The history of perfume making

If you've been a customer of Aequill for a while, or have read some of our previous blog posts, you'll likely already know at least one thing about us: we're big fans of scent; from essential oils to modern perfumery and eau de parfum, we're passionate about fragrance! That's why, today, we've got something incredibly exciting to share with you; we're talking about the history of perfume!

The Origins of Perfume

The history of perfume may actually go back further than you expect; in fact, perfume is thought to date back as far as Ancient Egypt! Fragrance and scent was incredibly important to Egyptian society, and it's believed that Egyptian priests used aromatic resins, scented oils and the fragrance of natural ingredients to mask the bad smells that were often a byproduct of sacrificial offerings. In order to create these fragrant oils, ancient Egyptians would distill aromatic plants like jasmine and utilise scents like myrrh, and it's likely in these practices that the roots of modern perfumery can be found.

Ancient Egypt wasn't the only ancient culture that has a strong history of perfume, of course; the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Roman empire both have a history of using perfume and fragrance within their cultures, and due to their precise documentation processes, Greco-Roman fragrances are actually often recreated even to this day! The Ancient Greeks used liquid perfumes, essential oils, and various other fragrant materials and scent often in their religious rituals, particularly when worshipping the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, and the Roman empire actually has scented oils and perfume making to thank for the incredible growth of its economy, due to its import and export of various perfume ingredients. Within the Roman empire, fragrant materials like frankincense and myrrh were often distilled or crushed for use in bath oil, liquid perfume, and balms - however, when Rome fell, such luxuries were banned, and this prevented perfume and essential oils from being used in Europe for the forseeable future.

The Benefits of Scent

Whilst Europe would not enjoy perfumes again for centuries, many ancient cultures continued to use fragrance and scent for their olfactory benefits. The ancient Chinese, in particular, used herbs and spices in various combinations for holistic healing, and it's their culture which is primarily credited within the history of perfume with beginning to develop various combinations of complex ingredients to impact the mood or wellbeing of an individual.

The ancient Chinese also believed that perfume was capable of ridding spaces of disease, so it was frequently used to disinfect or purify rooms or public spaces, which is thought to be the very core origin of products like room spray and reed diffusers, which focus so heavily on scenting the world around us, as opposed to wearing perfume itself.

Home Fragrance

Modern Perfumery

It wasn't until the European Renaissance that the art of perfume making became popular again, and it was 1519 when a wealthy Italian socialite named Catherine de Medici married the French king, bringing a fragrance made from orange blossom and bergamot by her personal perfume maker to the height of popularity, that is largely credited with being one of the first perfumes in Western cultures. From there on out, perfume became a fashion accessory in the West, aided by scientific progress which greatly improved the distillation and extraction process, and allowed for a far wider range of essential oils and fragrance to be utilised. Of course, this practice only grew as new spices and flora was discovered, and soon, perfume manufacture became a lucrative, nuanced industry which only grew.

Eau de Parfum at Aequill

So, what's next for the world of perfume? That's where we come in! We're very pleased to be able to announce that Aequill will, very soon, be offering our own eau de parfum. As a brand that's incredibly passionate about the use of essential oils, it's incredibly exciting for us to be able to bring that dedication to modern perfume! We're very much looking forward to bringing you on that journey with us, and we can't wait to share more with you soon.

We hope you've enjoyed learning about the history of perfume, from ancient perfume to the more contemporary perfume industry; keep an eye out for more news about our very own Aequill perfume!