The Fascinating History of Fragrance – Who Invented it & What is the Most Expensive Scent?

Fragrances have possessed the human senses for millennia, evoking emotions and memories – even transporting us to different eras. The history of perfume is as rich and intricate as the scents themselves, stretching from ancient rituals to modern luxury. 

If you’ve ever wondered who invented perfume or what the most expensive scents in the world are, this article has you covered. Read on as we uncover the fascinating origins of fragrance and explore the opulent world of high-end perfumes. From ancient Egypt to modern times, What is the real story of scent? 

The history of perfume

Who Invented Perfume? The Origins of Manufactured Scents

The history of perfume is a captivating story of ancient herbs to complex notes, bringing us to our current day’s $48 billion industry filled with every kind of scent you can think of.

But how did it start? And who was the official inventor of perfume? Let’s dive into the brief history of perfume to find out:

Ancient Beginnings

The use of fragrances dates back to some of the earliest human civilizations. In Mesopotamia, around 4000 BC, people used natural resources like flowers, herbs and resins to create aromatic concoctions. These initial perfumes were typically used in religious ceremonies to honour the gods. Interestingly, in the Indus Valley, archaeological findings suggest that perfumes were used in personal grooming and religious practices.

Egyptian Innovations

Ancient Egypt is often credited with refining the art of perfumery. Egyptians used perfumes in daily life and religious and burial ceremonies. Famous figures like Cleopatra and Nefertiti were known for their love of exotic scent, with one of Cleopatra’s favourite perfumes being called Mendesian, a sweet, spicy and slightly musky fragrance. In fact, Egyptians were exceptionally skilled in extracting oils from plants through a process called enfleurage, where flowers and herbs were soaked in fat or oil to absorb their fragrance. Myrrh, frankincense and lotus blossom were some of the luscious ingredients used to create their perfumes.

The Greek and Roman Influence

The Greeks and Romans are well known for their extensive bathing and grooming rituals — and perfumery was a welcomed addition to their luxury living. It was the Greeks who started the practice of wearing perfumes on the body, while the Romans developed sophisticated methods of extracting scents, such as maceration and distillation. Eventually, perfumes became so widespread in Roman society that it was considered a mark of status and wealth.

Medieval and Renaissance Perfumes

The fall of the Roman Empire saw a decline in the art of perfumery in Europe. However, the Crusades played a role in reviving interest in fragrances and exotic spices from the East. By the Renaissance, Italy and France had become centres of perfume production. Italian perfumers refined their techniques while French royalty popularised the use of perfumes. The French court, particularly under Louis XIV, became known for its elaborate and extravagant scents, setting the stage for France’s dominance in the perfume industry.

So, as we can see, historians can’t truly pin down the inventor of perfume, but through centuries of study and archaeology, we know the Mesopotamians were experimenting with fragrance, but it could have spanned to earlier civilizations before that time. 

[H2] The Evolution of Perfumery

The Birth of Modern Perfume

The history of perfume includes the transition from ancient to modern perfumery which was significantly influenced by the Arab world. The Persian polymath Avicenna made a groundbreaking contribution to the field in the 10th century with the development of steam distillation, a technique allowing for the extraction of essential oils from flowers. This method produced purer, more potent fragrances and set the stage for modern perfumery. They also introduced new raw materials like jasmine and citrus, expanding the perfumer’s palette.

The French Dominance

By the 17th and 18th centuries, France was the epicentre of the perfume industry. The town of Grasse, with its ideal climate for growing aromatic plants, became the hub for raw material production. French perfumers honed their craft, creating complex and sophisticated scents. The court of Louis XV, known as the ‘Perfumed Court‘ was particularly influential in popularising perfumes. This period also saw the emergence of renowned perfume houses like Guerlain, founded in 1828, that helped shape modern perfumery.

The 20th Century and Beyond

The 20th century marked a significant evolution in perfumery with the introduction of synthetic ingredients. These new compounds allowed perfumers to create previously impossible scents, expanding the creative possibilities of the craft. The era also saw the rise of iconic perfumes such as Chanel No. 5, introduced in 1921, which became a symbol of modern femininity and luxury. Marketing and branding became crucial components of the perfume industry, with celebrity endorsements and glamorous advertising campaigns driving sales. Notable perfume houses like Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Estée Lauder emerged, each contributing unique fragrances and all standing the test of time.

What is the Most Expensive Perfume in the World?

Luxury perfumes have several factors contributing to their high cost. Rare and high-quality ingredients, such as oud, ambergris and exotic flowers are often used in their creation. These ingredients are not only expensive to source but also require skilled artisans to blend them into harmonious compositions. Plus, the most expensive perfumes often come in limited editions with exquisite packaging, such as hand-crafted bottles adorned with precious stones and metals. This exclusivity and craftsmanship make these perfumes coveted items for collectors and scent connoisseurs.

Top 5 Most Expensive Perfumes




Description: A blend of Indian agarwood, sandalwood, musk, Turkish rose and several other high-end ingredients, Shumukh is crafted by The Spirit of Dubai.

Price: $1.29 million.

Unique Features: The perfume bottle stands over 3 feet tall and is adorned with 3,571 diamonds, pearls and topaz. It is set in a base of 18-carat gold and pure silver.


DKNY Golden Delicious Million Dollar Fragrance Bottle


Description – Created by DKNY in collaboration with jewellery designer Martin Katz, this perfume combines the scent of apples, roses and sandalwood.

Price – $1 million for the unique bottle.

Unique Features – The bottle is encrusted with 2,909 precious stones, including diamonds, sapphires and rubies, arranged to depict the New York City skyline.


Clive Christian No. 1 Imperial Majesty


Description: Known as the ‘world’s most expensive perfume‘ Clive Christian No. 1 Imperial Majesty is a blend of rare and luxurious ingredients like Tahitian vanilla, ylang-ylang and sandalwood.

Price: Approximately $12,722 per ounce.

Unique Features: The bottle is crafted from Baccarat crystal and adorned with a 5-carat diamond and an 18-carat gold collar.


Baccarat Les Larmes Sacrées de Thebes


Description – This limited-edition fragrance by Baccarat features myrrh and frankincense, reminiscent of ancient Egyptian scents.

Price – Approximately $6,800 per ounce.

Unique Features – The bottle is made of Baccarat crystal in the shape of a pyramid, symbolising the luxury and mystique of ancient Egypt.


Chanel Grand Extrait


Description – An exclusive version of the classic Chanel No. 5, this fragrance combines May rose, jasmine and vanilla.

Price – Approximately $4,200 per ounce.

Unique Features – The perfume is presented in a minimalist yet elegant bottle that reflects the timeless nature of Chanel’s design philosophy.

Louis Vuitton Ombre Nomade Dupe

The Luxury Experience

These scents are made with rare ingredients and last a long time on your skin. Each perfume has layers of fragrance that reveal themselves over time, making the experience special and unique.

However, luxury perfumes can be very expensive. That’s why expensive perfume dupes are a great alternative. Dupes are inspired by high-end fragrances and smell very similar but cost much less. They let you enjoy the luxury experience without spending a lot of money. Our collection of dupe perfumes captures the essence of some of the world’s most famous scents, making them affordable for everyone.

With our dupes, you can enjoy the beautiful and complex aromas of luxury perfumes without breaking the bank. You can try different scents and find your favourite without worrying about the cost. 

Making Our Own Perfumes

As the history of perfume unfolded, there came a time when individuals attempted to create their very own perfume scents, using flowers and plants from gardens and fruit from the kitchen. This is a tradition that has carried on throughout the centuries, making it a super fun activity for young children and perfume enthusiasts. 

The Egyptians and DIY Perfume

DIY perfume is an ancient practice and In the early days of perfumery, the process was largely experimental and heavily reliant on locally available resources. Here are some historical methods and ingredients used:

  • Egyptian enfleurage – The Egyptians perfected a technique known as enfleurage, where flowers were layered between sheets of fat to absorb their fragrance, allowing them to create rich, aromatic oils.
  • Greek and Roman infusions – The Greeks and Romans would steep flowers, herbs and spices in oils and wine to create scented balms and perfumes. 
  • Medieval distillation – During the Middle Ages, the process of distillation was refined by Arab scholars, making it possible to extract pure essential oils from plants. This method spread to Europe, where alchemists and early perfumers used it to create more complex fragrances.


Check out our blog to learn more about DIY perfume today.

Affordable Luxury at Your Fingertips

The history of perfume is marked by creativity, artistry and the quest for the perfect scent. And while some luxury perfumes come with a hefty price tag, there are accessible alternatives that allow you to enjoy these exquisite scents without compromising on quality.

Explore our vegan inspired perfume to discover a curated selection of high-quality fragrances, including affordable dupe options inspired by luxury scents. Start your fragrance journey with us today and find the perfect scent that resonates with you.


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