Perfumes Through the Ages
The First Perfumes
At Amyris, we are expert bespoke perfume makers, and we appreciate the long history of fragrances and perfumes. The worlds first chemist is generally considered to be a woman called Tapputi. Living in around the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamia, she distilled flowers, oils and calamus with other scents, filtered them and put them back in a still.
The Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to really start using perfumes and even had a god of perfume – Nefertum. For the upper classes, perfume was commonly worn and smeared onto the body to keep them smelling fragrant. Unlike today, where perfumes are alcohol based, the main structure of perfumes was oil. The Egyptians traded with regions in Africa to import aromatic woods and myrrh to create these special fragrances.
The ancient Persians also took advantage of scents and fragrances and many people regard them as founders of the distillation process to create perfumes. Perfume was also popular with the Romans and Greeks so much so that we still have the formulas for many Greek and Roman perfumes. Oil was made by pressing olives then adding plants and woods, the mixture was then soaked so as to create a scent. This scent was then sold to be used in public baths and for beauty products. It was believed by many that using perfumes would bring users close to God.