Introduction to natural perfumery
Since the remotest ages, perfume has been synonymous to wealth, culture, and refinement. The natural perfumer’s craft was associated with the profession of a physician, a healer or a priest at holy ceremonies.
Delight & healing
The aromatic essences that were applied by the ancient perfumers had healing powers and produced psycho-physical well-being. Through olfaction, specific scents can activate biochemical processes in our body that foster one’s own capacity for self-healing. The Arabian, Israelite and Egyptian parfumeur composed perfumes and went even further with incenses, baths, ointments, balms, and cosmetics.
These remedies provided sophisticated delight and healing, the two natural functions of perfume. To inform oneself and become convinced of the healing power of aromatic essences, it is sufficient to consult any book on traditional pharmacopoeia.
Artificial fragrant bombs
Nowadays, humankind uses more aromatic contents than ever before. Nearly all of these aromas are produced artificially, and the range of their use is wider than ever. Every day we handle and ingest perfumes from commercial products.
The gigantic expansion of perfumery is typical of our century and is caused by the exponential development of modern chemistry. The original natural olfactory jewels have been substituted by a chemical imitation.
Humanity has even reached a point where “fragrant chemical bombs” have been created. Just by their smell, these “fragrant bombs” can knock down a hostile army or population and turn it defenceless with sickness.
The two natural functions of perfume – delight and healing – have been delegated to its artificial surrogate. Not only have original perfumes been replaced by chemical products, in addition, the science to cure diseases with perfumes has been usurped by the science that claims to cure with chemical substances.
Side effects of chemical perfumes
Although everybody knows the toxic side effects of chemical medicines, very little is known of the effect of chemical perfumes on the central nervous system. This center of our being is directly connected with the external world through olfaction. To fill this gap in our knowledge, modern perfumery and the chemical industry are largely investing in research & development.
These studies focus especially on androstene molecules (pheromones) and “coercive odours”. Pheromones affect our sexuality and “coercive odours” can subliminally provoke particular social and individual behaviour. This new science, called “aroma-chology“, is certainly not meant for good purposes. It aims at controlling people and raising profits.
However, technological developments have also been fruitful for the parfumeur‘s craft, as they permitted the birth of aromatherapy. Aromatherapy pioneers took value from the two worlds of traditional medicine and modern technical inventions. These pioneers opened new roads arising from the meeting of the Orient and the Occident. Aromatherapy uses new and pure natural aromatic substances (essential and absolute oils). These essential and absolute oils contribute to all fields of aromatic medicine, including “Perfume-therapy“.
“Perfume-therapy” is the most subtle and enthralling side of present and past aromatic medicine. It continues the tradition of the ancient perfumer-physician, who was able to orchestrate a peculiar fragrance reflecting and supporting the patient”s frame of mind. These are true scents of the soul!
Scents of the soul
The following paragraphs about “the scents of the soul” describe the organoleptic features of some of the most successful perfumes of La Via del Profumo.
Most were created for a friend, a customer, or a patient, with the essences of their own choice. This is the case for Night Blossom and Sea Wood. Sometimes, the idea started with a composition from the most favourite feminine essences. African Night and Holy Water were carefully composed to dedicate an aroma to their unique names. Bambini (Children) was meant to be the olfactory signature of a kid’s shop. Charas aims at reproducing the scent of a particular resin. Tartar Leather is a DJ perfume, it is a mixture of Hector and African Night.
As for Arabia, while I was desperately searching for a lost perfume, I improvised Arabia for myself in one of the most remote places on earth. The mythical animal musk of Hindu Kush might be the very fragrance exhaling from the bodies of the prophets.
One of the most loved perfumes among the range of perfumes is Muschio di Quercia (Oak Moss). It originated by the necessity to dilute in other essences the green resin of the vegetal musk, which is exceedingly sticky and staining on the skin. Since then this first composition has aroused a decennial fidelity and is as successful today as ever.
Enjoy the Scents of the Soul …