The Short History of Cologne


History of CologneThe sense of smell of a human has been underestimated for a long time as it was considered to be lower than others. But it should be considered as a primary instinct of men desiring to cater his vanity. But the history of cologne is way more ancient. The Egyptian employed fragrance as part of their religious wear. It was believed that, to communicate with God a perfect scented environment is necessary. Back there, incense was used for religious purposes, while balms and ointments for cosmetic and medicinal purposes.

The common integrant for earlier perfumes were myrrh, frankincense, peppermint and rose. The Egyptian invented glass and glass perfumed bottles to reserve their perfumes. The unguent was then rubbed into the skin.  It’s interesting to note that perfume has come full circle today as more and more of us seek out high quality aromatherapy perfumed oils to use in exactly the same way as our ancestors did.

During the early Christianity, perfume fell out of use, though was revived in the medieval period. By the mid-1600s scents were applied to furniture & fans. Non greasy eau de cologne was first developed in the Gregorian era. Then there was a lot of use from bath essence to mouth wash.

Under the influence of the Middle East and Greece, the Romans quickly became attached to perfume. In the beginning of the Roman Empire, perfume was only used for religious events and funerals of highly placed persons. On the other hand, under the domination of Nero, at the Bacchanalia, Rome’s official orgy, Emperor Nero sprayed dinner guests with rose water perfume between courses.  At one imperial reception, Nero had the entire surface of a lake in the palace grounds covered with rose petals.  When Nero’s beloved Popea died, he used more incense than the Arabic world could deliver in one year.

During the reign of Julius Caesar, after Roman battles, bottles of perfume were thrown to the crowds celebrating Rome’s’ triumphs.  At the triumphs, the returning armies, bearing perfumed flags and standards, were showered with perfumed materials, while frankincense was burned along the processional route – all very different from earlier days, when Julius Caesar had liked his soldiers to smell of garlic!. Julius Caesar was quoted as saying “perfume sparked the “Fire of Love” in every human”

The Romans were also very ingenious in creating new fragrances. In addition to incenses, the Roman perfume makers produced three principal types of perfume: solid unguents, usually a single scent based on a fat such as hog’s lard;  liquid unguents, usually a mixture of spices and flowers fixed with a resin, in base oil; and scented powders, made from dried materials.  The sweat of gladiators was put into exclusive lotions, wealthy women then wore them as a perfume and aphrodisiac.

By advanced organic chemistry knowledge, perfume was first developed and spread as a wear in the late 19th century. As the ingredients used for making perfume were very expensive back in those days, synthetic perfume products were used in place of them. It was spread and developed in the textile printing & dying also. France had then developed the largest perfume industry in the world by growing flowers and herbs. The leather dealers had also started using perfume as they found very noisy smell in their products. But it was only the 20th century when perfumes and colognes became a mass product.


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