The origin of men's perfume
The history of perfume is one that runs deep. Perfume has been a part of human civilisations almost since the beginning of time. References to the use of fragrances have been found in some of our earliest and most ancient texts.
Perfumery is thought to have first begun in ancient China, Mesopotamia and Egypt. It began with the burning of gums and resins for incense used in religious rites. Later, plants were incorporated into oils to create fragrant ointments with which to anoint the body during ceremonies.
The first alcoholic perfume was produced in 1370 for Elizabeth of Hungary.
The first men’s Eau de Cologne is thought to have been made around 1792 in Germany by a Carthusian monk who was a member of a contemplative order of the Roman Catholic Church. The monk gave a secret recipe for ‘miracle water’ – thought to have healing properties - to his son as a wedding gift.
The son is said to have been so impressed by the scent of the tonic, that he set up shop in the family home and started selling the fragrant potion.
Cologne is the French name for the German city. Early references to men’s cologne include the legend that Napoleon used to bathe in a dilution of the fragrance.
After becoming widely successful in France, the popularity of men’s perfume spread around the world.
The hugely popular men’s perfume ‘Old Spice’ was introduced by William Schultz, a New York soap manufacturer, in 1937 as a women’s fragrance - but after realising it’s popularity among men, the product was changed to an exclusive men’s perfume the following year.
Men’s cologne is now one of the best-selling beauty products for men and has transformed from a humble citrus scented ‘holy potion’ to a multi-billion dollar industry.