Scented water, odoriferous wateror sweet water, is a water with a sweet aromatic smell. It is made of flowers or herbs and is the precursor of the modern day perfume. Scented waters are also used in making other products such as pomanders and body care products.
Some of the flowers and herbs used to make scented water are:
In Medieval times a scented water was used for hygiene by a person washing their hands with it before meals, since many meals were forkless.The wealthy of Medieval times had their linen clothes boiled in scented water. Varahamihira (6th century) used scented water to clean his toothbrushes. Just prior to Marie Antoinette's execution in 1793 one of her servants was able to smuggle her some minimal need requests, one being some scented water for her teeth.
Hippocrates mentions scented water in his medical practice:
Then dipping (BAPTW) into oil of roses or Egyptian oil, apply it through the day, and, as soon as it stings, take it away, and baptize (BAPTIDZO) it, again, into woman's milk and Egyptian oil, and apply during the night and rinse with sweet scented water and apply tallow. Hippocrates , ii, 710
Boccaccio in his Decameron mentions scented washing waters:
Without permitting anyone else to lay a hand on him, the lady herself washed Salabaetto all over with soap scented with musk and cloves. She then had herself washed and rubbed down by the slaves. This done, the slaves brought two fine and very white sheets, so scented with roses that they seemed like roses; the slaves wrapped Salabaetto in one and the lady in the other and then carried them both on their shoulders to the bed... They then took from the basket silver vases of great beauty, some of which were filled with rose water, some with orange water, some with jasmine water, and some with lemon water, which they sprinkled upon them.
It was a custom in the Roman Empire for amphitheatres to be furnished with scented water jet fountain sprays for refreshing the spectators.The overhead awning (velarium) shielding the spectators for the Colosseum was saturated with scented water for dripping fragrant water on spectators' heads to keep them cool.
Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland in 1511-12 had various scented waters made for him, which consisted of his usage of over a gallon each week for the year.In the 1571 estate inventory of John Brodocke, an apothecary in Southampton, lists 32 types of scented water that he had as some of the items in his shop. In 17th century Constantinople the Venetians and Genoese had apothecary shops that had merchants of scented water including rose water. Scented waters were still being used into the 19th century of the wealthy nobles in Egypt as a type of perfume. It was an Egyptian custom then to sprinkle guests with rose water or orange-flower water after dinner just before they were to go home.
Even though it is said by scholars that the art of perfumery has it roots in antiquity, the city of Montpellier has self established itself as the birthplace of perfumery. In the 18th century they honored guests of the city with scented water and other 'gifts of fragrance'. There are even perfume manuals that describe Montpellier perfumes as being "a la mode de Montpellier" because of extra ingredients used that enhance their fragrances.
Scented rose water is and has been used from time to time for cooking and flavoring foods in various recipes.Rose water is used in Greek cuisine.
In Medieval times scented water was used for sensual pleasures.
In Medieval times scented water was used at baptisms.
Mary Hooper in her book called Petals in the Ashes about the Great Fire of 1666 explains that the first step in making "rose water" is to gather together 3 or 4 full roses. These roses should not have been treated in any way with toxic pesticide for obvious reasons. One is to then take a pint of water and put into a saucepan. Then heat the water with the roses in it gently, not allowing it to boil. You are to cook the rose petals until they become transparent. After that happens, allow the cooked rose water to cool. Then drain through a sieve forcing the water to go through the rose petals. The resulting "rose water" is to be refrigerated. The scented water then is used as a cooling agent on the body as well as the face.
Hooper explains that scented water to bathe in can be made of dried herbs. She explains the idea of making such a scented water is to put 8 tablespoons of dried herbs in a pan of 1 pint of water and simmer for 10 minutes. This water then is to be allowed to cool. Then it is to be strained to remove all the herb pieces. For the actual bath then a quarter of this scented water is to be put into your bath, highlighted with fresh flower petals on top of the bath water. She explains roses and lovage have a cleansing and deodorising effect. For a refreshing effect she recommends to use rosemary and hyssop. For a relaxing effect to use lime flowers and lavender. For a soothing effect use chamomile and lemon balm.
A rose is a woody perennial flowering plant of the genus Rosa, in the family Rosaceae, or the flower it bears. There are over three hundred species and tens of thousands of cultivars. They form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing, or trailing, with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows and reds. Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwestern Africa. Species, cultivars and hybrids are all widely grown for their beauty and often are fragrant. Roses have acquired cultural significance in many societies. Rose plants range in size from compact, miniature roses, to climbers that can reach seven meters in height. Different species hybridize easily, and this has been used in the development of the wide range of garden roses.
The Colosseum, is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, just east of the Roman Forum and is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built, and is still the largest standing amphitheater in the world today, despite its age. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in 72 and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir, Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian. The three emperors that were patrons of the work are known as the Flavian dynasty, and the amphitheatre was named the Flavian Amphitheatre by later classicists and archaeologists for its association with their family name (Flavius).
Rose water is a flavoured water made by steeping rose petals in water. Additionally, it is the hydrosol portion of the distillate of rose petals, a by-product of the production of rose oil for use in perfume. It is used to flavour food, as a component in some cosmetic and medical preparations, and for religious purposes throughout Europe and Asia.
Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils or aroma compounds, fixatives and solvents, usually in liquid form, used to give the human body, animals, food, objects, and living-spaces an agreeable scent.
Viola odorata is a species of flowering plant in the viola family, native to Europe and Asia. This small hardy herbaceous perennial is commonly known as wood violet, sweet violet, English violet, common violet, florist's violet, or garden violet. It has been introduced into North America and Australia.
Geum urbanum, also known as wood avens, herb Bennet, colewort and St. Benedict's herb, is a perennial plant in the rose family (Rosaceae), which grows in shady places in Europe and the Middle East. It is introduced in North America, where it forms natural hybrids with Geum canadense.
The orange blossom is the fragrant flower of the Citrus sinensis. It is used in perfume making, has been written about as an aphrodisiac. It is traditionally associated with good fortune and has been popular in bridal bouquets and head wreaths for weddings. Orange blossom essence is an important component in the making of perfume. The petals of orange blossom can also be made into the delicately scented orange flower water, a common part of both French cuisine and Middle Eastern cuisine.
A pomander, from French pomme d'ambre, i.e., apple of amber, is a ball made for perfumes, such as ambergris, musk, or civet. The pomander was worn or carried in a vase, also known by the same name, as a protection against infection in times of pestilence or merely as a useful article to modify bad smells. The globular cases which contained the pomanders were hung from a neck-chain or belt, or attached to the girdle, and were usually perforated in a variety of openwork techniques, and made of gold or silver. Sometimes they contained several partitions, in each of which was placed a different perfume.
Jasminum sambac is a species of jasmine native to tropical Asia, from the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia. It is cultivated in many places, especially across much of South and Southeast Asia. It is naturalised in many scattered locales: Mauritius, Madagascar, the Maldives, Christmas Island, Chiapas, Central America, southern Florida, the Bahamas, Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the Lesser Antilles.
Herbal distillates, also known as floral waters, hydrosols, hydrolates, herbal waters, and essential waters, are aqueous products of hydrodistillation. They are colloidal suspensions of essential oils as well as water-soluble components obtained by steam distillation or hydrodistillation from plants/herbs. These herbal distillates have uses as flavorings and cosmetics. Popular herbal distillates for skincare include rose water, orange flower water, and witch hazel. Rosemary, oregano and thyme are very popular hydrosols for food production.
The word perfume is used today to describe scented mixtures and is derived from the Latin word, "per fumus," meaning through smoke. The word Perfumery refers to the art of making perfumes. Perfume was further refined by the Romans, the Persians and the Arabs. Although perfume and perfumery also existed in East Asia, much of its fragrances were incense based. The basic ingredients and methods of making perfumes are described by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia.
An Islamic garden is generally an expressive estate of land that includes themes of water and shade. Their most identifiable architectural design reflects the Charbagh quadrilateral layout with four smaller gardens divided by walkways or flowing water. Unlike English gardens, which are often designed for walking, Islamic gardens are intended for rest, reflection, and contemplation. A major focus of the Islamic gardens was to provide a sensory experience, which was accomplished through the use of water and aromatic plants.
Eau de toilette literally translated as toilet water is a lightly scented cologne used as a skin freshener. It is also referred to as "aromatic waters" and has a high alcohol content. It is usually applied directly to the skin after bathing or shaving. It was originally composed of alcohol and various volatile oils. Traditionally these products were named after a principal ingredient; some being geranium water, lavender water, lilac water, violet water, spirit of myrcia and 'eau de Bretfeld'. Because of this, eau de toilette was sometimes referred to as "toilet water".
Ittar, also known as attar, is an essential oil derived from botanical sources. Most commonly these oils are extracted via hydro or steam distillation. The Persian physician Ibn Sina, known as Avicenna in Europe, was first to derive the attar of flowers from distillation. Attar can also be expressed by chemical means but generally natural perfumes which qualify as ittars are distilled with water. The oils are generally distilled into a wood base such as sandalwood and then aged. The aging period can last from one to ten years depending on the botanicals used and the results desired. Technically ittars are distillates of flowers, herbs, spices and other natural materials such as baked soil over sandalwood oil/liquid paraffins using hydrodistillation technique involving a still (deg) and receiving vessel (bhapka). These techniques are still in use today at Kannauj in India.
Nostradamus's Traité des fardemens et confitures, variously entitled Moult utile opuscule... and Le vrai et parfaict embellissement de la face..., was first published in 1555, even though it contained a Proem, or prologue, dated 1552. Clearly the work of an apothecary, it contained recipes for preparing cosmetics and preserves, the latter based largely on sugar, which was controlled at the time by the apothecaries' guilds.
Jasminum officinale, known as the common jasmine or simply jasmine, is a species of flowering plant in the olive family Oleaceae. It is native to the Caucasus, northern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Himalayas, Tajikistan, India, Nepal and western China. The species is also widely cultivated in many places, and is reportedly naturalized in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Algeria, Florida and the West Indies.
A sachet is a small scented cloth bag filled with herbs, potpourri, or aromatic ingredients. A sachet is also a small porous bag or packet containing a material intended to interact with its atmosphere; for example, desiccants are usually packed in sachets which are then placed in larger packages.
Sharbat is an Iranian drink also popular in Turkey, South Asia, Caucasus and the Balkans. It is prepared from fruits or flower petals. It is a sweet cordial, and usually served chilled. It can be served in concentrated form and eaten with a spoon or diluted with water to create the drink. Popular sharbats are made of one or more of the following: basil seeds, rose water, fresh rose petals, sandalwood, bael, hibiscus, lemon, orange, mango, pineapple, falsa and chia seeds.
Spices have been around in conjunction with human use for millennia, with many civilizations in antiquity that have used a variety of spices for their common qualities. The variety of spices were used for common purposes across the ancient world, and they were also used to create a variety of products designed to enhance or suppress certain sensations. Spices were also associated with certain rituals to perpetuate a superstition or fulfill a religious obligation, among other things.
Perfume and Pharmaceutical Officine of Santa Maria Novella, is a luxury apothecary in Florence, Italy, credited with being the oldest pharmacy in the world. The origins of the shop's pharmaceutical products can be traced back to a monastery of the Dominican Order connected to the adjacent Church of Santa Maria Novella, where monks began experimenting with garden plants to create herbal concoctions beginning in 1221. A retail operation was established in Via Reginaldo Giuliani in 1612 by Fra Angiolo Marchissi, becoming famous over the coming centuries for the quality and salubrious benefits of its products, ranging from perfumes, pot pourri and toiletries, to liqueurs, medicinal balms, and foods. It remained in the ownership of the Church of Santa Maria Novella until 1866, when the property was confiscated by the Kingdom of Italy and sold to a private owner. Since the 1990s Santa Maria Novella's retail operations have expanded rapidly to include locations in every major Italian city, and 75 shops throughout the world, in countries including the United States, Panama, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and South Africa.