Perfume has always been has been called the ‘language of dreams’ and one only needs to look at the way in which fragrances are marketed by glancing at the adverts on your TV or computer over the Christmas period to see the truth in this! But the perfumes of today are a far cry from what they used to be … in ancient times, there was little distinction made between incense and perfume … the very word ‘perfume’ is derived from the Latin ‘per fumen’ meaning ‘to smoke’.

Incense was one of the most sacred substances of the ancient world - where whole trade routes were based on its transportation around the globe. Frankincense and myrrh were such important materials, and considered so precious, that they were offered as gifts to the Christ child by the three Kings, along with gold. In early civilisations, incense and perfume were considered something essential, ritualistic and magical: a way to commune with the deities … a direct way to lift us out of our mundane existence and earthly concerns and enjoy a ‘sweet intoxication of the soul’.

Scent has also always been considered a messenger or mediator between the mundane world and the divine. If we look at the religions of the world, we find that all cultures used perfume as part of their ritual practices, and some were especially well versed in the psychoactive potentiality of natural aromatics and essential oils. For example, the ancient Egyptians were famous their use of the rare blue lotus oil, which had a euphoric effect, and for their employment of ‘unguent’ perfumes, which were produced using solid fats combined with natural aromatics. For ritual events, these aromatic ‘unguents’ were formed into cones and placed on the crown of the dancers heads, so as the women performed, the aromatic oils gradually melted, releasing their perfume to the delight of all those present. The famous Egyptian perfume ‘Kyphi’ was made from a blend of 16 precious aromatic substances which according to Plutarch, could ‘lull one to sleep, allay anxiety and brighten dreams … made of those things that delight most in the night’.

The original perfumes were all made from 100% natural ingredients, having an intrinsic allure, and often doubled as remedies, medicines and love potions! In contract, most modern perfumes which are largely made from synthetic materials can not only be overpowering, but can also cause headaches or allergic reactions due to the chemicals employed in their production. At Aqua Oleum we have a wide range of essential oils, which make perfect natural botanical perfumes in their own right, each having an individual effect on our mood.

Jasmine creates a feeling of optimism and well-being; rose has a comforting and warming effect on the heart; while neroli is soothing and help dispel anxiety. These oils are all available blended with light coconut oil, and can be used directly as natural perfumes. Ylang ylang, lavender and patchouli are all traditional scents that can be used to fragrance the body or clothes & linen; while aromatic oils such as cedarwood, cypress and sandalwood make classic botanical men’s fragrances.

Exotic oils or absolutes such as frangipani, tuberose or pink lotus make very special Christmas gifts, being rare and expensive. Or for a more sophisticated and individual botanical perfume, why not make you own personalised scent? Our new blending notebook contains all you need to create your own 100% pure and natural fragrance! At Aqua Oleum, we invite you to enter the realm of botanical alchemy ... there is always so much more to learn and discover!