Does this fragrance exist in anything other than the actual plant?
May 5, 2015 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Caffre (Kaffir)-lime blossoms smell like sunshine. Please help me find it in a bottle.

I have an ornamental lime tree. The appearance of the dozens of flowers and the 3 or 4 little fruits it bears annually make me think it’s a kaffir lime tree. What’s so amaaaazing about this tree is the fragrance of the blossoms. It’s indescribably heavenly. You can smell it from twenty feet away. It’s very floral and sweet but not sickly so. It’s as heavy as honeysuckle without the sticky kick behind it. There’s no scent of organic decay that so often accompanies older blooms. It’s not at all sharp. It’s pretty concentrated, not subtle, and not earthy at all. It makes me ridiculously happy when I catch a whiff.

I want to find this fragrance in a cologne, perfume, soap, lotion, whatever. But the commercial descriptives I’m presented with are not… right. Despite it being a lime tree, I would never describe the fragrance as ‘citrus’. Nor woody, oriental, or spicy. I cannot emphasize enough how much this does NOT smell like what perfumes/colognes classify as citrus. It does not smell like fruit. That tangy, aseptic odor behind every scented cleaner or air freshener? NOT THAT. Lemon/lime/orange oil or juices? Not those either.

To me, these lime blossoms smell floral. Period. There are fragrances listed as “French lime blossom” which are linden, and not the same thing. I know about top and base notes but lack adequate vocabulary, and I don’t have the nose to properly describe the scent as a sommelier would wine (“with hints of peat moss and chocolate and a cumin finish,” what?). Scents with white flower notes like orange blossom and tuberose are close in weight and assertiveness, but not the right scent. I want this lime blossom scent, altered as little as possible, no blending with musk or other flowers like jasmine or ginger or lavender or what have you. If anyone has smelled citrus lime blossoms and knows a comparable scent, please tell me! I need to smell this as often as possible.
posted by ohcanireally to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe from Penhaligons. I've had their perfume before but not the lime.
Search for "lime."
posted by Sassyfras at 1:32 PM on May 5, 2015

It might be worth checking out some Demeter scents. They don't have a lime blossom, but they do have several other "blossom" ones and maybe one of them is close. In my experience Demeter scents smell EXACTLY like the name on the bottle.
posted by MsMolly at 1:41 PM on May 5, 2015

I haven't smelled this particular scent, but Jo Malone scents tend to smell exactly like what you'd expect from their names.
posted by erst at 1:43 PM on May 5, 2015

Like this orange blossom for example.
posted by MsMolly at 1:44 PM on May 5, 2015

I don't know if I've ever seen lime flower absolute or essential oil (as opposed to linden), but if you're looking for citrus blossoms in general, have you seen this sampler pack from Eden Botanicals? In particular, it sounds like the orange blossom absolute might get close to the intense, rich floral you're describing, especially when mixed with other things in that sampler.

(As a side note, if you've never gotten into natural perfumery before -- if you do get the sampler pack, you may need to dilute the samples in some perfumer's alcohol to get the full effect, rather than just sniffing it out of the sample bottle. If you don't have perfumer's alcohol laying around, Everclear can spot in reasonably well.)

This, by the way, is a great orange blossom perfume by a legendary perfume house. You've mentioned that you don't want other flowers, or that you don't like the rich organic decay smell (associated in perfumery with compounds known as indoles), but given the number of people who describe it as driving through a field of orange blooms with the windows down, it might appeal to you.
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:46 PM on May 5, 2015

I've smelled Penhaligons' Extract of Limes and it smells citrusy, not like the blossoms you are looking for. Any perfume with "lime blossom" in the name is going to smell like linden blossom.

Try ordering some samples and smelling them yourself to see if they are anything like what you are looking for.
posted by matildaben at 1:48 PM on May 5, 2015

I chase scents like this, too, but they're hard to find. I have had some luck with a DIY approach. I fill a small jar with lots of blossoms and then pour vodka over them. I try to wait until a tree is in full bloom and then pack a jar with the flowers. Let them sit for a minimum of several weeks (shake every few days) and then mix the alcohol extraction with a neutral lotion or oil on a per-use basis. It's not as powerful as an absolute or perfume, but I've had good luck with citrus blossoms of various types. You can also put some of the scented vodka in water or cocktails and drink the perfumey goodness.
posted by quince at 1:55 PM on May 5, 2015 [6 favorites]

Penhaligon's lime is very traditional, but that means it's very much juicy fruit citrus with a slightly powdery-soapy opening.
posted by holgate at 1:55 PM on May 5, 2015

It's a bit of work, but you can make your own essential oil.
posted by chocolatepeanutbuttercup at 1:55 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'll tell you why, you can't get that scent because it is so volatile. What you want to do is effleurage. Take your blossoms and concentrate them in fat. That is why there is no real lilac scent, etc. Because it fades. You cannot make your own essential oil from a single plant, sadly. But you can pick the blossoms and soak them in fat and make your own solid perfume.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:53 PM on May 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

Annick Goutal's Nuits d'Hadrien is listed as a citrus, but I get no citrus from it. To me it smells like IRL sunshine. Annick Goutal is generally known for her mind-blowing citrus scents, so it might be worth finding a counter and having a sniff.
posted by nerdfish at 10:25 PM on May 5, 2015

Maybe not the kind of bottle to which you were referring, but do you know about Hangar 1 Kaffir Lime Vodka? Divine.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 12:56 AM on May 6, 2015

You might want to keep an eye on the CB I Hate Perfume Rare Flowers collection. The perfumes are each made from a single floral absolute. Kaffir lime isn't there now, but it could be in the future. Also, if you're near NYC, you could ask about having a custom perfume made at their store.
posted by neushoorn at 4:06 AM on May 6, 2015

I have the Jo Malone French Lime Blossom, and to me it smells like the beach at Lake Huron. I am fairly certain that is not what they were going for... But I'm also not sure it's what you're going for (however, you have totally sold me on lime trees, and I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that it's too cold here to grow a lime tree...le sigh!).

Anyway, I watched a BBC documentary on perfume (you can find on Youtube--I can't link from work) that featured a man in New York (I think) who will work with you to create your scent. I can't imagine that is a cost-effective approach, but if you're that interested, you might want to look at custom scents.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 5:48 AM on May 6, 2015

Memail me if you want a little tester of red flower's kinmoxei wild lime silk oil.
posted by evoque at 11:30 AM on May 6, 2015

It is a lovely scent, and I'm enjoying the posts, but could we please stop using the word "kaffir"? "Wild lime" or "makrut" will work. @KaffirNoMore
posted by cyndigo at 10:58 PM on May 10, 2015

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