Columnist Leonie Cornelius picks her top fragrances containing the citrus fruit and shares tips on how to grow and care for lemons
There is a lot more to the humble lemon than meets the eye at first glance. As well as being used extensively as an ingredient or garnish in food and beverages, it’s one of the healthiest fruits in the world, known for its antiseptic and detoxing properties. It has a multitude of medicinal properties and is now considered a key ingredient in natural cleaning agents.
As if that wasn’t enough, it also smells divine and has become a signature note in many fragrances destined for people’s homes, such as candles or diffusers.
Garden designer and interior architect Leonie Cornelius talks about why lemon oil works so well in perfume and her three favourite scents:
Lemon in perfume
Lemon oil, which is derived from the lemon, is one of the most popular ingredients in perfume industry. The oil is made by cold-pressing the rind of the fruit which means that the aroma retains its fresh and zingy character, just like the actual fruit. The note of lemon oil is a very light one and often used as a top note in perfume making. It is also a very versatile one and makes for fantastic combinations with many other ingredients. It’s delicate freshness means it works just as well with woody and fruity aromas such as cedar, sage, lime and neroli as it does with floral notes such as rose, lavender and ylang ylang.
Three of the best lemon scents
1. 4711 Acqua Colonia – Lemon & Ginger
4711 is a traditional German Eau de Cologne and is actually the brand that gave “eau de cologne” its name. It has been produced in Cologne since 1799 and its store on the Glockenstrasse is a delight to visit. The brand has also created some fascinating new scents, many of which feature lemon. The Lemon & Ginger scent is one of my favourites and is the epitome of a summer day in Sicily. Fresh and zingy, it softens as it dries on the skin.
This American brand aims to capture the scents of the garden in perfume and their first three scents were called ‘Dirt’, ‘Grass’ and ‘Tomato’. They now have a vast range of very lovely scents and numerous ones feature lemon. The lemon meringue perfume is one that really picks up on the creamy side of the lemon meringue aroma. It still has strong citrus notes but the cream softens the tang a little.
The brand Dyptique is another fascinating story. It was founded 34 years ago by interior designer Christiane Gautrot, painter Desmond Knox-Leet, and Yves Coueslant, a theater director and set designer. Initially the store dealt in soft furnishings and 2011 saw the launch of its first scent – 34 Boulevard Saint Germain. Since then, many other scents have been added to the collection and the Oyédo scent is one of these. Unapologetically citrusy, it brings to mind sparkling azure seas and lemon orchards. The yuzu, tamarind and thyme in the scent bring a welcome woody note to the fresh scent.
Growing lemons from seed is actually easier than you think. Find an organic variety that will do well indoors – the Meyer lemon is a perfect choice – and sow the seeds about 2cm under some potting soil for fruit and veg. Make sure the seed never dries out and keep it in a sunny location. In about two weeks you should see a little plant emerge. One thing to note is that some varieties may not flower and bear fruit for up to seven years, so it may be a bit of a waiting game!
Read more from Leonie about growing and caring for lemons at home in the May/June edition of Irish Country Magazine, in shops now.