Orange and its derivatives are some of the most popular notes in all of perfumery. Depending on how they are presented and what portions of the tree are used (orange, orange blossom, neroli, and petitgrain are all derivatives of the orange tree), orange-based fragrances often come across as uplifting and clean. After testing a large portion of the niche market, here are some of my picks of the best orange-based fragrances for men:
Tom Ford Neroli Portofino: Neroli Portofino is on many of my top lists for a good reason. This is the epitome of the fresh neroli fragrances and is a classic cologne that actually lasts, especially in the heat of the summer. Mixing soapy oceanic accords with neroli, Neroli Portofino straddles the gap between a classical cologne and modern aquatic. Two flankers – Acqua and Forte – were recently released, and while the Acqua is totally forgettable and fleeting, the Forte would be nice for folks who would prefer a less soapy version of the original with added leather.
Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi: A lively and attractive take on mandarin orange. Though performance isn’t exceptional, this fragrance smells pleasant, natural, and high quality to bystanders. Where Neroli Portofino is more about the floral aspects of neroli, Mandarino di Amalfi highlights the greenness of the tree and the tartness of the citrus. People who love this fragrance are also likely to enjoy two more citrus-heavy orange scents, Acqua di Parma’s Arancia di Capri and Atelier Cologne’s Orange Sanguine. Both are excellent, but for my money, I prefer the Tom Ford.
Roja Parfums Neroli Extrait: Photorealistic neroli with a hint of citrus and a backdrop of orange blossom. Violet and oakmoss add a powdery nuance to the scent while ambergris provides a salty seaside vibe. Like all other Roja Dove fragrances, this is a top quality fragrance with exceptional yet subtle complexity. Unfortunately it’s also discontinued, so find a sample and try it while you can.
Amouage Reflection Man: While there is jasmine in this fragrance, a powerful neroli note is present in the heart. Here the smooth sweetness of the neroli is contrasted by woody sandalwood and spicy pimento. Overall, the fragrance comes across as powdery, spicy and sweet, while remaining both young and refined. Unlike many Amouage fragrances, you won’t smell the presence of oud or incense, and nothing here is offensive. Signature scent worthy.
Xerjoff Nio: Nio is a fizzy neroli scent that is bright and happy enough to elicit many smiles. The opening is a blast of bergamot and the dry down includes a warm vetiver. As with most Xerjoff scents from the Shooting Stars collection, Nio smells natural and deliberately crafted. If you like your neroli paired with fizzy notes and an uplifting citrus opening, give Nio a shot. Like Reflection Man, Nio would make an excellent signature scent.
Maison Francis Kurdkjian APOM Pour Homme: APOM (A Part of Me) is all about orange blossom. A simple composition that highlights orange blossom, amber, and cedar, APOM is very sweet and warm, and has a presence to it that renders it less fresh than many of the other fragrances on this list. Since the orange blossom is prominent, this is a noticeably floral scent, so be cautious if you prefer your florals to be blended more seamlessly. Xerjoff’s Kobe would be a good alternative for those that find APOM to be a bit too plain and sweet.
Frederic Malle Cologne Bigarade: The most simple composition on this list, Cologne Bigarade by Jean-Claude Ellena is a watercolor take on a bitter orange eau de cologne. Yes it is fleeting, and yes, it’s extraordinarily simple, but sometimes simplicity fits the occasion. If you enjoy spritzing on fragrances every couple of hours in order to experience the top notes, Cologne Bigarade would be a fantastic choice. The more concentrated version, Bigarade Concentree, has better performance and is slightly heavier on the spices.
Bond No. 9 Eau de New York: Admittedly Bond No. 9 is one of my least favorite fragrance brands, however Eau de New York is actually worth a look. Despite the garish bottle, the fragrance within is a wonderful mix of many of the elements of the orange tree, including neroli, petitgrain, and mandarin, producing a crisp, fresh aroma that smells both orange and green. And fortunately for performance junkies, it lasts a long time with strong projection.