The Scent of Perfume



A Web Documentary about Perfume


The term perfume is associated with fragrance - an arousing odor, pleasant smell, erotica, sensuality.

The French use of the term perfume dates back to the 16th Century and is derived from the Latin per- "through" + fumare -"to smoke".  It describes the activity used to spread scent in churches, public places and homes by burning aromatic plants - incense - and thus "through smoke"

Today the production of perfume is part of a multi billion-dollar industry. In ancient times it also played a major role in the prosperous trading of merchandise between the east and the west


Woman applying perfume to wrist

Smell and Scent  - The sense of smell is one of our 5 senses. It is the sense that allows us, with the help of organs in our nose, through a process of memory and associations, to recognize our world and to understand and adapt to our environment.

It affects what we like and dislike; it influences how we feel about ourselves and with whom to fall in love. It is critical in some creatures for survival and for regeneration of the species. Many animals identify their hunt with the aid of smell - and their predators. It also helps newborn babies recognize their mothers.

Some have questioned whether human beings respond identically to the same smell. Are we or some of us allergic to different types of smells? What is the difference between how humans use the sense of smell and how animals use it? 

All living creatures use their senses to the degree that nature granted them. One species may have a more developed sense of sight, another a better sense of hearing and another may have an intensified sense of touch, taste or -- the subject of this docuweb-- smell.

Read more about our sense of smell.... 


Red Rose

Mother and baby monkeys


Perfume Basics - Perfume is a man made product, mostly in the form of liquid, which is composed of several, sometimes hundreds, of components that produce a pleasant smell by having their odor molecules float in the air.

Plants, animals and synthetic aromatic compounds make up the source ingredients for the perfume industry.

The formulas used for creating perfume are usually carefully guarded secrets - but almost all perfume manufacturers have developed a similar technique that enables the scent of the perfume to unfold gradually over time.

Read more about perfume basics.... 

Mixed incense

Waterlily lotus nymphaea caerulea alba

The History of Perfume The history of the production and use of perfume stretches back some thousands of years. 

Perfume, incense and the use of scent were mentioned many times in the bible, along with remains of records describing production in ancient Egypt, the land of Israel, India, Mesopotamia and in the Far East. 

The Greeks, followed by the Romans, refined the process of production of aromatic oils and perfumes, and emphasized the use of them in the culture of body care. 

Islamic scientists, hundreds of years ago,  introduced a  process of distilling that enabled manufacturers to extract essential oils and fragrances from raw materials.

Read more about the history of perfume production


Egyptian women with lotus

Roman Perfume Unguentaria


The Ancient Incense Trade Routes - The Perfume and incense trade route played an important role in the connection between the East and the West - providing commercial activity that also included the trade of spices and precious stones. 

From ancient Arabia and its neighbors, this route brought famous aromatic plants such as frankincense and myrrh to the holy land, and eventually to the western world.

Fortresses were built in strategic points along the trade routes in order to protect the convoys carrying the expensive merchandise from robbers. 
Read more about the ancient incense and perfume route....

Camel convoy in Avdat

Avdat - Staion in the perfume route

Some Stations along the Trade Route The Incense route from Petra, through the Israeli Negev to the port of Gaza along the shore of the Mediterranean, stretches across some 150 kilometers. This route has now been recognized and acknowledged as a world heritage route by UNESCO.

You can still find remains of many of the stations along this route. Some of these ancient stations are those found at Petra, Moa, Ovdat, Mamshit, Shivta and Halutza. 
Read more about stations along the famous perfume route....


Moa perfume road


CollectiblesTogether with the production of perfume, a secondary industry emerged that was dedicated to manufacturing containers for storage and delivery of this valuable product. 

From ancient times, one finds remains of magnificent jugs, vials and bottles made of substances such as clay, alabaster, precious metals and, of course, glass. 

The design and manufacturing of perfume bottles became a profitable industry by itself and, consequently, unusual perfume bottles soon began to attract the attention of collectors. These collectors relate to the bottles in terms of their own unique beauty and consider them to be an item of art.
Read more about the  history of perfume bottles...  

Perfume bottle female shape

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Overview | Smell | Perfume Basics | History of Perfume | Ancient Perfume Route | Stations| Perfume Bottles

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