Fragrance 101: Bergamot

 

Bergamot is easily one of the most remarkable and multifaceted citrus notes. It’s floral, bittersweet, rich, and—unlike its brighter, more acidic relatives that are predisposed to happy, summertime associations—its potential is versatile: The citrus can be blended just as successfully to conjure a stormy afternoon in the English countryside as a weekend spent in the balm, salty Mediterranean air.

Most bergamot trees are grown in Calabria, Italy, and the fruit itself resembles an overgrown lime. Like many citruses, the rind is the most aromatic part of the fruit, and it’s pressed to obtain its fragrant essential oil—a key ingredient in both fougères and traditional colognes. One of the its most well-known roles, however, is in your teacup: Bergamot is what gives Earl Grey its characteristic citrus-floral flavor.

 

Get to know some of our favorite bergamot-spiked bottles—all of which pay tribute to its Italian roots—in the latest installment of our Fragrance 101 series below.

 

The Radiant Bergamot Floral: Jardin D’Amalfi

Bergamot may originate in Calabria, but the fastest escape to a seaside garden on the Amalfi Coast is  Jardin d’Amalfi. Spray it on to discover bergamot’s refreshing complexity and ability to compliment other citrus notes such as juicy tangerine and sweet neroli. The scent also features an intense heart of bold Bulgarian rose, tart apple, zesty Virginian cedar, and a musky vetiver base that lasts on skin. It’s simultaneously subtle, rich, and lush; we recommend a few sprays on the wrists before any and all summer parties.

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The Citrus Enthusiast’s Bergamot: Neroli Sauvage

Neroli Sauvage is an ode to citrus, and though the star of the scent is bergamot’s more flowery cousin (neroli oil, FYI, is the product of bitter orange blossoms), our subject’s role here is no less important. The story behind the fragrance is perfume poetry—it’s inspired by an Italian Duchess’s infamous gatherings where guests would anoint themselves with crushed neroli flowers—and the resulting eau is equally gorgeous. The first whiff is all citrus—an enchanting mixture of crisp grapefruit, sparkly lemon, smooth verbena, bitter orange, bergamot, and honey-sweet neroli—combined with delicate orange blossom and warm amber base for an addicting fair-weather blend (no fresh flower pressing required).

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The Sunny Aquatic Bergamot: Millesime Imperial

Millesime Imperial evokes warm ocean air, citrus groves, and seaside palaces. If you’ve experienced its elegant aroma, you’ll notice that it isn’t remotely over the top—the marine-citrus scent is a soft, alluring combination of sea salt, citrus fruits (a lovely mix of bergamot, mandarin, and lemon), velvety iris, and musk. Our advice: Wear it mid-week to spark seaside holiday daydreams and make even the most ordinary events feel a little more special.

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