The bergamot fruit grows on the tree Citrus aurantium var. bergamia. It is similar in size to a small orange but is more yellow/green in color. The essential oil is cold pressed from the peel, and most of the commercially produced crop comes from Italy. The oil has a bright, fresh, sweet, citrus scent. It is one of the most commonly used top notes in perfumery and is also used in Earl Grey Tea.

A component of bergamot called bergaptene can make exposed skin more prone to sunburn, but begaptene-free bergamot oils are now available to eliminate that risk.