Perfumes: Where do They Come from?

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Perfumes: we spend hours choosing them, we wear them, we adore them, they are an essential part of our images. We know all new scents that appear, we know how much they cost and where to buy them, we know what kind to wear at daytime or at night - looks like we know everything about them! Or at least it looked like that till yesterday, when my 6 year old niece watching me put on Dior's J'adore asked a simple question: "And who invented perfumes?" I realized that except for vague ideas about Ancient Egypte and Rennaissence France I could say actually nothing on the matter! After a short investigation on perfumes' origins I found out the following:

It turnes out that products that enhanced the smell of the body have been used since ancient times! The ancient Egyptians used many scented creams and emollients during their ritual baths. Aromatic gums from China were in great demand in Europe. And burning of incense was a religious ritual followed in many cultures. Egyptians anointed their dead with scents of honey and cinnamon. Persia, India and Arabia also used herbs and flowers as an integral part of their culture. Perfumed oils served as cosmetics and were also used for their medicinal properties. Soon perfumery became an industry with various olfactory categories such as floral, woody, aromatic and oriental. Perfumes differ from eau de toilettes and colognes in the amount of concentration of oils in them. Perfumes have the highest levels of concentration. Since the oils are the most expensive ingredients, higher levels of concentration mean more expensive products. These days synthetic ingredients are being widely used to create an array of fragrances heady and mesmerizing. A sizeable chunk of perfumes are created with synthetic chemicals and natural oils are added in miniscule proportions to add to the richness of the product. Perfumes are made of perfume oil, alcohol and water. Perfumes are created with care by 'noses', who are skilled in the art of blending different essences.

As for French Perfume Industry, its history goes back to a French town of Grasse which has been historically known for its perfume industry. Located close to the French Riviera, the town saw the birth of the French perfume industry in the 16th century. Perfumers and apothecaries were established aplenty. The flower fields of Grasse provided the perfumers with jasmines, roses and orange trees. French perfumes still remain the choice of most connoisseurs. L'Oreal is one of the premier French perfume companies along with brand names such as Lanc

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