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5 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Fragrance

12.26.2023
5 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Fragrance

We’re officially in “Betwixmas,” the sleepy week between Christmas and New Year’s.

The anticipation of the holiday season is over, and the end of the year moves at a sluggish pace.

Whether you need a pause from enjoying holiday leftovers, binging t.v. episodes or counting down the minutes at work, we’re here with a distraction. Ahead, explore 5 entertaining fragrance facts you’ve probably never heard before, here to grant you a reprieve from Betwixmas.

1. Fragrance notes and their unconventional sources

Sure, Bergamot comes from citrus trees and Vanilla comes from vanilla bean pods, but not all notes have such traditional origins.

There are some more interesting fragrance ingredient sources out there, such as:
  • Ambergris: a waxy material formed in the digestive tract of sperm whales that has an oceanic, animalic scent
  • Castoreum: an intense, leathery vanilla note that’s secreted from the castor sacs of beavers
  • Civet: used to add warmth to floral scents, it comes from the secretions of civet cats

For the most part, these ingredients are replaced with synthetic recreations in the fragrance industry. And rest assured, they definitely aren’t used at Commodity.

2. Cookies as a fragrance

In medieval Germany, gingerbread cookies were often used as a form of wearable fragrance. These cookies, infused with spices like cinnamon and ginger, would be worn around the neck or as charms to provide a sweet and spicy aroma.

For a modern-day version try Gold+ Bold, which has notes of Vanilla, Nutmeg, Saffron and Amber.

3. Napoleon Bonaparte’s infamous fragrance

Napoleon Bonaparte, the French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution, was known for his affinity for cologne. His favorite concoction was a blend of citrus oils, including Lemon, Orange, Bergamot and Neroli, as well as herbs.

He was known to apply copious amounts of cologne, both on his body and his clothing, and the excessive use earned him the nickname “the perfumed despot” or “the perfumed barbarian.” 

4. Solid perfume in ancient Egypt

The use of solid perfumes dates back to ancient Egypt. They were typically composed of natural ingredients such as beeswax, plant-based fats and aromatic resins. Essential oils derived from flowers, spices and herbs were often added to create a pleasing scent.

Solid perfumes were commonly shaped into cones or disks and typically worn on the head. As body heat melted the wax or fats, the fragrance was released. Egyptians used solid perfumes for personal grooming and cosmetic purposes, but also to attract the favor of the gods.

5. The smell of rain has a name

The scent produced when rain falls on soil actually has a name: “petrichor.” It’s caused by the release of oils and compounds produced by soil-dwelling bacteria and plants. The presence of lightning during rainstorms can also affect the scent.

People are generally quite sensitive to the smell of petrichor. The smell of rain is often seen as a symbol of cleansing and renewal, many find the smell pleasant and refreshing. 

For a more mellow and softly floral rendition of a petrichor scent, check out Rain during our next Archives drop.


Need a longer distraction from Betwixmas? Explore: 

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