Scent is an irreplaceable part of life. Smell can evoke feelings and bring back memories. Egyptians were responsible for the origin of perfume.They used to create ointments and balms with essential oils derived from plants, animals, and even seaweed mixed in to provide scent. When the Romans and Greeks got acquainted with perfumes, they started producing it en masse in consistent quality.
The oldest perfumery discovered from 2,000BC is located on the island of Cyprus. The 16th century saw the popularity of perfume explode in France, especially among the upper classes and nobles. In the 19th century, Grasse became the world perfume capital and a big tourist destination. It was the French that made perfumes luxury items.Today, the region which is northwest of Nice has 60 perfume companies three of which offer free guided tours: The Parfumerie Fragonard, the Parfumerie Molinard and the Galimard Factory and Museum.
The main factor that sets apart luxury perfumes from the rest of the pack lies in their exclusive ingredients. These perfumes ooze opulence, some of these ingredients include rose oil, jasmine, musk, orris, ambergris, myrtle and citrus but the most exclusive and expensive perfume ingredient of all, is the unrivaled oud. Oud is one of the most expensive, potent and desirable perfume ingredients in the world. It has been used for centuries in perfumery and is used as a base by many perfumers today to create some amazing fragrances for men and women.
Oud is derived from the tropical agar tree (agarwood is said to be the most expensive timber in the world), which is thought to originate in Assam region of India. When the wood of this tree is infected by a parasitic mould known as Phialophora Parasitica it reacts by producing a precious, dense, dark and fragrant resin to protect itself. It is the resin-embedded heartwood of the tree that is the perfume ingredient oud.
The oil of oud can be extracted by distillation from the wood or by melting the resin. Due to its rarity, high demand, and the difficulty of harvesting it, oud oil is perhaps the most expensive oil in the world. The scent itself varies considerably depending on the tree species used, the region the tree was grown and whether the tree itself was cultivated or naturally infected.
Absolute Sandalwood Crystal Perfume Oil by Clive Christian. £6,000
Oud that occurs naturally is more expensive than oud produced by an artificial infestation of the mold. The value of oud is often estimated as one-and-a-half times the value of gold and the annual oud market is around £5 billion.
MiN New York Momento perfume, £220
Juliette has a gun perfumes in Harrods.
Casamorati Perfumes in Harvey Nichols.
Prices are correct at the time of publishing.
Photo Credit: Ikoyi Elite.
Connect with Ikoyi Elite