Perfumes Make Scents: Part One – A Brief History of Fragrance

by: Andrea

Perfume Legends
Perfume Display at Tart Boutique

Have you ever caught a whiff of someone as they breezed by you on the street and been instantly transported to another place? Scent is particularly effective at triggering emotional and psychological memories, as Proust so famously described in the opening chapter of In Search of Lost Time. Perfumes, above all, have powerful sensory associations for both women and men. Tart is proud to provide high quality perfumes that pay homage to the history and art of perfumery, to the role of scent as an aphrodisiac and as a personal signature.

The origins of perfume can be traced to Egypt, Greece, and the Roman Empire. The word Perfume is derived from the Latin per (“through”) and fume (“smoke”) and refers to the first aromatics that were burned in the form of incense in Egyptian temples. Egyptians also anointed their bodies with aromatic oils during religious ceremonies in order to heighten their mental and spiritual experiences. The Greeks considered fragrant botanicals and perfumes to be medicinal, and they figured frequently in Greek mythology. Aphrodite, for whom aphrodisiacs are named, delivered perfume from the heavens to earth.

The Romans in turn also used aromatics in cosmetics and massage and the Arabs are known for their explorations into the applications and creation of perfume. It was not until the 16th century and Catherine de Medici that perfumes became part of the daily toiletry routine since bathing was considered unhygienic.

Perfume @ Tart

These days, the perfume industry is a multi-billion dollar business that makes use of our emotional and psychological associations with scent. Aromacologists manipulate aromatic aphrodisiacs in their quest to influence mood and behaviour. Some fragrances such as cinnamon, bergamot, cedarwood, chocolate, vanilla, lavendar, rose, and patchouli are reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities. But because our reaction to different scents is often highly personal, perfumers evoke and play on memories or images by brewing concoctions of natural and synthetic scents such as aldehydes.

The fragrance, Un jardin sur le Nil, evokes by its name and scent, the smell of a garden beside the Nile river. J’adore is thought to be “as sexy as a stiletto and as comfortable as a pair of Tod’s”.*

Edie at Sephora’s Perfumes, Paris, France

The perfumes Edie has sourced and brought to both Edie Hats and Tart Boutique are not to be found on department and drug store shelves. Edie explains that perfume is “part of the sensual experience” of her stores. She has always been intrigued by the sensual aspect of scent, and especially the imagery surrounding scents. “Perfume,” she says “is about dreams and aspirations, as well as romantic and adventurous images – it is used in the expression of identity”. As the owner and creative force behind Edie Hats and Tart Boutique, Edie’s personal signature can be found across all the scents we carry.

* Burr, C. (2007). The Perfect Scent, Henry Holt and Company, New York, p 6.

Ombre Rose Perfume

Tart – A Deliciously Sexy Boutique
1001 Denman Street
Vancouver, BC
V6G 2M4
Open every day from noon until ten


About tartboutique

Tart is a deliciously sexy boutique filled with beautiful things.
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