One of my favourite smells is bergamot essential oil. You may not have heard of it or be aware that it’s an ingredient in quite a type of tea – Earl Grey. I’m a big fan of Earl Grey tea (not surprisingly) and whenever I open a new box, I stick my nose in and have a good sniff!
Earl Grey tea is named after a British prime minister – Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey who was in power for four years back in 1830. He received a gift of tea flavoured with bergamot oil and hence the tea was named after him. His government saw the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. He was married to Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby and in the space of 23 years, she gave him 16 children! Have you heard of Lady Grey tea? Well, this particular flavour of tea (which also has bergamot oil in it) is named after her. Earl Grey tea has been around for many years, but Lady Grey is quite a new invention. Apparently the Nordics found the taste of Earl Grey too strong and so Twinings created Lady Grey which went on sale in Norway in 1994 and then in Britain only 20 years ago. And if that wasn’t enough about Mary, she is also a great-great-great-great grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Bergamot essential oil comes from the bergamot orange fruit. The oil is commonly used in perfumes. To get just 3 ounces of oil, 100 oranges are needed. Given the perfume industry is so massive, imagine how many oranges would need to be grown every year!
The bergamot orange isn’t orange in colour, rather it’s yellow like a lemon. It is mainly grown in Italy. In France it is grown for the essential oil and in Turkey for its marmalade. In fact, it’s also used in Turkish delight.
If you wish to find out more about essential oils (they make a wonderful and inexpensive present), take a look at this Natural by Nature website. If you click on any of the essential oils links, you’ll find lots of information about them.
Do you have a favourite smell? If it’s origin is natural (chocolate is a good example), why not et us know? And, if you like reading about the natural world then you might also like our Nature quizzes. We have more than sixty of them and they’re all free to play. Have a look and see what other natural wonders you can discover today!