This blog is for anyone, anywhere on their fragrance journey.


What Does Orange Blossom Smell Like?

orange blossom

Table of Contents

Orange blossom are mysterious — something about the way those elegant white petals unfold has been arousing the minds of humanity since the minds of humanity were capable of being aroused. It’s a flower that’s been used in perfume for ages; I’ve heard an account of cavemen rubbing it on their necks to improve their scent and their courting chances. Because, you know, they couldn’t write romantic letters or anything. And buying flowers was a pain. 

Although I’m pretty sure that was fake. 

Regardless, the orange blossom does smell fantastic (like, let’s get closer, you smell goood), and its use in perfume is varied and wonderful. 

What does orange blossom smell like? In this article, we’ll be taking a look at their scent, orange blossom in perfume, the history of the orange blossom, and some men’s and women’s perfumes with orange blossom in them. 

Let’s get bloomin’. 

What is Orange Blossom?

The orange blossom goes way back. 

I mean wayyy back, pretty much to the advent of the world. According to some, at Hera’s wedding to Zeus, she was crowned with the orange blossom by Gaia, the earth goddess. Wearing orange blossom puts you in the company of literal gods. What more could you want to smell like?

Further, Gaia is the earth goddess. She pretty much had her pick (pun intended) of all the flowers in existence. It says a lot that she chose the orange blossom to crown the new queen of the heavens. 

Native to the far east (in regions of China and India) and the Mediterranean, the orange blossom comes from the bitter orange tree and is not to be confused with, as a perfume note, neroli. 

In China, India, and Persia, these flowers are historically associated with brides, and with fertility (more on that later). 

Later on, in the 9th century (I told you there was history), the flower spread all across the Mediterranean region into Spain, Italy, and France when the bitter orange trees were planted. 

It then began to enjoy a presence in the European perfume world. 

In the Victorian era, Queen Victoria wore a wreath of orange blossoms at her wedding, sending demand soaring so high they started making imitation flowers out of wax just to keep up (though is that really keeping up?). 

While the English were wearing orange blossoms, the French were eating them.
Because, well, they’re French. 

Infusing water with the blossom of the bitter orange tree, it became a culinary staple in desserts, baked goods, and pastries. They also historically used the orange blossom as a folk remedy for various illnesses, anxiety, menstrual problems, and insomnia. You’ll also taste orange blossom infused in honey, which they accomplished by placing beehives in orange groves. 

These days, orange blossom is still used in French and Middle Eastern cuisine, and they’re commonly used in both men’s and women’s perfumes.  

What Does Orange Blossom Smell Like?

Orange blossom smells warm and cirtusy, with hints of musk and other white flowers like jasmine. It’s rich and heady, with a sweetness that enchants the nose. Its similarity to jasmine makes sense if you know anything about orange blossom’s chemical makeup — which you will if you keep reading. 

Orange blossom is one of the white flowers containing indole, a chemical precursor to serotonin and a compound found in a number of key areas, both pleasant and a tad more unsavory. Indole is what gives orange blossom its musky, animalic side, and is what helps make orange blossom so alluring in perfume. You can read in our article on indole in perfumery.

You may think that orange blossom extract and neroli extract are the same thing; if you do, you’re wrong (sorry, that sounded harsh, but I promise, it wasn’t).

While both come from the bloom of the bitter orange tree (which is far) more fragrant than the traditional orange tree (the one that produces the oranges that you eat), the two are extracted differently and thus smell surprisingly different. 

While neroli is colder, more herbal, and a lot spicier, orange blossom is far more smooth, sweet, and heady. I would say that orange blossoms smell more all-consuming than neroli, a yawning pit as opposed to a rogue hole in the ground. 

Orange blossom, if you let it, will swallow you whole. 

Most perfumes use real orange blossom extract, so you don’t usually have to worry about your perfume smelling different from the real thing. 

In all, orange blossoms smell wonderfully sweet and floral, with a belying muskiness and animal accord. It’s smooth and, well, smells like an Italian princess.

How is Orange Blossom Used in Perfumery

Orange blossom is used in many ways in perfume. Not to be confused with neroli, it is extracted using volatile solvents, whereas neroli is extracted through steam distillation. 

This essence is then used in both men’s and women’s perfumes, though it is more commonly found in women’s scents that employ florals. 

Orange blossom works very well in an assortment of perfume families, such as ambrées and chypres. It pairs very well with other florals and warm elements like vanilla, tonka bean, and musk. 

It also pairs well with fruity notes like pear, pineapple, and citruses. These highlight the flower’s naturalness and sit really well in the sweet musk cloud that orange blossom produces. 

Perfumers can counterpoint the smooth sweetness of orange blossom by mixing in spices like pepper or nutmeg. This can also freshen up the composition and make it brighter for occasions like the springtime. 

This is a note that is really versatile, and can be employed in perfumes of all types, for all occasions. It works really well in the winter and fall when paired with warm notes due to its heaviness, but can work in the spring as well due to its floral aspect and when paired with brighter notes.
Orange blossom is a fantastic note in perfumery, and one worth getting your nose on. 

Men’s Fragrances With Orange Blossom

As you’ve seen, orange blossom is a wonderful fragrance note. Here are some of our favorite men’s fragrances with orange blossom:

  • APOM Pour Homme Maison Francis Kurkdjian is an orange blossom masterpiece. Featuring just three notes, it pairs the flower with amber and cedar for a musky, sharp scent that evokes feelings of sunkissed skin. For a great natural smelling perfume with orange blossom, APOM Pour Homme is amazing. 
  • Fahrenheit 32 Dior is a warm, sweet scent with a certain edginess that moves almost into dirtiness. With orange blossom, vetiver, vanilla, it’s a really authentic vanilla note reminiscent of a tub of vanilla ice cream. The orange blossom adds some muskiness that gives this fragrance a fantastic scent cloud. For a simple dreamsicle-like scent, Fahrenheit 32 is a great sniff.
  • Neroli Portofino Tom Ford is a refreshing, luxurious floral scent perfect for warmer weather. With a number of florals and citrus notes, the orange blossom here smells far less imposing than in other scents. If you’re looking for a complex floral scent for men, it’s hard to go wrong with this Tom Ford. 
  • Guilty Pour Homme Gucci is an elegant compliment getter featuring orange blossom, lavender, cedar, and vanilla. It’s very versatile and works well in both casual and professional settings. Not to mention, for whatever reason, women positively love it. There are worse things to say about a cologne.
  • Grey Vetiver Parfum Tom Ford is a woody, earthy, and warm-spicy scent featuring orange blossom. With the addition of saffron, there’s an interesting temperature balance going on here — the orange blossom and saffron add heat, while the vetiver is cool and grounding. If you’re looking for a premium perfume with orange blossom that smells very classy, well, Tom Ford is known for it.  
  • Y Live Yves Saint Laurent is a long lasting scent with orange blossom as a top note. Very fresh, wearing it gives off a “walking through the forest” vibe. It smells natural, and refined, and is good pretty much any time of the year. 

Women’s Fragrances With Orange Blossom

Orange blossom is a fantastic floral found in many women’s fragrances. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Sweet Redemption By Kilian leans into the sweet, headier side of orange blossom by pairing it with notes like benzoin, vanilla, and incense. It’s edgy and addictive, and isn’t suitable for anyone. That said, if it’s suitable, congratulations. You’ve won the genetic lottery and the lucky draw. Sweet Redemption is one of the most delicious women’s perfumes with orange blossom around. 
  • Narciso Rodriguez For Her Narciso Rodriguez orange blossom steeped in sensuality. Paired up with musk, vanilla, amber, and osmanthus, it’s a super flirty, feminine musk. It’s interesting, and gorgeous, and pretty much everything you’d want a perfume to be. I can’t say enough good things. 
  • Le Parfum Elie Saab is an ultra-feminine women’s perfume with orange blossom that smells like the embodiment of the modern woman. Ambitious, classy, with a bit of a go get ‘em vibe, it retains a charming femininity and floral sweetness. The cherry on top is its longevity, which is fantastic.
  • Prada Candy Kiss is a musky floral perfume and it’s just lovely. One of those scents that just smells like a good smelling woman, it’s charming and graceful and smells reminiscent of good hugs. A fantastic orange blossom scent that leans heavily into such beautiful musk.
  • Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger Prada is a women’s scent with orange blossom really goes heavy on the florals. Teaming up with jasmine, tuberose, neroli, and mandarin orange, it’s pretty much white flowers and orange all the way. I don’t know why you would want it any other way, because the result is one of the most polished white floral scents money can buy. If you’ve ever wanted to smell like a field of wild orange blossoms on a breezy summer day, Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger is your find.


Orange blossoms smell warm and floral, with a heady sweetness and lovely animal musk. Used in perfume for ages and ages, it’s a great note in both men’s and women’s scents.

We hope you enjoyed this article, and hope you’re able to get some orange blossom something to sniff — your nose will thank you.


Isaac Marks

Isaac Marks

Isaac is a fragrance expert from Chicago, Illinois, specializing in smelling good at all times. When he isn't sniffing things, Isaac likes to read, write, run, bake, and play the guitar.

Related Articles

Jack Harbor

Full Time Fragranista

Jack Harbor is an expert in all things scent – from wearing, to mixing, to making perfumes, his expertise is varied and robust. He loves to smell good, and loves helping other’s smell good – for the good of us all!

Jack Harbor

Featured Articles