The Fragrant Road - Ancient Egypt

The Fragrant Road -  Ancient Egypt


O&G is on a quest to discover interesting stories and facts about ancient cultures that hold true, today. The art of perfumery dates back thousands of years, to the oldest civilisations.

A Culture of Plenty

The fertile soil around the banks of the Nile River brought prosperity and abundance to its inhabitants, which is where the name "Land of Plenty" is derived.

In a way, the name reflects the Egyptians' attitude to personal adornment and wellbeing. Perhaps, the N. African heat had something to do with experimentation techniques that have contributed to the knowledge we have today.

Perhaps, they were simply a highly refined culture that placed high precedence on smelling good! Perhaps, both! Let's find out...

Aromatherapy Existed Thousands of Years Ago

The Egyptians placed great value on their societal standing, particularly in the spheres of healing, cosmetics and lifestyle.

They discovered, and incorporated the beneficial properties of essences and fragrances into their daily lives. The first recorded use of aromatherapy dates back to the 35th century BC, and has been ever present in our world since this time in history.  

The Ancient Egyptians are regarded by many as the founders of the holistic art of incorporating essential oils and perfumes into their society. Their belief that the body could not be separated from the spirit or mind, led to the obsessive search for immortality, which consequently aided in the development of today's favourite fragrances and cosmetics.

How Fragrance Influenced Spirituality

In ancient Egypt, natural oils and scents were vital to spiritual ceremonies, where communing with the gods was an essential practice. 

Aromatic woods were burnt, as it was believed that the smoke would not only decontaminate the air appropriately for sacrifices, but also raise prayers and desires to the heavens, where the deities could best authorize the aspirations of their worshippers. 

During the 3rd Dynasty, mummification was advanced through the process of embalming, which involved rubbing the dead with cedarwood oil. This method of preservation was also used on scrolls for longevity.  

Such was the importance of aromatherapy in the culture.

The art of perfume was guarded by its own celestial being: Nefertem, who was adorned with lily blossoms as his crown and was also closely associated with other popular flowers of the time, such as cornflowers and geraniums. 

This god was most famed for his association to the blue lotus flower - the very symbol of creation and the most iconic in Egyptian mythology, which he was reputed to have smelled of.

The Influence of the God of Beauty

Is it any surprise that Nefertem was also titled, “He Who is Beautiful”?

The Egyptians were the first to extract the essences of flowers. They used the extracted perfume as a staple in the beauty regimen of both women and men.  

Physical neglect and failure to adhere to strict personal hygiene practices indicated a lack of sanctified spirituality, propelling beautification as a pre-requisite across all classes…to the extent that no other nation had seen before. 

Daily oiling of the body to moisturize skin, in the form of salves and pastes, was so common that it was even used as a currency and wage system, from the highest to lowest members of society.

Beauty and Healing as Twin Functions

Nefertem didn't just rule over perfumery alone; he was also the God of Healing, with a devout following particularly in the Lower Egyptian Old Kingdom capital, Memphis.  

The connection between health and essential oils had a clear path in the ancient Egyptian mind, and both mental and physical illnesses were treated with herbal mixtures and poultices that included myrrh, mint, cedar and aniseed. 

Some species of leaves were used for antibacterial purposes and the burning of aromatic substances was believed to uplift the mind and remedy illnesses.

From these ancient references, it’s apparent that the Egyptians placed a high value on the use of aromatherapeutic rituals and rites.

Explore: Signet

A symbol of personal expression and a mark of sentimentality, O&G have refined a blend that takes us back to the Seal of the Pharaohs.

Dessert-like notes of honey flower and orange stir at heart notes – a blend of languid leather, boozy bourbon and vanilla-esque tonka bean linger over a veiled base enriched with supple hints of tobacco and the woodiness of sandalwood.

Expect to feel: Sensual, yet freshened. layered textures provide a sense of comfort.

Perfect for: Everyday wellness. Breathe new life into your day, reawaken zest and clear the mind

O&G - Our Relationship With a Fascinating Past

As we travel to explore fertile grounds beyond, we’ll trace the history of fragrance, essence and perfumery through the ancient kingdoms and their peculiar relationship with the power of scent - to modern times.

You'll be surprised how much we share in common with them.

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