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What Does Bergamot Smell Like?

Most citrus scents used in perfume are quite familiar: lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, or clementine are all fruits you’ve likely encountered before. However, there’s one very widely used exception: bergamot.

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For many of us, the first time we hear of bergamot is on a fragrance description. What does bergamot smell like and why is it in so many perfumes?

What is Bergamot?

Bergamot is considered a type of orange, sometimes referred to as bergamot orange or the Latin name Citrus bergamia.

What does bergamot smell like

They are fragrant citrus fruits about the size of a regular orange, with a yellow or green color similar to a lime, depending on ripeness. The skin is often bumpy and irregular rather than smooth.

Bergamot is most likely a hybrid of lemons and bitter oranges. In terms of taste, the fruit is less sour than lemon but sourer than grapefruit and generally considered inedible.

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Where Is Bergamot from?

Bergamot originated in Southeast Asia but is now primarily grown on the Ionian Sea coast of Calabria in Southern Italy. It is such an important crop there, it has become the symbol of Reggio di Calabria.


During World War II, Italy was unable to export bergamot oil and so alternative production began in  Argentina, Brazil, Algeria, the Ivory Coast, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, and South-East Asia.

What Does Bergamot Smell Like?

Bergamot has the bright sunniness typical of citrus but with a unique floral and spicy edge. It’s tart, acidic, and highly fragrant. In fact, bergamot is what gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive scent. The oils of bergamot come from cold-pressing the rind.


Despite being a little-known citrus, bergamot essential oil is one of the most common scents in perfumery, why? Perfumers love bergamot because it can complimentarily blend with a wide range of scents including ylang-ylang, vetiver, rosemary, sandalwood, and jasmine

Bergamot holds a time-honored place in perfumery, in fact, bergamot oil first appears in 1714 as an ingredient in Eau de Cologne at the Farina Archive in Cologne.

Benefits of Bergamot

Bergamot is a citrus fruit with many benefits, and the scent translates to some of the same benefits as ingesting the fruit or oil.


One of the biggest bergamot smell benefits is that it can help calm you and ease anxiety. You will find that just smelling your bergamot perfume will set you up for a relaxing day or evening.

And, while it calms us down, it is also helpful for mental alertness, keeping you awake and moving without being anxious. Whether you are a teen, man, or woman, you will find a bergamot scent that works for you. 

As bergamot is also found in many medicines, you know its benefits are good, and you will notice an improvement in your mood and mental health as you use one of the many bergamot perfumes.

The Use of Bergamot in Perfumery

Bergamot is a popular scent to use in many things like tea, candles, and of course, perfumes. But how is bergamot used in perfumery?

The fruit is known to come from Bergamo, Italy, where it gets its name from. The fruit comes from there or elsewhere in the world, usually the Mediterranean, and the oil is extracted from the fruit to make the perfume.

Bergamot Fruits

Then what does bergamot smell like in perfume?

Bergamot smells very citrusy, like an orange, which is a type of. The oil and scent are very strong, and you will find that mixing it with other scents, like florals or musky, leathery scents, makes it less overwhelming.

Final Thoughts

Bergamot is a strong, citrusy scent that is popular among men and women. Since the smell is so strong, it is commonly mixed with other scents.


Selena Marc is a fragrance enthusiast, freelance writer, and dog mom living in Houston, Texas. When she's not writing about her favorite new perfumes, you can find her enjoying yoga or a morning hike.