I purchased this scent blind, not because I read about it beforehand (I didn't), or have any affinity for the designer brand (I don't), but because neroli is an uncommon example of a simple and linear note that usually smells expensive. Neroli is the creamy bath suds of triple-milled luxury hotel soap. Neroli is the salted citrus spritz of $30 beachside resort drinks. Neroli is the Ferrari of green floral materials. Neroli is sex with a very expensive woman. Neroli is Italy in a bottle. In this obscure Banana Republic scent, I expected it to be functional at worst, and likable at best. Well, I lucked out. I love this fragrance.
It's important to gain perspective on neroli as a popular contemporary note. Tom Ford's Neroli Portobello Mushroom Sauce and Penhaligon's Castile suffer from imprecisions of balance and concentration, making thir over-produced flourishes smell loud and stodgy. At one-tenth their price, Neroli Woods smells soft, unpretentious, elegant. Here the nose employed excellent materials to conjoin a golden citrus top note to a delicate white floral base, and the result is refreshingly natural and luxurious for designer fare. I find that it extends the neroli of 4711 well past the ten minute mark, and into the workday.
I would guess the name Neroli Woods is aimed at males, yet the only woody hues are whispers of jasmine and cedar undergirding the star note. If you're a wet shaver like me who wears hesperidic splashes and wants a solid neroli scent to pair with them after a shave, stop here. I don't fully understand the artistic concept behind the Icon Collection, I don't know how the pedestrian Banana Republic landed such first-world perfumes, and I've discovered it's better not to ask questions when such fortunes are granted. I just tell myself, "Be grateful Bryan, and enjoy."