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Perfume means “through the smoke” in Latin.
It was first used by Ancient Egyptians as part of their cleansing ceremonies and religious rituals, either through the burning of incense called ‘kyphi’ or the application of ointments or balms. Then during the New Kingdom (1580 – 1085 BC), Egyptian women started using perfumed oils and creams in cosmetics and toiletries, and as preludes to love-making.
Eventually, Eqyptian perfumery spread to Greece, Rome and the rest of Europe in the 13th century when crusaders brought back samples to France, Italy and England. The first modern perfume was introduced by the Hungarians. Made in 1370 at the command of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary, scented oils were blended in an alcohol solution, to create a perfume better known as Hungary Water throughout Europe.
The art of perfumery further prospered in Italy in the Renaissance era, and the Italian refinements were taken to France by Rene le Florentine. The use of perfume grew steadily in France in the 17th century and was widely used amongst the monarchy and the wealthy. King Louis XIV of France used it so much that he was called the “perfume king”. His palace encompassed a floral pavilion filled with fragrances to freshen the air. Visitors are doused with perfume, which is also sprayed on furniture, tableware and walls. France quickly became the center of perfume and cosmetic manufacture in Europe, with the cultivation of a variety of flowering plants for its essence. The guild of perfume-makers was established in 1656.
With the turn of the century, fragrance houses began emerging in Europe. Catering to London’s high society, William Sparks Thompson launched Crown Perfumery’s collection of floral fragrances called Flower Fairies. Queen Victoria granted her own crown’s image to cap the fragrance bottles produced by Crown Perfumery.
The Rest Of The World
In 1921, fashion icon Gabrielle Chanel launched her own perfume – Chanel No. 5. Other designers such as Nina Ricci, Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain also started creating their own scent. And just as the art of perfumery progressed through the century, so did the art of crafting the perfume bottle.
Today, there are over 30,000 designer perfumes on the market all over the world, carefully packaged in bottles designed to reflect the character of the fragrance, whether dark and musky or light and flowery.
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The Secret Behind Fragrances
Did you know that how you smell is the single most important factor of attractiveness, even above your looks, weight, height or bank account? That’s right. The latest studies show that girls would rather be with a guy that has average looks but doesn’t smell, than be with a guy that looks like Brad Pitt but has bad breath.
To take this a step further, research also show that people are much more sexually attracted to the opposite sex if they smell great. This means that not only is it essential that you get rid of any potential odor whether from your breath or your underarms, but you should also use a little perfume or cologne if you’re looking to score.
So, the next time you head out the door on a date, make sure you spritz a little fragrance on yourself first.