Citrus Accord Newsletter
A Perfume Accord is generally defined as the combination of two or more aromatic essences to produce a new "well-balanced" note where none of the essences used dominates. The aspiring perfumer may enjoy creating a set of basic accords (citrus, spicy, forest, oriental, balsamic, earthy, floral, herbal, etc) which can be used to create a wide range of perfumes in which that particular accord plays a major or minor role. The first accord we will take up is citrus.
A fine citrus accord is indispensable as a wide range of perfumes utilize it as citrus oils are predominately strong in topnotes, hence serves as a lively, fresh, crisp introduction to the heart and base notes that follow. If the topnote is delightful, the chances of the person exploring the total aromatic composition will be greatly enhanced.
The range of essential oils and absolutes that fit into the citrus category is substantial and is not limited simply to citrus fruit essences. Several grasses and herbs also have strong citrus aromas and so(at least in my list) are included.
Following is a basic list to select from when creating a Citrus Accord:
Sweet Orange(peel), Lime Peel(peel) , Tangerine (peel), Clementine(peel), Yuzu(peel), Bergamot(peel), Grapefruit(pink and white/peel), Bitter Orange(peel), Tangerine(peel)
All of the above also Petitgrain Bigarade(leaf), Petitgrain Lemon(leaf), Petitgrain Mandarin(leaf), Petitgrain Bergamot(peel). Lemon verbena(leaf), Litsea cubeba(fruit), Melissa/Lemonbalm(leaf)
Lemongrass(leaf), Lemon Tea Tree(leaf) Lemon Myrtle(leaf), Eucalyptus citriodora(leaf), Eucalyptus stagierian(leaf), Petitgrain Sur Fleur Neroli(leaf and flower)
Lemon essence(vacuum distilled from juice),
Lime essence(vacuum distilled from juice), Tangerine essence(vacuum distilled from juice), Orange essence(vacuum distilled from juice)
As a prelude to creating accords the aspiring perfumer might enjoy getting acquainted with each essential oil, co2 extract, absolute etc in an intimate way. Each oil is a perfume composition in itself as it is composed with many natural aromatic compounds that when taken all together form the individual essence. Becoming familiar with the "aromatic life span" of each essence is a prelude to successful blending where one advances into ever more complex relationships between individual oils. Most of the citrus oils have a very short aromatic life yet within that period from when one initially smells it to the time its odor fades from the smelling strip their are definite changes in its character which one needs to become conscious of. One may wish to create some form of an aromatic diary to record their impressions of each oil.
Here are some of the words associated with citrus oils:
fresh, crisp, green, clear, invigorating, refreshing, stimulating, sparkling, bright, volatile, fleeting, effervescent, clean, sweet, fruity, dry, bitter, delicate, delectable, delightful, delicious, citrus-peel, pungent, tart, tangy, light, sharp.
The plants themselves and the aroma given off by their peels, leaves, juice etc are part of the regular experience of most folks so one may use terms like lime-like, lemon-like, orange-like etc and a whole world of olfactory experiences is called to mind as well.
Citrus in Literature
Another way to create an intimate acquaintance with each essence is to study the way the individual plants have appeared in literature. It brings to life the aromatic plant and its essence in a special way and helps transform the association with it into a more substantial reality. The aroma of the plant is only one part of the knowledge of any essence. There is host of other experiences associated with it-touch, taste, sight, etc and the emotions and feelings they awaken. Literature helps call to mind the geographical locations in which the plants grow, their cultural settings, historical uses, etc that may also provide inspiration for creating a unique perfume because some unique experience literature inspires.
"They met her as she drew near their pretty home, which nestled with a fold of the mountain's fruitful girdle, and was approached by a winding path, bordered by tangerine and lemon shrubs. Now these were full of golden balls, whose scent rested upon the warm, humid atmosphere, whilst their sunny glory was shadowed by, and reflected in, a myriad shining leaves."
--from Flame of the Forest
By Constance E. Bishop
"Mrs. Ware looked up, much amused, to see her piling some fresh orange peel and bits of broken cedar on the table beside her ink-bottle.
'There's nothing like that combination of smells to make you think that Santa Claus is coming straight down the chimney,' exclaimed Mary gravely, catching her mother's amused glance. 'You may think it is foolish, bit it really makes all the Christmases I have even known stand right up in a row in front of me, whenever I smell that smell.'
She rubbed a bit of fresh peel and then a piece of the cedar between her palms to bring out the pungent fragrance, and afterwards, from time to time, bent over it for another whiff to bring her new inspiration."
--from Mary Ware in Texas
By Annie Fellows Johnston, Frank Thayer
"Well, Corsini's garden shone with a dazzling illumination; the night was calm, and wafted around the sweet odors of lemon-blossoms; the pine-wood swelled with delicious harmony; joy an ecstasy filled the air. We walked far from the crowd, endeavoring to be happy with the least; the scents of the hill, the remote music of the merry hall, the sweet harmony of the water-falls--I had never been in Corsini's gardens, never seen Rome from the mount Janicule, nor the tufted hill, norm the avenues of lemon-trees. Well, the scented air, the garden, the reflections of lights on the marble pavement, the blended harmony of songs and waterfalls, brought to my mind some thing so enchanting, so full of mysterious recollection, that I stood chained to the spot..."
--from The Metropolitan Magazine
"Have you ever experienced a yuzu bath, a special bath prepared in Japan on the shortest day of the year, toji or winter solstice? On this particular day, and only on this day, yuzu, a type of citrus, is put into a readied bath, the hot water helping to release a pleasant aroma from the fruit. Floating, yet partly submerged, the yellow fruits add a calming visual to the aromatic atmosphere. On some occasions the yuzu fruits are placed in a bag made of thin toweling and dunked in the hot bath, then squeezed to extract the fragrant juice. Are you wondering why people go to such trouble? Well, taking a yuzu bath is believed to bring you wealth and assure good health. While the origin of this custom remains uncertain, it is perhaps linked to the yellow color of the fruit, which symbolizes nobleness according to Chinese tradition. In fact, in Japan we also eat yellow pumpkins on the same day."
"Signor Guglielmo sniffs the air noisily. 'Bergamot!' he says.
And there, indeed, a hundred years in front of us, peasants in Calabrian dress, men with short trousers, the women with red petticoats and the great dropping head-dress, are escorting a cart loaded with the precious fruit on its way to the mill. The cart leaves behind a perfume so strong that it completely overpowers that of oranges and lemons. We are in a bergamot-steam. My host seems enraptured ...
Let us go to the orchard! It is an enchanted spot. Emerging from under the vine arbor, we enter a grove of oranges, mandarins, and bergamots; very high, very luxuriant, meeting above our heads, and having beneath their arches a shadow that is scarcely flecked here and there with a ray of sunlight. A little further on their is great square inclosure entirely filled with bergamots."
--from The Italians of To-day
by René Bazin, trans. William Marchant
"So I waited for some companions to get ready, and stepped out onto my balcony where I was greeted by the astounding sight of Mt. Etna, snowcapped and godlike high above. Gaping, blinking in awe, I peeled a thin-skinned orange while continuing to glance back up at the mountain, as if I couldn’t believe it was there or as if I thought it might suddenly disappear. The inside of the orange was a gorgeous garnet red, and when I scraped it with a fingernail the juice was literally the color of blood. I slipped a section into my mouth and the incredible orange - raspberry pulpiness filled my entire head. All my bus fatigue, all my impatience with my companions was gone. All I knew was that moment, the Mediterranean blue of the evening, a giant volcano peering down at me, and the glory of the finest fruit in the world in my mouth. For the rest of the trip I would slip one of those beautiful fruits in my pocket before I left the hotel. I wasn’t the only one to feel this way. At breakfast one morning, one of our instructors sat down with a glass of freshly - squeezed blood orange juice, the thick redness a sight to behold. One sip brought tears to her eyes. It is really that good. "
--from "Blood Orange Love, and Other Tales of Citrus Fever"
by Lisa Roberge
Citrus Accord Recipe
Pink Grapefruit eo-1 ounce
Yuzu eo-1/2 ounce
Petitgrain Sur Fleur Neroli eo-3/4 ounce
Blood Orange eo-1 ounce
Lime Essence eo-1 1/2 ounce
Lemon Essence eo-1/2 ounce
Bergamot eo-3/4 ounce
A very important fact to remember is that the blend will only be as good as the oils that you use. It is a worthwhile venture to search high quality sources for your materials.
Please note that this is a perfume recipe, not a blend to be taken internally.