Friday, April 10, 2009

Prada Infusion de Fleur d'Oranger: fragrance review

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.


  1. Mike Perez22:56

    I had high hopes for this one Helg - but yours is not the only review I've read recently that sounded disappointing.

    I'm wondering if they're going to make a soap of this flanker? If so, that might be the best interpretation of the scent.

    Ah well...more money saved, I guess?


  2. I didn't care for it. But darn! I forgot to look for Essence!

  3. Anonymous15:34

    I agree with you as well Helg

    Fleur d'oranger by L'Artisan is the gold standard and the silver I give to Gianni Compagna's Neroli.


    Prada series 1-9 that are sold in their stores some are quite lovely...benzoin was my favorite.

    orange blossom is a difficult soliflores scent to wear for most of us, but I highly recommend Gianni Compagna's on www.first-in-fragrance.com. It is George Wuchsa's favorite as well.

    Thank you for reigning in the "lemming madness" so instead of buying the Prada's it bag, they are enticing you with limited edition, etc to buy their 'it' fragrance.


  4. Anonymous15:36

    PS Karin Oh i adore Essence, I bought it


    of course it is exclusive at Saks...

  5. Thanks for the review. You always include interesting additional information. I don't know if it was my skin or my nose, but it was dreadfully soapy on me. I know orange blossom can have that tendency but this was like detergent. I still covet a bottle of the regular Infusion, though. Maybe I'll get it this summer...

  6. Mike,

    hi and happy Easter!

    It was kind of meh to me. I really wanted to like it a lot too!
    I don't suppose they see it as a flanker (the ephemeral collection is supposedly a masstige downscaling of their boutique scents, to my understanding), but yes, as a soap it would be perfect. I'd buy it in fact!

  7. Karin,

    I guess you're not missing too much excitement. Essence is very persistent but less soapy and more "clean skin musk" in feel. If you like that vibe, you might like it quite a bit.

  8. Hi dear Michelyn, how are you and thank you so much for the rec! I don't think I have tried the GC Neroli. What an omission on my part, therefore. Noting down to hunt it down.
    Yes, the boutique scents had some merit. I like their Cuir (was it Cuir? Or am I forgetting? Anyway...)and their Iris. Their Oranger was different than this, at any rate.

    You are absolutely right about the 'it fragrance'. Very well thought out! (and I should have thought of it myself, LOL!)

    Hope you have/had a happy Easter/Pesach if celebrating :-)

  9. Thank you my dear March.

    I guess I do my best to source info and impressions that are not rehashed. Detegent is a harsh word, but I can't blame you. It seems like the "clean" school is having a resurgence. I see it from where I least expect it (niche lines, Lutens, a few Chanels like Beige) and it makes me wonder if perhaps it has to do with some attempt to provide a cultural platform of "sanctity" and moral "uncompromise" in an age of scandals (economic and otherwise). You think? Or perhaps I'm pushing it too far!!! LOL!

  10. Oh, and where are my manners? Happy Easter to you and your lovely family! :-)

    (ours is eaxctly a week later than yours)

  11. This one was a huge let down for me it eventually just became a white musk on me. But the big happy love suprise for me is: Un Matin d'Orage! So very pretty and lovely.

  12. Yes, your Easter is next weekend I believe, yes? My children are awaiting the Easter Bunny (and church of course, although I'm not sure the young ones understand the difference between secular and religious!)

    I'm probably being unfair. I think my skin magnifies whatever it is (musk?) that is used to render something "clean," and I know I do that with soapy.... I suppose I think clean is overrated. Heresy from an American. :)

  13. Anonymous12:51

    very interesting... I only just read this was coming out and on the one hand had high hopes but on the other thought is this totally necessary.

    Great bottle and box but it sounds like the juice won't test my liking of the Jo Malone and L'Artisan- or the Serge which I quite like. I will still have to try this though, of course! Happy Easter


  14. Jena,

    I know how you like the original Infusion d'Iris, so I can sense how disappointing it must have been... :-(
    Isn't UMDO completely different than any gardenia out there? I thought it opened new horizons for the genre, even if I usually prefer my gardenias lusher.

  15. March,

    Easter Bunny is good, give them time, church is not as much fun!:-)(but it does have other joys, even if not pious).

    The overdose of metallic musks in several fragrances often leaves them with a quality of "inhumanity": IMO one wouldn't really want to come close to someone so "sterilised" ~from fear of soiling them, or them being rather "alien", it is detaching...It's a weird feeling!
    Whatever, sometimes I do think that the blanket statement "Americans like clean" needs its exceptions :-))

  16. Rose,

    it has absolutely no relation to the Lutens, absolutely none! Don't even go there if you think you'd like something comparable. The L'artisan is very bright and luminous and very clear, but with no soapy overtones. The Jo Malone is also bright and light but doesn't cede to white musks. Perhaps that's why it lasts only little while compared to other frags (oh well...).

    If you want true neroli, might I rec Morning Blossom by Profumo Italia.

  17. I didn't care for it but i will

  18. Anonymous19:08

    I do thank GOD for the nose, dog's, I was born with. For me IdFdO is priceless, it lasts almost a full day. I use the other sisters/brothers of IdFdO for work evry day. And by the end of the week I think I have the most well-scented laudery in the wholle world. well, that is what my nose tells me. Together with Bergamotto Marino, GF, walking into daylight is close to tread in paradise.
    Marcos, Natal/RN, BRAZIL

  19. The bitter orange peel of FM Bigarade Concentree is one of my favourite notes!One of the reasons I love winter is the bitter orange season.It is a very refreshing beverage.


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