Bergamot is one of the most complex fragrant ingredients used in perfume industry today. Although it belongs to citruses (Citrus bergamia) that are traditionally used because of their freshness, bergamot has a rich palette of subtones that vary from fruity sweet, to herbal, aromatic and balsamic. It is used as an aroma as well, just remember Earl Grey black tea with bergamot. When I was a kid I used every opportunity to smell the box full of this aromatic herb, to inhale deeply and fill my nose and lungs with the freshness like no other.

Bergamot comes from Calabria an area in southern Italy. Using a method of expression, the green colored essential oil of rich fresh, fruity smell is extracted from the skin of a ripe fruit. The most quality oil comes from bergamot that grows in Calabria although those from the plantations in Guinea (Western Africa) and Maroco are top quality too. Bergamot that comes from other areas has a far less complex smell and is used in cooking and not in the perfume industry.

Bergamot slice on the table


Bergamot’s scent profile is oily-citrus, herbal, with a sweetness that resembles juicy tobacco notes with a touch of sage and resinoids. The freshness of bergamot comes from a high percentage of terpene and aliphatic aldehydes.That “oily” feel or the lack of it shows the quality of bergamot etheric oil. Compared to other citruses like lemon and orange bergamot has a large amount of linalool and linalyl acetate that can be found in high dosages in lavender, for example. In perfume industry, it is mostly used in the preparation of colognes as well as chypre and fuger perfumes. It goes nicely with lavender, violets, pear, gourmand notes, lily of the valley. Whether we’re talking about balancing heavy oriental compositions like in Guerlain Shalimar or bitter, leathery compositions like Robert Piguet Bandit, bergamot is irreplaceable in the perfume industry. When used in large amounts, it makes perfume composition last longer thanks to its fixative attributes. The best example is the perfume by The Different Company  –  Bergamot that has 70% of bergamot in its perfume composition.

Perfumes with bergamot are: Chanel Coco, Dior Eau Sauvage and Sauvage, Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien, Acqua di Parma Colonia and Bergamotto di Calabria, Sisley Soir de Lune, Estee Lauder Youth Dew, YSL Kouros, Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Bergamote Calabria and Pamplelune, and many others.

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