The first known recorded use of perfumes was by the Ancient Egyptians. They made it a part of their religious practices, either by burning incense or applying ointments and balms.
The balms and ointments were used for either treating an illness or injury, or cosmetics. They were also known to be used as a tool for clearing or cleansing during rituals. Between the 1500 and 1000 BC they began to also use them during festivals and celebrations, as well as to enhance the sexual experience.
From Ancient Egypt the word got out and they began to follow suit in other countries like Rome and Greece, and then by the Islamics. When Christianity began to become more popular, perfumes were seen as evil and unnecessary, however the Islamics continued to make regular use of it. It was around the 12th C that a downfall of trade internationally re-vamped it’s popularity.
Perfumed gloves were the next best thing in France, and then in the mid to late 17th C, companies of perfume makers began to be created. From there it continued to grow in strength, with royalty and commoners alike seemingly obsessed with giving everything they owned, including themselves, a scented fragrance.
Eau de cologne was a ground-breaking invention in the 1800’s, and they had introduced using natural herbs and fruits to enhance the “flavor”. People began putting it in their baths, wine, mouthwash, enemas, eaten with sugar and in some cases even injected!
It often came on a saturated sponge in a package or in a small bottle. Glass became more in demand as everyone wanted somewhere to store their many different smells. It was with the development of modern chemistry that many changes began in the industry. The packaging became very important, and the well known company “Baccarat” was tied in with designing the glass bottles.
It was 1921 before the famous “Chanel No.5″ would appear on the market, produced by Gabrielle Chanel. After that there were fragrances with hints of leather, popular floral scents, and the original herbs and fruits as well. The fad had taken off like wildflowers, and every designer who had a name for themselves wanted in on the perfume action. Scents began being produced every where you looked by people such as Christian Dior, Nina Ricci and Pierre Bal main. These are names we still recognize today!
Currently there are approximately 30000 or more “designer” label fragrances, and pretty much anyone can buy them. From the history we can see that first came the seduction of the senses, then the container or bottle to house it in, and later, the marketing and packaging of the product. Still today perfume is considered to be seductive, enhance romance and attract the opposite sex.