Since recorded history and probably before women and men have anointed themselves with scents.
It has been said that Egypt’s ruling queens Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Hatshepsut had extensive vats of exotic perfumes.
History also notes that during the reign of King Charles II men often carried pomanders, or “nosegays” of scents as accessories. Perfumes through the years were not only used as alluring adornments, but also to dissipate body odor; by today’s standards, personal hygiene of the past was significantly lacking!
In our time, women’s perfumes and men’s colognes are considered to be an essential part of grooming. Heady, beckoning, and elegant ladies’ perfumes can be purchased in retail stores, specialty stores that carry only fragrances, on the Internet, through catalogs, or in duty-free international airports’ shops. Every perfume is built around “notes,” or specific scents; most fine fragrances have upper (the strongest), middle and lower notes all combined to form a single perfume. The top notes may be floral, earthy, musky, grassy, or citrus-based. The great perfumers’ of France immortalized top-note fragrances like Chanel #5 by the House of Coco Chanel, Je Reviens from the House of Worth, Shalimar from the House of Guerlain, and Joy from the House of Jean Patou.
Men’s fragrances are primarily musky, earthy and citrus-based. Since most men object to the notion that they wear perfume as women do, these fragrances are usually referred to as colognes. Many fine colognes come from designers of men’s clothing such as Ralph Lauren, Versace, Chanel for men, Tommy Hilfiger, and Davidoff. In a recent US poll, Guerlain’s Vetiver, a citrus-based cologne, and Cool Water by Davidoff were top-ranked by men who use fragrances.
When you purchase fragrances, it helps to understand the difference between perfume and cologne, especially in women’s fragrances. Perfume is 100% fragrance-oil based, and very concentrated. Cologne, or eau de cologne, has been diluted with water; its smell doesn’t last nearly as long as women’s perfume. To locate fine perfumes, it’s necessary to shop in a specialty store or on-line. Much cheaper colognes are found in drug and discount stores. While a woman may lavishly spray herself with less-costly cologne, only a small amount of perfume will endure for up to ten hours.
Even the bottling of fine perfume makes a difference in its enduring quality. Since the best perfumes are most often bottled in colored glass or crystal, they stay fresher and retain their fragrance better than fragrances bottled in clear glass. Colored bottles prevent the essential oils in perfumes from becoming rancid. Many men and women store their fine fragrances in a cabinet to prevent too much exposure to light. Caring for the best fragrances is much like caring for fine jewelry; care must be taken to preserve your perfumes that can last many years!