I am always amazed at what perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena could do with a familiar material. Take, for example, the fleeting sweetness of mandarin: he pairs it with amber and brings out such lasting warmth in Eau de Mandarine Ambrée (Hermès, 2013). Or, the woods of vetiver that are rendered like tantalising pralines in Vétiver Tonka (Hermès, 2004). Even the opulence of rose is kept fresh and sparkling like a champagne in Rose Ikebana (Hermès, 2004). And with Eau de Néroli Doré (Hermès, 2015), he offers yet another interesting direction for the well-known note of neroli, a material derived from steam distillation of the bitter orange flowers.
Neroli offers a fresh floral character typical of eaux de cologne. Most neroli themes highlight this by dressing it up with plenty of bright hesperidic accents and musky notes. The results are, often, all too familiar, and I was not incredibly excited to hear of another neroli cologne.
However, the characteristic green and spicy facets of neroli oil are played up in Eau de Néroli Doré. Thus, after a sparkling burst of fresh floral notes, the bitter green twigs and a dusting of spice mark the character. Unlike typical neroli colognes which tend to be opaque because of their abundant musks, the composition feels translucent, and its warm accent gives it a glow. And, surprisingly, there is an animalic touch to the green depths.
Its bitter green touch and metallic tang last well enough to give a neat touch. But its taciturn character and fleeting nature often make me forget that it has been spritzed once before. Luckily, it comes also in 15-ml travel size to please those who take to this ethereal composition of a gilded neroli. As for me, I like how neroli is treated here, but I am just as frustrated by the quietness and short life-span. Perhaps, something to cement its radiant character is needed.
A note on the shower gel: The green, metallic tang that comes off the bottle feels odd. The scent lacks the vibrancy of the eau de cologne counterpart. But it does give an interesting metallic, floral accent on skin that feels like glowing freshness.
Source: photograph of Philippe Jarrigeon