Perfume and History: From Ancient Times to Modern Perfumery

Learn more about perfume's rich history that spans thousands of years and across cultures


From ancient Egyptians to modern-day perfumers, fragrances have played an important role in human culture. Perfumes have evolved from its early origins to the complex and sophisticated fragrances of today.


Origins of Perfume

Perfume has been used for thousands of years, with the first recorded use dating back to ancient Egypt. The Egyptians used fragrances in religious rituals and believed that they had a purifying effect. They would use scented oils and perfumes during mummification to mask the odor of decomposition.

Perfume also played an important role in ancient Greece and Rome. The Greeks would use fragrances in their baths, and they believed that scents could enhance their physical and emotional well-being. The Romans used perfume as a status symbol, and it was a luxury item reserved for the wealthy.


Middle Ages and Renaissance

During the Middle Ages, perfume making became a popular craft in Europe. The fragrances were made from natural ingredients such as flowers, herbs, and spices. Perfume makers were often members of the guilds, and their skills were highly valued.

In the Renaissance, the use of perfume became even more popular. The Italian city of Florence became a center for perfume making, and many of the fragrances created during this time are still popular today. Perfumes were used to mask unpleasant odors, as well as for personal grooming and hygiene.


Industrial Revolution and Modern Perfumery

The Industrial Revolution brought about significant changes in the perfume industry. Synthetic fragrances were developed, and the production of perfume became more efficient. Perfume began to be marketed to a wider audience, and new scents were created to appeal to different tastes.

In the 20th century, the perfume industry continued to evolve. Perfumers began to experiment with new ingredients and techniques, creating more complex and sophisticated fragrances. Some of the most famous perfumes of the 20th century include Chanel No. 5, Dior's Poison, and Estée Lauder's Youth Dew.

Today, the perfume industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and new fragrances are constantly being developed. Perfumes are available in a wide range of scents, from floral and fruity to woody and musky. They are used for personal grooming, as well as to create a signature scent that reflects one's personality.


The perfume industry continues to evolve, with new fragrances being developed and marketed to a global audience. Whether for personal grooming or to create a signature scent, perfume will continue to be an important part of our lives for years to come.


Find your personal scent with our Guide to Picking Your Signature Scent. Explore and learn about new scent categories like blossom scents, or sandalwood scents! Head to our fragrance catalogue and choose from 200+ perfume options today.