Have you ever wondered what bergamot is and why it is such a prized fruit? In this article you will learn everything you need to know about ‘the green gold’ of Calabria.
What is bergamot
Bergamot (citrus bergamia) is a citrus fruit whose use dates back more than 500 years ago, when it was used to decorate Italian Renaissance villas. It is originally from Calabria, a region in southern Italy known for its exquisite citrus fruits and impressive cliffs, where bergamot has become a hallmark that its inhabitants wear with pride. Due to its unique DNA, Calabria is home to 90% of the world’s bergamot production.
It is believed that it could be a fusion between lemon and bitter orange, since these fruits are grown in the same region and both share some of their characteristics with bergamot. Calabrian bergamot is the size of an orange and its color can range from a soft orange to a deep green, which is the most common. What is most striking for those of us who are used to citrus fruits such as lemon or orange is the peel, which has a rough appearance and is thick and rough, in fact, bergamot oil is obtained from its peel.
In the Calabria region three different types of bergamot are grown, which add variety to the supply of this fruit:
- The Femminello: It is a small plant with a thin complexion. The bergamots it produces are perfectly spherical, smooth and with a fine skin. It is the least common variety.
- The Fantastic: This variety is not the most common either. It is somewhat larger than the previous one and its fruits are oval and a little wrinkled.
- The Castagnaro: The castagnaro is the tree that produces the bergamot that we are most used to seeing. It is a large and robust tree and its fruits are large, with many protrusions and very irregular in size and shape.
Bergamot in perfumery
Curiously, it was an Italian living in the German city of Cologne who created the first perfume in history, which he called ‘Eau de Cologne’ and which later came to be used daily by Napoleon. Do you know what the main ingredient in ‘Eau de Cologne’ was? Exactly, bergamot. This Italian, named Giovanni Maria Farina wrote a letter to his brother in which he said the following: “I have found a scent that reminds me of a spring morning in Italy, with the smell of daffodils and orange blossoms after The rain”.
Shortly after it became popular, a German company began manufacturing an imitation of this perfume in 1800, and its production has continued incessantly to this day. This knockoff is called ‘4711’ and we’re sure you know it.
Smell of bergamot
Bergamot oil is the most commonly used ingredient in perfumes for a reason. It does not have a fully citrus scent like lemon, nor does it smell as sweet as orange, but rather sits somewhere between the two. For this reason its aroma is so unique.
The smell of Calabrian bergamot is citrus but soft, it has a semi-sweet background and, above all, it is a very fresh aroma with a juicy texture. That is why the vast majority of refreshing perfumes use it. At the end of this article we have selected the best ones.
Depending on its concentration, the odor varies slightly. When in high concentrations, it is fresher and more defined, reminiscent of the scent of mint. However, in lower concentrations it is much sweeter and more sustained. Sometimes it is more fruity, more bitter, more acidic, etc. For example, if it is combined with resins, the deep green part of its scent will generally develop more. However, if we combine it with other citrus fruits such as lemon, then its smell will be perceived as something much lighter and more vibrant.
As you can see, bergamot oil is a very complete ingredient that adapts perfectly to the different situations in which it is used.
Most common uses
One of the uses that is given to bergamot is in the kitchen, although it is not used frequently because its taste is very bitter, much more than other citrus fruits. Normally its peel is used in the form of grated to make pestos, compotes, sauces, jams and other types of recipes. As a curiosity, in the Calabria region it is used to make a sweet called Susumelle al Bergamotto. If you ever visit that part of southern Italy, we recommend you try them.
On the other hand, there is a type of infusion that owes its fame to this fruit. We are talking about ‘Earl Gray’ black tea, to which a few drops of bergamot oil are added during its preparation, providing it with its iconic aroma and characteristic flavor.
As we have already mentioned, the vast majority of fresh perfumes use bergamot among their ingredients. This is due to its vibrant and light scent, which gives the fragrances a smooth texture, which transmits a very natural feeling and is incredibly refreshing. Its use dates back several centuries, and nothing seems to indicate that it will cease to be an essential component in perfumery, at least in the near future.
Best perfumes with this ingredient
We have compiled the 3 best perfumes with bergamot for both men and women. If you want to learn to identify their smell, it is certainly worth trying them since they are all aromas of great quality and naturalness. In them, the fresh touches, the trail of lightness and the sensation of cleanliness so characteristic that bergamot generates will always be present.
Perfumes with bergamot for men
These men’s perfumes are a good example of how bergamot can be used in different ways to achieve totally different results.
- Angel Schlesser Bergamot.
- Dior sauvage
- Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Bergamotto di Calabria
Perfumes with bergamot for women
And these are the women’s perfumes that best represent that feeling of freshness and cleanliness that bergamot transmits.
- Replica Beach Walk
- Clean Reserve Acqua Neroli
- Valentino donna