Petitgrain oils are obtained by steam distillation of leaves, twigs and small unripe fruits of different Citrus species. Because of its olfactory characteristics, bitter orange petitgrain oil is considered the most valuable of these. It is produced in Italy, France, Spain and Paraguay.
Bitter orange petitgrain oils produced in Mediterranean countries show better organoleptic properties than Paraguayan oils usually obtained from a hybrid, locally called “Apepu-Jhai,” with rudimental distillation equipment.
Lemon, mandarin and bergamot petitgrain oils are produced in very limited amounts, almost exclusively in Italy. Sweet orange petitgrain oil, only occasionally produced by industry, is considered poorer than other petitgrain oils and it is sometimes used for the adulteration of more valuable petitgrain oils.