Throughout history, citrus was a coveted fruit in society. In his book Enquiry of Plants, the philosopher and Aristotle’s successor, Theophrastus, wrote of citrus’ breath freshening properties. In ancient Mediterranean cultures (and several centuries before making it to Western and Asian regions), citrus was rare to harvest, expensive to buy and as a result highly prized. Later on, during the late 19th century, Louisa May Alcott referenced the social symbolism of lemons and limes in her classic novel, Little Women, when one of the March sisters, Amy, was pining for limes to indicate her wealth, despite her family’s financial struggles during the war.
Today, citrus, particularly in F&F, remains a source of innovation and inspiration, and is also the theme of this month’s issue. Due to its volatile properties, perfumers aspire to create citrus formulations with staying power. Volatility in the market place has included citrus materials in the recent EU tariffs from US exports, while suppliers invest in developing natural, organic and sustainable replacers in response to environmental challenges and high demand.
Addressing Change and Challenge
From a perfumer’s perspective, Givaudan’s Rodrigo Flores-Roux, an exuberant citrus fan, shares his personal relationship with the citrus palette, and how new techniques in fractionation allow him to create citrus fragrances with long-lasting properties.
Sustainable citrus alternatives are hot. You probably wouldn’t think to combine the two together: “citrus replacer” and “hot,” but these days with the unpredictability of Mother Nature, the repercussions of facility fires and shutdowns, combatting disease and decreased farming due to a lack of income, citrus replacers and non-citrus alternatives that exhibit citrus notes are addressing these specific market challenges, and ultimately keeping citrus alive.
In response to the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs, U.S. exports to the EU will face additional taxes. These materials include U.S. cosmetics and agricultural goods, as well as a variety of terpene oils such as concretes and absolutes of sweet and bitter orange (excluding orange-flower oil), terpenic essential oils of lemon (including concretes and absolute) and terpenic by-products of the deterpenation of essential oils.
Despite all of these market challenges, citrus is here to stay. With a deep-rooted history in society and the pleasure it brings when formulated into products every day, it just goes to show that the rarer something is, the greater lengths we will go to preserve it.
I hope you enjoy this issue.
With warmth from New York City,