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What Is Bergamot?

Definition of the Perfume Ingredient Bergamot

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The Bergamot orange is cultivated for its perfume oil in the Calabria region of Southern Italy

The Bergamot orange is cultivated for its perfume oil in the Calabria region of Southern Italy

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Bergamot essential oil is one of the most widely-used ingredients in modern perfumery. The oil is cold-pressed from the peel of the Bergamot orange (Citrus Bergamia), a small, round citrus fruit. When ripe, the fruit is yellow in color and is said to taste like cross between an orange and a grapefruit.

Where It's Found

The tree that bears the Bergamot orange originated in South East Asia, but today is mainly grown in the Calabria region of Southern Italy, where more than 80 percent are found. It is also cultivated in southern France and the Ivory Coast. The name of the fruit is derived from the city Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy, where the oil was first sold.

What it Smells Like

Bergamot oil yields a citrus-like fragrance, with a distinctive spicy-floral quality. The scent is both spicy and sweet, and is prized in perfumery for its ability to blend well with other aromas to produce pleasing, complex scents. Bergamot combines with many fragrance notes, but blends particularly well with jasmine, orange, rosemary, sandalwood, sage, frankincense, ylang-ylang, and vetiver.

Other Uses of Bergamot

The distinctive aroma of the bergamot is most commonly known for its use in Earl Grey tea. The juice of the fruit has also been used in Calabria as a herbal remedy for malaria, and its essential oil is used in aromatherapy applications, including the treatment of digestive upset and depression.

Bergamot Fragrances to Try

Some perfumes for women that feature bergamot in their composition include Fresh Bergamot Citrus, Thierry Mugler Angel Sunessence, Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Montauk, Avon Spotlight, Ava Luxe Bergamot, By Kilian Cruel Intentions, Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo, Givenchy Eau de Givenchy, Acqua di Parma Colonia, Berkeley Square White Bergamot, Inspirations de Payard Bergamot Truffle, Valentino Rock n Rose Pret A Porter, Ed Hardy Love and Luck for Women, Christian Dior Dior Addict 2, Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, Guerlain L'Heure Bleu, Carolina Herrera 212 Sexy, and Givenchy Play for Her.

A selection of men's fragrances starring bergamot include Burberry Brit for Men, Chanel Allure Homme, David Beckham Instinct Ice, Yardley Citrus & Wood, Creed Original Cologne, Aramis Cool Blend, and Davidoff Adventure Eau Fraîche.

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