By Amy Derungs

April 27, 2021


Bergamot has the lively optimism typical of citrus. Incidentally, bergamot is the ingredient that gives Earl Grey tea its characteristic scent.

That eternal question: ‘What does bergamot smell like?’ is a difficult one to answer. Bergamot does indeed have that classic sweet-yet-tart smell. Conversely, bergamot also brings its own floral, spicy edge to the appealing acidic scent. It’s hard to describe yet distinctive in its own right.

Bergamot essential oil is a very difficult ingredient for perfumers to use to create a fragrance that is truly unisex. Put in too much and it smells like old fashioned after shave. Add too little and that lovely fresh aroma is lost in the wastelands of perfume blends. When they get it right, citrus bergamot fragrances for men and women are a delight to wear.

We have discovered some fascinating information about this marvelous fragrance...

What does bergamot smell like - bergamot tree

What Is Bergamot?

The name Bergamot has its origins in the Turkish words “beg-armudi” meaning “The Prince’s Pear”. A regal title for what is the finest and most glamorous of citrus fruit notes.

Citrus Bergamia; the bergamot orange is a fragrant citrus fruit around the size of an orange. It is technically an orange, but has a greenish yellow, very lumpy peel, and yellow flesh. This differentiates it from other ordinary oranges, like navels, mandarins and clementines.

Where Does Bergamot Come From?

Bergamot is the most fragile of all the citrus plants. It needs a singular climate and soil for it to flourish. Bergamot comes from a spiny citrus tree originating in the tropical climates of South East Asia.

Today, it’s grown commercially in Southern Italy in the province of Calabria. Over eighty percent of the world’s bergamot oil comes from Calabria. It’s also thrives in the south of France and the Ivory Coast in West Africa.

The tree blossoms in winter but it’s the skin of the bergamot fruit that is prized, and cold pressed for its unique oils.
Bergamot oil

The Benefits And Uses Of Bergamot

Aside from it's extensive use in perfumery, bergamot adds a delicious flavor to tea, and the fruit has a wide range of recounted benefits and uses.

Italians have been using bergamot oil for years to decrease feelings of stress and create calm. It is also used to purify and revitalize skin. In Greece, the unripe fruits are used as sweetmeats, eaten by the spoonful as a dessert or with coffee.

If you are going to use bergamot oil on your skin, make sure it’s mixed with a carrier oil such as sweet almond. Whilst the benefits are numerous, the pure bergamot oil is very strong and can cause quite alarming skin sensitivities.

Why You Should Try A Bergamot Perfume

So what does bergamot smell like in perfume? Bergamot smells like lovely crisp fresh citrus - it is irresistible and perfumers love it. Tart, acidic, and highly fragrant, bergamot oil can blend with and compliment a wide range of scents.

Bergamot oil is a sought after perfume ingredient. Its powerful citrus scent is an crucial top note in many fragrance styles, chiefly fresh scents.

This wonderfully versatile citrus scent pairs well with jasmine, rosemary, sandalwood, vetiver and ylang ylang. Bergamot is often used to enhance other citrus fragrances, enriching the fragrance profiles of orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit.

What Does Bergamot Smell Like? 10 Bergamot Perfumes

Looking for a new signature scent? Draw inspiration from these gorgeous fragrant creations we have found for you: 10 unisex perfumes that rely on the fragrant powers of bergamot to make them unforgettable.

1. Bergamotto Di Positano Eau de Parfum by Floris

Bergamotto Di Positano eau de parfum by Floris

Bergamotto Di Positano by Floris

Bergamotto di Positano by Floris is a unisex citrus aromatic. The scent is truly beautiful. The title ingredient - fresh bergamot - winds around crisp mandarin and deliciously warm marine notes.

The transition to lively orange blossom is smoothly creamy with hints of vanilla singing compliments to the opening vivacity. Then the rich warmth of wood, amber and ginger mellows it all into a delicious and spicy creation. The dry down is vanilla, spice and amber with the bergamot opening wafting in and out of this must-have fragrance.

This centuries-old British perfumer’s latest invention is more of a fall fragrance. It's the sort of scent that will work well during the seasonal shift from either spring to summer, or summer to fall. It is light, yet the notes are what you would consider wearing in cooler temperatures.

Sillage is moderate, with a gentle announcement and lasts well into 8 to 10 hours. Floris has composed a memorable fragrance that’s not too sweet or spicy and suits both men and women.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Marine, Mandarin

Middle Notes: Green tea, Orange blossom, Ginger

Base Notes: Amber, Spice, Ambrette, Woods, Vanilla

2. Layton Eau de Parfum by Parfums de Marly

Layton Eau de Parfum by Parfums de Marly

Layton by Parfums de Marly

Layton is an amber floral fragrance. The opening is gorgeous with bergamot leading with its unique crisp storm. Sweet green apple lingers elegantly in the heart of the creation. The hypnotizing amber is enhanced by the natural grace of pink pepper. Illustrious and compelling, its charisma is carried by vanilla and precious woods. Heavenly, with a charming hint of caramelized coffee.

Sillage is strong and doesn’t stay close to the skin so be careful with how much you use. Layton is a wonderfully long lasting fragrance you can smell the morning after a full night's wear.

The dry down really tangos in and out. An amazingly fresh-spicy revitalizing scent moving to a sultry woody, vanilla scent, particularly when you move from indoors to outdoors. Smelling of warmth and sexiness its perfect for evenings in any weather. And it’s a compliment getter for both men and women.

Layton is exceptionally silky with just enough vigor to feel rich without being domineering. You will be infatuated with this fragrance. An impeccable addition to your collection.

Top Notes: Apple, Bergamot

Middle Notes: Jasmine, Violet

Base Notes:Vanilla, Pepper, Woody notes

3. Shaghaf Oud Abyad Eau de Parfum by Swiss Arabian

Shaghaf Oud Abyad Eau de Parfum by Swiss Arabian

Shaghaf Oud Abyad by Swiss Arabian

Shaghaf Oud Abyad is a spicy balsamic, smoky wood oud fragrance. The opening is a bright exciting pepper, invigorating bergamot and fresh oregano.

The zesty start heads into a rich, resinous domain at the heart of the scent. Smoky incense, honeyed amber and leathery floral notes of labdanum are softly escorted by exquisite myrrh into the deep finale.

The dry down is a marvelous smoky creamy oud with amber. Mysterious, sensual and exotic Shaghaf Oud Abyad is a great oriental fragrance. This is the mark that you leave behind: an alluring harmony of citrus, sandalwood, earthy patchouli and leather. Expect fascinated attention when you wear it.

Sillage is quite strong so start off with a modest application. A very unusual long lasting scent, you can still smell this mysterious fragrance after 10 to 12 hours.

This can be worn by both men and women in the fall or long cold winter evenings. When the skin warms up just enough, the gorgeous bergamot opening revisits to mingle with smoky incense.

Top Notes: Oregano, Pimento seeds, Bergamot

Middle Notes: Myrrh, Opoponax, Amber, Olibanum, Citruses

Base Notes: Smoke, Oud, Leather, Sandalwood, Patchouli

4. Bergamote & Rose Sauvage Eau de Parfum by 100BON

Bergamote & Rose Sauvage Eau de Parfum by 100BON

Bergamote & Rose Sauvage by 100BON

Bergamote & Rose Sauvage is a floral citrus fragrance. The opening is dry, a touch peppery with geranium and tangy bergamot. Both soon trailed by a natural whisper of Damascus rose. True and peachy, the rose reveals its honeyed, slightly spicy and dried tea leaf distinctions. The green fresh notes from the bergamot with the spicy rose are perfectly gorgeous.

The dry down is harmoniously lively and sweet. The rose becomes muskier and slightly powdery, with the slight tartness of citrus fruits. An accolade to the charismatic and complex rose, this sophisticated scent is smoothly cheerful.

The sillage is moderate at first, but it soon drops to close to the skin after about 15 minutes. The fragrance lasts around 5 to 7 hours. Designed for both men and women, this is a true spring fragrance that will pick up plenty of compliments.

Bergamote & Rose Sauvage is made entirely from natural, authentic ingredients. Certified organic, vegan, cruelty free with all of its elements drawn from sustainable agriculture.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Lemon Verbena, Lemon

Middle Notes: Rose, Geranium, Cherry blossom

Base Note: Vanilla

5. Eau de New York Eau de Parfum by Bond no 9

Eau de New York Eau de Parfum by Bond no 9

Eau de New York by Bond no 9

Eau de New York is a citrus aromatic fragrance. The opening is an exciting neroli, warmly immersed in the citrus powers of grapefruit, bergamot, and sweet mandarin. Petitgrain arrives in the mix just a little to keep this opening out of the sweet oriental zone.

Then a white floral garland wafts in. Cyclamen, jasmine and verbena act like winged supports that steady the neroli head note. And finally, oakmoss, musk and vetiver deliver complex, seductive radiance to this marvelous fragrance.

The final dry down is a combination of a musk mixed with undertones of woodsy vetiver. All in all, a delectable display of notes laced together into an unbroken harmony of scent.

Sillage is potent coupled with all-day staying power. The unisex attraction on this one is pretty authentic, and performance is dazzling. It gives the quality of being extremely clean & fresh, and can definitely be worn all year round. Masterfully blended and a true gem in any collection.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Mandarin orange, Petitgrain

Middle Notes: Cyclamen, Basil, Vervain, Gardenia, Jasmine, Lily, Neroli

Base Note: Oakmoss, Musk, Vetiver, White woods

6. Neroli Portofino Eau de Parfum by Tom Ford

Neroli Portofino Eau de Parfum by Tom Ford

Neroli Portofino by Tom Ford

Neroli Portofino is a citrus aromatic fragrance. It opens with lively, juicy bergamot. Orangy neroli and minty myrtle slip in together with beautifully blended white florals. These give the creation a soft silky layer. All the way through, musk delivers to the fragrance an irresistible edge and classical polish.

The dry down is warm and comforting with amber and lavender rising to prominence.

There's also a nice, delicate sharpness in the dry down that’s even more interesting with the addition of angelica. The scent itself is spellbinding and magnificent, it takes a sharpened palate to recognize the value of such a work of art!

Sillage is mild and the fragrance is moderately long lasting. After about 4 to 6 hours you’ll have to apply it again. if you want to stand out from the crowd then this is the one to choose.

This juicy, unisex, effervescent, and absolute summer fragrance will feature in your collection for a very long time.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin orange, Lemon, Bitter orange, Lavender, Rosemary, Myrtle

Middle Notes: African orange flower, Neroli, Jasmine, Pitosporum

Base Notes: Amber, Angelica, Ambrette

7. 90 Pure White Eau de Parfum by Banana Republic

90 Pure White Eau de Parfum by Banana Republic

90 Pure White by Banana Republic

90 Pure White is a floral woody musk fragrance. The opening is dominated by fresh citrus and bright bergamot slowly descending below musk and lavender. Wonderful flowery notes of jasmine and lavender are slightly tempered by violet leaf. Then the whole composition is smoothly wrapped in sexy musk and amber.

Sillage is notable. The jasmine does give it some bite in the projection category. The smell is really great throughout the wear. The longevity is impressive, a good 8 hours get into the amber-vetiver base. Comes off like a clean woody scent at that point.

90 Pure White offers fruity sweetness along with the woody notes making this a truly contemporary fragrance. It's very unisex leaning slightly towards the feminine but not excessively so. Women and men can wear this with confidence in the summer, and will collect plenty of compliments.

Top Notes: Grapefruit, Green tea, Bergamot

Middle Notes: Jasmine, Violet leaf, Lavender

Base Notes: Musk, Vetiver, Amber

8. Amber Oud Gold Edition Eau de Parfum by Al Haramain

Amber Oud Gold Edition Eau de Parfum by Al Haramain

Amber Oud Gold Edition by Al Haramain

Amber Oud Gold Edition is an amber vanilla fragrance. The opening detonation of fresh bergamot turns quickly to a charming melon and sweet fruit harmony. This lasts quite a while before the base notes of vanilla and musk take over.

As the dry down continues, the musk becomes evident, counterbalancing the sweetness of the vanilla but never overshadowing it. The musk is a marvelous, harmonious fusion of rich and resinous aromas. The cumulative effect develops into a fruity sweet, slightly creamy and deliciously warm and sensuous scent. This creation is flawless.

This is a sillage beast, so you have to really careful with how much you apply. The tiniest dab will be enough. Projection is huge and it lasts forever especially when your skin warms in the sun.

After a few hours the fruitiness is almost completely replaced by a still-fresh woody muskiness . You’ll still smell it on your clothes days later. Such a lovely heady fragrance and just right for men and women over 18.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Green notes

Middle Notes: Melon, Sweet notes, Pineapple, Amber

Base Notes: Vanilla, Musk, Woody notes

9. Incense Wood Eau De Parfum by Ajmal

Incense Wood Eau De Parfum by Ajmal

Incense Wood by Ajmal

Incense Wood is a woody oriental fragrance. The opening is a mind blowing bitter tart bergamot and lemony pink pepper. Developing beautifully with the delicate sweetness of saffron.

The middle notes deepen the fragrance with mysterious incense and luxurious cashmere. These conjure wondrous mirages of the desert. Undertones of enigmatically sweet patchouli, erotic musk and vanilla warm this divine creation beautifully.

This perfectly poised announcement is made with spicy incense coming to the forefront. A wise, smooth investment, and something everyone will notice. This is a mesmerizing fragrance.

Beautifully blended bergamot scent with pronounced sillage and very long lasting; at least 12 to 14 hours. Incense Wood is one of the best kept secrets in cutting-edge perfumery.

A new sexy fragrance that works for men and women. Best worn on hot summer nights or cold winter evenings.

Top Notes: Saffron, Bergamot, Pink pepper

Middle Notes: Incense, Olibanium, Cashmere, Wood

Base Notes: Vanilla, Musk, Patchouli

10. Virgin Island Water Eau de Parfum by Creed

Virgin Island Water Eau de Parfum by Creed

Virgin Island Water by Creed

Virgin Island Water is a citrus fragrance. The opening is dazzling with white bergamot, moist lime, super titillating Sicilian mandarin with a delicious whiff of rum. Coconut, sugar and vanilla begin a leisurely take-over. All the while white florals are meeting up with ginger in the background.

The white florals are the super stars of this scent. Combined with the citrusy cocktail of the opening, this is a truly sublime fragrance.

The dry down is undeniably addictive. Creamy smooth coconut-white rum, slightly sharpening with just a whiff of the citrus. Then overlaid with an exquisite jasmine floral accord.

The sillage is quite strong at first then after about an hour it calms down to a lovely fresh atmosphere. This is a long lasting scent, at least 10 to 12 hours. Undeniably unisex and perfect for hot summer days and long warm casual evenings.

Top Notes: Coconut, Lime, White bergamot, Sicilian mandarin

Middle Notes: Ginger, Ylang-ylang, Indian jasmine, Hibiscus

Base Notes: White rum, Sugar cane, Musk

In Conclusion

To fully comprehend the value of the treasure hidden in bergamot skin, know that 200 kg of fruit is needed to extract one kg of bergamot essential oil. Each plant is a small miracle demanding meticulous farming systems and endless patience.

Growers graft three bergamot branches onto a bitter orange plant and then wait. Only in its third year does it begin to yield fruit. The skins are cold pressed to extract tiny amounts of rich essential oils that perfumers pounce on with delight.

Bergamot fragrances are undoubtedly the most delightful of the fresh citrus scents available. Try them, you won’t be disappointed. Everyone around you will have a feast for the senses, and gratefully shower you with compliments.