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Some history and Background on Fragrances

A fragrance is a blend of extracts, alcohol and water; each perfume, cologne, fragrance, is characterized by the ratio of ingredients. A perfume has a different concentration of extracts to an Eau de Toilette. Perfume has the highest concentration, followed by Eau de Parfum and Esprit de Parfum. Though they are less concentrated, the two latter fragrances leave an intense lingering scent. Eau de Toilette is much lighter, with the least concentrated fragrance being Eau de Cologne.

The history of fragrance and lotions goes back to the very beginning of civilization.
Invention Man eventually discovered that oils and rendered animal fats not only helped heal the skin but prevented further damage. The rich used fine almond, olive and sesame oils, while the poor smelled less fragrant but were probably equally comfortable with castor oil. As far back as 200 years before the birth of Christ, the Babylonian ruler, Hammurabi, decreed that everyone in his kingdom (men and women) had to wash in perfume.

Frankincense and myrrh figured strongly in the Bible as gifts to the Christ child from the Three Wise Men.

Assyrian warriors curled their long beards with scented oils.

Napoleon is said to have used an average of 54 bottles of cologne each month, and always wore his favorite scent into battle. Perhaps he wanted to charm his enemies into submission.

King Louis XIV of France prescribed that members of the court should use a different fragrance each day. 

Sir Walter Raleigh regularly drank a mixture of wild strawberry leaves - and always placed potpourris of roses and orris powder throughout the rooms of his home

During the 17th century, gentlemen carried aromatics in the heads of their walking sticks so that they could to open them and inhale whenever the occasion demanded it.

There was nothing sissy or feminine about the early American cattlemen who came into town for their monthly baths and took to lilac water in an effort to mask the trail smells composed of horses, cows, sweat, trail dust, sweat, and whiskey. It almost seems lilac water may not have been strong enough. But by the turn of the century nobody giggled when the well dressed, starch-collared man left the barbershop with his hair slicked and parted and smelling of petunias. There was nothing un-masculine about their use of fragrance.

Prior to World War I, the only fragrant lotions used by men were Bay Rum and Witch Hazel. During the Roaring 20ís those men who wished to be dashing applied a dose of women`s perfume under their jacket lapels


Rudolph Valentino, one of the greatest screen lovers of all time, wore cologne that reportedly charged the air with a cool, citrusy, masculine scent, and he inspired a following of men who slicked their hair as he did and habitually used his very brand of citrus. Women across the country reacted with overwhelming enthusiasm.

The free spirit of the Roaring Twenties liberated men (as well as women) but they could not as yet choose from a family of products developed for and marketed specifically to men.

It wasn`t until the early 30`s, during the Depression, that an American cologne after-shave was introduced to capture the imagination of men across the country. It was an instant success and was considered the ultimate "morale booster."

In the mid-60`s, social, economic and industrial changes inspired men to begin experimentation with innovative fashions and fragrances. It is during this time that we begin to see the proliferation of Fragrances, colognes, and cosmetics for men. 

Starting in the 1970ís, Menís fragrances began to be taken more seriously as a marketing category. Several companies entered the market to give men an array of products and fragrances to choose from. Designers include Ralph Lauren who offers Polo for Men After Shave Balm, Polo Cologne for Men, Polo Crest for Men, Polo Sport Cologne, Polo Sport Extreme Cologne, Romance Cologne for Men, Safari Cologne for Men, as well as the Rodeo, Haute, and Premiere Collections for Women. 

Calvin Klein has also been a leader in fragrances for men and women alike. He introduced Calvin Cologne for Men as well as the CK Be line generally considered to be a unisex line.

Tommy Hilfiger created the Athletics Cologne for men, Tommy Cologne, Freedom Cologne for Men and Freedom Cologne for women. Fragrances are not just for women anymore.

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