In fact, we might already be familiar with how does bergamot smell. Have you ever drank earl grey tea? Do you know that the citrusy, aromatic, and refreshing smells of earl grey tea come from bergamot oil? Or, have you ever smelled eau de cologne?
Indeed, both earl grey and eau de cologne have bergamot oil in the composition.
How does Bergamot smell?
If we compare it to other citruses, bergamot oil has more facets and more complex that makes it unique. The top notes are clean citrusy, green herbaceous, fresh aromatic, and (very) slightly peppery. The aromatic facet reminds me a bit of clary sage oil. At the same time, bergamot oil is sweet and fruity. These properties give dynamic and volume to the entire citrus scent. It is fresh, sparkling, glittering, and intense.
Bergamot is a fruit from the Bergamot tree, citrus bergamia
The fruit is green in color, the shape is very similar to a lemon, and as big as an orange. It grows in Italy, Morocco, The Ivory Coast, Argentina, Brazil, and South East Asia. However, the bergamot oil used in perfumery is usually from Calabria (Italy) due to its satisfying olfactive properties.
Bergamot essential oil is obtained through cold expression of the fruit’s skin, usually using the pelatrice process. In this process, the fruits are put inside a rotating machine whose wall is abrasive. While the machine is rotating, the peel will produce an emulsion of oil and water. The fruits then go through a water-spraying process to wash the emulsion from the skin. Finally, this emulsion goes through a centrifugation tank to separate the oil and water content.
What makes bergamot oil smells like bergamot
The main components of bergamot essential oil are limonene, linalyl acetate, and linalool. Limonene is a monoterpene commonly present in citrus oils and responsible for the fresh, sweet, green, and slightly peppery odor. Although the amount of limonene is much higher in orange oil, almost double. This is too what makes bergamot smells different.
Linalyl acetate and linalool are present at a high percentage. Together they make almost 45% of the composition. Both of them often occur collectively in natural oils, as linalyl acetate is actually the acetate ester of linalool. These molecules are responsible for the tenacity and richness of bergamot oil.
On the contrary, the aldehydes in bergamot oil come in a meager percentage. Although small, they are sufficient to give a clean citrus effect. Those above are the things that altogether contribute to how does bergamot smell.
Bergamot in perfumery
Bergamot oil is widely used in perfume composition to build citrus, cologne, fougere, oriental, and chypre accords. It is practically useful in any kind of profile. Many times, it is used in a high percentage. Its complexity is advantageous for perfumers as it can give freshness, richness, and tenacity at the same time.
Bergamot can influence a fragrance from top to middle-bottom. In the middle notes, bergamot oil contributes to the transparent and watery citrus and compliment floral accords, such as orange blossom and lily of the valley. In the middle-bottom, bergamot oil gives somewhat a balsamic-tobacco effect.
Famous perfumes that smell bergamot oil for instance are Eau de Cologne Jean-Marie Farina (Roger & Gallet), Happy Clinique (Clinique), Earl Grey and Cucumber (Jo Malone), Bergamotto di Calabria (Acqua di Parma), Splendiris (Parfums Dusita), Bergamote Soleil (Atelier Cologne), Chrome (Azzaro), CK One (Calvin Klein), and many more.
You can read further about other ingredients here: What Does Ylang-Ylang Smell Like?