This is a question asked my many of us who are allergic to strong perfume fragrances. Perhaps the belief that perfume acts as an aphrodisiac holds its own to other more practical reasons to use these aromas.
Historically, perfume can be traced to the early Egyptians who mixed smoldering resins and woods and used them in their religious ceremonies. It was believed that perfumes were pleasing to the gods and would earn them better places in the next world. These deeply spiritual people were so concerned about keeping the gods pleased that containers of various perfumes were placed throughout the burial site. Some sources indicate that similar perfumes were used in. Evidence as to the strength of the perfume used was first experienced when the tomb of King Tutankhamen was open and the fragrance wafted through the open door. The fragrance was present for over 3,000 years!
In more contemporary times, a story is told of Napoleon, Emperor of France, who sent a letter to his lover Josephine telling her that he was returning home from battle within the week and directing her to not bathe until they had seen one another. Rarely are we ready to be in the same room with someone who has not bathed for several days so what was behind Napoleon`s letter?
Those who research human interaction, have discovered some unusual information regarding particular scents. It is believed that some of us have our appetites triggered by specific odors. Interestingly, our `fragrance center` is located in the same area of our brains with the arising of emotions. Perhaps this explains some specific actions such as an adult smelling a certain aroma and that triggering an emotion from his/her childhood.
Moving forward in history, we find the use of perfumes in the lavish Roman baths. Here, the bathers often applied perfume two or three times a day! Pets (dogs, horses) were often perfumed and during certain festivals, birds were released from their cages in order to spray them with perfume. Most of us would have stopped perfuming with dogs and horses, but not the Romans. They also liberally applied perfume to furniture, accent pieces and other household items. Of much interest is the evidence that servants wore different scents from non servants.
Most sources of information regarding perfume, note that the perfume container has always indicated the pleasantness or desirability of a particular scent or type of perfume. My own research has found fairly simple perfume containers many with near astronomical prices.
Perhaps the most significant information for consumers is that scents do not smell the same on all people. Because we each have scents of our own, some perfumes will react negatively and the desired effect of the perfume negated. It is important to test a scent before investing $50-hundreds of dollars in a small bottle!
Not all perfumes are alike. They have been identified as such: Perfume, which is the strongest and has the longest lasting aroma; Eau de Perfume, which is used to layer in preparation of the body for perfume; Eau de Toillett, much less concentrated that the others and is reported to smell much better than it would seem to indicate; Cologne, is the lightest fragrance and only lasts for a brief time.
Correct application of the perfume is also essential in conveying the desired scent. Perfume should be applied to pulse points such as the wrist, the inner elbow, neck, and behind the ears. These spots also provide heat necessary for the dissemination of the aroma.
Lastly, it is suggested that perfumes be applied following a shower and that they be applied directly to the skin and not to clothing. The advice to spray perfume into the air and to walk through the droplets has been found to be a myth.