About Fragrances

Humans have been woods, resins and gums to produce pleasant smells since ancient times. These substances were burnt during religious rituals. After a while, people learned to soak the fragrant resins and woods in oil and water and anoint their bodies with it. They also embalmed the dead with these fragrant liquids.

The French, of course, gave the name parfum to the fragrances made from the smoke of burning resins and flowers. Parfum is derived from the Latin. Per means through, and fumus means smoke.

Now, the perfume industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. A haute perfumerie can sell even small amounts of sought after and rare perfumes for hundreds of dollars. Celebrities and clothes designers have now gotten into the business of creating signature scents or allowing others to create scents for them.

Quality perfumes have a top note, heart notes and base notes. The top note is the fragrance a person notices first, the middle or heart notes make up the body of the fragrance and emerge when the top note starts to dissipate. The base notes come in after the heart notes begin to dissipate. They’re usually deep, musky smells derived from animals. Some notes can be quite exotic. For example, one high end eau de toilette spray has a top note of cinchona bark, heart notes of aloe wood and olibanum resin and a base note of musk. Another has top notes of plum and lilac, heart notes of osmanthus and damask rose and base notes of sandalwood and honey amber.

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