Where many neroli and orange blossom perfumes can tend to be sharp, regal, pungent – rather imposing and a touch over-florid, Lorenzo Villoresi’s delicate, Florentine interpretation is more about love, early summer, and introspection: a tender and lovably enveloping scent that lingers, gentle and close to the skin, with a soulfully comforting drydown. An image comes, at this stage of the Dilmun, of falling asleep in a close friend’s guest room, early evening, as the sun is setting.
On first spray though, Dilmun is more like an orchard of orange trees in blossom.
You are at a picnic nearby, the scent hanging in the air with the green of the trees. Citrus notes and laurel leaves, as well as hints of other flower essences such as jasmine and rose, form a wreath of breathful but reticent floralia around which a curious accord, (elemi, cedarwood, opoponax) entwines the orange blossom petals subtlely but quite beautifully. If you like orange blossom, but don’t want it screechy or scratchy, you can’t go wrong with this.
I have always found the scent of orange blossom flower in full bloom really hypnotic – few scents in nature cast such a spell – but find also that once the essence has been captured and distilled, it loses much of this bewitchment. Orange blossom perfumes sometimes have a lurid, garish quality to them, almost sickly (especially if they are combined with sandalwood and vanilla, which is often the case), and I must say that I myself rarely wear them. For my personal tastes, to do the flower justice, it is important to cradle it with other, gentler essences, to draw out, civilize its raw power, yet let the essence shine, unmistakeably, somewhere at the scent’s palpitating, nerolic centre. Penhaligon’s Castile is a very successful scent in this regard – smooth and clean (soap-like, almost); dry, smiling, and lightly seductive, like orange blossom flowers picked and hidden; nestling secretly behind muslin gauze.