Ingredient Focus: Bergamot

Ingredient Focus: Bergamot

Bergamot is one of those ingredients you might have seen in perfume descriptions without knowing exactly what it is. You would be surprised to learn it is one of the most commonly used notes in the perfumer’s palette.

Smelling a fresh bergamot for the first time, most people will probably associate its distinctive citrusy and peppery aroma with Earl Grey tea as it is one of its main ingredients.

Named after the Italian city of Bergamo, bergamot is a citrus fruit that grows on small trees of the Citrus bergamia variety which blossom during the winter.  The fruit has a yellow-green colour similar to a lime and is the size of an orange

Production of bergamot mostly comes from the province of Reggio Calabria along the Ionian Sea coast in southern Italy, where the growing conditions on the plantations and the climate are ideal for its cultivation.

Bergamot essential oil is cold-pressed from the peel of the fruit. Its distinctive scent is similar to a sweet and slightly bitter cross between grapefruit and orange peel oils with a fresh floral note and mild aromatic and peppery accents.

Zesty and bright, bergamot is used in many perfumes to bring a sparkling freshness to crisp citrusy colognes like Dior Eau Sauvage, Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien or the original Eau de Cologne invented by J.M. Farina in the 17th Century. Bergamot, combined to oakmoss and patchouli, is also used in chypre fragrances such as Guerlain Mitsouko or the original Miss Dior and also in oriental perfumes such as Guerlain Shalimar where it brightens the top notes.

In the Angela Flanders range of perfumes, bergamot is featured in citrusy fragrances such as Hesperides, Bois de Seville, Artillery No 1 Le Premier, Artillery No 2 Eau de Lisbonne and also in Earl Grey, a fresh chypre fragrance.