This is the story of a princess that used to sparkle joy with the beautiful Neroli scent.
Her name was Marie Anne de la Trémoille, known as Nerola princess, a French woman who lived in the XVII century.
Married to an Italian noble from the Orsini family, she lived in a beautiful castle not far from Rome, in Nerola.
She was obsessed with a scent that was not that known at her times: bitter orange blossom. She used it to perfume her clothes, gloves, handkerchiefs, and bath water. Everything in her house was surrounded by this elegant fragrance, that was like a signature for her. And I must say that neroli is a signature for every woman that wears it. It’s not that frequent nowadays, but when you cross someone wearing it, it does not go unnoticed... and I love when it happens!
As an ancient times influencer (she had a powerful political influence), she diffused this beautiful scent to the various European courts, even reaching that of Louis XIV.
Before that time, bitter orange blossom essential oil and water were used mainly in Venice and in the arabic culture, but were not that famous in Europe.
Perfuming clothes and accessories was quite common at that time to cover unpleasant smells due to the bad hygienic conditions… and being able to smell something pleasant was a relief! As you can see, it was a way to sparkle joy when they needed it!
Neroli soon became one of the most used scents in perfumery. In the XVIII century it was one of the ingredients of the famous Eau the Cologne and in the XIX century book “The art of perfumery” it has been mentioned in tons of perfumery recipes.
I love collecting and reading ancient books about beauty and perfumery. If you are curious about how perfumes were made in the past, I suggest you read “The art of perfumery” by G. W. Septimus Piesse (the Kindle version is free).
The princess of Nerola’s castle, also known as ‘Castello Orsini’, has been turned into a hotel now, preserving the original atmosphere. It looks like it has been closed during the pandemic, but if they open it again I would love to spend a couple of nights there as it looks beautiful.
Neroli in aromatherapy, perfumery and cosmetic
Neroli is an expensive and precious essential oil used in perfumery as a heart note. It’s relaxing, invigorating and antidepressant and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It blends nicely with Geranium, Tuberose, Chamomile, Lime, Ginger, Vetiver, Citrus, Tonka, Mimosa, Magnolia and Cedarwood.
If you want to create something beautiful that sparkles joy with Neroli, you can use the hydrosol and add it to your handmade cosmetics formulas. It smells wonderful and is much cheaper than the essential oil. I love it and I use it a lot in my DIY cosmetics to add a natural scent. As an example, you can replace water in your recipe and add neroli hydrosol or use it for a homemade sheet mask like I explained in this recipe.
Neroli and cooking
Orange blossom water is used in many sweets recipes in Spain, south of Italy and other countries with an arabic influence.
You can add it to your foods to enjoy its wonderful smell and taste: use it in pancakes, pastries, madeleines, cookies and creams to turn ordinary food into something special and different.
It’s perfect with honey, almonds and citrus.