...smell just right
transforms a person's countenance. It is an accessory that can single
out a individual among a hundred others. It has the power to change
ones personality, influencing the way one feels. Sweet, strong, floral
or musky each can create a different sensation.
The advent of perfumes came about thousands of years ago. Ancient Chinese used a strong and pungent musk. Queen Cleopatra of Egypt used scented oil all over her body. People of Greece used to bathe in scented water. Indian folklore contains the tale that woman would bring a wave of sweet aroma that would permeate every corner of any room she entered. Her scent was a testament to her beauty.
The use of perfumes began when people started decorating their homes with flowers. Incense was added during religious ceremonies. The smoke and the scent together brought about the first whiff of perfume. In Latin 'per' stands for medium or through and 'fumer' stands for smoke.
The concentrated fragrance of aator existed in the Middle East since time immemorial. Present day scents come mainly form the west. Where once these used to be made mainly from natural products now they add artificial chemicals. Although the older methods created more exotic scents, the newer methods create longer lasting smells. Formulating a new perfume is a delicate balance between the two types of raw materials.
Prices of perfumes are often high because of the materials used and the process applied. Two cups of the sweetest smelling aator requires about a million fresh red roses. Ancient techniques consisted of three things. Firstly there was the scent of the flowers. Secondly there was the need for a fixative that would seal and hold in the smell for a long time. Often they had to add strange ingredients like the sweat of a civet. That's a particular breed of cat. Then they would use amber grease and alcohol. Besides these there were about 50 other ingredients.
Every perfume is unique and they can be separated into three different categories. First of all there is the standard perfume. It has the strongest scent. A drop is enough to have a huge effect on a passer-by. It also has a relatively higher price. It is best to store these away from directly sunlight. A good place would be a dark wardrobe. Apply on specific parts of the body for a better effect such as the wrist, the crook of the arm, forehead and neck. Often the scent lasts for 12 hours.
comes the eau de toilette. It is like the perfumes except it has a higher
alcohol content and a lighter scent. It generally lasts for about 4-6
Every perfume belongs in its own world falling into specific categories.
Florals: These give out the aroma of fresh flowers without any distinctive types. Makers of this range include Beautiful, Joy, Charlie and Armani. They are for women imparting an image of femininity, beauty and romanticism.
Single florals: This is one of the most important classes and deals with the specific scent of only one type of flower like rose, jasmine, lily etc. Some of the well-known brands include White Linen, T rose and Diorisimo.
Soft florals: These are created using synthetic chemicals with flowers. They have a light powdery aroma and one of the most remarkable brands is Chanel No. 5.
Orientals: There is a huge market for this sophisticated and strong scent. Some of the notable brands are Shalimar and Chantilly.
These are a modern creation adding spices such as cardamom, cinnamon
and cloves. Check out Coco, Cinnabar, Poison and Opium.
Leather: These are basically perfumes designed for men. They have a dry musky scent and are soothing for the skin. Check out Gemini and Trimystic.
Cypress: The name is taken from that of the island and the perfumes are of a dark colour. They smell like exotic ferns of marshlands and are similar to the smell you get when opening a sandalwood/chandan box. The range includes Ms Dior, Cassette and Ciao.
Greens: This is
a new and sweet category of perfumes. It's a lot like squashing fresh
leaves between your fingers.
Perfume usage is an extremely personal matter. It becomes a must have accessory and the best way to use the right scent is to rely on personal taste. Deodorant and eau de toilette can be sprayed all over the body. It gently blends with the body's own scent. If you want to hold the aroma for a longer duration make use of the soap, powder, oil, lotion etc of the same brand.
Using perfumes is an enhancement of one's image. It helps to create a desirable effect on others. But more important than that is it has a feel-good factor unrivalled to anything else. You can be wearing an Armani suit and smell like a garbage truck that ran over a skunk across a sewage drain on a hot day. On the other hand you can be in a comfortable torn t-short and feel on top of the world because you smell just right.
Napoleon is said to have used an average of 54 bottles of cologne each
month, and always wore his favourite scent into battle.
| Issues | The Daily Star Home|
© 2003 The Daily Star