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Bitter Orange: Three Aromas

Some of my favorite oils are created from the Citrus aurantium or Bitter Orange tree.

Three different oils are distilled and expressed from this wonderful botanical, and all three have distinctive aromas. This interesting tid-bit raises the importance of knowing not only the Latin binomial of the oil you are purchasing, but also the plant part being distilled.

In the case of Citrus aurantium, the fruit peel is expressed to create Bitter Orange essential oil, the flowers are distilled to create Neroli or Orange Blossom essential oil, and the leaves and twigs are distilled to create Petitgrain essential oil.

Bitter Orange: The properties and aroma of this essential oil are very similar to Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) essential oil, and makes a lovely substitute for any recipe that calls for Sweet Orange oil. The aroma of bitter orange has a dry citrus note in comparison to the sweet citrus of the sinensis oil. Citrus peel oils are very useful around the house for their disinfecting properties, and make a sunny addition to room sprays and cleaners.

Neroli: This is one of my favorite oils for its dry, spicy, floral aroma, but it is also very expensive. It takes around 100 pounds of flowers to distill just 1 pound of oil. Luckily you don't need much to appreciate its beautiful fragrance. Neroli is unique in that it can be used as both a top note when blended with other floral oils or a base note when blended with other citrus oils.

Petitgrain: From the leaves and twigs of the tree comes this light, woody, and spicy oil that has just a hint of citrus. Mostly used in the fragrance industry, this oil also has many beneficial properties for skin and haircare products including antiseptic and deodorant actions.

Try one or compare all three! They will be a spectacular addition to your essential oil collection.


Topics: Aromatherapy Education


Written by Christine on October 26, 2012

Christine, Products Manager and Certified Aromatherapist, is super knowledgeable about all our products after having spent more than a decade at Mountain Rose Herbs. When she isn’t overseeing our line of thousands of sustainable offerings, she can be found gardening, running around with her energetic daughter, canning and preserving food, homebrewing, and spending time outdoors.