Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils and/or aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents used to give the human body, animals, objects, and living spaces a pleasant scent. The odoriferous compounds that make up a perfume can be manufactured synthetically or extracted from plant or animal sources. Perfumes have been known to exist in some of the earliest human civilizations either through ancient texts or from archaeological digs. Modern perfumery began in the late 19th century with the commercial synthesis of aroma compounds which allowed for the composition of perfumes with smells previously unattainable solely from natural aromatics alone.
- In virtue, nothing earthly could surpass her,
Save thine "incomparable oil," Macassar!
- And the ripe harvest of the new-mown hay
Gives it a sweet and wholesome odour.
- Colley Cibber, Richard III (Altered) (1700), Act V, scene 3, line 44.
- I cannot talk with civet in the room,
A fine puss gentleman that's all perfume.
- William Cowper, Conversation (1782), line 283.
- Soft carpet-knights all scenting musk and amber.
- Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas, Divine Weekes and Workes (1578), Third Day, Part I.
- And ever since then, when the clock strikes two,
She walks unbidden from room to room,
And the air is filled that she passes through
With a subtle, sad perfume.
The delicate odor of mignonette,
The ghost of a dead and gone bouquet,
Is all that tells of her story—yet
Could she think of a sweeter way?
- Look not for musk in a dog's kennel.
- George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651).
- A stream of rich distill'd perfumes.
- John Milton, Comus (1634), 556.
- Sabean odours from the spicy shore
Of Arabie the blest.
- And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
- Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (1712, revised 1714 and 1717), Canto I, line 134.
- And all your courtly civet cats can vent
Perfume to you, to me is excrement.
- Alexander Pope, Epilogue to the Satires, Dialogue II, line 188; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 593-94.
- So perfumed that
The winds were love-sick.
- From the barge
A strange invisible perfume hits the sense
Of the adjacent wharfs.
- Hast thou not learn'd me how
To make perfumes? distil? preserve? yea, so
That our great king himself doth woo me oft
For my confections?
- The perfumed tincture of the roses.
- William Shakespeare, Sonnet LIV (c. 1590-1595).
- Take your paper, too,
And let me have them very well perfumed,
For she is sweeter than perfume itself
To whom they go to.
- Perfume for a lady's chamber.