Perfumery - April 2006
The modern art of aromatherapy has studied and shown
significant effects on well-being through the use
of fragrance. But one doesn’t need modern science
to prove the beauty and value of fragrance. For thousands
of years humans have practiced the art of perfumery,
whether distilling fragrance from flowers for use
in perfume, or burning resins and herbs for incense.
We have always been aware of, and intrigued by, the
entrancing scents of the natural world.
Our lives are filled with fragrance. From the soft,
seductive scent of a deep red rose, to the salty refreshing
scent of sea air. Fragrance captures our experiences
and imprints them in our memories. Perfume lifts our
sense, lightens our spirit and can bring us into deeply
calm and meditative states, or arouse our energy into
vibrancy and elations.
Who can say for certain where the art of perfumery
began? The courts of Old Europe were known for their
perfumes, many crediting France as the center of the
perfume universe. But Ancient Egypt was also known
for it’s love of the deep earthy scents such
as Amber and Frankincense. And many of the most valuable
scents came from Asia. Fragrance is, and fragrance
began, globally. Every culture on every continent
has practiced the art of perfumery. It as intrinsic
a thing as food, or clothing.
The first perfume was incense, as the Latin word
for perfume, “Par Fumum” means “through
smoke”. Incense was used primarily for religious
and spiritual occasion. Many believed that their prayers
and wishes would be carried through the smoke up to
the heavens, directly to the ear and heart of God.
In Egypt fragrance was truly developed into an art
form. They exported their beautiful concoctions around
the world, tourists traveled there to uncover their
secrets and bring their enchantments home. Fragrant
materials were taken and blended with animal fat to
create perfumes that we would recognize today as solid
perfumes. When the tomb of Tutankhamen was opened,
among the artifacts was discovered a handcrafted jar
containing a perfume unguent (solid) that was still
fragrant after so many thousands of years.
So what is it that fragrance provides for us, and
why has it been an art form that has, like music,
progressed side by side throughout all the changes
of human history? Smell is a vital sense, one that
enhances our experience, warns us of danger and soothes
our spirits. The smell of smoke awakens our instincts
to peril, the sweet, powdery smell of a baby comforts
and eases our travails, and who could enjoy a cinnamon
bun so thoroughly without the delight of smelling
the sweet sugar and cinnamon. Fragrance is indeed
woven into our very existence.
Copyright © 2006 Auric Blends. All Rights Reserved