What is the root of the world "Perfume"?

The word "perfume" comes from the Latin world ‘per fumum’ which literally translates as ‘through smoke.

Around 1200 BC in Babylonian Mesopotamian, there was woman named Tapputi who is known to be the worlds first chemist and perfume maker. She developed and recorded methods for scent extraction techniques, laying the foundation for today’s perfume making.

The archeological remnants show that the first factory dedicated to the production of perfumed oils dates back to 4000 years on the island of Cyprus. 3000 years ago, Egyptians were the first to make perfume a part of their culture and invented stone and glass vessels to hold their precious scented oils and balms.

Persians, Romans and Arabs mastered the the art of making and wearing perfume about 2500 years ago. Much of what we now know about early Arab perfume comes from a perfume recipes book called ‘The Book of Perfu’ by Yakub al-Kindi which dates to 803-870 AD. The Arabian practice of Bakhoor which burns incense and precious wood in order to perfume clothing and the environment is still prominent today. 

In 14th century, France began cultivating flowers for their essence to create perfumes and soon it became the European center of perfume and cosmetics.

Best Perfume Applying Practices:

  • we personally recommend on your skin where blood flows and pulses such as behind your ear, at the bottom of your throat, on your wrist or inside your elbow.
  • Do not spray and rub your wrists together since it creates a slight heat that causes the top notes to dissipate quicker.
  • Before applying to your clothe, make sure the perfume does not stain. Some luxury brands let you know on their boxes.  
  • Some say that applying body cream or petroleum jelly to areas where you will be applying perfume will give the scent something to cling to.
  • Apply after shower seems to be a good technique since opens pores and warm skin will soak up the scent. Make sure to use an unscented soap. 

Storing Perfume

  • Keep all perfumes and fragrances in a cool and dry area away from heat and direct sunlight since it can break down the components of most fragrances.

Fragrance Notes

Perfume is often described as having three notes (top, middle and base) in a pyramid form.  However, a lot of contemporary fragrances do not adhere to this pyramid style so the fragrance will not necessarily develop in this way.   According to the pyramid, the notes unfold over time, with the immediate impression of the top note leading to the deeper middle notes, and the base notes gradually appearing as the final stage. 

  • Top notes: The scents that are perceived immediately on application of a perfume. Top notes consist of small, light molecules that evaporate quickly. They provide the initial impression of the fragrance and are often citrus. They are also called the head notes and usually last about five minutes.
  • Middle/Heart notes: The scent of a perfume that emerges after the top notes fade. The middle notes form the main part of the fragrance. Lavender and rose scents are typical middle notes. They are also called the heart notes and last about 10 to 60 minutes.
  • Base notes:  The scent of a perfume that appears after the middle notes have started to go away. The base and middle notes together are the main theme of a perfume. Base notes bring depth and solidity to a perfume and consist of large, heavy molecules that evaporate slowly. These usually come out an hour or more after applying the fragrance. Common base notes are sandalwood, musk and patchouli.

Perfume Concentrations:

  • Perfume Extract aka extrait aka parfum aka pure perfume: 15-40% aromatic compounds.
  • Esprit de Parfum (esdp): 15-30% aromatic compounds.  This is an uncommon concentration that falls in between eau de parfum and perfume.   
  • Eau de Parfum (edp): Parfum de Toilette (pdt): 10-20% aromatic compounds.
  • Eau de Toilette (edt):  5-15% aromatic compounds.
  • Eau de Cologne (edc): 3-8% aromatic compounds.
  • Eau fraîche: 3% or less aromatic aromatic compounds. This concentration is meant to be refreshing and short-lasting.