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Neroli of Grasse Newsletter

The sun was sinking into the sea, turning the vapor from the earth into a fiery mist. The orange blossoms exhaled their powerful, delicious fragrance. He seemed to see orange blossomnothing besides me, and gazing steadfastly he appeared to discover in the depths of my mind the far-away, beloved and well-known image of the wide, shady pavement leading from the Madeleine to the Rue Drouot.

--Guy de Maupassant, Short Stories

Anyone who has encountered the wonderful aroma of the fresh citrus blossoms radiating from the living trees of lime, sweet orange, grapefruit, etc have felt as if they have had a true breath of heaven. In my career as a horticulturist I have on numerous occasions climbed inside they green leafy canopy of citrus trees to prune them and enjoyed not only the intoxicating aroma of the flowers but the scent of the leaves and fruits as well. Every part of these evergreen botanical treasures gives off its own range of aromas that are greatly valued by folks working in the realm of natural perfumery and cosmetics. In this newsletter, which continues the series on the history of the fragrant plants of Grasse and Provence, we will be focusing on the essential oil(neroli) and absolute(orange blossom) of the Bitter Orange/Citrus aurantium var. amara but one should not forget that the peel and the leaves and twigs also offer a delightful bouquet of aromas.

C. aurantium most probably originated in north-eastern India and adjoining areas of Burma (Myanmar) and China. It spread north-eastward to Japan and westward through India to the Middle East and from there to Europe, where it rapidly became established in the Mediterranean some 1000 years ago. It became especially common in Spain, hence its vernacular name Seville orange. It was one of the first citrus taken to South America in the 16th Century, where it soon escaped from cultivation and naturalized in many areas. It is now cultivated in many tropical and subtropical countries, but only rarely in South-East Asia. C. aurantium has been grown in France since the early 1400s, initially mainly as an ornamental. Later on special perfumery cultivars grown for their fragrant flowers were developed in the French Riviera region and became known as 'Bouquetiers'.

Bitter oranges originated in northeastern India and in the adjoining areas of China and Myanmar. During the first centuries CE, the orange began to spread beyond China, as the citron had done earlier, to Japan, India, the Near East, and to the rest of the classical world. In the 1st century CE, the Romans became interested in the fruit; and the Arabs later spread it as far as Spain. But, except for Spain where both the orange and the Arab remained, the fall of the Roman Empire obliterated orange cultivation in Europe. The Arabs appear to be the first to mention them in their writings. The English word now used for the fruit was derived from the Sanskrit name they adopted. The earliest description of the bitter orange in Europe was by a 13th century author; and the sweet orange was not mentioned until 1471 in some archives from the Italian city of Savona. It was not until the time of the Crusaders that the bitter orange, along with the lemon and lime, was brought back to southern Italy by soldiers returning from Palestine. It was then known as the "bigarade" and its juice was used as a flavoring and the whole fruit made into preserves, the ancestor of the modern orange marmalade.

This was the first orange brought to Europe by the Moors who also brought irrigation technology as the orange had flourished in Spain, despite the country's arid weather. Because of this, the generic name of Seville is still used. The Seville or Bigarade, cannot be eaten raw; instead, they are used for making marmalade, jams, and jellies. Vast numbers are grown in Seville; but, surprisingly, Spaniards never make marmalade and almost all of their oranges are exported to Britain. Seville oranges are used in the classic sauce bigarade, traditionally served with roast duck. Marmalade has been made with sour oranges since 1587 when a recipe appeared in an English cookbook. The amount of pectin and acid in sour oranges makes them ideal for marmalades, especially the infamous Seville orange marmalade.
--see "Oranges" at innvista.com

Spaniards introduced the sour orange into St. Augustine, Florida. It was quickly adopted by the early settlers and local Indians and, by 1763, sour oranges were being exported from St. Augustine to England. Sour orange trees can still be found in Everglades hammocks on the sites of former Indian dwellings. The first sweet orange bud wood was grafted onto sour orange trees in pioneer dooryards and, from that time on, the sour orange became more widely grown as a rootstock in all citrus-producing areas of the world than for its fruit or other features. Today, the sour orange is found growing wild even in southern Georgia and from Mexico to Argentina.

It is grown in orchards or groves only in the Orient and the various other parts of the world where its special products are of commercial importance, including southern Europe and offshore islands, North Africa, the Middle East, Madras, India, West Tropical Africa, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Paraguay.
--see "Sour Orange"

We know little for certain about the origins of the orange tree and its history down through the centuries, for there are numerous varieties that cross-fertilized and sowed confusion amongst botanists in past centuries. It would seem, however, that the ancestor of the bitter orange tree found in the Nice region was brought back from Alexander the Great's expeditions. Its presence was remarked in Italy around 1260, on the Riviera around 1336, then at Versailles and in Grasse in the 17th century through to the 1920s. From 1680 on, orange flower water was distilled from the blossom and used as a base for a multitude of scented compositions such as Eau de Cologne, Hungary Water, Eau de Naffe and Eau Impériale.

In Grasse in 1913, 30 tonnes of blossom per day were distilled, but we are at the northern limit of cultivation for bitter orange trees with the majority of the blossom coming from small gardens in Bar-sur-Loup and Vallauris. In 1993, 14 tonnes of blossom were still being picked here, but now most of the orange blossom used comes from other Mediterranean countries, Morocco and Tunisia in particular.

--see Oranger à fleur

By the end of the 16th century, Anne Marie Orsini, duchess of Bracciano and princess of Nerola,introduced the essence of bitter orange tree as a fashionable fragrance by using it to perfume her gloves and her bath. Since then, the name of Neroli has been used to describe this essence .Neroli has a refreshing and distinctive, spicy, aroma with sweet and flowery notes. It is one of the most widely used floral oils in perfumery. It is a non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing, non-photo toxic substance. More than 12% of all modern quality perfumes use Neroli as their principal ingredient. It blends perfectly with any citrus oil, various floral absolutes, and most of the synthetic components available on the market. Neroli Oil is a classic element in fragrance design and one of the most commonly used in the industry. It is also used in flavors (alimentary,) where it has a limited use.
--see Neroli
Botanic description

Tree, 3-10 m tall, much branched with a rounded crown. Young twigs angled and bearing slender short spines, older branches with stout spines up to 8 cm long. Leaves simple, alternate, subcoriaceous, dotted with glands, aromatic when bruised; petiole 2-3 cm long, upper half narrowly to broadly winged, wing triangular-obovate, up to 2.5 cm wide; blade broadly ovate to elliptical, 7-12 cm x 4-7 cm, base cuneate or obtuse, margin subentire to slightly crenulate, apex obtuse to bluntly pointed. Flowers axillary, single or in a fascicle of 2-3, very fragrant, white, usually bisexual but 5-12% male flowers occur; calyx cupular, 4-5 mm long, 3-5-lobed, lobes broadly ovate-triangular, glabrous to pubescent; petals 4-5, oblong, 1.5 cm x 4 mm; stamens 20-25, often in 4-5 groups, filaments 6-10 mm long, anthers oblong; pistil with glabrous ovary, stout style and capitate stigma. Fruit a depressed-globose hesperidium, 5-8 cm in diameter, with 8-12 segments, central core usually hollow, peel thick, smooth to warty, yellow-orange, strongly aromatic, pulp very acid and slightly bitter. Seeds numerous, polyembryonic, with a high number of nucellar embryos. Bouquetier cultivars are small, subspineless trees, flowering profusely with very large single flowers.

The taxonomy of C. aurantium as species and at sub-specific level is very confused and in dire need of revision, as is the taxonomy of the entire genus Citrus L. It is possible that C. aurantium originated as a hybrid between the mandarin (C. reticulata Blanco) and the pummelo (C. maxima (Burm.) Merrill), which perpetuates chiefly apomictically. In Europe, sour orange was known long before the sweet orange, and for a long time sweet orange has been considered as a variety of sour orange. Now sweet orange (C. sinensis) is considered as a completely different species (main differences: sour orange has longer and broader winged petioles, leaf blades are narrower and more pointed, fruits are brighter orange and have a rougher peel and oil glands are sunken in the peel).

Cultivars grown for the production of essential oils are often referred to as C. aurantium L. subsp. amara Engl., but a cultivar group classification is more appropriate for cultivated plants. Bouquetiers are a small group of cultivars grown mainly in France for the perfume industry. Some well known cultivars are: 'Bouquetier Ó Grandes Fleurs' (the most important perfume cultivar; synonym: 'Bouquetier Ó Peau Epaisse'), 'Bigaradier de Grasse', 'Bouquetier Ó Fruits Dur', 'Bouquetier Ó Fruits Mous', 'Bouquetier de Nice Ó Fleurs Double' (cultivar with double flowers; synonyms: 'Bouquetier de Nice Ó Fruits Plats', 'Bouquetier de Nice') and 'Bouquet' (a cultivar very well suited as ornamental hedge plant; synonym: 'Bouquet de Fleurs').

The largest Bigarade-tree plantations are to be found in the South of France, in Calabria and in Sicily. The center of the industry of neroli oil is the South of France, where the bitter Orange is extensively cultivated for that purpose alone. The growing regions of the true bitter(sour) orange tree in Southern France are located in the south of the Departement Alpes-Maritimes in the north and by the Mediterranean coast in the south, stretching from Cannes and Grasse in the west towards Menton in the east.

The tree requires a dry soil with a southern aspect.It bears flowers three years after grafting. For the next ten years the orchard produces a medium harvest increasing every year until it reaches its maximum, when it is about twenty years old. A ten year old tee produces about 15 pounds of flowers. Older trees that re grown in optimum conditions can produce up to to 30 lbs of flowers. The highest yield is obtained in the 20-30 year range. One hundred Orange trees, at the age of ten years, will occupy nearly an acre of land, and will produce during the season about 2,200 lb. of Orange flowers. The trees have a long life and unless the growth process is hindered by nature they can live from 80-100 years.

The flowering season is from the end of April to late May or early June. When the autumn is mild and atmospheric conditions are favorable, flowering takes place in October, and this supplementary harvest lasts until January, or till a frosty morning stops the flowering. These autumn flowers have much less perfume than those of the spring and the custom is to value them at only one-half the price of May flowers. Harvesting is mainly done by women and children who stand on ladders and drop the flowers on sheets spread beneath the trees. The blossoms of tree are collected and put in a basket, the sheets spread beneath the next tree, the ladders are moved and picking resumes.. Years ago the flowers were picked only in the early morning after the dew had dried, but since World War I the picking has been extended to noon or ever into the early afternoon. A skilled worked can harvest daily from 10 to 12 lbs a day of blossoms.

The blossoms must be picked at the proper stage of development, when just beginning to open. Closed buds given and inferior yield of oil with a somewhat "green" odor.(on the other hand, the orange flower water distilled from closed buds is very strong).Flowers opened too far are apt to fade and spoil during the transport and storage proceeding distillation.The flower material best suited to distillation or extraction consists of buds picked on a warm, sunny day. Flowers collected on cloudy, foggy or rainy days give an inferior yield of oil. Care must be staked to picky only the blossoms, and toexclude the leaflets and petioles which, although increasing the weight of the flower material impart a harsh petitgrain "by-note" to the distilled neroli oil. Picking the properblossom material requires considerable labor and is costly.For this reason the flowers are less carefully harvested during years of low oil prices. The producers then frequently resort to a much cruder method-simply shaking the trees or beating down the flowers with sticks, which obviously results in a lower quality of oil.

The days harvest is transported from the orchards to a field broker(courtier) in a neighboring village, who spreads the blossoms on sheets in a thin layer and delivers them early the following morning to the distillers. It is necessary to turn the blossoms over frequently during the overnight storage; otherwise they develop heat and ferment.

In the nineteenth century the oil was distilled by growers chiefly in old fashioned, small stills, heated with direct fire. Some of these are still employed, but today more than nine-tenths of all French Neroli oil is produced in modern stills, heated indirectly through steam jackets or steam coils. These stills which hold about 700 liters, are charged with 250-300 kg. of flower and 1 1/2 times that of water. The blossoms must float freely in boiling water(water distillation) as distillation with direct steam would result in inferior yield. Orange blossoms, like roses, clog together on treatment with live steam, the steam forming channels through the agglutinated mass and escaping without coming in contact with all the blossoms. Distillation is carried out in such a way that 1 kilo of distillation water(orange flower water) is obtained per kilogram of charged orange blossoms. This method yields on the average about 1 gram of neroli oil. Obviously the length of distillation depends on the quantity of water distilled over; in the usual stills it takes about 3 hours to obtain 1 kilo of orange flower water per kilogram of flowers. The oil of neroli floats on top of the distillation water as a yellowish liquid and is easily separated in a florentine flask. The distillation water retains, in its dissolved state, about one-third of the total amount of volatile oil distilled over and is therefore very fragrant.


There is a marked difference in the scent of the oils obtained by the different processes. Neroli obtained by distillation has quite a different odor from the fresh Orange flower; the oils obtained by solvents and by maceration and enfleurage are truest to the scent of the natural flower. From 100 kilograms of flowers 1,000 grams of oil are obtained; by volatile solvents, 600 grams; by maceration, 400 grams; and by enfleurage, only about 100 grams of oil.
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/o/oraswe12.html

Functional uses
Products
Essential oils: The flowers of several citrus species yield essential oil called 'neroli oil' in the perfume trade. The flower oil of sweet orange (C. sinensis (L.) Osbeck) is called 'neroli Portugal', that of lemon (C. limon (L.) Burm.f.) 'neroli citronier'. Flowers of C. aurantium yield an essential oil called 'neroli bigarade oil'. The best quality is obtained from Bouquetier cultivars formerly from southern France and Italy and nowadays from Morocco and Tunisia. Neroli oil is a component of high quality perfumes and of the toilet water 'eau-de-Cologne'. Significant amounts (up to 25%) of aroma compounds remain in solution in the water left in the still after distillation of C. aurantium flowers. The oil obtained by extraction of these compounds is traded as 'orange flower water absolute' and is mainly used in the reconstitution of other essential oils and of the formerly popular 'orange flower water'

Properties
Essential oils (paragraph 1): On water distillation, 1 kg of Bouquetier flowers yield about 1 g neroli bigarade oil and about 0.7 liters orange flower water. Neroli bigarade oil is a pale yellow, mobile oil becoming darker and more viscous on ageing. Its fragrance characteristics are a light, floral, pleasantly bitter top note, a floral, herbal, green body and a floral, orange flower dry-out lasting about 18 hours. The major chemical components of neroli bigarade oil are: linalool, limonene, linalyl acetate, nerolidol, geraniol, and methyl anthranilate.

Extraction of flowers with supercritical CO2 yields a neroli bigarade oil much richer in linalyl acetate (23%) than neroli oil obtained by water distillation. The content of methyl anthranilate (1%) is also significantly higher. The olfactive and physical characteristics of neroli bigarade oils from the Mediterranean countries are very similar, but neroli bigarade oil from Haiti has a different odor and a distinctly higher optical rotation (18-27 deg.). The odor intensity of the CO2 extract is about twice that of water-distilled oils. Essential oils (paragraph 2):

Orange flower water absolute, prepared by extracting orange flower water several times with highly rectified petroleum ether, is a yellowish to orange-yellow or pale brownish oil which discolors significantly on ageing. It has a dry floral, musty herbaceous odor, reminiscent of mandarin leaf oil, petitgrain oil and slightly of orange flower absolute. Some sources describe it as having a fresh floral orange flower top note, a rich and heavy floral body with orange flower and animal notes and a floral, heavy, green, animalic dry-out lasting about 24 hours. Essential oils (paragraph 3):


Extraction of flowers with petroleum ether and then extraction of the resulting concrete with alcohol yields orange flower absolute, a dark brown or orange-colored viscous liquid with a very intensely floral, heavy and rich, warm, but also delicate and fresh, long-lasting odor, closely resembling the fragrance of fresh bitter orange blossoms. Its fragrance is not unlike that of jasmine, less intensely floral, but with a greater freshness. It is used in many perfumes and flavorings and combines well with a wide range of natural and artificial aroma products.
Neroli oil consists of 35% terpenes (mainly dipentene, pinene and camphene), 30% 1-linalool, and 4% geraniol and nerol, 2% d-terpineol, 6% d-nerolidol, traces of decyclic aldehyde, 7% 1-linalyl acetate, 4% neryl and geranyl acetates, traces of esters of phenylacetic acid and benzoic acid, as much as 0.1% methyl anthranilate, and traces of jasmone, farnesol, and palmitic acid. Orange flower water is usually a by-product of oil production.

Fragrance Properites
Neroli Bigarade Oil is a pale yellow, mobile oil which becomes darker and more viscous on aging. The odor is very powerful, light and refreshing, floral with a peculiar sweet-terpeny top note, but its tenacity is rather poor. This oil is primarily a "top-note" material in perfumery... Neroli is one of the "classic" materials in eau de cologne of the "Maria Farina" type, "4711", etc. It blends excellently with all the citrus oils, with numerous floral absolutes....Next to rose, jasmin and ylang it it is probably one of the most frequently used "floral's in perfume compounding.

Orange Flower/Blossom Absolute is a dark brown or dark orange colored, somewhat viscous liquid with a very intensely floral, heavy and rich, warm, but also delicate and fresh, long lasting odor, closely resembling the odor of fresh bitter-orange blossoms. It is flowery, animal, sweet, honeyed. Although this absolute certainly has notes in common with jasmin absolute, it has a much more versatile application as a floral "fond" when used at a comparatively low concentration. It show a pleasant but peculiar characteristic, sweet-herbaceous undertone, not unlike the one found in jasmine...it may not always impart the same floral strength as jasmin at a similar concentration. But is great advantage is in its freshness which is quite surprising considering that it is an extract with great tenacity. Neroli oil will produce a beautiful "pair" with orange flower absolute. The two products represent altogether different parts of the orange flower fragrance gamut.. Orange Flower Absolute is used in countless types of perfumes, heavy oriental as well as light citrus colognes, chypres, ambres, as well as floral bouquets... The absolute forms excellent combinations with all citrus oils, petitgrain oils, exotic floral etc. It naturally forms an important part of the fixative base of high-class citrus colognes and perfumes of a similar type

Orange Flower Water Absolute is a yellow to orange-yellow or pale brownish yellow colored oil which discolors significantly on aging; it has a peculiar dry-floral, musty-herbaceous odor, reminiscent of mandarin leaf, petitgrain oil and faintly of orange blossom absolute. Being the odorous principle of orange flower water , the water absolute is occasionally used to prepare "reconstituted orange flower water" or concentrated flavor essences with the flavor of orange flower water. But the water oil has found increasing use in perfumery where its popular notes offer the perfumer a valuable tool in the creation of neroli bases, jasmin bases, ylang compounds, etc and also in the reproduction of certain essential oils. It finds further use in modern colognes, "powder" type perfumes etc.

Applications
*Fragrance uses

Some perfumes which use Orange Blossom and/or Neroli :

Eau de Cologne, Hermès

Scandal, Jeanne Lanvin
Bal à Versailles, Guerlain

Byzance, Marcel Rochas

Coco, Chanel

Infini, Caron

4711, Mulhens

--see International Perfume Museum, ORANGE BIGARADE

Because the word, cologne, is actually the French name given to the German city, Köln, it may seem surprising, then, that the origins of eau de cologne are actually rooted in Italy. These are the little tidbits that make history so interesting! It all started with Gian Paolo Feminis, a barber from Val Vigezzo, who left his Italian homeland to seek fortune in Germany. While in Germany, he created a perfume water which he called Aqua Admirabilis. This Aqua was made from grape spirits, oil of neroli, bergamot, lavender and rosemary. When it was released in 1709, customers swept it off the apothecary shelves of Cologne with such speed that Gian Paolo recruited his nephew, Giovanni Maria Farina, to help with the demand. In 1732, nephew Giovanni took over the business and marketed the product as a consumable cure-all for a variety of ailments, ranging from stomach aches to bleeding gums.

Word of this "Admirable Water" spread during the Seven Years' War, a war during the mid-18th century, in which Prussia and Britain fought against an alliance that included France, Austria and Russia. Prussia and Britain may have won the battle, but Farina won a few new French, Austrian and Russian customers. These soldiers brought bottles back to their homelands and voilà!—an instant global market was created. The French were the ones who dubbed it Eau de Cologne, and it became the particular favorite of one of Louis XV's mistresses (there were many!), the Comtesse du Barry.

Word of Napoleon's (1769-1821) endorsement of this cologne (he consumed entire bottles of it each day!) reached Germany, prompting the Farinas to open a shop in Paris. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, however, and it wasn't long before a number of copycats popped up in Paris and elsewhere. Some even had the audacity to adopt the Feminis/Farina names!
--see "Origins of Eau de Cologne"

*Food Uses
The normal types of sour orange are usually too sour to be enjoyed out-of-hand. In Mexico, however, sour oranges are cut in half, salted, coated with a paste of hot chili peppers, and eaten.

The greatest use of sour oranges as food is in the form of marmalade and for this purpose they have no equal. The fruits are largely exported to England and Scotland for making marmalade. Sour oranges are used primarily for marmalade in South Africa.

The juice is valued for ade and as a flavoring on fish and, in Spain, on meat during cooking. In Yucatan, it is employed like vinegar. In Egypt and elsewhere, it has been fermented to make wine.

"Bitter orange oil", expressed from the peel, is in demand for flavoring candy, ice cream, baked goods, gelatins and puddings, chewing gum, soft drinks, liqueurs and pharmaceutical products, especially if the water-or alcohol-insoluble terpenes and sesquiterpenes are removed. The oil is produced in Sicily, Spain, West Africa, the West Indies, Brazil, Mexico and Taiwan.

The essential oil derived from the dried peel of immature fruit, particularly from the selected types -'Jacmel' in Jamaica and the much more aromatic 'Curacao orange' (var. curassaviensis)-gives a distinctive flavor to certain liqueurs.

The ripe peel of the sour orange contains 2.4 to 2.8%, and the green peel up to 14%, neohesperidin dihydrochalcone which is 20 times sweeter than saccharin and 200 times sweeter than cyclamate. Potential use as a sweetener may be hampered by the limited supply of peel.
--see "Sour Orange"
Soap substitute: Throughout the Pacific Island, the crushed fruit and the macerated leaves, both of which make lather in water, are used as soap for washing clothes and shampooing the hair. Safford described the common scene in Guam of women standing in a river with wooden trays on which they rub clothing with sour orange pulp, then scrub it with a corncob. He wrote: "Often the entire surface of the river where the current is sluggish is covered with decaying oranges." On the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, the fruits are used for scouring floors and brass.

Honey: The flowers yield nectar for honeybees.

Wood: The wood is handsome, whitish to pale-yellow, very hard, fine-grained, much like boxwood. It is valued for cabinetwork and turnery. In Cuba it is fashioned into baseball bats.

The fresh young leaves contain as much as 300 mg of ascorbic acid per 100 g. The mature leaf contains 1-stachyhydrine.
--see "Sour Orange"

Ambrosia Neroli Perfume

1 ounce Petitgrain Sur Fleur Neroli/Morocco
1 ounce Neroli/South Africa
1/4 ounce Orange Flower Water Absolute/Egypt
1/8 ounce Orange Blossom Absolute/Tunisia
1/8 ounce Jasmin grandiflorum Absolute/India
1/16 ounce Tonka Bean Absolute

Please note that this is a perfume recipe, not a blend to be taken internally.

Orange Blossom in Literature

One day, when she was turning out a drawer in preparation for the move, she ran something sharp into her finger. It wasa bit of the wire in her wedding bouquet. The buds of orange blossom were faded and dusty and the satin ribbon bordered with silver was all fraying away at the edges. She tossed it on the fire. It blazed up like a handful of dry straw, and then lay glowing like a red bush on the ashes, slowly crumbling to pieces. She watched it burn. The cardboard berries popped, the wire writhed and twisted, the gold braid melted, and the paper blossoms, shriveling up, hovered a moment like black butterflies and at last flew up the chimney.
Madame Bovary
by Gustave Flaubert

 


I look at the vestments and the hands;
the vestiges of water in this echoing cistern;
this wall softened by the touch of a face
that saw the earth-lamps with my eyes;
that oiled the vanished timbers with my hands;
for it is all gone: clothing, skin, vessels,
words, wine, bread: all gone, fallen to earth.

And the air wafted its orange-blossom fingers
over the sleepers: weeks, months,
a thousand years of air, of blue wind, of iron mountain,
that were like soft hurricanes of footsteps
illustrating the lonely sanctuary of stone.
Macchu Picchu
by Pablo Neruda


Nan drew back the sheet with reverent fingers, and there it lay in all its beauty—a gleaming satin dress, the train foldedskillfully in and out, bunches of orange-blossom catching up the lace, which was festooned with as much lavishness as if it had been modest Nottingham, instead of precious Brussels, of that rich mellow tint which comes from age alone. A bride’s dress, and a bride’s dress fit for a princess, and in the box beside it a veil of the same old lace, and in the safe in the corner a diamond necklace and stars which represented a fortune in themselves!
A Houseful of Girls
by Mrs George de Horne Vaizey


The rest of the prisoners walked with firm step; but I confess that I scarcely noticed any of them, nor, I believe, did my companions, our whole attention being absorbed by the lovely girl who formed the prominent figure. I remarked that she was dressed in black, and that she advanced with a firm step, her small head erect on her graceful neck; the only ornament she wore in her glossy black hair being a spray of orange-blossom, as if she were going to her bridal. She carried a book in her hand; and when the friar presented the crucifix to her, she gently but firmly put it aside.
In New Granada
by W.H.G. Kingston

Along this walk, on Christmas Day, a tall young man walked slowly, with his hands behind him, and a somewhat absent expression of countenance. He looked like an Italian, was dressed like an Englishman, and had the independent air of an American--a combination which caused sundry pairs of feminine eyes to look approvingly after him, and sundry dandies in black velvet suits, with rose-colored neckties, buff gloves, and orange flowers in their buttonholes, to shrug their shoulders, and then envy him his inches.
Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott


“Though old as history itself, thou art fresh as the breath of spring, blooming as thine own rose-bud, and fragrant as thine own orange flower, O Damascus, pearl of the East!”
The Innocents Abroad
Chapter XLIV

by Mark Twain


But this language had not remained stationery since the period of 1830. It had continued to evolve and, patterning itself on the progress of the century, had advanced parallel with the other arts. It, too, had yielded to the desires of amateurs and artists, receiving its inspiration from the Chinese and Japanese, conceiving fragrant albums, imitating the Takeoka bouquets of flowers, obtaining the odor of Rondeletia from the blend of lavender and clove; the peculiar aroma of Chinese ink from the marriage of patchouli and camphor; the emanation of Japanese Hovenia by compounds of citron, clove and neroli.
Against The Grain
by Joris-Karl Huysmans

They carried dead Simonetta through the streets of Florence with her pale face uncovered and a crown of myrtle in her hair. People thronging there held their breath, or wept to see such still loveliness; and her poor parted lips wore a patient little smile, and her eyelids were pale violet and lay heavy to her cheek. White, like a bride, with a nosegay of orange- blossom and syringa at her throat, she lay there on her bed with lightly folded hands and the strange aloofness and preoccupation all the dead have. Only her hair burned about her like a molten copper; and the wreath of myrtle leaves ran forward to her brows and leapt beyond them into a tongue.
Earthwork Out Of Tuscany
by Maurice Hewlett

At that moment the coach door was opened, letting in a gust of fresh
air, which bore on its wings, amongst the scent of orange blossom, a very small gentleman in a brown overcoat. Neat, elderly, thin and wrinkled, with a face no bigger than a fist, a silk cravat five fingers high, a leather brief-case and an umbrella. The perfect image of a village notary. On seeing Tartarin's weaponry, the little gentleman, who was seated opposite him, looked very surprised, and began to stare at our hero.
Tartarin de Tarascon
by Alphonse Daudet

"Here," said Phil, playfully, taking a sprig of orange blossoms from his buttonhole. and putting it in the vase on the wicker table. "When you get your letter written, put that in, as a sample of what grows out here. I picked it as we passed Clayson's ranch. If it reaches her on a cold, snowy day, it will make her want to come out to this land of sunshine. You needn't tell her I sent it."
The Little Colonel In Arizona
by Annie Fellows Johnston

But the real, the stunning effect was produced when Zaïda stepped upon the gallery and threw aside her light shawl in the full glare of half a dozen kerosene lamps. She was white from head to foot - literally, for her slippers even were white. No one would have believed, let alone suspected that they were a pair of old black ones which she had covered with pieces of her first communion sash. There is no describing her dress, it was fluffy, like a fresh powder-puff, and stood out. No wonder she had handled it so reverentially! Her white fan was covered with spangles that she herself had sewed all over it; and in her belt and in her brown hair were thrust small sprays of orange blossom.
A Night In Acadie
By Kate Chopin

It was on a beautiful summer evening that Don Juan felt the near approach of death. The sky of Spain was serene and cloudless; the air was full of the scent of orange-blossom; the stars shed clear, pure gleams of light; nature without seemed to give the dying man assurance of resurrection; a dutiful and obedient son sat there watching him with loving and respectful eyes. Towards eleven o'clock he desired to be left alone with this single-hearted being.
The Elixir of Life
by Honore de Balzac

Out of the darkness stepped the same tall figure in the gorgeous robes and the triple hat. He led by the hand my Lady, still clad in her Shroud; but over it, descending from the crown of her head, was a veil of very old and magnificent lace of astonishing fineness. Even in that dim light I could note the exquisite beauty of the fabric. The veil was fastened with a bunch of tiny sprays of orange-blossom mingled with cypress and laurel--a strange combination. In her hand she carried a great bouquet of the same. Its sweet intoxicating odor floated up to my nostrils. It and the sentiment which its very presence evoked made me quiver.
HE LADY OF THE SHROUD
By Bram Stoker

In the Medersa of the Oudayas, these native activities have been replaced by the lifeless hush of a museum. The rooms are furnished with old rugs, pottery, brasses, the curious embroidered hangings which line the tents of the chiefs, and other specimens of Arab art. One room reproduces a barber’s shop in the bazaar, its benches covered with fine matting, the hanging mirror inlaid with mother-of-pearl, the razor-handles of silver niello. The horseshoe arches of the outer gallery look out on orange-blossoms, roses and the sea. It is all beautiful, calm and harmonious; and if one is tempted to mourn the absence of life and local color, one has only to visit an abandoned Medersa to see that, but for French intervention, the charming colonnades and cedar chambers of the college of the Oudayas would by this time be a heap of undistinguished rubbish—  for plaster and rubble do not “die in beauty” like the firm stones of Rome.
In Morocco
by Edith Wharton

Cosette, both at the mayor's office and at church, was dazzling and touching. Toussaint, assisted by Nicolette, had dressed her. Cosette wore over a petticoat of white taffeta, her robe of Binche guipure, a veil of English point, a necklace of fine pearls, a wreath of orange flowers; all this was white, and, from the midst of that whiteness she beamed forth. It was an exquisite candor expanding and becoming transfigured in the light. One would have pronounced her a virgin on the point of turning into a goddess.
Les Miserables
Victor Hugo

The floor was of fine sand, beaten flat and hard, and strewn with Eastern rugs of faint and delicate hues, dim greens and faded rose colors, grey-blues and misty topaz yellows. Round the white walls ran broad divans, also white, covered with prayer rugs from Baghdad, and large cushions, elaborately worked in dull gold and silver thread, with patterns of ibises and flamingoes in flight. In the four angles of the room stood four tiny smoking-tables of rough palm wood, holding hammered ash-trays of bronze, green bronze torches for the lighting of cigarettes, and vases of Chinese dragon china filled with velvety red roses, gardenias and sprigs of orange blossom. Leather footstools, covered with Tunisian thread-work, lay beside them. From the arches of the window-spaces hung old Moorish lamps of copper, fitted with small panes of dull jeweled glass, such as may be seen in venerable church windows. In a round copper brazier, set on one of the window-seats, incense twigs were drowsily burning and giving out thin, dwarf columns of scented smoke. Through the archways and the narrow doorway the dense walls of leafage were visible standing on guard about this airy hermitage, and the hot purple blossoms of the bougainvillea shed a cloud of color through the bosky dimness.
The Garden Of Allah
By Robert Hichens

"Oh, dear!" cried the young seamstress, just as Agricola was about to put away the money, "what a handsome flower you have in your hand, Agricola. I never saw a finer. In winter, too! Do look at it, Mrs. Baudoin."

"See there, mother," said Agricola, taking the flower to her; "look at it, admire it, and especially smell it. You can't have a sweeter perfume; a blending of vanilla and orange blossom."

"Indeed, it does smell nice, child. Goodness! how handsome!" said Frances, admiringly; "where did you find it?"
The Wandering Jew v2
by Eugene Sue

He lay one morning on his couch meditating on this inexplicable matter. The window of his chamber was open to admit the soft morning breeze, which came laden with the perfume of orange blossoms from the valley of the Darro. The voice of the nightingale was faintly heard, still chanting the wonted theme.
The Alhambra /Washington Irving

Have you ever slept, my friend, in a grove of orange trees in flower? The air that one inhales with delight is a quintessence of perfumes. The strong yet sweet odor, delicious as some dainty, seems to blend with our being, to saturate us, to intoxicate us, to enervate us, to plunge us into a sleepy, dreamy torpor. As though it were an opium prepared by the hands of fairies and not by those of druggists.
Short Stories / Guy de Maupassant

The principal object of this prospect, however, is the Golden Tower, where the beams of the setting sun seem to be concentrated as in a focus, so that it appears built of pure gold, and probably from that circumstance received the name which it now bears. Cold, cold must the heart be which can remain insensible to the beauties of this magic scene, to do justice to which the pencil of Claude himself were barely equal. Often have I shed tears of rapture whilst I beheld it, and listened to the thrush and the nightingale piping forth their melodious songs in the woods, and inhaled the breeze laden with the perfume of the thousand orange gardens of Seville.

The Bible in Spain /George Borrow

The mocking-bird in the fragrant orange grove sends out his night song, and blends it with the cricket's chirp, as the blossoms of orange and magnolia mingle their perfume with the earthy smell of a summer rain just blown over.
The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories / Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson