My lemon study

Delicious pages Fragrant pages Scent learning
light impression
Our Christmas lights

Christmas is over, somehow. I am not much going wild about white-lined red hoods, gorging and gift-shopping. I am more often than not rejecting the holiday spirit, and when it sprinkles some fairy dust over me, I just turn on my ignore regime. Still, I got the presents done on time, and they were big hit. Frankly, I do it only for my little girl. I am usually as sour as a lemon half of the time. Better off, I get busy with projects – both work and personal. The last one was a course, with several tests, exercises and a final online exam. Guess what!

lemons, lemons, lemons
Little sunshine in a basket 🙂

This is the first official step I do towards my perfumery education. Except for the long years of keen interest, forum talks and meetings, except for the blogging – all of them things that could never be recognized in any way. Do I look for recognition? Well, honestly, I do, because this is my passion, that amazed me it never seemed to fade through all these years. I need to follow a passionate path. Work without passion is just meh. I wish to share some of the exercises I did for the course, edited a bit, seasoned a little. One of my most interesting assignments was to describe a citrus fruit – both with smelling and tasting, retro-nasally, the fruit as a whole, cutting it, evaluating its peel, its pulp, its entire palette of odors.

Description of a lemon

I got a simple lemon, I smelled it first in its entirety. The fragrance was cool, fresh, a bit metallic and soapy, as well. Maybe that’s why a majority of detergents smell like lemon. I tried to rub my fingers harder on the peel, and then pierced it with my finger nails, and then it released a lot stronger aroma adding bitterness, and surprisingly – a warmer note to the whole picture. I could also detect a nuance like pine needles and fresh cut young twigs, which was bitter and slightly resinous.

One aspect I never expected from a lemon was a fresh-honey note. The same scent when the honey is just gathered from the honeycomb. The smell of pollen, wax and fructose mingle and can make your sinuses tense and burn for a while. The scratched and pierced lemon peel had a lot sharper scent than the intact peel, as expected.

halved lemon
The sour halves

Afterwards, I cut the lemon into quarters. The scents of the peel and the flesh mixed and were not easily distinguishable, but this quickly settled. I separated the inner part to smell it on its own and taste it. Its fragrance was more watery, a bit sweeter and of course more acidic than that of the peel. I could say that there was more sweetness, but not like sugar sweetness, more like a sweetness that can determine the lemon as a fruit, not just a part of a tree. When I bit the piece, the acidity was clear, but there was a lot more of that metallic and soapy sensation I got at the beginning. Furthermore, there was a grassy feeling to it, like the one I perceive when I munch on the leaves of a sorrel.

To sum up…

I could sense differences at every stage of the lemon smelling sequence. So, I am now sure that the lemon fragrance is not as simple as it is widely promoted. Certainly not by the perfumers, because they usually challenge themselves with the citrus notes. It is due to quickly vanishing pungency, easy oxidation, and short existence during long-term storage of a composition with citruses.

Perfumes with lemon

Inevitably, I have to share with you some perfumes with lemon, though it was not part of my course assignment. As most of you may guess, there are thousands of fragrances containing lemon notes in their composition. I have to admit that most of the last century bestsellers fall right into that category – Guerlain Shalimar,  Christian Dior Eau Sauvage and Diorella, Calvin Klein CK One, Armani Acqua di Gio for men, Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey, Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien. The modern classics Thierry Mugler Cologne and the record-breaking Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue owe their fame mostly to the lemon accord.

Guerlain Shalimar eau de cologne
Guerlain Shalimar eau de cologne
Thierry Mugler Cologne
Thierry Mugler Cologne

My wedding perfume – Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche, got its invigorating power from lemons. It sure was a savior in that 40 C- swelter August day I tied the knot…

Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche
Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche

Nowadays, my definite favorites remain most of the mentioned above, especially Shalimar eau de cologne, Mugler’s Cologne and Eau d’Hadrien, but the rise of the niche perfumery in the new milenium brought me the thirst-quenching iced lemon tea of Nishane Wulong Cha, the two playful, unpretentious, but chic breezers by Teo Cabanel – Meloe and Hegoa, as well as the amazing life-affirming trio of the revived house of Le Jardin Retrouve – Citron Boboli, Eau des Delices and Verveine d’Ete. And the surprisingly sophisticated Aqua Allegoria Limon Verde from the Guerlain’s treasury. Did you find your lemons?  😀 

Nishane Wulong Cha
Nishane Wulong Cha
Teo Cabanel Hegoa
Teo Cabanel Hegoa
Le Jardin Retrouve Citron Boboli
Le Jardin Retrouve Citron Boboli

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