Fragrance Reviews In Search of Strong Citrus: Couvent de Minimes

In Search of Strong Citrus: Couvent de Minimes

04/15/17 06:42:48 (21 comments)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

Citrus fruit

My first experience with a citrus-themed fragrance was an enormous bottle of Jean Naté "after bath splash" that sat in my shower when I was a young child; I suspect it was my grandmother's. I often snuck a palmful but was always disappointed when the delicious lemony scent had all but disappeared within an hour. My experience with Jean Naté was foundational as it served as an introduction to the possibilities of what a fragrance could be (I had only known my mother's Shalimar and father's Royal Copenhagen at that point). I imagine that many fragrance lovers started their habits with similar experiences whether they were baby colognes in Latin American cultures or 4711 in European cultures.

My next major milestone in citrus scents was Armani's 1984 launch, Eau pour Homme, created by perfumer Roger Pellegrino, an update on the traditional eau de cologne. It was an immediate love for me as it offered a blast of sweet citrus that both reminded me of Kellogg's Fruit Loops cereal and lasted a good deal longer than Jean Naté. The mini bottle given to me by a relative was one of my first "grown up" scents and further reinforced my ideas about fragrance, strongly influenced by what my parents, teachers and neighbors/family members wore. It was the mid-80s and it seemed that EVERYONE smelled of something.

Armani Eau pour Homme

My third important experience with citrus was Roger & Gallet's Jean Marie Farina Extra Vieille, an eau de cologne discovery in a luxurious hotel bathroom in the Virgin Islands; I have such fond memories of discovering fragrant products in travel situations. Similar to the Naté and Armani, R&G Extra Vieille had a powdery carnation vibe that set it apart.

Such were my major introductions to the traditional "eau de cologne". Fragrantica writer Sandrina offers an excellent overview of this genre HERE so I'll just include a brief explanation: Eau de Cologne as we know it was developed in the 1700s by a perfumer in Cologne, Germany, hence the name, though no doubt people had been creating and wearing similar creations for centuries prior. The composition was a melange of citrus and herbs and cemented the significance of these ingredients as a major style of personal fragrance. Common notes in citrus colognes include lemon, lime, grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, yuzu, petitgrain, verbena, lavender, rosemary, neroli/orange blossom and mint.

Roger et Gallet Farina Extra Vieille

Once I had discovered that a cologne was different from a cologne which was different from a cologne (style vs concentration vs a men's scent), and that most colognes were citrus-focused, I set out to discover other similar scents. This journey led me to Guerlain's Cologne Imperiale, Eau de Guerlain, Cologne du Coq and Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat, all wonderful, fresh, citrusy aromas that disappeared on my skin almost as soon as I had applied them.

As I grew older and started to read more about perfumery, I learned why citrus fragrances were so fleeting, and why citrus is always a topnote - the oils of citrus fruits have one of the fastest evaporation rates of perfumery materials. They make for great opening topnotes but often disappear quite quickly. As such, many citrus scents are anchored with musks, woods or other rich, lingering materials to combat their notoriously poor longevity.

Guerlain Cologne du Coq

I next explored the "Eau de" scents that every major brand seemed to offer - Ô de Lancôme, Eau de Givenchy (a favorite, still), Elizabeth Arden Eau Fraiche, Eau de Sud, etc., but my Armani Eau pour Homme remained my preferred citrus and one of the longest-lasting of its genre.

Once I started working in the fragrance industry, I discovered Annick Goutal's Eau d'Hadrien, Nina Ricci's Signoricci, Dior Eau Sauvage, Sisley Eau de Campagne, YSL pour Homme, etc. Throughout my fragrance wearing experience I've also enjoyed ckOne, Creed Millesime, Nicolai Cologne Sologne, Eau de Rochas (for men and for women), Eau de Courreges and Hermes Eau D`Orange Verte, to name but a few. Currently I'm quite fond of Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa and Alvarez Gomez Colonia Concentrada.

This year, in my quest to discover affordable, long-lasting, strong citrus scents, a travel spray of a reasonably-priced option arrived in my mailbox direct from the brand's PR company. With topnotes of petitgrain, bergamot and mandarin and florals including orange blossom, nasturtium and wild rose, who would have thought my search for a long-lasting citrus cologne would lead to a convent?

Minimes Eau Aimable

I'll admit that I'm a sucker for sweet orange blossom scents paired with bright citrus and Le Couvent des Minimes' Eau Aimable (The Convent of Minimes' Botanical Cologne of Love) perfectly fits that profile. Even better, it offers surprising longevity, even on my perfume-eating skin.

I first encountered Le Couvent de Minimes when their products, created for a 17th century convent in France that is now a hotel and spa, were on sale at the US-based Bath and Body Works shops. They had a fantastic orange blossom scent (quite similar to Eau Aimable) and a winning lavender. I've also owned and loved their fan favorite Cologne of the Missions, a surprisingly affordable, smoky sweet vanilla often compared to Guerlain's Spiritueuse Double Vanille (not present on the brand's website; is it discontinued?).

A longtime fan of Fresh's Sugar Lemon and a new devotee of Herve Gambs' rhubarb and citrus Baie des Anges, I'm now in love with this Cologne of Love, which to be fair is as much a floral as it is a citrus. Minimes' scent is similar to the former two but with less vanilla. And though it isn't listed among the notes, I do detect a hint of vanilla (or maybe tonka or coumarin) helping to anchor the brighter topnotes.

Eau AMiable set

A review of Eau Amiable's Fragrantica page reveals that I'm not alone in my fondness for the aroma nor my appraisal of the longevity. The sillage is quite subtle however and remains that way throughout the 4-5 hours that the scent lingers on my skin. For example, Fragrantica member Hippo Princess writes, "This is a supremely sweet, juicy, sugary affair. I am tempted to drink this flowery philter in a faceted crystal tumbler. It conjures an image of fair-haired ladies of Thebes lounging about in crisp white robes in an orchard, the air filled with the intoxicating scent of the orange blossoms on the trees and tucked behind their ears. Considering the notoriously short longevity of most citrus fragrances, this lasts an impressively long time, at least five hours."

Some reviewers find that the rose peeks out now and then but on my skin it is imperceptible. And remember that Fruit Loops note I mentioned earlier in relation to Armani? Present! Indeed I get a hint of yummy fruit loops, and that's probably yet another reason why I'm so smitten.

Now, I think I need to seek out and sample some of the other Minimes colognes such as Eau de Minimes (a traditional cologne formula), Eau de Cloitre (a fresh, spicy rose) and Eau Sereine (a citrus-lavender).

Tell us about your own longlasting cologne favorites or Minimes experiences in a comment below!

 

Image of the author

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

Managing Editor & Columnist

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison’s journalism in the fragrance industry has appeared in international print and online publications such as PlayboyMen’s JournalMen’s Health and the New York Times. Marlen is also a regular contributor to BeautyAlmanac.com and works as a graduate professor, thesis advisor and faculty supervisor for MA programs in TESOL, Education, Writing and Literature. Learn more about Marlen by visiting:  www.MarlenHarrison.com.

 



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RJ Watson
RJ Watson

Citruses are probably my favorite scent category. I've a few that I've kept in permanent rotation over the last 20 years or so:

Annick Goutal's Eau d'Hadrien (the edp has held up remarkably well even with the reformulations)

Givenchy's Monsieur de Givenchy (citrus with some rosy, mossy touches)

Guerlain's Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat (a fleeting but beautiful cologne of pure happiness to me)

and the newest addition to the lineup:

Chanel's Eau de Cologne (understated elegance and class, bottled).

I may have to revisit Verveine from L'Occitane; I used it for years but perhaps I got bored and moved on.

Apr
19
2017
Konga5000
Konga5000

Finally got a few of these at ULTA as they went on clearance . They are great but longevity is short. They remind me of Atelier or L' Occitane.

Apr
18
2017
PerfumeEmpress
PerfumeEmpress

My favorite orange scent is Roger & Gallet's Bois d'Orange. At first spray it packs a bit of a punch. But it develops into a beautiful orange - woody scent. Unfortunately, it doesn't last long being EdC. Still, it's a very pleasant scent to wear in hot weather. Not fruit-punchy at all. Wish they made it into EdP.

Apr
18
2017
StellaDiverFlynn
StellaDiverFlynn

Fragonard's Fleurs d'Oranger is also in the same vein and is quite affordable as well. Eau Aimable and Eau des Missions are my favourite Couvent des Minimes. Their Eau des Minimes is also a decent citrus, lovely!

Apr
16
2017
Filomena1941
Filomena1941

I have Eau Amiable Cologne of Love and really enjoy it.

Apr
16
2017
maartje
maartje

As a member of a Dutch facebook perfumegroup I bought unsniffed a 500 ml bottle of Eau de Cologne of Love for a ridiculous price:) with a 70% discount. after one of the members saw an advert of the Bijenkorf in Amsterdam.
I love the freshness but also recognize something familiar that I also smell in the Eau de missions.

Apr
16
2017
davitea
davitea

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine is very long lasting and natural smelling orange scent.
And let's not forget the ever polarizing and Uber popular Light Blue. I'm in the party of its lovers for sure since there is something uplifting and in the same time exiting in the fragrance. Citruses are usually cute and clean, but somehow prim. Not Light Blue. Sexy as the models in its ads. I had it when it first came out in production and boy, was it strong and lasting then, always noticed and complimented. I hear people complaining about the performance nowadays.
I can't wait to try the new, Intense version.

Apr
16
2017
Calvini
Calvini

Orto Parisi Bergamask is strong and lasts :)

Apr
16
2017
siririschmoos
siririschmoos

Great ideas, yes, unfortunately most citrus scents disappear way too early.

That's why i tend to carry a decant and also using a citrus based shower gel doesn't hurt either.

Apr
15
2017
the big totoro
the big totoro

I do love the orange blossom from Le Couvent des Minimes, way underappreciated IMO. I have a bottle of the (unfortunately) discontinued Fleur d'Oranger and it's still one of the absolute best orange blossom perfumes to date!
I'm so happy to see this company getting some well deserved praise and love. Thank you!

Apr
15
2017
esteban747
esteban747

I'm a sucker for citrus fragrances.
Entre Naranjos (Ramón Monegal), Mandarine Glaciale (Atelier Cologne), Kenneth Cole Black, Lemon Line (Mancera).

Apr
15
2017
Konga5000
Konga5000

I sampled these at ULTA. Great! But lasts about as long as Jean Nate. Also at ULTA they were way over-priced. :(
Another great article!

P.S. Marlen; please seek out the Target line of Sonia Kashuk fragrances that I spoke of before; they are like "cheapie" Jo Malones for $20.00 a pop!! And remember; they are not in the fragrance section- they are in the cosmetics section- you have to hunt for them. Thank me later.

Apr
15
2017
lemonzest
lemonzest

L'Occitane Lemon Verbena scents are the longest lasting citrus scents I know of. Why is citrus so ephemeral? Are the molecules tiny and volatile?

My holy grail of perfume would be a long lasting true lemon.

Jean Nate used to be some good stuff back in the day. I had hair down to my knees when I was a kid, and I remember shampooing with Lemon Up shampoo and splashing on Jean Nate. Best fragrance memories...thus I am lemonzest.

Apr
15
2017
drugstore classics
drugstore classics

I wondered (sniffing Jean Nate after bath splash) as a young person who would possibly wear such an alcohol scented product?! My mistake, of course. I've had occasion to sample vintage Jean Nate edt not long ago, and it has a woodier, longer lasting scent that quite agrees with me. In case anyone wondered, Sandalwood is Divine with Lemon!

Apr
15
2017
ms. m
ms. m

Amiable / Love is my favorite from Le Couvent. It's a beautiful, edible orange blossom that never strays into indolic white flower territory. My initial impression of it was the hard candy shell of an orange Tootsie Pop. It's what I remember when I think of it, but every time I wear it, I remember it's so much more than that. But yes, Froot Loops in a bottle would also be fine with me!

My first love from this house was Cologne of the Missions. The benzoin blast in the opening and the myrrh take it off to a contemplative start, but it eventually warms to borderline chocolate yum territory. It's such a shame it was discontinued, but I've still got a gigantor bottle of it from one of the big sales, so I am covered for awhile.

Eau des Minimes is a refreshing respite from blistering summer heat. The matching shower gel is surprisingly good for the price point.

I'm not a fan of the Cloister scent. It's a little too synthetic and one-dimensional compared to the quality and depth of the other three. I haven't tried Matins yet.

Thank you for another informative and enjoyable article!

Apr
15
2017
[email protected]
Scentsation@wgp

Marlen, wonderful article as per, always! I just cannot believe no one mentioned Clinique Happy for Men :) I just love it on my Husband and myself...very unique citrus scent, everyone should check it out ASAP!

Apr
15
2017
funnyboy
funnyboy

Completely agree with your review and observations on this cologne.
I love the Cologne of the missions, also and wonder why they have discontinued such a delicious fragrance.
As regard to the others that you have mentioned that are still in production I have tested them and in quality and strength they do not match the other 2 at all

Apr
15
2017
AngieGCarp
AngieGCarp

I saw Jean Nate' at Walgreens the other day....jolted me back to being 10 or 11 and mom buying this for me. Even then my fragrance wardrobe was growing...I LOVED this..I remember how bad it stung when I shaved my legs and splashed it on..I didn't care because I was a citrus goddess! I can't wait to give this one a whiff. I'm not a citrus lover but this one has piqued my curiosity as does all Dr.Marlens suggestions.

Apr
15
2017
pabuenos
pabuenos

I love Cologne Aimable, but my favorite is Jo Malone's Orange Blossom. Even though is not that affordable, it has those listed qualities one looks on a citric-floral cologne. Unfortunately LCdM stopped selling their products in Brazil.

Apr
15
2017
smellagent
smellagent

I am back. I read this article then went to Ebay to buy small bottle. There was a great deal on the whole set, cologne,lotion etc... so I bought it. In fairness I was planning to do so anyway but this article was the push. I love Orange Blossom and I love L'Occitane so I am sure I will enjoy. I have been using their products for years but I never saw this one in the store. Another sweet beautiful OB perfume for OB lovers to give a try is Robert Piguet Mademoiselle. It has a beautiful OB and apricots, ripe citrus and vanilla.

Apr
15
2017
jana.hullinghorst
jana.hullinghorst

Cologne of Love is so delicious!!! a beautiful, happy fragrance... It's pretty much impossible to spray it and NOT smile :D

Apr
15
2017

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