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A history of fragrances

Institut for Interkulturel Kommunikation og Ledelse
Copenhagen Business School
Porcelænshaven 7 (Rosenvilla), Frederiksberg, DK-2000, Denmark


While we think of fragrance primarily in terms ofmodern perfumes, smell itself is a crucial component in themake-up of our social and cultural world. It is used todiscriminate between gods and humans, men and women,high and low classes, and different races. Old habits diehard. The practice of burning incense in ancient China isreplicated in the practice of letting smoke inform the worldthat a new Pope has been selected; modern perfumeadvertising promises repeat performances of Cleopatra’sseduction of Mark Antony by means of fragrant oils. Thisarticle looks at the role of famous people in the formation ofthe history of fragrances.