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The use and enjoyment of fragrances goes back thousands of years. Certainly the ancient Egyptians, who took great pride in their appearance and cleanliness, used perfumed animal or vegetable oil mixed with powdered lime instead of soap and fragranced oils as protection against the sun and wind. The burning of incense by all civilisations at religious ceremonies may be the root of the word “Perfumery” – Per fumum, the Latin for “through smoke”.

From those rituals of ancient cultures to the diversity of today’s lifestyles, fragrances continue to play a beneficial and purposeful role in adding to the quality of life.

The fragrance industry is a multi-faceted one, with fine fragrances holding a celebrity status within it. The wearing of perfumes and colognes elicits feelings of joy, confidence and a sense of well-being enabling their wearers to create a virtually unforgettable, personal trademark for themselves. A splash of fragrance has the ability to spark cherished memories and a wealth of emotions that can lift spirits, enrich romance and lead to an overall feeling of happiness.

Fragrances highlight the importance of the sense of smell, an often forgotten human attribute that, like sight and hearing, adds a priceless vibrancy to the tapestry of life.

But beyond the exclusiveness of fine fragrances, perfumery is intricately associated with the benefits of other products. Modern day researchers are confirming what the ancient Egyptians knew – fragrances contained in personal and household products, from shampoos and cosmetics to laundry detergents and household cleaners, are synonymous with their perceived quality. Fragrances make clothes smell “clean”, cosmetics “pretty”, and households “well kept”.

Fragrances create a mood. The Egyptians burnt Kyphi to create a certain atmosphere of reverence in their temples. From this religious usage came the concept of using scent in the home. Today the idea persists – consumers look to a fragranced environment to add quality to their lives, enjoying such items as scented candles, fragrance sprays, shower gels and pomades to provide the benefits they seek.

Fragrances, together with the sense of smell, add an invisible colour to everyday life and special occasions, providing an extra dimension which is often taken for granted. A walk outdoors would not be the same without the scent of the trees and the smell of the flowers. A world without fragrances would be comparable to a world without music.

The South African Association of the Flavour & Fragrance Industry