What Is Eau De Parfum

Not many people realise that eau de parfum is not technically the same as perfume, although the terms are often used interchangeably. Perfume is a pure substance, whereas eau de parfum is a lighter, more diluted version. The term perfume is derived from the mysterious and romantic latin term per fumus, meaning ‘through smoke,’ and what we think of as perfume was invented as far back as the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian societies.

Ancient perfumes were very different to the perfumes, eau de parfums and eau de toilettes we have today, however. Before the method for extracting the ‘essence’ of flowers was discovered, early perfumers had only herbs, spices and woods to work with. The earliest perfumes would probably have smelled like something we would have wanted to eat rather than cover ourselves in, with almond, coriander, cinnamon, vanilla and other herbs all commonly used.

It was only when the Persian chemist Ibn Sina invented the process of extracting oils from flowers that the intricate palate of perfumery was really born. His first triumph was rosewater, a substance that was much lighter and more delicate than the other perfumes of its day. Because of its feminine delicacy, it became popular as a perfume for women immediately. Flowers quickly became very popular in perfumery, and by the 14th century a whole industry had grown up involving the cultivation of flowers for their oils.

As the perfume industry advanced, so did our means of talking about it. Soon we had names for the different ‘notes’ involved in a perfume, all of which related to the wide spectrum of ingredients that were now used. A single floral note was when a specific flower was identifiable, while floral bouquet denoted a multitude of different flower essences. Perhaps strangely, during the nineteen century materials like tobacco and leather became popular scents to include in perfumes, and are still often used today.

Nowadays, perfumes for women are even more complex than they ever were with the invention of synthetic scents. It isn’t uncommon for an eau de parfum spray to include synthetic scents that are purposely designed to smell like the cut grass or a certain type of food. Perfume makers have realised that a smell can be a powerful way of activating certain memories and moods in the wearer, and have purposely tried to include scents that come with the pleasant memories of summer days or freshly baked cookies.

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