The term perfume was first coined from the word “per fumus” which means, in Latin, through smoke. Romans, Persians and Arabs were the first people who established the concept of perfumes and perfumery. Egyptians used fragrances for personal use as they were prepared in special labs for the queens to use. They also used scented water on the graves after mummifying the dead bodies. Greeks gradually started using perfumes after engaging in trade with the Egyptians. Violin fragrance was the bestselling perfume among the Greeks. Romans soon got attached to perfumes after being influenced by the Middle East. They used fragrances at funerals and religious events only.
Few years later, the rise of Christianity ended the streak of perfume usage. This is when the Arabs started promoting the perfumes. Musk and amber were the most popular fragrances among the Arabs. Mosques were built with cement which was infused by these fragrances. The earliest distillation performed from the botanical sources was noted in the text Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita in the Indus Civilization.
In the earlier days, perfumes were used in the form of incense and in ointments and oils. Apart from using these fragrances for cosmetic purposes, they helped for medicinal usage as well. Kingdoms used these expensive and exotic fragrances for religious rituals which included the process of cleansing. Gradually, the fragrances were infused into creams and other cosmetics which were used for seduction during love making.
Perfumes gained popularity around seventeenth century in the country of France. Perfume makers and perfumery were established in 1656. The perfumed court of Louis XV applied the fragrances on fans and furniture in order to popularize perfumes. During the eighteenth century, eau de Cologne was invented. Rosemary, lemon and bergamot were the most popular fragrances that were used in the bath water or as mouthwash. Baccarat factory started manufacturing beautiful and attractive glass bottles for the perfumes in the year 1765.
In the nineteenth century, perfume industry underwent a revolutionary change as the tastes of people changed and as the modern chemistry developed. Alchemy made way for the creation of variety of perfume blends. Perfumes were once luxury goods but they became frequent trades of the country. Paris became the city of perfumes for the whole world. Fragrance houses like Houbigant, Guerlain and Lubin were all developed in this city.
Leather fragrances along with floral fragrances became popular in the twentieth century.
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