The History of Perfume

Have you ever wondered where perfume comes from? Although perfume is something we use to smell good, each fragrance has a deep-rooted history. The earliest recorded use of 'perfume' was 4000 years ago, whisking us back to ancient civilisations where the scent was more than just a spritz; it was a sacred, luxurious affair. In today's blog, we dive into the history of perfume during historical eras of wealth, luxury, and discovery. 


The Egyptian Era

Picture this: ancient priests began blending oils that could seamlessly create a unique scent in the Egyptian era. Although this wasn't the only reason for making these oil-based fragrances, this ritual was used for spiritual connections. Burning incense within their temples wasn't just to spice up the atmosphere, it was aritual to send prayers skyward in clouds of fragrant smoke.

In Egyptian culture, perfume was taken very seriously. Cleopatra was a huge perfume enthusiast, with archaeologists today working to discover what she may have used and smelled like.

Research shows that the Egyptians were known to pack their tombs with scented oils, believing that even the afterlife required a little bit of luxury. This includes frankincense and myrrh, not just gifts from afar that we learn about at Christmas, but the soul of their rituals. 

The Renaissance 

Fast forward to the Renaissance era in the 14th century, a truly artistic time featuring the creative eye of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Although art and science are most commonly associated with this era, perfume was having a moment, too. Alchemists became perfumers, mixing flowers and herbs to create elixirs for health and mood-boosting scents. 

In this era, perfume was more than just a fragrance; it was a statement of sophistication and luxury in a world now flooded with arts and culture. 

And then came France; those French kings and queens knew how to smell good. Grasse (today known as the world's fragrance capital) became well known for its perfumery after tanners attempted to impress royalty with perfumed leathers. The royals were so impressed that the tanners began growing fields of jasmine and roses, creating scents for the fragrance-fanatic royals , who demanded a new blend each day.


image of a perfume from the essence vault surrounded by perfume boxes, for the blog post The History of Perfume

The 19th Century

When the 19th century rolled around, a fragrance revolution began. We said goodbye to small batches of perfumes and hello to  large-scale production. Suddenly, everyone could afford to invest in a fragrance for themselves. Perfume wasn't just for the rich anymore; it was for anyone and everyone who wanted to smell good!

Then, it all became scientific. Chemistry allowed perfumers to unlock a whole new palette of smells. Within the fragrance world, there has long been a lengthy debate about whether synthetic fragrances are as good as natural, but it meant more people could wear a little bit of luxury without worrying about the planet or breaking the bank!

Today, just like those royals craving variety, perfume has evolved into something you can mix and match to suit any mood and moment. Perfumes create memories and experiences and tell stories unique to you.. Remember, perfumes are an amazing form of self-expression, so regardless of gender, lifestyle, or preference, use yours to tell people who you are. 

For more, see our recent blog post, 'Can Women Wear Men's Perfume?

The Future of Perfume

In the 21st century, perfume has indeed shown no bounds. There are countless brands, fragrances, and scents on the market, and we are spoilt for choice. As we look to the future of the modern perfume industry, brands must think about and prioritise sustainability. 

At The Essence Vault, we’re always thinking about how we can be more sustainable and believe we have a moral obligation to create fragrance experiences that fit our consumer's most l beliefs. That’s why our fragrance products are vegan and cruelty-free, and our packaging is recyclable. 


Our Final Thoughts

Perfume has had quite a journey through history; it has travelled through time, culture, and art. From ancient Egyptian rituals to an era of artistry during the Renaissance period, perfume has continued to evolve with the help of influences like science and sustainable practices. Today, as we embrace a future of countless scents and brands, let's remember to choose perfumes that reflect our personalities and values. At The Essence Vault, we prioritise sustainability, offering vegan, cruelty-free products because we believe fragrance shouldn’t just smell good, but do good too. 

So next time you pick up a perfume bottle, take a moment to appreciate the rich history, skill, and craftsmanship that exists in the fragrance world. There’s a story behind every spritz, what will yours be? 

The Essence Vault creates long-lasting perfumes inspired by designer fragrances at an affordable price; see our luxury range of women's perfumes and men's fragrances and find your perfect match today. Happy spritzing!

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