1 – The name Perfume comes from the Latin word “per fume” which means “through smoke”- this makes sense as the earliest perfumes were incense based, and were made from spices and herbs such as coriander and frankincense to name a couple.
2 – The earliest modern style of perfume (made by blending essential oils with an alcohol solution) was created in 1310 for Queen Elizabeth of Hungary. This fragrance, known as “Hungary Water” was a blend of rosemary, thyme, and verbena essence in brandy, and variations of this composition can still be purchased today by traditional perfumer houses. Originally it was used as tonic water as well as a perfume, and physicians prescribed it to gargle with for all sorts of illnesses!
3 – There are many aromatic sources available in nature, and all parts of plants are used in the quest for new and exciting scents. There are fragrance oils made from: barks, blossoms, seeds, woods, fruits, leaves, resins, roots, lichens and microorganisms such as algae!
4 – Perfumes can also contain animal ingredients, although nowadays many of these are created synthetically for ethical reasons. Some of these animal “fragrances” include honeycomb, civet, musk, castoreum, and ambergris(whale vomit!) just to name a few of the most prominent ones.
5 – An “Eau de Cologne” is a milder, watered down and refreshing perfume typically with concentrations of between 2- 6% essential oils to base. The style originated in Cologne, Germany, and was used by both men and women, although nowadays it is marketed more towards men and one of the most known one is Maurer & Wirtz Original eau de Cologne 4711 which is a great citrus aromatic example of this.
by Max Forti