Perfumes

  • Manfred Milinski
Chapter

Abstract

All cultures are known to place great importance on artificial body odour, suggesting a deep-seated psychological awareness that human bodies should smell and perfumes have been used since the earliest times of recorded history (Stoddart 1986). Fragrances have been used for at least 5000 years and all traditional scents are found in modern perfumes. The purpose of using perfumes seems to be to enhance a person’s sexual attractiveness, which is apparent from the advertising campaigns that usually accompany the marketing strategies of the perfume industry and which is testified also by the bible (see above). Perfumery is not only regarded as an art, it is also one of the earliest crafts and the basic techniques of today’s perfumers are essentially the same as those of their Egyptian predecessors 4000 years ago (Dodd 1991). Many of today’s perfume ingredients such as cassia, cinnamon, sandalwood, styrax, benzoin, jasmine, rose, etc. were already used for incense by ancient Chinese, Indian or Egyptian cultures 5000 years ago (Stoddart 1991). Detailed incense and perfume recipes, e.g., myrrh, labdanum, galbanum, olibanum in specified quantities can be found in the bible (Exodus 30:34–36) and are still used in some modern perfumes. Also, many of today’s best-selling brands are rather old, e.g., ‘Mitsouko’ (Guerlain) from 1919, ‘Chanel No. 5’ from 1921, ‘L’Air du Temps’ (Ricci) from 1948, and many of the new perfumes are similar to established ones (H. & R. Fragrance Guide 1995), suggesting that fashion is not very important for human perfume preferences. Because of the long history of humans to select and use artificial scents, perfumes may have become part of our biology. It is, however, not obvious which part they play.

Keywords

Recombination Marketing Odour Peake Vanilla 

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

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  • Manfred Milinski

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