The newest Prada, Infusion de Fleur d'Oranger is the reflection of a taut body on a shower glass pane in a Moroccan hotel. Is this a good or a bad thing? Like most ambivalent realities in life, it depends on your expectations. I can't say I was too impressed and theoretically I should have, my usual tastes running into the realm of both white flowers and refreshing cologne-type scents for spring and summer. This new contestant is neither.
Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger is a limited edition fragrance and the first in a project of yearly series of "infusions" following the uber-successful Infusion d'Iris (it got a Design Award in 2008 by Wallpaper; you can't get more chi chi than that!). Ephemeral Infusion Collection is therefore a limited editions line consisting of one new fragrance per year derived from Prada’s Exclusive Scent range. Basically Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger is a direct descendant of the Exclusive Scent No. 4 by Prada: Fleur d’Oranger,by the Italian designer, but also a rehashing of the successful elements of the standard and widely available Infusion d'Iris. The same perfumer who worked on the latter as wel as its masculine counterpart Infusion d'Homme has collaborated with Prada once again: Daniela Andrier. She seems to fuse an olfactory fingerprint in all of them as they share common ground.
Infusion de Fleur d'Oranger is a combination of orange blossom, neroli, mandarin oil, jasmine and tuberose – a heady floral by the notes supposedly (one might even expect an sub-lieutenant Fleurs d'Oranger by Lutens, although no relation), yet it makes for a surprisingly sheer, uplifting smell, reminiscent of Infusion d'Iris in several segments, especially as it dries down. The domineering impression upon first spraying is one of sharp neroli*, the distilled essence from the flowers of citrus aurantium or bigaradier (bitter orange blossom), the tree which flanks the sidewalks of the city I leave and which right about now is in full bloom ~the white blossoms intoxicating the air with the most heavenly, serene scent imaginable. The slightly bitter petitgrain* note also surfaces, providing a little austerity. The fragrance cedes to a lathery almost aldehydic ambience quite soon, losing the distinctive sharp and uplifting quality of its mandarin and neroli start which promised a refreshing spring cologne (citrus essences and neroli have the tradition of Eau de Cologne behind them). The jasmine takes on a fruity and honeyed turn (sambac variety) which conspires with the soapy-shampoo character into a muted motif that doesn't jump off the paper, contrary to the striking design on the packaging with its juxtaposition of pink garlands of blooms and orange fruits onto the dark and light green background that echoes the Infusion d'Iris and d'Homme boxes. The clean musks drydown reminds me also of the newest Essence by Narciso Rodriguez, although not as "white-tee" in feel, as well as Penhaligon's Castile, an abstract soapy orange blossom. But if you want a "clean" fragrance Essence is better constructed and much more lasting; if you want a soapy one Castile is quite sufficient; if you just want a nice bubble-bath hologram to get you through every evetuality and get you compliments Infusion d'Iris is certainly your best best and it's plenty. Last, but not least, if you want a realistic orange blossom fragrance L'artisan's Fleur d'Oranger is the golden standard and Jo Malone has a very good one in her Orange Blossom cologne (if a bit fleeting). Prada is thus left a bit in the middle of the road and I don't know what to think: her exclusive Fleur d'Oranger no4 was more like it.
Dane calls it "a perfume for those who don't like perfume" and I foresee the masses of those who fall into that category will buy it like hot cakes. For another view, please read I smell therefore I am.
Notes for Prada Infusion de Fleur d'Oranger: neroli*, mandarin, jasmine, orange blossom absolute*, tuberose, and Serendoline (sic, per Neiman Marcus' site ~but that's a typo perpetuated into infinity; in fact it is Serenolide, a synthetic musk by Givaudan, which accounts for the "clean" base)
The bottle reprises the very chic design of the previous successes imparting homogenuity in the line (and smidge of niche look!). Devout followers of Prada’s runway shows may recognize the black, green and pink floral print on the box from the autumn/winter 2003 RTW runway. Although the visually impessive site of Prada has lovely presentations for their other fragrances, the newest one hasn't made it there yet. But it will, any day now. While you're at it, I highly recommend the Fondatione Prada sub-site.
Available in three sizes for 4 months (starting March) only: 1.7 oz, 3.4 oz, and 6.75 oz retailing for $74, $100 and $135 in the U.S., respectively. There’s also a Hydrating Body Lotion and a Perfumed Bath and Shower Gel.
*Neroli and Orange blossom absolute are both derived from the blossoms of the same tree: bigaradier/Seville Orange/bitter orange/citrus aurantium. Neroli is sharper and greener, a little astrigent and very uplifting, a steam distillation product of the blossoms, while Orange blossom absolute is extacted with volatile solvents rendering a rounder, a bit indolic scent that's richer and more feminine overall. Petitgrain comes from the distillation of the leaves and twigs of the same tree and is a little more bitter than either, a usual component in masculine colognes.
Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Orange Blossom Series, Prada Infusion d'Iris and Infusion d'Homme
Pic of bottle via Spoiled Pretty blog, photo of woman taking shower courtesy of bfraz/flickr ~some right reserved.