Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Perfumer's Palette Series - Bergamot

It seems it is in everything doesn't it ? Bergamot , that ubiquitous topnote that leads the list of notes in almost every fragrance ( statistically 1/3 of men's and 1/2 of womens fragrances contain bergamot ! ) But what it begamot really ?
Bergamot , Citrus bergamia , the wonderful fragrance of Earl Grey Tea , is a citrus fruit grown almost exclusively in Calabria , Italy . The climate and soil are perfect there , and although some is also harvested in Ivory Coast , none has the superior quality of that from Calabria .
The oil is pressed from peel of the unripe fruit , has been used for hundreds of years in the middle east for all sorts of skin conditions and is now known to contain over 300 chemical constituents , several exclusive to the bergamot .
Complex on it's own and refreshing without being tart , bergamot is rich and sweet , becoming more tender and floral , drying down to an herbal/balsamic note .
Three hundred pounds of fruit will produce about a pound of oil . However , the scent is destroyed by distillation and is therefore produced through expression /extraction with a specialized machine , " La Machina Calabria " , invented by Nicola Barilla in 1844 and utilizing abrasion to efficiently extract the highest quality of essence .
Some sources say Columbus brought the tree from the Canary Islands to Italy , where in began to thrive in the tiny region of Calabria . Older sources say it was a lemon originally grafted onto bergamot pear ! The word bergamot is derived from the Turkish begarmundt , meaning prince of pears .
The main odor constituents of bergamot are a-pinene , linalool , limonene , nerol , geraniol .
An essential ingredient in classic Eau de Cologne , begamot can be found in so many fragrances , but my favorites which feature bergamot :
Guerlain Philtre d'Amour
Annick Goutal Eau de Sud
Acqua di Parma ( original and Intensa )
Perfumer's Palette drawing #3 next Monday , so don't forget to comment this week and tell me your favorite lavender or bergamot fragrances to be entered in the drawing ! Diana has until Friday to claim her prize , drawing #2 !
Today I am wearing Vintage First parfum from Van cleef & Arpels , created by Jean Claude Ellena ( his first smash success in commercial parfumery ). Said to contain over 200 essences , it must have some bergamot in there somewhere....


Dixie said...

I'm wearing First today too and drinking Earl Grey tea. A favorite fragrance with bergamont? Probably one of the Guerlains like L'Heure Bleu (don't know that I think bergamont but it is listed) or Shalimar.

Nina Zolotow said...

This one is easy, because I love Bergamote by The Different Company. It is exhilarating and freshing.

Also, I've always loved Earl Grey tea, and it seems to me that most of the "tea" fragrances I've smelled use bergamot to make you think "tea" when you smell it.

tarleisio said...

I love lots of bergamot fragrances, but two come to mind off the top of my head...

Bergamotte 22 by Le Labo - it might be an interpretation, but I like it!
Bvlgari Thé Verte Extrème - surely some kind of summer in a bottle, and it lasts forever on me!

Life without Earl Grey tea would not be worth living. So...neither would life without bergamot!

If they could only figure out a way to make it a top, a middle AND a base note, I'd be happy!

Favorite lavender, hands down:Serge Lutens' Encens et Lavande , followed by an old, old favorite. In fact, it was my first "grown-up" perfume: Jicky by Guerlain. I can't believe I wore it - at 14. I think it's audacious now, and now I'm 47!

Tamara*J said...

Please enter me in the drawing Carol, thank you!
I'll do a two for one that is gorgeous to my nose and on my skin- Teo Cabanels' Alahine whose top notes happen to be bergamot and lavender. I love it.


Rappleyea said...

I am so very much enjoying your series! Great job. I love bergamot - there is nothing more beautiful than a really high quality essential oil of bergamot. And the combination of bergamot, petitgrain and neroli is pure heaven. But from what I've read, almost all perfumes use only a synthetic and have for years. Too bad....

waftbyCarol said...

hey Dixie , great minds think alike !
Nina I have never sniffed Divine Bergamote !
Tarliesio , thanks for dropping by ! I don't care for the Le Labo but then never put it on my own skin .
Tamara - you're in , and so are the rest of you !
Rappleyea - I figure with skin sensitivity issues they must be using synthetics now , so I turn to my vintage....