What Perfume Would She Wear?

But when were the scents developed? And can I use them in my books? What were people in the Regency period actually wearing.
Recently the Floris catalogue has been giving details about its scents and when they were developed.

When I was an all knowing little first grader we had to draw pictures of what we thought smelled good and what we thought smelled bad. My classmates all drew the normal stuff– piles of dog poo and cooked broccoli or whatever else a six-year-old might hate. I drew a bottle of lady’s perfume. I hated it. It was overpowering and stuffy and made my nose itch.

For most of my life I felt that way. I felt like I was being suffocated in a fuzzy, thick smog of scent whenever someone hugged me and I choked on the stuff. It wasn’t until I hit puberty that I wanted to give it a try, but even then I went for Gap’s scents of Grass or Heaven. Sweet, fresh smells that fit a teenager. Never the heavier stuff. And never the iconic scents. No Chanel No. 5 for me!

Not until I became an actual adult did I buy any true perfume. Like most of the cool, elegant things in my life this was inspired by my best friend, who was a year older and a generation wiser and cooler. She’s always had the best taste in things and when I first smelled her Jo Malone Orange Blossom cologne I wanted it in the worst way. But I wanted my own signature scent. So, I went to the department store and tried them out, at last landing on Wild Fig and Cassis, which is a unique, bright and fresh scent that years later still makes me happy. I also bought a darker, velvety scent, Black Vetyver Cafe, for date nights, that makes me think of slinky dresses and cleavage and smoky eyes.

While drafting my current story I wanted a scent for my character that fits the era and also her personality. Jasmine is too exotic for her. Roses too sweet. I didn’t know what else women in the Regency might wear, so I did some searching and came across Michelle Styles’ blog, which was full of both fact and also descriptions so I could imagine the scents for myself. Thank you Michelle! Great post!

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