Nº 40 - The Origins of the Modern Perfume

Fragrances have accompanied mankind since the beginning of time; in fact, as history tells us, essential oils were already used in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt for embalming bodies: by burning essential oils during rituals, it was believed that their fragrance would reach the gods.

The term perfume comes from the Latin per fumum, meaning through smoke. Perfumes and exotic fragrances were brought to Europe by knights returning from the Crusades in the Middle Ages; around the same time, Arab scholars discovered how to extract perfume from rose petals, and the French how to distil alcohol from wine.

Together, these discoveries gave rise to the production of perfumes throughout the western world.

Grasse and Venice then became the perfume capitals of the world; it was in the 17th century that the first perfume houses were founded in Paris and with them the profession of the perfumer. From the beginning of the 19th century, the first synthetic products were used for the production of hypoallergenic perfumes: thus modern perfumery was born.

Written by Adele

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