Sunny Lemon. You are the beautiful hybrid-child of the ancient citron and a bitter orange. Your bright yellow color evokes summer and the southern lands where you prosper. Your fragrance, so fresh and energizing, stimulates, but at the same time delivers a curious sense of peace and cleanliness.
The origin of lemons is thought to be of Assam, at the border between India and China. The fruit was already brought by sea and land to Ancient Rome, where it made a vivid impression, but its cultivation was not yet mastered. It re-entered South Europe a millennium later, sold by Arab merchants who praised the plant for its wonderful fragrant blossoms and beautiful fruits. It is when Columbus brought the fruit to the Americas that its amazing nutritive value got eventually revealed. Lemons are known today for their high concentration in vitamin C, and this nutrient saved the lives of many sailors, fighting against scurvy on such a long and perilous journey to the West. Miners during the Gold Rush of California, in 1849, spent fortunes to buy lemons, as the fruit was a rare source of vitamins and minerals. This “yellow fever” is precisely at the origin of the large lemon plantations in the West of the US: California and Arizona produce 95% of the entire lemon crop of the United Sates. India and Mexico are today the world largest producers of limes and lemons.
The use of lemon as an ingredient in drinks and food is well-known and so common that it can’t be the matter of this article. It is interesting to know that lemon juice can be used as well to preserve fruits and vegetables from oxidizing, and also to curd milk or cream in the process of making cottage and cream cheese, all because of its high citric acid content. Limoncello is for me the most delicious liqueur made out of this amazing fruit; give it a try after a nice Italian dinner and a cup of espresso.
Lemon essential oil is produced by the mechanical cold pressing of the peel. The light oil is used in aromatherapy to improve the mood, decrease stress and cleanse the body. its luminous aroma is often used in light Spring and Summer fragrances. Lemon is a clear top note, very volatile and sparkling, which requires some serious fixative to last.
Among interesting fragrances using a clear lemon top note, try Citrus Verbena from L’Occitane, Ô de Lancôme for her, or the beautiful Eau de Fleur de Cédrat created by Jacques Guerlain himself. Acqua Viva from Profumum Roma, tested last month during my family holidays in Rome, is a woody aromatic blend of Amalfi lemons, cedar and cypress, a perfect essence for the hot italian summer. Acqua di Gio and especially its female counterpart Acqua di Gioia from Giorgio Armani, are both summer fragrances with a distinct note of lemon. L’Eau d’Hadrien d’Annick Goutal is one of the most respected lemon fragrance in the market.
So my friends, when life gives you lemons, make lemon fragrance, and lemonade too!