It is often said that the history of perfume is as old as the history of mankind. In the most ancient civilizations, in the most remote cultures, we find literary or archaeological evidence that tell the story aromas, ointments and perfumes.
From Mesopotamian cultures until today, men, and particularly women, have had a penchant, perhaps a weakness (if not a need) for making themselves look and smell better. But the first question is when and how was the first perfume created? When and where did the habit of using perfumes begin?
Like colours and noises, smells—from the salt of the sea to the wet earth after a rainstorm—already existed in nature when the first humans arose. But there was a moment when man discovered a new aroma, different from everything that was familiar; this was a smell that he could master, because it was in his power to create it. When was this moment? And what was the fragrance?
I like to think that it all can be traced to prehistoric times, to a day when some of those primitive men, who dressed in animal skins, hunted with stone axes and arrows and who spoke and understood each other with grunts, lit a fire to stay warm or to keep away the beasts that could have been lurking around and lit, by pure chance, some branches or tree resins that gave off a pleasant smell, a new aroma, one they had never smelled before.
Surprised and amazed, they ran to bring the other members of the group or the tribe to smell the smoke of that fire that gave off such a fragrant aroma. Perhaps the fact that they found it so pleasant and that the smoke rose directly towards the sky made them think of using it as an offering to the divinities or supernatural forces that ruled their fragile destinies on earth from on high.
The fact is that all ancient civilizations used the perfume obtained through the smoke of incense, myrrh, or other resins and woods as an offering to their gods. Today, there are still many Eastern and Western religions that use the penetrating smell of incense or sandalwood sticks and other aromatic woods in their liturgy