What is Perfume?

  • Wednesday, November 25, 2015
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As per the dictionary, perfume (Latin per fume = by the smoke) is a substance, an extract or a preparation for diffusing an agreeable and attractive smell. It can be a substance that smells agreeable, or emits odorant scent through volatile particles.

It eventually is a fluid containing fragrant natural or artificial oils extracted either from nature or chemically processed as synthetic oils.

What makes this fluid different from others is that when it evaporates or is sprayed in mist over the skin, it transforms into a magnificent bouquet of the most agreeable smells. We perceive it with our olfactory sense.

Some History of Perfumery

In the older ages, being a perfumer was an exclusive and very important job. It was considered as the ultimate Art. From China to Egypt, and later in Europe, older civilizations used perfumes as a sign of wealth, and as representations of their religious beliefs.

Egyptians used perfumes and fragrant resins to mummify and preserve their dead. Perfume bottles have been always found in sarcophaguses.

Egyptian queens used perfumes in the form of greasy cones they ran on their skin. Fragrances were also kept alive in the form of creams or fluids.

Incense and fragrant woods were more typically used in religious ceremonies since millenniums, and an extensive trade of incenses was part of the economies of some great empires China, India, Cambodia and later Britain.

The first bottled perfume was created in France, and the capital of perfume is Grasse in France.

Today’s Perfumery

Modern perfumery has become a very important industry playing a major role in our societies. This industry is a constant competition between perfumers who create news scents and fragrances. More than 400 perfumes appear every year, but less than 10% will survive long enough to become icons, because of the discovery every year of new notes. Perfumers fight to have the exclusivity of every new note.


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