L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger ~ fragrance review

L'Artisan Fleur d'Oranger fragrance

L'Artisan launched Fleur d'Oranger in 2005. It is the first in a projected series of limited edition "harvest fragrances" based on specific "vintages" of floral notes; this one takes its name from the 2004 harvest of orange blossom from Nabeul in Tunisia. The fragrance was created by nose Anne Flipo, and has notes of orange bigarade, petitgrain, neroli, honey, beeswax and orange blossom.

Fleur d'Oranger is, in a word, glorious. It does for orange blossoms what Diptyque Philosykos did for figs: it captures the whole experience of standing in an grove of orange (in this case) trees on a brilliant summer day, with the smell of the leaves, the bark, the blossoms and the fruit. As with Philosykos, it probably does so in a more aromatically pleasing way than the reality could possibly hope to.

Fleur d'Oranger opens dry and sparkling, like a nice champagne. It quickly takes on subtle green undertones and lots of bittersweet woody citrus, and as it dries down, it is mildly sweetened by the honey. In character it is airy, almost weightless, rather than deep, but it is not so light as to lack character. It is by no means a complex fragrance — you aren't going to spend hours marvelling as it changes on your skin — but it is beautifully done.

The lasting power is reasonable if perhaps slightly on the low end for an Eau de Parfum. The packaging is lovely: the bottle is etched with orange blossoms, and nestled in a wooden box.

So did I buy it? I did not, and if you'd like to skip the kvetching of a cranky old perfume fanatic, do stop reading right here.

Fleur d'Oranger is $250 for 100 ml of Eau de Parfum. Now, bear in mind that I adore L'Artisan, and I adore the work of Anne Flipo for L'Artisan (Ananas Fizz, La Chasse aux Papillons, Jacinthe des Bois, among others). I do not begrudge L'Artisan the right to charge more than their regular price for a "harvest" fragrance, but $250? Givenchy's harvest fragrances, "Les Millésimes de Givenchy" (Amarige Mimosa de Grasse, Organza Jasmin d'Inde & Very Irresistible Rose Bulgare), were also beautifully packaged, if perhaps a bit less elaborately, yet were only slightly more expensive than usual: the Organza Jasmin d'Inde edition is only $10 more than the regular Organza. Fleur d'Oranger is more than double the usual L'Artisan price for 100 ml of Eau de Parfum.

Admittedly, I know absolutely nothing about the cost of orange blossoms. Perhaps these particular orange blossoms were vastly more expensive than say, the mimosa blossoms from Grasse used by Givenchy for Amarige. And if you are absolutely entranced by the thought of knowing where and when your orange blossoms were picked, perhaps you will not mind paying the extra cost.

I, for one, could care less about the the harvest concept. I would be perfectly happy with random orange blossoms in the usual L'Artisan bottle, in fact, since I love the fragrance, I'd be happier if it were part of the regular line and not a limited edition. All the same, perhaps I would have paid slightly more for the Nabeul orange blossoms and the pretty etching on the bottle. But double? No thanks. Luckily, a very kind friend gave me a decant. I keep hoping I'll spray it on and find that it has lost its charm, but so far, no dice. It is just great stuff.

2990 bottles of Fleur d'Oranger were produced; if you must have it, buy it soon. For purchasing information, see the listing for L'Artisan under Perfume Houses.

Tomorrow: still more L'Artisan

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38 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ah, what a joy it is to read your kvetching. My grumpy soul rejoyces. :-) I too thought that Fd'O was super-pretty, just extremely lovely, but…$250?? Would I really, *really* be able to tell the difference if the blossoms were not from that particular place and of that particular harvest? Unfortunately, I would not. So, my proposal to l'Artisan is such: pick your blossoms where they are cheaper and make this lovely fragrance a part of your regular line up at regular cost.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sigh! I completely agree with all your kvetching. The harvest concept seems basically silly to me, and although it's a beautiful presentation, I don't like to pay that much for a bottle. So I didn't even smell it for a while. Then, a helpful [?] friend sent me a sample. Lovely! Well, thought I, I will obtain a decant. And so I did. Gorgeous! Each time I used it, I liked it more and more. And so. . .well, you can guess the end of this story [a $50.00 credit at BG helped]. I felt somewhat guilty until my beautiful bottle arrived. Now, I wear it all the time (well, not quite, but a lot), and I don't feel guilty at all. Actually, of all my extravagant purchases (and there have been a few), it's the one that I feel was most justified. Breathtakingly beautiful–and perfect for summer! I wouldn't be without it!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Admittedly, I do not know to what extent the price reflects the limited edition, etc. status, but would the cheaper orange blossom smell just as good? :)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sighing along here. I'm not a fan of soliflore orange blossom, and I admit this just about swept me off my feet. I love the way it's softened by honey, like you said. And I'm with Victoria here – would a cheaper alternative smell just as good? Probably not, in my experience. Still… the price bites.

  5. Anonymous says:

    M, I'm certain I wouldn't know the difference either. So, perhaps we aren't the target market, LOL…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well, I envy you your bottle…and I certainly wouldn't feel guilty in the least. I'm just too ornery to buy it myself ;-)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Do you mean in real life, or in my imagination? In my imagination, it would smell best at about $60, LOL…or better yet, $30 for 15 ml.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Surprised it swept you off your feet if you don't like soliflore OB, I. Personally, am hoping I'll detest this year's Narcisse. Don't want 2 nagging lemmings I refuse to pay for!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well, I'd join in the gripe session… except I still have my trusty decant, and I would be so bereft without it. Truly an amazing smell. I suppose my alternate suggestion would have been (if the price really bore any relation to the production costs) to sell much smaller bottles of it. I thought the Amarige Harvest LE was amazing, by the way.

  10. Anonymous says:

    boy, I sure do agree. :) Having said that, I pay stupid money for the Hermessences and the Guerlains, and that seems not to smart as much. I think this one bothers me deep down because of the normal price for a L'Artisan, and it's just a LOT more.

    Sure did buy it, though. It's the *only* perfume my husband has stopped me on my way by and insisted I tell him what I had on, he was that taken with it. In the end, it makes me happy, and I will weep when it is all gone, but by then the Neroli should be in, I hope it is as good, but I cringe waiting for the price tage to come out, I have heard it will be even more?!?!?!

  11. Anonymous says:

    “the kvetching of a cranky old perfume fanatic” is my favorite part. I wonder how much of our desire, really, is predicated on price. That is, the price is the real aphrodisiac for some. Rather than the fragrance itself. (I am an avid spectator of the sport of competitive consumption.) This fragrance sounds absolutely lovely, though. xoxo

  12. Anonymous says:

    I got samples of the other 2 Givenchy harvests, but not the Amarige…not sure why that one didn't end up at Sephora?

    And yes, it is an amazing smell. Drat.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Interesting to compare this to the Hermessences: yes, they are a stupid price too, but then, even $180 doesn't irk me so much as $250. And if they came out with a “harvest” Hermessence for $360, that would make me kvetch too.

    The Narcissus will be even more?? If it was any more, you might as well just buy a JAR and be done with it.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well, to my nose, it's not exactly soliflore. Especially, the drydown. There's more to it. I'm not even thinking about the Narcisse one since daffodil is my fave flower. Oh, help me.

  15. Anonymous says:

    My husband bought this fragrance for me as a gift and I adore it. It's beautiful and to me it keeps the orange blossom alive long after it has been picked. Like it is paying homage to such a stellar harvest that year. I think it's worth the price and there are others out there that are highly priced that I would never buy. So, to each his/her own.

  16. Anonymous says:

    :) We can dream… You said that you “would be perfectly happy with random orange blossoms in the usual L'Artisan bottle…” The question is whether the random orange blossoms would produce the same magical effect as the raw materials used by L'Artisan. The fact of the matter is that naturals are very expensive and good quality naturals are even more so. The reason Fd'O moves me is because it captures everything that's beautiful about orange blossom absolute. I have not encountered a comparable effect anywhere else to the same degree.

  17. Anonymous says:

    V, if you say that OB absolute is so expensive that they could not have done it cheaper than $250, I'll have to take your word for it…but it seems too dear for what it is, even though it is, as you say, beautiful.

    I was joking about the $60, but I do honestly think that if they couldn't keep the price below $200, they should have packaged it in a smaller bottle. Otherwise, it is just puts me off in the same way as other perfume houses that go so far as to use their high cost as a selling point.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Luckily it isn't quite my favorite. Seriously counting on hating it ;-)

  19. Anonymous says:

    No doubt about it…many people like the idea of “the most expensive perfume in the world”, which I believe both Amouage & Clive Christian use in their advertising.

    And I definitely fall into the trap of assuming that something that is more expensive is *probably* going to be better…but I have my limits, and at some point, I am just annoyed by high prices. If Serge Lutens & Frederic Malle can make genius perfumes for less than $200, why spend more?

  20. Anonymous says:

    So glad you love it — and yes, to each his own — I certainly don't expect everyone to adopt my silly prejudices :-)

  21. Anonymous says:

    Eeek!!! I am so on the fence about this one. The gushing raves have been pretty much unanimous! But $250 seems exorbitant for a bottle of perfume. I could see paying something like $150 – $180 for something really incredible, but $250 seems a bit far out of reach for me.

    By the time I scrape the money together to purchase it, all the bottles will probably be gone!

    I hope to at least sample it before it vanishes completedly, as I am the world's biggest orange blossom fanatic.

  22. Anonymous says:

    as a former Rep for l'artisan and a former frag. specialist. I looked at this in a few different ways.

    1- supply and demand 2990 bottles enough said.

    2- If Pablo Picasso created a painting and there were going to be only 3000 prints ever it would be worth thousands each.

    3- Givenchy is not even close to the quality

    4- in wine its called Grande Cru…

    L'artisan makes great fragrances…PERIOD…

    I love this scent … it is true to the tree. I had a manderin tree and when it's in bloom it is what's captured in this bottle

  23. Anonymous says:

    If you are an orange blossom fanatic, you really should try it. Whether it will be worth the cost to you — well, obviously some people here think it is, no question, and others don't :-)

  24. Anonymous says:

    An ounce of pure Tunisian orange flower absolute starts with the low-enders at around USD 180/oz and going upward from there, depending on quality and seller. It is one of the more costly but not the most costly of perfumery materials ~ iris, jonquille, and tuberose being a fair sight higher priced not to mention the heart-attack inducing prices of Oud (aloeswood)

    But then we ask the question of just how much of this top drawer Tunisian orange flower abs goes into each bottle of the l'Artisan.

    We're thinking it's just just another chapter in the “scarce and created market” game that is so much of perfumery and luxury goods in general ~ creating demand where there was none before. And while it may well be lovely and likely doubtlessly is, it is a bit spendy for our tastes.

    At the L'Artisan price I would like it delivered to my door by a handsome Tunisian man who can cook a good cous cous.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I just can't bring myself to see perfume the same way — it isn't like fine wines or art, which are an investment of sorts, and likely to increase in value. But yes, they do make great fragrances.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Oh go ahead…treat yourself!

    Hugs!

  27. Anonymous says:

    I have to admit that this scent is stunningly beautiful. On the other hand, $250 buys a lot of other beautiful fragrances.

    I'm with you, Robin, on the packaging. I would have purchased a bottle if I could get half the amount for $125. But I suppose the high price was part of the limited edition marketing allure.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Hermessences have gone up, I think they are at 195 now?

    But, yeah, I agree. :)

  29. Anonymous says:

    LOL at “I would like it delivered to my door by a handsome Tunisian man who can cook a good cous cous” — so true!

  30. Anonymous says:

    As you know R, I don't need 100 ml of *anything* — I'll be surprised if I manage to drain my decant.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I'm sure you are right that they would rather have it priced to be “exclusive”.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Ouch, really? But I forgive Hermes because they do the lovely (and economical) discovery sizes.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hmm, the price *is* steep, but didn't put me off enough not to buy it. I've spent more – Doblis from Hermes cost me over $500, not to mention that 130 euro bottle of 28ml edt Muguet (cough). I guess $250 to me is just like another pair of shoes – just as easy to justify.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I had forgotten that the Doblis was so expensive! The Muguet is worth it just for the bottle.

    But — I am even cheaper when it comes to shoes. Obviously you are L'Artisan's target market and I am not!

  35. Anonymous says:

    “High cost as a selling point”…I'm imagining a particular house beginning with “CR”, ending with “EED”. They do have their loyal fans, however, and maybe I'm being a little unfair…

    I also agree in that expensive perfume should be available in a variety of sizes. As lovely as this scent sounds, I sense there is some handy marketing at play with the grande size, as if to imply “When it comes to luxury, buy harvest…and those who indulge in such extravagence could afford to spend $250.00 to sample a fragrance.”

    Scent is so personal–it's absurd for anyone to imply, that to wear a sample before purchasing is tacky.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I wasn't thinking of Creed so much as Amouage & Clive Christian, both of whom use the high price as part of their advertising.

    In L'Artisan's favor, I am not accusing them of not providing samples. Actually I'm not sure if they did or not for this one, but they usually do.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I have a few samples of L'Artisan's Fleur d' Oranger 2007 and it is absolutely heavenly. I keep inhaling my wrist; It is to die for. So here is my question. Do you know what the difference is between the two vintages? I wonder if the notes are the same or if they use different orange blossoms. Does anyone know?

  38. Anonymous says:

    They are slightly different. I found the newer one a tad sweeter, denser, richer — but we are talking very minor differences here. They're nearly the same. The orange blossoms for the 2 versions are from the same location, so just different harvests.

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