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From the end of the Grand Siecle, France cultivated a fascination for the East, which culminated in the Enlightenment and the Romantic period.
Eastern scents rapidly seduced the French aristocracy. One of them, agarwood, taken from a mystic wood and more prized than gold, was particularly coveted its introduction by a strange emissary…
At the end of the seventeenth century, the Ottoman Empire excited a real fascination. Orientalist tastes spread and Turkish fashions became established in the French court and in society more broadly. Translations of literary works such as the ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ thus proliferated; turbaned characters began to appear in paintings, in the theatre, in domestic decorations.
Commerce with the East developed with the creation of the French East India Company, established in 1664 by Colbert (controller general of Louis XIV’s finances), to stymie the commercial power of the English and the Dutch.
Vessels set off from the port of Lorient stocked with wines, spirits and precious product of French manufacture. They arrived back eighteen to twenty-two months later, heavily stocked with wood for tinting, porcelain, coffee sacks, cases of tea, cotton fabrics, floral indiennes, silks, spices, medicinal plants and perfumes.
The French East India Company thus contributed to the development of specific markets, such as the perfume market, which began to receive rare essences such as musk, amber, saffron, benzoin resin, patchouli, myrrh, vetiver, sandalwood and agarwood, directly from France, without having to pay the excess charges resulting from purchasing them from Dutch merchants.
Seduced by the oneiric universe displayed with skill and jubilation by Soliman Aga, Parisian society became drunk on the new scents of his distant world.
Among these scents, the heart and flasks of French perfumery were conquered by agarwood essence, considered from the ninth century in the East as one of the most precious essences in perfumery.
Its power to seduce lay in its singular difference to the perfumes used in the court of Louis XIV. But above all, it fascinated with its mythic origins and mystical character.
Mystical agarwood contained the magic and secrets of the wood itself, which intoxicated with its warm and sensual notes directly inspired by the One Thousand and One Nights.
Its perfume - refined and majestic, crude and sophisticated, masculine and feminine, at once beauty and the beast, invited people on a voyage of discovery into the trading posts of the Orient in the Chateau of Versailles.
Agallochon: it is with this name that aloeswood, also known as agarwood, is mentioned for the first time in the West by Dioscoride, in the first century AD. Doctor, pharmacologist and Greek botanist, Dioscoride travelled widely, probably as a doctor in the Roman army, permitting him to collect and classify medicinal plants that he found. His work, Peri hules iatrikes in Greek and De Materia Medica in Latin, was a source of important knowledge and a reference work for vegetal, animal and mineral remedies until the beginning of the sixteenth century.
The Dioscoride of Vienna, or the codex Anicia Juliana, is one of the most ancient Greek manuscripts of Peri hules iatrikes.
Known in Asia under various names, Oud (its name in Arabic) has been used for medicinal, spiritual and aesthetic practices for centuries. It appears in one of the most ancient texts ever written, the Vedas, as well as in the Bible. Several religions, notably Buddhism, burn it during meditation.
Agarwood essence is obtained by distillation of the tree’s resin.
Agarwood is rare and widely sought-after. One tree provides 32ml of essence on average. It is for this reason that its price is higher than the price of gold.
Head notes : Rose, orange, bergamot, davana
Heart notes: Saffron, peony, rose, geranium, clove, oud
Base notes : Vanilla, benzoin, vetiver, castoreum, amber, patchouli, sandalwood, myrrh, oak moss
|Concentration :||Eau de parfum|
|Capacity :||100 ml|
|Place of production :||France|
|Publisher of the Fragrance of Art :||HISTORIAE, Manufacture of Perfumes of Art and History|
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