The oldest perfume was discovered on the island of Cyprus. Excavations unearthed an enormous site that existed 4,000 years ago. These perfumes were scented with extracts of lavender, bay, rosemary, pine and/or coriander and they were kept in tiny translucent alabaster bottles. Archaeologists that discovered these scents believe that what they discovered was a perfume making factory to be able to produce perfume on an industrial scale.
They discovered at least 60 distilling stills, mixing bowls, funnels and perfume bottles that were in perfect condition. They were preserved due to an earthquake around 1850BC.
These findings are now on display at the Capitoline Museum in Rome and in addition four of the perfumes have been recreated.
Contributions from Islamic Cultures helped in the development of perfecting fragrances from steam distillation and the introduction of raw ingredients. Both ingredients significantly influenced the western perfumery developments in particularly chemistry. The chemistry knowledge is a very important procedure into the making of perfume due to careful mixing of chemicals.
France became European centre of perfume and cosmetic manufacturing. Perfume was primarily used by the elite, wealthy and royalty to disguise body odors. Perfume was a huge success in the 17th Century. In the 18th Century King Louis demanded different fragrances which could be use on skin, clothing and furniture. France started to grow aromatic plants which would provide the raw materials for perfumes.
Perfume was at the highest peak in England during the time of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth 1. Queen Elizabeth could not tolerate any bad smells and it was requested that all places she resided at, visited where scented at all times. In the 19th century perfume underwent a profound change. Modern chemistry and development laid new foundations of perfumery as we know it today.