There are always things you may not know about perfume, as I liken it to jewelry and wine and there is so much to know about both these items too. Perfume definitely evokes strong memories and emotions in people, as we tend to pick up a lot through our olfactory senses. Here are some things you may not know about perfume.
One of the things you may not know about perfume is that it dates back to Ancient Egyptian and Roman times (think 2000 B.C.), and believe it or not ladies, the first perfume maker noted in the Ancient Egyptian records was a woman! Perfume was called 'per fumus' back then, which literally meant 'through smoke' in Latin. It kind of makes sense as the majority of smells were incense based, like frankincense and herby coriander.
2. Greatest Perfumer
One of the greatest perfumers of all times is the creator of famous fragrances like Miss Dior (for Christian Dior)! His name is Jean Carles (1892-1966), however, near the end of his life he lost his ability to smell! This did not stop him though from creating fragrances, by remembering the smell of different notes and molecules, just like Beethoven continued composing music after he lost his hearing.
3. Perfumed Gloves
Europe did not actually use perfume much until the sixteenth century when Caterina de Medici came from Italy to France to marry King Henry II. She was the pioneer of wearing gloves made of perfumed leather, which then every woman wanted to replicate. Leather goods were often perfumed back then due to the overwhelming smells that were produced during the tanning process. The best place to get these perfumed gloves was in Grasse, France - today Grasse is known as the perfume capital of the world!
4. Perfume's Wake
Since the French are so famous for their contribution to the world of perfume, it makes sense that many words used to describe fragrances have French origins. Take ‘sillage' for example (pronounced 'ceeyage.' It literally means ‘wake,’ as in the ‘wake’ left behind from a boat or an airplane. In this context, it implies the attributes your scent leaves behind which others around you smell, after you’ve sprayed it on.
Speaking of application, you never want to apply too much. Perfume experts recommend two to three spritzes as you're heading out the door (up to three times a day)! If you're wearing the right fragrance for you, you won't be able to smell yourself, so always ask someone else to ensure you don't leave the house smelling like you just drowned in a bottle. And if you apply your perfume to areas on the lower half of your body (the ankles or behind the knees), you'll help the fragrance float upwards, creating more sillage! Tip: if you add Vaseline or moisturizer to the area you’re applying your perfume, it will absorb the perfume much more, releasing more fragrance.
6. The Osmothèque
‘Osmē’ means ‘scent’ in Greek and ‘thèque’ is short for ‘bibliothèque' in French which means ‘library’! Therefore, The Osmothèque is the world’s largest ‘scent library’ or perfume archive. It's actually a building that traces the history of perfume and showcases roughly 3,000 fragrances (in their original formulas). You can even find perfumes worn by historical figures, like Napoleon. The Osmothèque is located in Versailles, France, so if you’ve already been to the classic Versailles Palace, go here instead!
7. Twin Perfume
Just because you love a perfume on someone, doesn’t mean it’s going to smell great on you. It is possible that the exact same fragrance will smell completely differently on you. This is due to the body’s chemistry, diet, medications you could be on, the perfume's notes (individual scents) and then of course environmental factors. Whether you're sitting on a couch at home with the dog or outside in the woods, you'll smell each perfume differently. Also the season plays a factor too; in the summer for instance, you will want to apply less perfume as it diffuses much more readily than in the winter.
I hope you love perfume even more having read these facts. Do you enjoy the world of fragrance and perfume? If so, what's your favorite perfume?