If you've ever slowly inhaled over a nice, steaming hot cup of Earl Grey tea, then you know the scent of bergamot. It is what gives that particular tea blend its signature citrusy aroma and taste. Bergamot is an inedible pear-shaped fruit that’s a cross between the Seville orange and the sweet limetta. The plant and essential oil share the name of a city in southern Italy, Bergamo, where it was first sold after the plant was brought there by the explorer Christopher Columbus. It's very commonly listed as a note in fragrance blends, but when you're buying online from Scentiments, it may be hard to make a choice without knowing what bergamot contributes to the mix.
Italian bergamot oil
Bergamot essential oil is made from the peel of the ripe fruit, and the best bergamot oil in the world comes from the southern region of Italy. Most of the area around Bergamo is dedicated to the production of bergamot fruit and essential oil, and the soil there is thought to be a large part of why it is so high quality. Maybe it’s the soil that makes Italian bergamot so great, or maybe it's the soul of this particular region.
This part of Italy is romantically sun-bleached and ancient, and seems to have even more of everything that makes the rest of Italy so memorable: cities with stone walls and tiles roofs, breath-taking vistas of countryside and coast and the Italian zest for food and life. Somehow, that contrast of brightness and depth seems to work its way right into the peel of the fruit, carrying the scent of the sun and the rain and the green rolling hills. It is then extracted and produced into the finest essential oil, which is then used for fragrance and flavour.
Bergamot is a more complicated and rich citrus note than lemon, lime or orange alone. The scent is somewhere between a lemon and a grapefruit, oftentimes with a subtle sap-like green note or a very slight woody undertone. It is frequently used to reinforce other scents in the citrus family. One example is Deep Steep's Grapefruit Bergamot herbal bath and body scent. Pacific Lime, a floral kaffir lime home fragrance by Aquiesse Candles, is another fragrance where bergamot plays a big supporting role.
Bergamot is also used to give other kinds of fragrances a bright, fresh first impression, or to enhance notes in fragrances where you might not expect to find it. Scents like Golden Amber feature bergamot as a compliment; here, the orange and lavender form a warm blend with amber and cedar. Sandalwood Vanille on the other hand, uses it to keep the vanilla from being too sweet and the musk too dark. The bergamot in White Iris & Vetiver simply adds another pleasant dimension to this smoky floral. All of these different fragrances, by Aquiesse Candles, show the flexibility and benefit of the bergamot note.