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Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, its lasting perfume.

The ancient art of perfume

The ancient Egyptians were most likely the founders of modern day perfumes. Thousands of years ago they would burn wood, herbs and resins over a fire to release a pleasant fragrance that would appease the gods. This aromatic substance was called Per Fumum, which translates in plain English: by smoke.

Egyptian paperrol small half height


At first this practice was only reserved for religious events. But over time perfume became a luxury of the royals who had it manufactured for personal use. Legend states that Cleopatra seduced Caesar with her beauty and with copious amounts of perfumed oil and when the tomb of Tutankhamen was opened they retrieved containers filled with fragrant water. Undoubtedly to make his stay in the afterlife more pleasant and fragrant.

Perfume catches on

The Greeks soon followed in their fragrant footsteps. They improved the techniques of the Egyptians and used extraordinary amounts of perfume; they even created different fragrances for different body parts! At some moment in time it was considered overused. There was a restriction on the sale of perfume because of this sentiment, but it had no effect. Perfume remained the best sold product in ancient Greece.

New methods, new ingredients.

Later the composition of the fragrant substance would change, as well as the application.
A Mesopotamian chemist by the name of Taputti is considered to be the first named perfumer in the world. He mastered the art of perfume and traces of perfume factories at least 4000 years old have been recently found.
Fast forward to Persia where the steam distillation was invented. This started off an era that generated a whole new brand of perfumes created from oils extracted from flowers.

The Romans

The Romans had a nose for fine fragrances as well. Incense was highly popular during the reign of Nero who was said to have burnt more incense than the Arabs could manufacture. They would sprinkle their horses and dogs and even their walls and floors with perfume. Too bad they didn’t have Rituals in those days, a bottle of fragrance sticks would have done the trick with much more ease.


Today perfumers create the most innovative and sensational perfumes you can imagine. In a market that is expected to exceed $36 billion in sales by 2017 you’re in if you can get a piece of the action. The finest fragrance laboratories and perfume specialist are constantly working out what the next new successful fragrance will be. And although the methods have greatly improved and the compositions of perfumes are much more refined and complex than in ancient times, those earliest ingredients like flowers, herbs, spices and oils are still being used today.

The Fragrance Lab

Never change a winning team. Past and best practices are valuable for a reason. And that is precisely why we use ingredients already used in ancient rituals thousands of years ago. And we have them composed and manufactured by the best perfumers in the world.

Leaves us with only one question:
What do you find a perfect perfume?

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  • September 10, 2014 Reply

    Carla Bast

    Nice to read about the history of fragrances ,liked this post !
    Love Carla

  • September 12, 2014 Reply


    When I was 21 I became allergic to all perfumes, all soaps except Imperial Leather and a lot of make up products. It was awful. Over the years I kept trying different products but I could never find a perfume I didn’t have an allergic reaction to – until now, 44 years later, I have found Rituals. I can use all your perfumes and it is so wonderful. Thank you Rituals. I believe you do not use alcohol, which could be why it suits me. 🙂

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