Description and usage notes:
The Petitgain Oil offered here is manufactured by Payan Bertrand and is distilled from the leaves, fruit and twigs of the Citrus aurantium v. Amara – bitter orange – plant from Paraguay. It is also called Petitgrain Bigarade, though in the strictest sense that term should indicate petitgrain oil distilled in France, it is widely used to mean oil of any geographic origin distilled from the same species and variety.
Arctander describes this oil “In respect to volume, this is the most important, by far, of all petitgrain oils. The oil is produced in Paraguay and, to a smaller extent, in Haiti. However, only in Paraguay is the oil distilled exclusively from the bitter-sour variety of Citrus Aurantium, subspecies amara, the bitter orange tree.” and goes on to say it “is a pale yellow to dark yellow to dark yellow or olive brownish colored, rather mobile liquid of strong, bitter-sweet, woody- floral odor. The topnote is somewhat harsh, but it quickly gives way to a heavy and sweet bodynote of typical petitgrain character: bitter-floral, with a sweet and slightly woody undertone. The dryout, which comes quickly since the odor of this oil is not very tenacious, is sweet and slightly woody- floral, quite delicate.”
He goes on to suggest it is suitable “Petitgrain Paraguay oil is used very extensively in soap perfumery where its great power and versatile application is generally appreciated. It needs solid fixation since the oil itself does not contain natural fixatives to any significant extent. Tolu balsam, Iabdanum, benzoin, beta-naphthol ethyl ether, methyl betanaphthyl ketone, methyl anthranilate, methyl-N-nlethyl anthranilate, propenyl-methyl anthranilate, aurantiol, isobutyl cinnamate, are common and suitable fixatives, while sage clary, decanal, geraniol, palmarosa oil, citrus oils, clove oils, hydroxycitronellal, amyl cinnamic aldehyde, etc. are excellent blenders or modifiers. Paraguay petitgrain oil is mainly used in the citrus-cologne types of perfume base, but it also lends power and freshness in numerous floral, bouquet perfumes, Oriental blends, etc. Apart from “orange blossom” or neroli types, the oil may be used with jasmin, lilac, lily and similar floral bases as a modifier.”
Petitgrain is routinely employed to form a bridge between the citrus, floral and woody notes of a fragrance and to give mild fixation to the most volatile citrus oils such as sweet orange. It is one of the most widely used naturals in perfumery.