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Word Wenches: Perfume Unmasked

Pat right here: As I’ll have stated earlier than, one of many enjoyable components of writing historic novels is the dive down analysis bunny holes. I’ve simply spent a stunning few hours scrounging round within the insane particulars of British regulation, how magistrates had been appointed and criminals delivered to court docket, when there was primarily no police drive in rural environs. And together with that, I adopted a aspect path into manorial regulation, a complete weblog by itself. Suffice it to say, my hero, as inheritor to a manorial property, is a regulation unto himself. He doesn’t prefer it a lot, although.
(above photograph is manor and accompanying village–not fairly the one I think about as I write however fairly anyway. See the manor means within the background?)

512px-Perfume_set_from_Sovjetunio_cca_1965But that’s all readers actually wish to find out about sophisticated authorized procedures—the enjoyable bits that make a narrative come alive. So as an alternative of boring regulation books, I’ll waft some fragrance your means. Mind you, it’s gonna stink.

In my seek for a ghostly fragrance to hang-out my manor’s halls, I’ve realized that the Egyptians and Arabs had been utilizing perfumes as early as 3000 BC, so all the world had them quickly after. Apparently, the necessity to cowl stenches dates again to the start of time.

Of course, most of these “perfumes” would have been utilized in burning oils for ritual functions. And as all the time, rich folks would have them to point out off, wafting costly scents of their non-public quarters. I assume, on the time, these weren’t rather more than burning incense. The Egyptians knew retailer perfume in fats however not distill it.

Fast ahead to the 1300s, the place important oils from citrus and spices had been added to alcohol and have become often known as Hungary Water, because it was made for Queen Elizabeth of Hungary. The authentic concoction blended lemon, orange blossoms, thyme, and rosemary. Some type of that might nonetheless be accessible within the Regency period, the time interval I’m working with, however wafting the scent of Hungary Water does not have fairly the unique taste I want. 1024px-PSM_V51_D392_Ancient_still_for_extraction_of_essential_oils_and_perfumes

Johann Maria Farina of Italy created the primary cologne in 1709, one with notes of lemon, orange, tangerine, neroli, and lavender. It’s nonetheless in use as we speak, so it was actually recognizable within the Regency period, however cologne is means too gentle to linger on clothes a long time later.

So I saved digging. I knew the French liked fragrance, which is why I’d settled on perfume to declare the presence of my deceased French-born viscountess. Once Hungary Water began scenting the courts of Europe, France grew to become a hive of fragrance manufacturing. Perfumers went to extraordinary lengths to please the court docket, if solely as a result of fragrance and cologne grew to become an alternative choice to day by day washing. Just splash some on and also you had been good for the day, I suppose. Distilling was developed by this time, and whole rooms may very well be scented to cowl up the general stench of sewage, musty medieval halls, and sweaty flesh.

Then the French revolution got here alongside and the sans culottes put an finish to such luxuries for some time. But as soon as Napoleon grew to become emperor, he obsessively used Farina’s cologne (suppose he had a physique odor drawback?), so the race was on once more. He liked cologne a lot that he even drank it! Ugh, ptui. But I suppose alcohol is alcohol…

The emperor’s spouse, Josephine, was the explanation the French trended towards the heavier fragrances like patchouli, scents Pogostemon_cablin_001from her youth in Martinique. The leaves of patchouli had been used as an insect repellent shipped with silks and cashmere that Napoleon imported from Asia. Every time a lady fluttered her scarf, she fluttered patchouli with it. With perfumers determined for the newest perfume, the scent ended up in French perfumes. It caught on, together with unique Asian spices. I actually wish to use patchouli for my French viscountess, however it didn’t develop into standard till 1837. Now I both need to make up a again story for a  ghost or discover one thing else. So I saved digging.

What actually made French fragrances. . . highly effective. . . was musk. Musk comes from the Tibetan musk deer. Since it takes 140 deer to make a kilo of fragrance, the deer ultimately grew to become endangered. Today, synthetic types are used, however that wasn’t a priority to my Regency period folks. The scent originated in India and traveled to Greece within the 6th century, following the Asian spice trails. No one is aware of who first thought pungent ammonia poo odor may make a fragrance. One can actually 512px-Primary_Form_of_Muskperceive it getting used within the Middle Ages to drive away demons—the odor is robust and lasts perpetually.

Musk’s repute as an aphrodisiac could have been the explanation perfumers resisted their pure intuition to dump the stuff down the drain. Whatever the inspiration, French perfumers started enjoying with distillations, letting the musk glands soak in varied liquids earlier than mixing it into their Hungary Water or no matter. And voila, we’ve got the heavy musky flowery fragrances of French fragrance that my viscountess might need used.

Except it’s lots simpler to say the scent of patchouli wafted via the room. Musk. . . ugh. So I’m nonetheless digging.

Do you might have a favourite fragrance? I used to put on Opium till I developed an allergy to all fragrances and needed to throw out every little thing, together with cleansing merchandise with fragrances. What scent would you want my French viscountess to wash in? What would hang-out you should you smelled it?

Rice_ThePrismEffect_600Promo reminder: The Prism Effect, the sixth ebook in my Psychic Solutions Mysteries sequence is out on the 21st and is accessible as a pre-order. Romance, thriller, a poltergeist, an animal psychic, and a marriage… what extra are you able to ask?


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