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Article: Featured Scent: What Does Bergamot Smell Like?

Featured Scent: What Does Bergamot Smell Like?

Known as the “prince of citrus,” bergamot is a sunny and pleasant citrus scent featured in many perfumes as well as luxury candles.

It’s aroma is refreshing and rounded; sweet, but complex and deep at the same time; similar to lime, but with floral, herbal, and resinous undertones. If you’ve never smelled or heard of bergamot before, we can’t wait to introduce you to this tantalizing scent.


Bergamot is an aromatic citrus fruit that’s primarily cultivated in the southern Italian province of Reggio Calabria.

It’s full name is the bergamot orange, or citrus bergamia, but in reality it’s more of a hybrid between lemon and bitter orange. It’s appearance resembles that of a small, lumpy pear with a yellow or green rind and a prominent nub on one end.

The fruit itself is too bitter and acidic to be consumed directly, but that’s not what it’s grown for. Rather, it’s the essential oil contained in the peel that is highly sought after for its incredible fragrance.

Bergamot is probably best known for being the key ingredient of Earl Grey tea, which is made from black tea infused with the essential oil from bergamot rinds. Bergamot oil is responsible for giving Earl Grey its unique aroma and flavor.

What Does Bergamot Smell Like?

To start, bergamot is a citrus note — one of the most popular ones in perfumes and colognes, in fact — which are described as zesty, refreshing, sparkling, and crisp. 

Citrus notes add freshness and vibrancy when used in fragrances, invoking feelings of nature, spring, summer, juiciness, exuberance, and joy. Bergamot in particular has an interesting and compelling aroma:

  • Citric
  • Lightly Floral
  • Sharp and zesty
  • Refreshingly sweet and sunny
  • Subtle spicy and resinous undertones
  • Strongly associated with Earl Grey tea

If you have Earl Grey tea at home, grab a bag and give it a good whiff — its deliciously citric and floral aroma comes from none other than bergamot. 

Bergamot shines when compared to other citruses. It’s quite distinct from its relatives like lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit; the smell of bergamot is often considered more sophisticated and complex.

Some describe the smell of bergamot as halfway between lemon and orange — imagine the sourness of lime combined with the sweetness of orange — but more mellow and rounded. 

It’s not quite as sharp or overly sweet as other citruses, and instead has a uniquely dry and floral quality that makes it smell fresh and clean without being boring.

If you’re looking for a luxurious, fresh, and exciting scent, look out for fragrances that prominently feature bergamot — like our “Home” Luxury Candle.

Where Does Its Scent Come From?

The distinctive scent of bergamot comes from the essential oil extracted from the rinds of the bergamot orange, not the fruit itself. It takes approximately 100 fruits to yield just 3 ounces of oil, which is part of the reason why bergamot oil is quite expensive.

The primary chemical compounds that are responsible for the way bergamot smells are limonene (37.2%), linalyl acetate (30.1%), and linalool (8.8%).

Limonene is a very aromatic compound that, as you might guess from its name, is responsible for the citrusy aroma that most people associate with lemons. It’s sharp, sweet, sour, and slightly bitter. In fact, limonene constitutes approximately 94% of lemon oil, whereas in bergamot it constitutes a modest 37.2%. 

The crisp and floral qualities of bergamot come from linalyl acetate and linalool. Linalyl acetate has a pleasant, fruity smell that’s floral, sweet, and citric with a tinge of mint. Linalool has a lavender-like scent that’s floral, light, and fresh.

Aromatherapy Benefits of Bergamot

In aromatherapy, the soothing aroma of bergamot can help reduce tension and relieve anxiety due to the positive effects of its chemical components, such as limonene, on dopamine and other stress-relieving neurotransmitters.

Research has also shown that bergamot essential oil can also be effective for relieving pain and has positive benefits on mental health. According to experts, this sunny and uplifting citrus scent “lightens a heavy heart, lifts stagnation, and encourages confidence.”

The aroma of Bergamot soothes the nerves and reduces tension, anxiety and perhaps even has a positive influence on the effects of depression.

Many aromatherapists have noticed that Bergamot has an enlivening effect on the mood. Our Uplifting essential oil blend is perfect for those periods when your energy needs a little boost.

Our Favorite Bergamot Candles

You can enjoy the luscious smell of bergamot in many of our Harlem-inspired luxury candle fragrances. We just love how this dynamic citrus top note harmonizes with a wide range of scents such as sandalwood, jasmine, ylang-ylang, and vetiver to produce well-balanced and full-bodied aromas.


This luxurious fragrance features the essence of bergamot and green tea. Influenced by the vibrant energy of Harlem, refined citrus top notes blend seamlessly with a delicate floral heart of violet, lilac, and jasmine. Aromatic green tea leaves tantalize the senses, and an addictive base of sandalwood, amber, and tonka bean provide a magnificent finish to this magical scent.

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The perfect relaxing fragrance that evokes a feeling of serenity and tranquility, featuring notes of lavender, pimento berry, and bergamot, followed by a lush, emotional heart of jasmine and iris, and finished with a seductive field of liquid amber, patchouli, and sandalwood.

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An opulent, luxurious scent that captures the sensational impact of Harlem’s hottest jazz clubs with a bright citrus opening of vibrant bergamot and a velvety background of warm amber, sweet Tonka bean, and precious sandalwood.

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A loving tribute to the vibrant legend of Duke Ellington, this powerful fragrance features top notes of juicy bergamot, tangy cinnamon and crisp clary sage, a luminous heart of Lily of the Valley, heady rose and fresh lavender, and a warm swinging base of spicy patchouli, crystalline amber and soft skin musk.

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A soft breeze carries balmy smells of bergamot, cardamom, and freesia across the welcoming stoops of Harlem’s brownstone homes. Soft jazz drifts in from an open window, embodied by warm auras of amber, lemon and saffron, mixing with cozy scents of patchouli and sandalwood swirling in the living room.

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Lady Day

Vibrant and full bodied, yet graceful and delicate, just like Billie Holiday herself, this intoxicating blend features sparkling bergamot together with lush green leaves, neroli, gardenia, ylang ylang, and coffee flowers. A warm, addictive base of coconut milk, sandalwood, and vetiver provide the perfect finish.

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