Updated: May 4
Back in ancient times, aromatic plants were mainly used as oil maceration for cooking and medicine, or for fumigation.
The Egyptians already knew the art of associating different aroma to create complex perfumes as Kyphi, a multipurpose mixture made by many different fragrances including juniper berries, broom flowers, fragrant reed, oak resin, myrrh, cinnamon, the cardamom ...
In The Middle Ages, fragrances were considered a remedy against disease. Rich people used to carry little ceramic or crystal orbs filled with amber, musk or other aromatic resins to protect against epidemics. In that period and later in the Renaissance, the art of the perfume was the alchemists matter. Ethyl alcohol was discovered and also the distillation which allowed them to obtain the extracts, and the essences: the essential oils. At the same time, new raw materials were brought by the great explorers: cocoa, vanilla, tobacco, Peru balsam, pepper, clove and so on...
In the XVI century until late in the XVIII century, perfumery was actually developed. It was very common to find such a very poor hygiene in Europeans Royal courts masked by loads of perfume in a long variety of products: colognes, toilet vinegar, eau de toilette, powders, fragrant ointments , and potpourris. Grasse (France) became the perfume capital, developing the agriculture of aromatic herbs and flowers and improving the extraction techniques of fragrant compounds, as the "enfleurage" or the water distillation.
In the XIX century, in Grasse was developed a new way to capture the aromatic principles by volatile solvents which produced concretes, absolutes and resinoids. This extraction method will gradually replace the "enfleurage". The development of the organic chemistry and the introduction of synthetic molecules in perfumes set the beginning of our modern perfumery. The perfume creation became an art at this time, furthermore, there are some mythical perfumers who created compositions still today considered bestsellers: Guerlain (Jicky, 1889) Houbigant (Royal Fern, 1882) Penhaligon's (Hammam Bouquet, 1872).
In the 70s, the marketing transformed the perfumery world: before being created, the fragrance is conceptualized and must meet the final consumer expectations. We found Opium (Yves St. Lawrence, 1976) which embodies woman's mystery and sensuality ; or AnaïsAnaïs (Cacharel, 1978) which evokes the young women duality of innocence and sensuality. Is the idea, the concept, which is sold rather then the scent. The 90's welcomed the emergence of fresher & marine scents like Escape (Calvin Klein, 1991), or Kenzo Men (Kenzo, 1991), giving the way to a new conceptual attitude, younger, fresher, more casual ...a new social wave .
In resume, in my humble opinion, there's more LIFE in the ancient perfumery, where all the components used were organic and obtained from aromatic plants, flowers, nuts, spices and herbs. I like to think that every scent, blend, or aroma has a story behind. When you follow an alchemic process in a perfume creation, is not just the healthy effects it will bring to your body, mind and soul, it is also about the story behind the perfume: the creator's journey. When we create in that specific way we imprint our passion for a good work, our love for the ingredients we are using, our wish to make you feel happier.
Inspired by the recipe of the oldest perfume, the water of the Hungarian Queen I have created the Alchemic Perfume N*1. Click here to read more info about this product and its magical story.