Perfumes and champagnes are the ornament of sophistication and sensuality. Enjoy our musings on the history, composition and their similarities!
History Of Perfume
Maverice Roucel is quoted as saying, ”Your fragrance is your message, your scented slogan”. Perfumes are something we are all familiar with, and in the absence of we often won’t leave the house. We wear perfume to please others, to leave a good impression on them, and to surround ourselves with a pleasing and lasting scent. The use of perfume is mainly associated with fantasy, enigma, and imagination. Although fragrances do have a long history, it has not always carried a hint of romance. So, where does this word ‘perfume’ originate?
The English word Perfume comes from the Latin phrase Perfumare, which means to smoke through. Perfume is thousands of years old, with evidence of the first perfumes dating back to Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Cyprus. Initially, it had a religious purpose, but now it’s become an ornament of sophistication and elegance for both men and women. The Egyptians were the first to use perfumes for personal enjoyment. The first modern perfume, which was made of scented oils blended in an alcohol solution, was created in 1370 at the command of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary and was known as Hungary Water. All public places were scented during Elizabeth’s rule because she could not tolerate the lousy odor. Just as the art of perfumery progressed through the centuries, so did the art of the perfume bottle. The earliest specimens of perfume bottles date back to about 1000 B.C. In ancient Egypt, glass bottles were made chiefly to hold perfumes. Eau De Bc is known as the oldest perfume in the world.
Fragrance is mainly composed of three things; essential oils, fixatives, and solvents. Essential oils are derived from natural aromatic plant extracts or synthetic aromatic chemicals (Perfume Playground use Naturals only). Fixatives are natural or artificial substances used to control the rate of evaporation and a solvent is the liquid in which the perfume oil is dissolved, which is usually 98%ethanol and 2%water.
History of Champagne
Just like perfumes, champagne is also considered as a symbol of elegance and sophistication. French author Guy de Maupassant succinctly declared, “Champagne…the wine of kings, the king of wines.” Champagne is a reputed and protected wine which is both globally recognized and rooted in centuries-old traditions. Champagne is a sparkling white wine that comes from the Champagne region of northeastern France. If it’s a bubbly wine from another area than northeastern France, then it is sparkling wine and not champagne. While many people use the term “champagne” for any sparkling wine, the French have maintained their legal right to call their wines champagne for over a century now. The Treaty of Madrid, signed in 1891 established this rule, and the Treaty of Versailles reasserted it.
The grapes, pinot Noir, pinot Meunier, and chardonnay are used in the production of almost all champagne. But a tiny amount of pinot blanc, pinot gris, arbane, and petit mesleirare are used as well.
Similarities between the two:
There is more than one similarity between two of life’s greatest sensory pleasures, Champagne and Perfume. Both of these are recognized for their elite status and are widely known to be as luxury goods. But they also share similarities in how they have been constructed and how they can evoke memories and enjoyment through smell.
The sense of smell is very closely linked with memory due to the setting of the olfactory bulb in the brain. A scent can bring back a flood of memories and even affect a person’s mood. The olfactory bulb is a part of the brain’s limbic system which is sometimes called the emotional brain. And the limbic system is an area which is closely associated with feelings and memories. So because of this reason, the sense of smell can call up memories and robust responses almost instantaneously. The aroma of champagne has this effect as well.
Another link between the two products is the careful construction of the finished piece. Champagne is all about the art of blending. In Champagne, not one but three grapes are assorted so that the wine is more composite and more consistent in quality. However, the mixing of the three grapes that are (chardonnay, pinot noir, and meunier) is essential for dynamic and regular champagne. Perfume is also about the art of blending with a careful selection and skilled mixing of flavors and unique aromas.
Blending is where the skills needed of the perfumer and the chef de cave (winemaker). The profession of a champagne maker is very similar to the perfumer. They both should have the necessary skills and practice to know to the aromas and flavors. The production of both these things is a complicated art and requires years of training or practice. Both of these are created with memory and sensory skill rather than a formula or recipe.
When we taste champagne or any wine, it is multi-sensory. We admire the champagne with our eyes, then with our nose and finally with our palate. But it is our nose, which can pick not few but thousands of scents. If the wine doesn’t have the sensual aroma coming through, we won’t have the same enjoyment or pleasure of the wine that we would do with the palate. Both champagne and perfume can shift us to another place in time, to another moment or another feeling. No doubt one of happiness which may give us pleasure.
We will conclude with a quote by Mireille Guiliano, ‘French women know one can get far with a great haircut, a bottle of champagne, and a divine perfume.’
Join us for a Champagne and Perfume Masterclass
Tickets are now on sale for the all new Champagne & Perfume Masterclass, taking place
2-4pm, Sunday August 25th at Work Club, Level 2 287 Collins St Melbourne.