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Perfume & Its Origins

Best Selling Mens Fragrances 1970 

Faberge Brut - Leeming Hai Karate - MEM English Leather Shulton Old Spice - Paco Rabanne Pour Homme
Shulton Pierre Cardin - Ralph Lauren Polo - Jovan Musk for Men 

Best Selling Mens Fragrances 1980 

Clavin Klien Eternity for Men - Ralph Lauren Polo Davidoff Cool Water - Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche - Aramis 

The word perfume is used today to describe scented mixtures and is derived from the Latin word, "per fumus," meaning through smoke. The word Perfumery refers to the art of making perfumes. Perfume was further refined by the Romans, the Persians and the Arabs. Although perfume and perfumery also existed in East Asia, much of its fragrances are incense based. The basic ingredients and methods of making perfumes are described by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia. 

Knowledge of something perfumery came to Europe as early as the 14th century due partially to Arabic influences and knowledge. But it was the Hungarians who ultimately introduced the first modern perfume. This was made of scented oils blended in an alcohol solution and was made in 1370 at the command of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary. This was known throughout Europe as Hungary Water. The art of perfumery prospered in Renaissance Italy, and in the 16th century, Italian refinements were taken to France by Catherine de' Medici's personal perfumer, Rene le Florentin. His laboratory was connected with her apartments by a secret passageway, so that no formulas could be stolen en route. 

France quickly became the European center of perfume and cosmetic manufacture. During the Renaissance period, perfumes were used primarily by royalty and the wealthy to mask body odors resulting from the sanitary practices of the day. Partly due to this patronage, the western perfumery industry was created. Perfume enjoyed huge success during the 17th century. Perfumed gloves became popular in France and in 1656, the guild of glove and perfume-makers was established. Perfumers were also known to create poisons; for instance, a French duchess was murdered when a perfume/poison was rubbed into her gloves and was slowly absorbed into her skin. 

Perfume came into its own when Louis XV came to the throne in the 18th century. His court was called "la cour parfumée" (the perfumed court). Madame de Pompadour ordered generous supplies of perfume, and King Louis demanded a different fragrance for his apartment every day. The court of Louis XIV was even named due to the scents which were applied daily not only to the skin but also to clothing, fans and furniture. Perfume 

was substituted for soap and water. The use of perfume in France grew steadily and by the 18th century, aromatic plants were being grown in the Grasse region of France to provide the growing perfume industry with raw materials. Even today, France remains the centre of the European perfume design and trade. 

After Napoleon came to power, exorbitant expenditures for perfume continued. Two quarts of violet cologne were delivered to him each week, and he is said to have used sixty bottles of double extract of jasmine every month. Josephine had stronger perfume preferences. She was partial to musk, and she used so much that sixty years after her death the scent still lingered in her boudoir. 

Perfume use peaked in England during the reigns of Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547) and Queen Elizabeth I (reigned 1558- 1603). All public places were scented during Queen Elizabeth's rule, since she could not tolerate bad smells. Ladies of the day took great pride in creating delightful fragrances and they displayed their skill in mixing scents.  

As with industry and the arts, perfume underwent profound change in the 19th century. Changing tastes and the development of modern chemistry laid the foundations of modern perfumery. Alchemy gave way to chemistry and new fragrances were created. The industrial revolution in no way diminished the taste for perfume, there was even a fragrance called "Parfum à la Guillotine." Under the post-revolutionary government, people once again dared to express a penchant for luxury goods, including perfume. A profusion of vanity boxes containing perfumes appeared in the 19th century. 

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