the daytime on a bright spring day – you know those days when it feels like warmer weather is coming and everything is a little bit easier. It would be a very welcome and appropriate companion on days like that.
Matiere Premiere are a relatively new line from master perfumer Aurelien Guichard. Their whole premise is that the fragrances centre around a single hero ingredient, which is then lifted and allowed to shine by carefully selected and placed supporting notes.
The emphasis of Matiere Premiere is very much on quality – many brands claim that – but there is a sense of simplicity and a confidence about Matiere Premiere’s work which facilitates the wearer coming along on a journey to investigate the different facets of the hero ingredients. These aren’t cluttered perfumes, but nor are they incomplete either, they hit that balance of elegance and art just right. They also perfectly illustrate that “show don’t tell” idea, by highlighting different aspects quite subtly as the perfume wears. And if all that wasn’t enough, they also have their own rose centifolia farm so that they can ensure that they produce some of the finest raw rose materials possible.
Matiere Premiere are suffused with French elegance. From the scents themselves, which feel very chic and like they will most definitely last the test of time, to the bottles which are simple, unfussy but very beautiful. These are definitely scents for those with classy sensibilities who are discerning about the quality of the fragrances their wear.
Neroli Oranger is available from the Matiere Premiere web boutique where it is priced at €190 for 100ml or €29 for 6ml.
We were kindly gifted a no-strings-attached sample by the brand.