Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Victorian Era, Violets and Sonoma Scents - Part II

Let's continue our journey into the Victorian Era. 
Let's plunge into perfume bottles and find out why this period was so important to Perfumery History!

Modern Perfumery
The pivotal scientific breakthrough that changed perfumery, and upgraded it to an entire new level, happened due the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century.  From this date on Alchemy was to be considered a thing of the past, and substituted by chemistry. 
As you will see, major discoveries in behalf of the Modern Perfumery happened during this era:
In 1833 Dumas Peligot isolated cinammaldehyde from cinnamon oil.
In 1844 Cahours found the main aromatic component of the anise oil: anethole 
In 1837 Liebig & Wöler produced the scent of bitter almonds (benzaldehyde). Years later, in 1889 Fittig & Mielk produced the heliotropin (the scent of hyacinths), and in 1876 Reimer and Delair produced the vanillin. These molecules differed from the natural oils used previously, and that was the turning point for perfumers.
The first synthetic version of a natural molecule was created by an English chemist called William Perkin. Coumarine was described as a scent that could transport you to a holiday in the Alps, with the scent of recently mown hay. 
Perfumes such as Fougére Royale by  perfumer Paul Parquet for Houbigant (the first modern perfume - 1882) and Jicky (1889 by Guerlain), were  the first fragrances to blend synthetics with natural compounds.

Flower sellers - London 1887

Victorian flowers
Throughout the Victorian Era perfumes were created from flowers and spices. They were delicate and floral. Most of them were very feminine with notes of jasmine, roses, lavender and violets. Aromatic herbs such as rosemary, marjoram, thyme and cloves were still in use. Perfumes were based on natural ingredients from the garden.
Flowers had a very important hole in the Victorian society, and the most popular flowers scents were African lily, begonia, blue sage, clematis, columbine, daffodil, forget me not, hyacinth, honeysuckle, lily of the valley, morning glory, and yellow jasmine among others. 

Love for Violets
Violets grew everywhere in nature, and violet fragrance was the favorite in Victorian toiletries. Also, Victorian ladies loved to collect violets in nature albums or dried pressed violets in pictures. Tea made of violets leafs were famous for treating nervous complaints. 
The cut flower trade grew as Victorians began to pin bunches of violets to their dresses and coats. Gentlemen tucked them in hat brims or displayed them on their coats. Victorians also loved candied violets used in cakes and pastries.
It was very common to see violet sellers stood in London corners with their baskets full of violets. The popularity led to a boom of violet breeding.They were so popular that a train line from Cornwall to London was set to bring fresh violets to the big city.

To be continued...


Liam Moore said...

If you read The Secret of Scent, there's a great discussion about Violet in perfumery. Pretty much the heavy-weight in expensive materials, I can't recall the values and figures right now, but I gasped allowed reading it!

Oh and Turin describes (in great scientific detail too) how benzaldehyde, coumarin and vanillin work. Really insightful stuff :)

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

Yes, violets are very expensive - that is why I chose Sonoma scents to review.
I loved the Secret of Scent. It is really a must read. :-)

Ayesha said...

Thanks for a nice share you have given to us with such an large collection of information. Great work you have done by sharing them to all. simply superb. Photo Recovery

Debby said...

Hi Dear,I need your help...
Long time ago, the perfume By Man (by Dolce e Gabbana) made all difference in my life. Unfortunately,they don't do anymore. May do you know another similar? Please, let me know.....

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

Dear Ayesha Sick around because there is a part III coming up!

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

Fist of all, go to ebay and try t find if there is an auction. Sometimes people buy these perfumes. You can always ask people in facebook if they know someone who wants to trade or sell it to you.
I will check about the notes and if we can find you something similar.
Best wishes Simone

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