“Perfume –the heady and elusive marriage of the essences of herbs and spices, wild grasses and flowers, bark and animal and tree-is an engine of the universe. From the earliest times, people have taken pleasure in rubbing fragrant substances into their skin. Timeless and universal, scent has been a powerful force in ritual, medicine, myth, and conquest. Perfume has helped people to pray, to heal, to make love and war, to prepare for death, to create.”
Mandy Aftel “Essence and Alchemy”
The world’s first recorded chemist was a woman, who was mentioned in a Cuneiform tablet from the 2nd millennium BCE in Mesopotamia. Her name was Tapputi and perfumery was her discipline. She made her perfumes by distilling flowers and oils. About the same time, the oldest perfumery was established on the island of Cyprus manufacturing perfumes on an industrial scale. The first liquid perfumes were mixtures of oil and crushed herbs or petals until Persian doctor and chemist Avicenna (also known as Ibn Sina) introduced the process of extracting oils from flowers by distillation.
Floral perfumes were brought to Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries together with spices and dyes from Arabia, by returning crusaders, through trade with the Islamic world.
The first “modern” perfume, which blended scented oils and alcohol, was created for the Queen Elizabeth of Hungary in 1370 and was known throughout Europe as Hungary Water.
Catharina de Medici initiated the perfume industry in Europe when she left Italy in the 16th century to marry the French crown prince. France quickly became the European center of perfume and cosmetic manufacture. Cultivation of flowers for their perfume essence, which had begun in the 14th century, grew into a major industry in the south of France. Perfume enjoyed huge success during the 17th century.
The development of modern chemistry laid the foundations of perfumery as we know it today. Alchemy gave way to chemistry and new fragrances were created. In 1920 a French perfumer decided he could make jasmine and rose sing more beautifully together with the introduction of aldehydes, creating the world’s first synthetic perfume: Chanel No.5.
The fragrance industry is not required to list the ingredients on products, thanks to trade-secret laws. Instead the complex mixture of synthetic chemicals are summed up as “parfum” or “fragrance”. The most talked about common ingredients of concern are synthetic musks and phthalates. Aside from the phthalates and weird animal secretions, lab tests on some perfumes have shown hundreds of known neurotoxins, synthetics linked to cancer and birth defects, as well as waste disposal chemicals.
Luckily, there are so many amazing, all-natural options on the market, so you can find your signature scent without compromising your health. We couldn’t wait to share a few of our favourites.
1. W. PURE PERFUME OIL FOR WOMEN by Mauli Rituals Inspired by Laxhmi -the Goddess of Abundance; W is a heady, seductive floral that s rich and sumptuous, feminine and powerful.
2. “ESSENCE AND ALCHEMY” by Mandy Aftel “Essence and Alchemy” resurrects the social and metaphysical legacy that is entwined with the evolution of perfumery, from the dramas of the spice trade to the quests of the alchemists. Aftel tracks scent through the boudoir and the bath and into the sanctums of worship, and along the way teaches us the art of perfume-making, including many of her own recipes, offering insights on the relationship of scent to solitude, sex, and soul.
3. INFINITE LOVE ENERGY MIST by Lotus Wei This lovely scent contains both therapeutic essential oils and flower remedies. Use this energy mist to make you feel love.
4. LOVE POTION ORGANIC PERFUME by Tata Harper 100% natural aromatic blend of ten of the world’s most potent aphrodisiac essential oils to stimulate the senses, heighten sensuality and immediately inspire an inner sense of beauty and confidence.
5. SHANGRI LA by Hiram Green Named after the fictional land described in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon, Shangri La evokes a mystical fragrant paradise.
Shangri La opens with a sharp burst of citrus, followed by a rich bouquet of peach, jasmine, rose, iris and spices, all anchored by an earthy base of vetiver and oakmoss.
6. LUA by Nadia Narain Lua, meaning moon, is a sublime, natural, rose perfume.
A delicate, fruity, floral top of geranium and blood orange merge to accent and enhance its sultry heart of rich, honeyed wild rose and heady Persian rose, cradled in an uplifting base of sandalwood, frankincense and palo santo.