What Does Bergamot Essential Oil Smell Like?

If you’ve never smelled or heard of bergamot before, we are excited to introduce you to this sunny and pleasant citrus fruit and scent.

What is Bergamot?

Bergamot is an aromatic citrus fruit, known as the “Prince of Citrus”, which can be most commonly found in the southern Italian province of Reggio Calabria. It’s full name is the bergamot orange, or citrus bergamia, and is of the Rutaceae/Citrus family. Despite being grown predominantly in the south, Bergamot is named after a small town Bergamo, in the Lombardy region of northern Italy.


Panoramic view of the city of Bergamo

Visually, Bergamot is a bit perplexing looking, the fruit being the size of an orange when fully grown, yet very similar in color to a lime. Its shape is unique in appearance as well, being described as small, lumpy, and pear-shaped (just like me). People consuming Bergamot will find it too acidic and bitter in taste, thus it is grown for the fragrant essential oils the bergamot peel yields when extracted.

What is Bergamot Oil?

Bergamot essential oil is a cold pressed extract produced from the rind of Bergamot fruit. Traditionally, a manual slow folding process, sfumatura was used to extract the oil, but today we use the contemporary process of mechanically extracting the oil using peelers, and using running water to make an emulsion, finally separating the essence from the water using centrifuges. This process requires over 30 Bergamot rinds to yield just a single ounce of Bergamot Essential Oil. 

Historically, in the 17th century, Italian born Perfumier Giovanni Maria Farina, used Bergamot Oil in the creation of the first Eau Du Cologne.

What is Bergamot Essential Oil used for?

  • If you’ve ever enjoyed a cup of Earl Grey tea, then you have experienced the lovely scent and flavor of bergamot, although the origin of how Bergamot became a key ingredient in this brew remains a mystery. 
  • Bergamot joins other oils like peppermint, lavender, tea tree and more as a natural insect repellent, warding off mosquitos, ticks and even the grossest of all, lice.
  • Bergamot is known to help with the look of aging skin. It can reduce the look of dark spots and discolouration.
  • A pimply teenage me would have liked to have known that applying bergamot oil mixed with a carrier oil may help with blackheads, cysts and pimples. Diluted with water, it can be  used also as a facial rinse.
  • Up top, Bergamot oil can be used to soften hair, tame curls and soothe an irritated scalp. 
  • Bergamot is also used in aromatherapy, being featured to scent homemade candles and perfumes, which we will be going into further detail about.

What Does Bergamot Smell Like?

Bergamot is a citrus note, which is described as crisp, refreshing, sparkling, and zesty. Its primary chemical compounds responsible for its scent are limonene, linalyl acetate, and linalool.

Limonene is a very aromatic compound that gives Bergamot its citrusy aroma that most people associate commonly with lemons.

Linalyl acetate and linalool lend crisp and floral qualities to bergamot. Linalool has a floral, fresh, lavender-esque scent. Meanwhile Linalyl offers a pleasing fruity and floral robustness, with a slight hint of mint.

This sunny, pleasant citrus’ aroma exudes a refreshing and rounded profile. The Bergamot scent could be described as a deep and complex sweetness. Imagine the halfway point between an orange and a lemon, then add the tartness of lime. 

Perfumes using Bergamot oil can be bright and vivacious, invoking memories of spring and summer days in nature, and feelings of joy and exuberance.

Bergamot is truly an compelling and intricate aroma, strongly associated with Earl Grey tea. It is composed of black tea infused with the essential oil from bergamot rinds, giving Earl Grey its distinct aroma and flavor.

What Does Bergamot Essential Oil Smell Like?

As described above, Bergamot scent can be broken down simplistically as being similar to a hybrid of bitter orange and lemon, with the tartness of lime. But that would ignore its more subtle herbal, floral, herbal, and resinous undertones. 

The essential oil contained in the Bergamot peel is highly sought after for its incredible fragrance. It’s oil is sharp and zesty, yet refreshingly sunny and sweet.  If left to immerse in its scent for a considerable moment of time, you might notice it’s more subtle undertones, which can be resinous and spicy. 

Bergamot stands apart when compared to other citruses. It’s scent is quite distinct from its citrus relatives, lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit, often considered more layered, and sophisticated. 

My best attempt to describe this scent would be if you were to combine the rounded sweetness of an orange, the zest and vibrance of a lemon, and the sour pucker of a lime, you would be closer to the scent of Bergamot Essential Oil.

Bergamot Essential Oil has a distinctly dry, yet floral quality. It smells fresh and clean, yet interesting and complex. Perhaps it is the reason it is used and associated with luxury, nature, and vivacity.

Best Scents to Pair With Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot essential oil has a fresh, citrusy, and slightly floral scent that makes it a versatile fragrance for blending with other scents.

When combined with complementary aromas, bergamot can create unique and complex scents that not only smell great, but also offer therapeutic benefits. By pairing bergamot with other essential oils, it’s possible to enhance its natural properties and create candles that can evoke different moods and emotions, from calming and relaxing to invigorating and uplifting.

Whether you’re looking for a soothing candle to help you unwind after a long day or a lively scent to energize you in the morning, the right blend of bergamot and other essential oils can help. Here is a list of 5 scents that blend very well with Bergamot Essential Oil:

  • Lavender Essential Oil: Lavender is known for its calming and relaxing properties, and its scent complements bergamot well, creating a soothing aroma. To pair these two scents in candles, use a ratio of 2 parts bergamot to 1 part lavender for a balanced blend.

  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Eucalyptus has a fresh and invigorating scent, and it helps to clear the mind and promote focus. When blending with bergamot, use a ratio of 1 part eucalyptus to 2 parts bergamot for a crisp and uplifting aroma.

  • Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon has a bright and cheerful scent, and it is known for its ability to boost energy and mood. Use a ratio of 1 part lemon to 2 parts bergamot for a zesty and uplifting candle scent.

  • Rosemary Essential Oil: Rosemary has a herbal and earthy scent, and it helps to improve concentration and memory. To blend with bergamot, use a ratio of 1 part rosemary to 1 part bergamot for a fresh and invigorating aroma.

  • Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil: Ylang-Ylang has a sweet and floral scent, and it helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation. To pair with bergamot, use a ratio of 1 part ylang-ylang to 2 parts bergamot for a calming and soothing candle scent.

Why we like Bergamot Essential Oil?

We love Bergamot. Full stop. We recommend using the soothing aroma of bergamot as part of your aromatherapy regime to reduce tension and relieve anxiety.  You may quickly notice the positive effects of its chemical components, like limonene, on dopamine and other stress relieving neurotransmitters.


This uplifting, sunny scent can help lighten a heavy heart, and even reduce physical pain and inflammation.


You might find in addition to Bergamot soothing nerves and reducing tension, a positive influence on the effects of the blues, or the winter “blahs”. It is an uplifting essential oil, and perfect for when needing a boost of energy, or to reminisce on summer days, travelling abroad.


Here at the Sojourn Company, we’ve used Calabrian Essential oil in our signature candles, Aegean Coast, and Al Fresco. Both scents were inspired by mornings bathed in sunlight, the first breath post-arrival at an exotic destination, or the freshness only the outdoors can perfectly capture. Give them a try, we think you’ll be happy you did.