A few more facts about perfumes and perfumery, their history, and their usage through the history of human civilization.
According to the literature and various definitions, perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils (not necessarily therapeutic grades) or aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents, used to give the human body, animals, food, objects, and living-spaces “a pleasant scent”.
Ancient texts and archaeological excavations showed the use of perfumes in some of the earliest human civilizations, Mesopotamia, Babylon, Persia, Egypt, Roman, and Greek Empire. Modern perfumery began in the late 19 th century, with the commercial synthesis of aroma compounds, such as vanillin or coumarin, and its production by using synthetic aromatic compounds.
The word perfume derives from the Latin language perfumare, meaning “to smoke through”. Perfumery, as the art of making perfumes, began in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt and was further refined by the Romans, Greeks, and Persians. Perfume oils are often diluted with a solvent; though this is not always the case, and its necessity is disputed. By far, the most common solvent for perfume oil dilution is an alcohol solution, typically a mixture of ethanol, alcohol obtained after grape fermentation, such as brandy and water, or a rectified spirit. Perfume oil can also be diluted with neutral-smelling oils, such as fractionated coconut oil, liquid waxes, such as jojoba oil or even grape and sweet almond oil.
Hungary water, sometimes called “The Queen of Hungary’s Water”, was the first European alcohol-based perfume, claimed to date in the late 14th century. There are numerous formulas for this particular perfume. One legend says that one gypsy alchemist gave the formula to empress as a gift. This perfume was probably the first perfume made by using alcohol as a solvent to the grade Eau de Parfum.
The conventional application of pure perfume (parfum extrait) in Western cultures is at pulse points, such as behind the ears, the nape of the neck, and the insides of wrists, elbows, and knees, so the pulse point will warm the perfume and release fragrance continuously. According to perfumer, Sophia Grojsman, behind the knees is the ideal point to apply perfume, so the scent may rise. The modern perfume industry encourages the practice of layering fragrance, so it is released in different intensities, depending upon the time of the day. Some perfumers recommend lightly scented products, such as bath oils, shower gels, and body lotions for the morning; eau de toilette is suggested for the afternoon; and eau de parfum applied to the pulse points for evening. It is simply up to you and your everyday habits how you will use the perfume or fragrance products. Cologne fragrance (which mostly is made of several citrus notes) is released rapidly, lasting around 2 hours. Eau de toilette lasts from 2 to 4 hours, while perfume may last up to six hours.
What about Dr. Isidor Apothecary production of perfumes?
Dr. Isidor Apothecary and Perfumery is dedicated to preserving original formulations for decades of research and collection, but slightly modified and accommodated for modern times and skin care needs of people of the 21 st century.
Based on ancient traditional formulas, Dr. Isidor Apothecary and Perfumery specializes in all natural and organic perfume oils and Eau de Parfum formulas from the 14 th up to 19 th century. Each formula is handcrafted and made of artisanal concentrate blends of organic carrier and pure therapeutic grade of essential oils, extracts of herbs, fruits, vegetables, algae, lichens, mushrooms, and resins. Almost all herbs and plants used in our formulation are organically grown or widely harvested near the Appalachian Mountains of Northern Georgia. We use no herbicides, pesticides, or chemicals. All other herbs are ordered from organic-certified vendors. Herbs and flowers at the Dr. Isidor Apothecary and Perfumery are harvested at proper times under the lunar and astrological calendar, taking seriously into consideration seasonal variations of the quality of the natural ingredients, and all formulas follow the same principle.
Dr. Isidor Apothecary, in perfume formulation and their production, does not use aldehydes or any synthetic ingredients. Aldehydes are organic compounds present in many natural materials, which can be synthesized artificially. In 1921, while working on the creation of a legendary perfume for Coco Chanel, the great “nose” Mr. Ernest Beaux was the first to use synthetic components to give sparkle to the iconic fragrance, Chanel No. 5. Their fragrance is beautiful, and it lasts a long time, but it is formulated by using artificial and synthetic ingredients.
Perfumery is the art
Hiroshi Iwata and Kunio Shimada, in their book “Formulas, Ingredients and Production of Cosmetics: Technology of Skin- and Hair-Care Products in Japan” stated: “Today, young cosmetics researchers who have completed their graduate studies and have entered a cosmetics company are put through several years of training before they become qualified to design cosmetics formulations themselves. They are trained so that they can design formulas not by a process of logic but by heart, like craftsmen, chefs, or carpenters.”
At Dr. Isidor Apothecary, perfumery is performed by using knowledge, skills, and accumulated 30+ years of laboratory experience in synthesis, formulation, and design, and I would add a lot of imagination, creativity, symbolism, and artistic skills. Perfumery is an art, not only a craftsmanship.
Each of our perfumes, either natural perfume oil (which we called “aromatic”) or Eau de Parfum (made by using technology and formulation from the 14 th – 19 th century), is one story or simply the story itself. It will tell you a story, a fairy tale. It is simply an art, similar to the art of writing, art of painting, or art of sculpturing… The formulator/perfumer is telling the story by making a perfume. We are writing a story (a perfume), not by using a pen and paper, but by using natural fragrance oils and carrier oils.
Why are we unique in perfumery?
I mentioned in the previous paragraph that each our perfumes are the story, the fairy tale, or simply the tale about some event, dedication to the historical characters, a part of the World. They are made of 100% natural materials, such as natural essential oils, natural carrier oils, proprietary blends of the solvent, either oil or perfumery alcohol, which will not harm your skin. Sometimes, a formulator/designer will “transfer” you to the certain geographical region of the World (such as the case with our perfumes “Gibraltar”, “San Remo”, “Spring in Paris” or “Caucasus Caravan”). You will get the feeling of being there.
What factors significantly influence the wearer’s impression and perception about perfume? Why do some people like one perfume and some do not like it or do not like perfume at all?
A very simple explanation would be, a wide variety of factors could influence how fragrance interacts with the wearer’s body physiology, skin physiology, and skin homeostasis and affect the perception of the fragrance or perfume. Your diet is one very important factor, as eating spicy and fatty foods can increase the intensity of a fragrance you would like to wear. Using medications and over the counter para-pharmaceutical products can also affect the character of a fragrance. The dryness of the wearer’s skin is an important factor too, since dry skin will not hold fragrance as long as skin with more oil or if it is properly moisturized. Also, each of us has a different sense of smell or olfactory abilities and sensitivity for odor, smell. Some people simply cannot stand close to people who wear perfumes; they claim they are “allergic.” The truth is something between, as always, for anything. Their physiology of the olfactory apparatus works differently, compared with yours. The next factor we need to consider is seasonal phenomena. Probably, you noticed that the same perfume you wear in the summer provides you with a different impression and sensation compared with if you wear the same perfume during the winter season. That is the factor of seasonal variation of the same perfume formula and your olfactory abilities and capabilities that are under the influence of chronobiology, chronophysiology, and your biorhythm.
The perfumes and aromatics as “healing remedies”
Perfumery is connected to aromatherapy. Recently, they became two separate entities. In ancient Egypt, people were wearing perfume oils as “healing remedies” to cure or alleviate the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, other mental illness, or even some organ system altered physiology and illnesses.
The most important thing is that you like a perfume you wear or multiple perfumes in your collection, and you rotate them, depending on your mood state, occasion where, when, and how you will wear perfume. The ingredients in the formula simply will work as aromatherapy remedies. They can uplift your mood, alleviate symptoms of anxiety, alleviate signs of stress induced by hectic work and days, and help you with your depression and more. The ancient Egyptians simply loved beautiful fragrances. They associated them with the Gods, Goddesses, deities, and divines and recognized their positive effect on health and wellbeing. Perfumes were applied as oil-based salves or fat-based salves, and there are numerous recipes and depictions of preparing perfume in temples all over Egypt. Egypt was the world leader in creating perfume and was closely associated with the international perfume trade. When Julius Caesar took control of Egypt, he demonstrated this to the Roman people by throwing bottles of precious perfume to the crowd during his triumphant return to Rome. There are several respected books, written by author Dr. Lise Manniche, Egyptologist, who dedicated her professional life and scholarly work in this field of investigation.
Beauty begins in the bath; no doubt about that. Millennium-old ritual herbal bathing in natural fragrances and perfumed oils, butters, and fresh flowers, and using the strigil (a metal tool used to scrape the skin) was not just a soothing, cleansing, and cosmetic affair (just think about ancient Egypt, Greece, Roman Empire, Turkish baths, Moroccan bath); it was also very important therapeutic applications to their body, skin, and spirit. It was relief for people suffering from headaches, stress, and chronic skin problems.
Simply, a good perfume is a piece of art and a good healer.
What does Dr. Isidor Apothecary recommend, regarding perfumes?
The first recommendation would be to order a signature perfume, tailored and designed just for you. What does that mean? Simply, you will get a special questionnaire and / or an interview with the formulator / perfumer. The formulator / perfumer will analyze your answers and start with design and formulation of the first version, tailored and designed just for you. Mostly, you will get two to three samples of the first version, enough to apply on your skin several times, and several perfumers’ strips for your analysis. Dr. Isidor Apothecary usually offers a small journal to every client, where you
will write your impression, what you like, what do not, and what would you like to be enhanced, maybe added etc. The next step is sending back the information with your notes, impressions, suggestions, comments, critiques, or even information of possible skin alterations after application of the perfume. The final step is a formulator/perfumer works on corrections and adjustment of the formula. Dr. Isidor Apothecary even offers one more chance for corrections. You will get one bottle of the formula (up to 10 ml), specifically designed for you, and you will test the signature perfume or aromatic (natural perfume oil) one more time. You will send us your comments. Finally, you will get your signature perfume or aromatic. The formula stays with us in our file, and you can order your signature perfume or aromatic anytime.
The second option is to order samples of Eau de Parfum or aromatics from the panel the perfumery store/workshop already has. Analyze them, make notes about how you feel wearing a certain perfume or aromatic, and finally, make your choice or choices.
Bear in mind that many factors inside of your body, mental state, or skin conditions, and many factors mentioned above can significantly influence the potency of the perfume on your skin, the time of effectiveness, and simply whether you like it or not. Simply try to be objective as much as you can.
Dr. Isidor Apothecary
Hungary water, sometimes called “the Queen of Hungary” 9;s Water”, was the first (European) alcohol-based perfume, claimed to date in the late 14th century.
There are numerous formulas for this perfume. Objectively and professionally, no one knows the real formula or original formula. Here are many speculations. One legend says that one gypsy alchemist gave the formula to empress as a gift. Here is the formula that I brought from Europe, and it is the formula of the old Budapest’s pharmacist. Well, at least, the formula is from the original place of its creation.
For the formula, you will need:
1 lemon peel
5 tsp fresh rosemary
3 tsp fresh mint
3 tsp fresh rose petals
150 ml of orange blossom water
150 ml 90% alcohol
All ingredients should stay 3 weeks. Enjoy!