Perfume And Fragrances : 1800 - 1900

Perfume reached its peak in England during the reigns of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. All public places were scented during Queen Elizabeth's rule, since she could not tolerate bad smells. Ladies of the day took great pride in creating delightful fragrances and they displayed their skill in mixing scents.

In early America, the first scents were colognes and scented water. Florida water was a popular perfume. Florida water was an uncomplicated mixture of eau de cologne with a dash of oil of cloves, cassia, and lemongrass.

At the turn of the century, perfume was a single-flower fragrance. Rose, violet, lilac, and lily of the valley were in high demand. Floral bouquet scents were introduced toward the end of the first decade as compounds were found to aid in binding fragrances together.

In the mid nineteenth century, modern perfumery evolved with the advent of modern chemistry. Innovative techniques of extraction and distillation supplied highly fragrant plant extracts it was even possible to isolate specific fragrance molecules from botanical isolates, and even more exciting, it was possible to replicate or synthesize fragrance molecules in the laboratory.

1874 saw the first molecules to be synthesized was vanillin. The principle of vanillin synthesis was patented, and chemists Haarmann and Reimer founded the company of the same name. Further important molecules to be synthesized were coumarin (woodruff) and ionone (violet). In one fell swoop, the perfumer’s palette became incomparably richer, and for the first time, perfumers were not only able to blend fragrances from nature, but were also able to replicate and interpret them. This advancement revolutionized the perfume industry.

In 1921 Couturier Gabrielle Chanel (aka Coco Chanel) launched her own brand of perfume. This perfume was created by Ernest Beaux. Ernest Beaux was the first perfumer to use aldehydes in perfumery and was the first to manufacture a completely synthetic mass-market fragrance.

Coco named this fragrance Chanel No.5 as it was the fifth in a line of fragrances Ernest Beaux had presented to her. Chanel No.5 has a floral top note of ylang-ylang and neroli, with a heart of blends of jasmine and rose all above a woody base of sandalwood and vetiver.

The 1930's saw the arrival of the leather family of fragrances, and florals also became quite popular with the emergence of Worth's Je Reviens (1932), Caron's Fleurs de Rocaille (1933) and Jean Patou's Joy (1935). French perfumery was at it's peak in the 1950's, other designers such as Christian Dior, Jacques Fath, Nina Ricci, Pierre Balmain started creating their own designer fragrances and scents.

1944 saw the introduction of Femme by Rochas, 1947 Dior launched the ever popular Miss Dior, 1977 saw Yves St. Laurent release 'Opium', 1985 Calvin Klien released Obsession, Sun Moon Stars, a refreshing oriental fragrance, by Lagerfeld was released in 1994...

...the birth of modern day perfumers and the art of perfumery was well established as apart of our every day lives as well as a very important part of our history!

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