The meaning of fragrances around the world

Posted in Knowledges

Do we all smell the same? As soon as we perceive a scent, we instinctively judge it. The differences between the sensations and emotions evoked by a smell are gigantic! Aggressive for some, this same scent can be judged as sweet by another. What is perceived as repulsive, will be adulated by another individual. Mysterious, isn’t it?

By including cultural differences, periods of history, countries and even social position, it seems impossible to get everyone to agree. And yet the symbolism of perfume can be broken down into major trends, such as art movements. Let’s take a look at the great symbolism of perfume throughout the world.

A brief history of perfume: from Antiquity to Haute Couture

Since when does one perfume oneself? Without being able to date it precisely, know that Antiquity is a true golden age for perfume (You can also consult our article on the history of the candle to go further)! The Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans loved the fascinating world of scents so much that they elevated it to an art. Precious oils, myrrh, exotic incense and herbal infusions are used to embalm every moment of life: from birth to the grave. Attention is paid to the sense of smell that is experienced daily, before fading away in the Middle Ages. The perfume and the candle have always had a symbolism in religion too.

With the black plague, the perfume is made rather vinegar … Before being reborn in Grasse, the world capital of perfume. From the great balls rise the notes of the first Eaux de Cologne, the gloves and hats smell of jasmine and rose. A sumptuous period for perfume. Quickly the techniques of the workshops improve before experiencing a real revolution by Chemistry. The latter gives birth to new fragrant materials, improves certain essences and reproduces the notes inspired by nature directly in the laboratories. A revolution that benefited human creativity and artists. The Haute Couture took perfume to make it a luxury that was taken away from the Bon Marché and department stores. A fragrant epic that is now in the heart of homes around the world.

From America to Asia: The different perceptions of perfume

Perfume is a language that is both universal and deeply influenced culture. Smells awaken our memory. Naturally, depending on where we grew up, our country of origin, olfactory traditions and our individual past, scents will evoke diametrically different emotions.

In the Middle East, the heritage of the traditions around the Oud, amber, leather, rose and honey notes are still anchored in modern perfumery habits. Perfumed creations adapt to cultural codes. Moreover, far from prejudices, the rose is a floral note that is used by both women and men.

In Western countries, the perfume culture is marked by the trends of the major brands. From Kenzo to Chanel, the majority of Westerners love fragrances that combine woody and floral notes. According to a Mintel study, more than a quarter of the UK population associates perfume with seduction. It is in the smells evocative of sensuality that are the most popular.

Asia appropriates the scents in the wake that evoke the traditions and gardens of the Far East. The musky scents, the delicate smells of tea and flowers revive the moments of happiness.

So many trends that each personality appropriates to create its own olfactory appetite. This is why creating a successful perfume is an art that few master! A challenge for us, perfume creators, like to revisit constantly for your personal pleasure.

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