Take a stroll down any natural product aisle these days (do people still do this?) or browse online and chances are you'll see a lot of citrus scents. In the fragrance world, especially naturals, citrus is typically the 'low-hanging fruit' (pardon the pun) because citrus oils are relatively inexpensive (depending on the type), powerful (because they are volatile) and olfactive crowd-pleasers.
Orange oil is one of the cheapest oils available, with recent prices under USD10/KG while other oils such as kumquat (over USD200/KG) and yuzu (over USD400/KG) are much more expensive. Other options include lime, lemon, blood orange and mandarin.
Citrus oils are unique in that the oils are stored in the skin of the fruit and are released when the skin is broken (like when you peel an orange). Because of this, they do not require heat or water to extract the oils from the plant. Instead, citrus extractions utilize a special machine that looks like a washing machine lined with tiny spikes that spins and pokes holes in the fruit skin, allowing the oils to be released and captured. That's it!
Our favorite citrus ingredient is pink grapefruit, a tart and juicy material that we use to add brightness to our formulations. In addition, citrus notes are highly volatile, so they evaporate quickly and add 'lift' to other 'heavier' fragrance facets such as floral, balsamic and sweet notes.
Another absolute favorite for us is bergamot. Bergamot is one of the only citruses that we don't eat and is only grown in Calambria, Italy. The smell of pure bergamot is a fresh, astringent combination of lemon, peppercorn and bitter notes. Pure elegance.
Want to smell what we mean? Here are a few of our favorite citrus formulations: