Perfumery. How did she conquer the world?
The word “perfume” comes from the French “parfumerie”, formed in turn from the Latin” per fumium “— literally translated” through smoke”, that is, Smoking, burning incense. And this is no coincidence, because the history of perfumery stretches back to the times of Ancient Egypt.
Spirits, in the modern sense as they are, certainly did not exist in Ancient Egypt. But, despite this, incense played a huge role in this largest ancient civilization. They were used in religious ceremonies.
The Romans also gave aromas healing properties and used them in medicine. They were the first to use glass vessels for storing balms and perfumes — vials and ampoules.
The fall of the Roman Empire, the invasion of barbarians and endless wars temporarily suspended the development of perfumes in the Western world. In the Arab countries, this art was actively developed. The Arabs traded in flower spices and invented distillation. The first fragrant product was rose water, which at that time was used in all spheres of life: from cooking to spraying newlyweds at weddings. In Europe, the fashion for the use of perfumes and Soaps was introduced during the Crusades in the Holy Land.
The opening of universities in Europe in the Middle ages allows you to deepen your knowledge of the use of perfumes thanks to alchemy. Incense and myrrh remain sacred incense at that time. And courtiers and nobles begin to use perfume not only as a means of hygiene, but also seduction. Venice becomes the center of perfumery. Spices from Arab countries are brought here: nutmeg, cloves, pepper. Later in Europe, they begin to grow anise, Basil, and sage.
In the second half of the 14th century, the first liquid spirits based on alcohol and essential oils appeared, which are given the name “aromatic waters”. By the 16th century, a large variety of aromatic waters appeared, which were used not only as medical remedies, but also as means to give the body a pleasant smell. Perfumes are stored in bottles or ampoules blown out of glass. Pomanders appear-broken into several parts, similar to orange slices. Each fragrance had its own place in them.
In the 17th century, perfumes are already very popular. Powders and perfumed waters cover the faces and wigs of courtiers. There are glovemakers-perfumers, scenting leather gloves that had an unpleasant smell of tanned leather, numerous scents.
In the age of Enlightenment, the Royal court was nicknamed “perfumed” due to the numerous scents that were lavished everywhere. At the same time, aromatic waters have competitors — toilet vinegars. They are credited with an incomparable disinfecting property, supposedly saving even from the plague.
The 18th century in the history of perfumes is associated with the appearance of Cologne. Consisting of four scents (rosemary, orange blossom, bergamot and lemon), it had a variety of uses. It was added to bath water, to wine, to mouthwash, to Laundry water, to injections, to band-AIDS…
The French revolution did not change the public’s taste for perfume. The Empire encouraged the widespread use of perfumes. Josephine spent a fortune every year on her favorite perfume. The attitude of the Emperor to the spirits was very controversial. Although he did not like perfume, he used Cologne and bought up to 60 bottles a month, as he believed that this fragrant water helps him focus.
During the Restoration period, the city of Grasse became the largest center for the production of raw materials for perfumes. At the same time, there is a name that gave birth to a whole dynasty of perfumers — Guerlain.
In the 19th century, industrial production of perfumes began. Organic chemistry has allowed us to synthesize odors, that is, to get them artificially. The perception of spirits has also changed. The bottle, packaging, and even advertising became very important points when choosing perfumes. The first person to combine natural and artificial scents in a perfume composition was Francois Coty. He released one of the first modern perfumes — I/Origan.
In the 20th century there is a new category of perfume — fashion designer. Paul Poiret was the first who came up with the idea to add fragrances to the clothing line. The great Gabrielle Chanel brought a commercial note to this idea. In 1921, it released perfume under its trademark.
In the 50s of the 20th century, French perfumery reaches an unprecedented scale. All the great names of fashion houses turn to perfume-Christian Dior, Nina Ricci, Hubert de Givenchy. There are new scents that resemble the smell of leather, with woody and even food notes in the scents.
According to research conducted at the turn of the 20th and 21st century, men often preferred fragrances associated with sports, technology, images of the ocean, ice and exotic. Women preferred floral scents.