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Petitgrain Oil

Item#: 504227   CAS: 8016-44-2

Odor Strength: Medium
Odor Description: Citrus, floral, bitter orange, wood, green

As weather begins to warm and the last frosts of winter melt, we pack away our winter clothes for lighter summer styles.  Perfume fanatics do the same with their favorite scents- warm, spicy scents are swapped for airy and light scents- often featuring delicate florals and citrus.  Petitgrain oil is an unsung among these warm weather blends.

Petitgrain is a main ingredient in arguably the most historically prominent summer fragrance: the Eau de Cologne.  Eau de Cologne was created by renowned perfumer Giovanni Maria Farina, who wanted to create a fragrance that had the aroma of spring in Italy.  Contrary to popular belief the perfume is called “eau de cologne” because Farina was working in Cologne, Germany when he created the blend. By combining petitgrain, neroli, citrus, and spicy herbs; Farina created a versatile formulation that is still sought after today.  While one could go on for pages about the rich history of Eau de Cologne, the focus of this blog is taking a closer look at Petitgrain Oil… after all, Farina’s creation would not have been possible without it.

Petitgrain oil is a steam distillation of the twigs and leaves of the Bitter Orange tree.  While the trees are native to Southern China, they are now grown mainly in Paraguay.  Bitter orange trees were brought to Paraguay in 1875 by French botanist Benjamin Balansa.  Balansa had noticed other various species of citrus seemed to thrive in Paraguay, and the cost to grow in the country was cheap.  Thus, Balansa brought the profitable Citrus aurantium to Paraguay, and the rest is history!

As one would imagine, Petitgrain has a woody aroma, but it still smells fresh and light- unlike most wood extracts.  Notes of bitter orange and sweet florals are undeniable in the oil.  The extract blends seamlessly with other citrus extracts, such as lemon and bergamot.  It also is often paired with herbals such as lavender, sage, and rosemary. Additionally, the lighter notes of petitgrain are complemented by floral accords like ylang ylang, jasmine, and neroli. As mentioned before, petitgrain is best known for its role in the original Eau de Cologne.  Now, designer perfume houses create their own versions of Farina’s blend, and while each is unique, petitgrain is a common denominator across the market.  Some examples of these blends include Mugler Cologne Come Together,  Christian Dior Dior Addict, and Maison Margiela Under the Lemon Trees from the REPLICA series.

Petitgrain oil does have some aromatherapeutic properties.  It has antimicrobial and antifungal properties, and it can also have a calming and relaxing effect when diffused.

Vigon’s Petitgrain Oil 

If you are interested in seeing a sample or placing an order, please email Nicholas Bourne at or call 570-422-6026.