My mini fruit orchard has been sitting still for 20 years without proper care, and the wild foundation of the grafted citrus has simply taken over, turning all the trees except the grapefruit into a bitter orange tree. From a perfumer's point of view there is no harm in that, but I'd like to have some culinary variety in my village life, and food-wise, there is very little that can be done with bitter oranges.
As I begin to work on my little perfumer's botanical garden near my cottage, I had no choice but to do massive pruning on these trees, and leave only the largest bitter orange tree as is. One had 2 remaining branches of the original lemon; and another will be later on grafted to yield sweet, juicy tangerines. I also would like to plant a lime and a citron tree while I'm at it, but we'll see how much space there is for my rather long wish list of fruit trees. Scattered among this little orchard there will also be bulb flowers, fragrant bushes and other surprises.
After all the pruning, we were left with a copious amount of unripe bitter oranges. Their smell is heavenly - much more floral and less flat than sweet oranges. So I've decided to peel their aromatic zest and macerate in 100 proof vodka (50% alcohol), and make my own homemade version of Cointreau liquor. Of course this is only the inspiration. I will really play with ingredients I have around and macerate some other herbs and maybe also vanilla to add more depth and interest to the vibrant orange peel.