Perfume, a treasured gift

PerfumeReaders may ask, why treasured? Firstly there is a long history attached to perfumery and how very basic scents evolved into today’s exotic fragrances.


The word perfume actually originates from the words “per fumin” meaning via smoke, as in early times gums, roots, twigs and leaves were burned, mainly during religious ceremonies. Incense was, in fact, one of the original ways of allowing fragrances to waft into the air during prayer time and social occasions.


Why then are some perfumes so very expensive? There are many reasons. Some contain rare flower petals, or the oils extracted from rare roots and trees. The larger the amount of essential oils that a perfume contains, the more costly it usually is. One of the most expensive oils is that extracted from thousands of rose petals to produce one ounce of rose oil.


Besides the above mentioned, there are 3 very rare or hard to obtain animal ingredients used to “ fix” a perfume; musk extracted from the glands of the musk deer (not easy to locate), civet from the glands of the civet cat, and ambergris, a fatty substance vomited or ejected from the intestines of sperm whales, found with great difficulty, floating on the surface of certain oceans.
Just recently, headlines were made in the press, as a large lump of ambergris was, most unusually, washed up onto a beach in England. Today, however, science is able to mimic these rather ill smelling substances, resulting in synthetic fixatives, which is good news for the animals.


When value comes into the equation, it is true that there may be very little perfume in a bottle, and one is forking out a fortune to smell good. It will, however, last longer than caviar.
Some customers are willing to pay large sums of money for perfume with the philosophy that it is prestigious; a bit like driving a Ferrari as opposed to a Fiat.


Women, and men too for that matter, need not be dedicated to wearing one fragrance only. That is a bit of an old fashioned notion, even if Marilyn Monroe crept into bed wearing Channel No 5, and nothing else. A sound idea is to build up a “signature fragrance wardrobe” rather than a distracting olfactory clutter.
During the Victorian era, respectable ladies wore only a spray of eau-de-cologne or lavender water, while the heady, pungent scents were favoured by “ladies of the night” with their vulgar upbringing.


Now with Christmas around the corner, a subtle way of purchasing is to opt for those products infused with perfume, like body butters and lotions, soaps, bath crystals and the like, which make for perfect Christmas gifts. MatsiMela Home Spa’s various ranges provide many different scents, from Ginger and Lime to Litchi and Rose, and the Vanilla and Sandalwood that many men prefer. Not only do these ranges smell wonderful, but the pampering and nuturing effect on one’s skin will last long after the smell has worn off.