Perfume (UK /ˈpɜːr.fjuːm/ US /pərˈfjuːm/; French: parfum) is a mixture of fragrant essential oils or aroma compounds, fixatives and solvents, used to give the human body, animals, food, objects, and living-spaces “a pleasant scent”.
Ancient texts and archaeological excavations show the use of perfumes in some of the earliest human civilizations. Modern perfumery began in the late 19th century with the commercial synthesis of aroma compounds such as vanillin or coumarin, which allowed for the composition of perfumes with smells previously unattainable solely from natural aromatics alone.
The word perfume derives from the Latin perfumare, meaning “to smoke through”. Perfumery, as the art of making perfumes, began in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, and was further refined by the Romans and Persians.
The world’s first-recorded chemist is considered[by whom?] a woman named Tapputi, a perfume maker mentioned in a cuneiform tablet from the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamia. She distilled flowers, oil, and calamus with other aromatics, then filtered and put them back in the still several times.
In India, perfume and perfumery existed in the Indus civilization (3300 BC – 1300 BC). One of the earliest distillations of Ittar was mentioned in the Hindu Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita.
In 2004 – 2005 archaeologists uncovered what are believed[by whom?] to be the world’s oldest surviving perfumes in Pyrgos, Cyprus. The perfumes date back more than 4,000 years. They were discovered in an ancient perfumery, a 4,000-square-meter (43,000 sq ft) factory housing at least 60 stills, mixing bowls, funnels, and perfume bottles. In ancient times people used herbs and spices, such as almond, coriander, myrtle, conifer resin, and bergamot, as well as flowers