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Bergamot - Fragrance Note - Unveiling the Secrets of the Finest Flower of Citrus

Bergamot is a fragrance note that adds a touch of elegance and complexity to perfumes. Known for its citrusy, bitter, and tart aroma, bergamot is a versatile note that can be found in a wide range of fragrances, from fresh and oriental to chypre and woody compositions. In the following glossary, you’ll discover the origins, olfactory profile, and iconic perfumes featuring this exquisite fragrance note.

In This Glossary

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Key Takeaways

  1. Bergamot is a popular and versatile fragrance note that is widely used in perfumery.
  2. It has a citrusy, bitter, and tart scent with a touch of elegance and mild spiciness.
  3. Bergamot is often associated with fresh and uplifting compositions, but it is also used in floral, oriental, woody, and chypre fragrances.
  4. The essential oil of bergamot is extracted from the ripe fruit peel and is known for its sweet freshness.
  5. Bergamot is a key ingredient in many iconic fragrances, including Chanel No. 5, Eau d’Orange Verte, Terre d’Hermès, and Light Blue.
  6. It is often used in combination with other notes such as lavender, neroli, jasmine, and oakmoss to create complex and well-balanced compositions.
  7. Bergamot has a long history and is named after the Italian city of Bergamo, where its oil was first sold.
  8. It is also used in flavoring, such as in Earl Grey tea, and has aromatherapeutic properties, known for its relaxing and soothing benefits.
  9. When using fragrances with bergamot, it is important to be aware of the potential photosensitizing effects of bergamot oil when exposed to sunlight.
  10. Exploring fragrances featuring bergamot can be a delightful journey to discover the various interpretations and combinations of this captivating note.

Remember, fragrance preference is subjective, so it’s always a good idea to sample and experience these fragrances firsthand to find the ones that resonate with your personal taste and style.

What is Bergamot? Origins and Significance

Bergamot is a small, pear-shaped citrus fruit scientifically known as Citrus bergamia. It is a cross between pear lemon and Seville orange or grapefruit. The fruit is primarily cultivated in the Ioanion coastal region of Reggio Calabria, Italy, where the soil and climatic conditions are favorable for its growth. Bergamot trees have been cultivated in this region for centuries, and the fruit has become a symbol of the area.

The fragrance of bergamot is highly sought after in the world of perfumery. The essential oil is extracted from the ripe fruit peel using a cold expression method. Bergamot oil is known for its citrusy, bitter, and tart aroma, with elegant and light notes accompanied by a mild spicy tone. Its scent is complex, exhibiting nuances of fruit and aromatic elements. Bergamot’s fragrance is often associated with eau de Cologne, and it is a key ingredient in the popular Earl Grey tea.

Apart from its use in perfumery, bergamot oil is also utilized for flavoring purposes, such as in Earl Grey tea and candy-making. It is known for its refreshing and uplifting qualities, making it a favored note in a wide range of fragrance compositions. Additionally, bergamot essential oil is valued for its aromatherapeutic properties, as it is believed to have relaxing, soothing, and purifying benefits.

Olfactory Profile of Bergamot

Often referred to as “the finest flower of citrus,” bergamot possesses a captivating and intricate scent. Beyond its acidulous and fresh nature, bergamot exhibits a delightful bitterness, fruity undertones, and a subtle floral essence reminiscent of lavender. Its mild spicy tone adds a layer of complexity to fragrances, making it a prized ingredient for perfumers across various styles, from cologne to oriental compositions.

Bergamot from Calabria

Courtesy of Guerlain

Chemical Structure of Bergamot

Bergamot’s unique scent is attributed to its composition, which includes molecules like acetate de lynalyle and linalool. These compounds contribute to its fresh and lavender-like aroma, naturally found in other botanicals such as lavender, neroli, petit-grain, and coriander seed. With its bittersweet and floral fragrance, bergamot brings a touch of elegance to any perfume creation.

Extraction Method

To capture the essence of bergamot, perfumers employ the “cold expression of the rind” method commonly used for citrus fruits. The ripe fruit peel is mechanically pressed to obtain the essential oil. This meticulous process ensures the preservation of bergamot’s refreshing and aromatic qualities, making it an invaluable ingredient in perfumery.

Olfactory Role

Bergamot’s versatility makes it a cherished note in countless fragrances. Its refreshing scent is frequently used in fresh compositions, while its inclusion in powerful perfumes adds depth and contrast. As a top note, bergamot often harmonizes with other citrus notes, such as orange, lemon, and mandarin, as well as aromatic elements like lavender, thyme, and rosemary. Furthermore, bergamot plays a pivotal role in the Chypre accord, accentuating fragrances with its interplay of rose, jasmine, oakmoss, patchouli, and labdanum.

Iconic Perfumes Featuring Bergamot: 

The allure of bergamot can be experienced in several iconic perfumes. Annick Goutal’s L’Eau d’Hadrien (1981) showcases bergamot in a harmonious citrus blend. Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Collection features Bergamote Calabria, a cooling “eau” highlighting the freshness of bergamot. Dior’s timeless Eau Sauvage (1966) demonstrates the perfect synergy between bergamot and aromatic fresh notes. Bulgari’s Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert (1992), crafted by perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, skillfully employs bergamot to create the illusion of a green tea note within the fragrance. Ellena also showcases bergamot’s brilliance in the niche fragrance Bergamote for The Different Company (2003), blending it with orange blossom and white musk for a captivating olfactory experience.

Bergamot’s versatility extends to chypre fragrances, where its presence, though subtle, adds a layer of sophistication. Guerlain’s Mitsouko (1919) gracefully incorporates bergamot into its chypre composition, creating a timeless masterpiece. In oriental fragrances, bergamot serves as a refreshing counterpoint to the rich, resinous drydown. The legendary Guerlain fragrance Shalimar, formulated with a staggering 30% bergamot, showcases the note’s ability to harmonize with balsamic and sweet elements.

Aromatherapeutic Properties

Beyond its captivating fragrance, bergamot essential oil offers numerous aromatherapeutic benefits. Known for its relaxing and soothing qualities, it has the power to uplift the mood and promote a sense of well-being. Additionally, bergamot is beneficial for oily skin and is used in natural treatments as an antispasmodic agent.

Safety Considerations

It’s important to note that bergamot, when applied to the skin and exposed to sunlight, can cause darkened pigmentation marks. To address this concern, the fragrance industry has refined the production process, removing terpenes and bergaptène, molecules known for their photosensitizing properties, from the essential oil used.

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Bergamot, with its citrusy and complex aroma, has earned a cherished place in the world of perfumery. Its versatile nature makes it a beloved ingredient in a wide range of fragrances, from fresh and zesty compositions to sophisticated and oriental blends. 

Here are some of the most popular perfumes that showcase the allure of bergamot. From refreshing citrus explosions to sensual and enchanting scents, these fragrances are sure to captivate your senses.

  1. L’Eau d’Hadrien by Annick Goutal: Scent Description: L’Eau d’Hadrien is a masterpiece that combines bergamot with other citrus notes, creating a bright and invigorating fragrance. Bursting with the freshness of Mediterranean fruits, this composition is enriched with hints of lemon, mandarin, and cypress. The result is a harmonious symphony of citrus accords, evoking a sun-drenched summer day.
  2. Aqua Allegoria Bergamote Calabria by Guerlain: Scent Description: Bergamote Calabria, part of Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Collection, pays homage to the essence of bergamot. This fragrance captures the sparkling and radiant facets of bergamot, enhanced by a blend of other sunny citrus notes. The composition also features hints of ginger and woody undertones, creating a vibrant and uplifting fragrance experience.
  3. Eau Sauvage by Dior: Scent Description: Eau Sauvage is a timeless classic that showcases the artful use of bergamot in perfumery. This iconic fragrance combines the freshness of bergamot with the aromatic richness of Mediterranean herbs and spices. The blend of citrus, rosemary, jasmine, and vetiver creates a sophisticated and masculine scent that exudes elegance and refinement.
  4. Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert by Bulgari: Scent Description: Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert is a green and refreshing fragrance that takes inspiration from the world of tea. Bergamot plays a central role in this composition, lending its citrusy and invigorating character. The fragrance beautifully combines bergamot with green tea, jasmine, and delicate notes of Mediterranean spices, creating a captivating and serene olfactory experience.
  5. Shalimar by Guerlain: Scent Description: Shalimar, an iconic fragrance by Guerlain, is a timeless oriental masterpiece. Bergamot opens the composition with its fresh and zesty notes, leading the way to a rich blend of opulent floral accords, sensuous vanilla, and warm oriental spices. The interplay of bergamot with the other ingredients creates an alluring and unforgettable scent, steeped in allure and sophistication.
  6. Dior Sauvage: Scent Description: Dior Sauvage is a captivating fragrance that showcases the allure of bergamot in a modern and sophisticated composition. The scent opens with a vibrant burst of zesty bergamot, awakening the senses with its fresh and citrusy aroma. As it settles, aromatic lavender and herbaceous rosemary lend an elegant and refined touch. The base notes reveal a sensual and warm character, with hints of musky ambroxan, velvety vanilla, and smoky Virginia cedar. Dior Sauvage harmoniously blends the freshness of bergamot with other complementary notes, creating an alluring and magnetic scent that leaves a lasting impression of sophistication and allure.

These fragrances represent just a glimpse into the diverse range of perfumes that feature bergamot. Its versatile nature allows it to harmonize with various aromatic elements, resulting in captivating olfactory experiences. Whether you seek a refreshing and invigorating scent or a sensual and sophisticated composition, bergamot is sure to add a touch of elegance and complexity to your fragrance collection.

Bergamot, with its citrusy, tart, and complex aroma, has become a beloved fragrance note in the world of perfumery. Its presence in popular fragrances, such as L’Eau d’Hadrien, Aqua Allegoria Bergamote Calabria, Eau Sauvage, Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, and Shalimar, showcases its versatility and ability to elevate olfactory compositions.

30 fragrances that prominently feature bergamot:

  1. Acqua di Parma Colonia by Acqua di Parma
  2. Chanel No. 5 by Chanel
  3. Eau d’Orange Verte by Hermès
  4. Guerlain Homme by Guerlain
  5. Terre d’Hermès by Hermès
  6. Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana
  7. Aventus by Creed
  8. Bergamote 22 by Le Labo
  9. Neroli Portofino by Tom Ford
  10. Eau Sauvage by Dior
  11. Bergamote Soleil by Atelier Cologne
  12. Blanche by Byredo
  13. Cologne Bigarade by Frederic Malle
  14. Bergamote by The Different Company
  15. Neroli Sauvage by Creed
  16. Eau de Rochas by Rochas
  17. Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert by Bulgari
  18. Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune by Guerlain
  19. Bergamote by Fragonard
  20. Mugler Cologne by Thierry Mugler
  21. Green Irish Tweed by Creed
  22. Colonia Assoluta by Acqua di Parma
  23. Bergamote 22 by Le Couvent Maison de Parfum
  24. Bergamote 22 by Rania J.
  25. Eau de Cartier by Cartier
  26. Cologne Sologne by Creed
  27. Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules
  28. Lime Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone
  29. Reflection Man by Amouage
  30. Jardin sur le Toit by Hermès

These fragrances represent a diverse range of styles, from fresh and citrusy to floral, woody, and oriental compositions. Each fragrance showcases the unique character and versatility of bergamot, making it a popular and cherished note in the world of perfumery.

Review – Top 20 Lemon, Lime And Bergamot Fragrances

Courtesy of The Perfume Guy


Bergamot, with its intricate scent profile and diverse applications in perfumery, remains a timeless and cherished fragrance note. From its origins in the picturesque region of Calabria to its inclusion in iconic perfumes, bergamot adds a touch of elegance, complexity, and freshness to any fragrance composition. 

Whether it’s the star of a citrus-focused fragrance or an essential element in a chypre masterpiece, bergamot continues to captivate and delight both perfumers and fragrance enthusiasts alike.

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