Friday, June 29, 2012

The Hot and Cold of Citrus Eaux: Tangerine (Mandarin), Citron (Yuzu)



Eaux de Cologne often consist of citrus notes focused on bergamot, lemon and/or lime (sometimes grapefruit (pamplelune)), with additional notes of herbs such as lavender, geranium and basil, flowers such as orange blossom or spices like cinnamon and clove to build architecturally balanced olfactive compositions that are seemingly one-dimensional soliflores (single note fragrances). Even if most of these smell the same to you ("like lemons," many would say), the citric bunch is in fact varied enough to keep finicky noses interested. In this post, I'd like to put the spotlight on tangerine orange (mandarin) and citron (yuzu) fragrances. Citrus fragrances can be enjoyed in the summer and winter for different reasons. They can cool you down in the heat, and warm you up in the cold. Keep in mind, though, that true citrus essential oils are phototoxic in the sun, and are best worn after the beach or pool, for a late afternoon visit to the gallery, for instance.

Miller Harris Tangerine Vert is a tart citrus aroma that I believe is comparable to Hermès Eau d'Orange Verte (1979). In Japan, these green tangerines are called aomikan (links to KyotoFoodie.com), a fruit associated with the beginning of autumn. On my skin, Miller Harris Tangerine Vert turns into a semi-sweet bergamot-like scent with a green bite as well as a soft powdery dry down, similar to Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien. Simple yet sophisticated and a most versatile blend, it can be worn for casual or professional wear.


Miller Harris Citron Citron is famous for being a favorite of Kylie Minogue; this is a less sweet, sharper and more lemon or bergamot-like scent than Tangerine Vert. There is no actual citron note listed in its composition; the listed notes are Jamaican lime, Sicilian lemon and Spanish orange with mint, basil and other herbs/spices. It's chilly enough for an ice queen or a dancer after a long routine. For an actual citron (yuzu) note, you might want to seek out Rich Hippie Utopia (certified organic), Eau de Cartier (for Men and Women, but don't expect citrus; it's a unique blend of watery fruits and violet leaves), Guerlain Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat or Parfums 06130 Yuzu Rouge which is actually more of a rose blend, but an effervescent one. Popular mainstream fragrances include Versace Bright Crystal and Burberry Brit Sheer.

Citron, cherished for its invigorating property, is traditionally added to bathwater on the Winter Solstice in Japan (links to Japazine).


Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic is one of those simple pleasures within the collection of modestly elegant, solifloric scents. For some reason, it's marketed to Women, but of course it's a perfect shared fragrance, a typical eau de cologne. It's a sweet tangerine with a subtle herbaceous touch. It's very natural-smelling compared to, say, their kiwi scent which is also lovely, don't get me wrong, but it has a more obvious sporty aqueous quality that a seasoned nose or sensitive schnoz can detect (to clarify, lest someone gets personally offended by what I say about their favorite scents, the use of technologically advanced notes doesn't necessarily take away from quality; Frédéric Malle Lys Méditerranée is quite an aqueous floral for a niche perfume, and a wow scent nonetheless).

So that's the hot and cold of it; may these scents help keep you chill and get cuddly, too.