Clive Christian’s No. 1 Perfume

By Christopher Zoukis

Perfume has been around a long time.  The oldest written record of perfume comes from Assyro-Babylonian texts of around 1800 BC.  The perfume was called qanu tabu.  Canaanite texts from Ugarit, circa 1400 BC, speak of a perfume designated smn mr – a liquid myrrh.  The Egyptian queen Hatshepsut had ‘white’ trees brought to Egypt around 1490 BC.  From these ‘white’ trees, her perfumers made frankincense, which was the “perfume that deifies.”  To the ancient Egyptians, perfume was the medium for wafting the soul to heaven and for putting demons and evil spirits to flight.  Image courtesy www.nathanbranch.com

In the 1880s, Crown Perfumery produced a delightful fragrance distinguished by the image of Queen Victoria’s crown on the bottle.  The crown was meant to convey British superiority. 

Perfume fit for a queen is still around.  Clive Christian has resurrected the concept of ‘divine essence.’  Just in case you don’t know who he is, Clive Christian is a British designer whose claim to fame resides in his designer kitchens and his perfume – called simply No. 1 – which is the world’s most expensive perfume.  According to British tabloids, Christian is a fan of the hit television show The Office, to which he is so devoted that he owns an exact replica of the green fisherman sweater from The Office episode ‘The Boat,’ where Andy buys a sweater from a red head on a boat. 

Read More


Passion and Fragrance

By Roja Dove

Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis

Perfume has been around a long time.  The oldest written record of perfume comes from Assyro-Babylonian texts of around 1800 BC.  The perfume was called qanu tabu.  Canaanite texts from Ugarit, circa 1400 BC, speak of a perfume designated smn mr – a liquid myrrh.  The Egyptian queen Hatshepsut had ‘white’ trees brought to Egypt around 1490 BC.  From these ‘white’ trees, her perfumers made frankincense, which was the “perfume that deifies.”  To the ancient Egyptians, perfume was the medium for wafting the soul to heaven and for putting demons and evil spirits to flight.  Image courtesy kinnelonconserves.net

Making perfume is part science, part art, and part passion.  In his book – The Essence of Perfume – Roja Dove relates how these three seemingly incompatible parts come together to form a fragrance.  And the book is as magical as its subject matter.

After providing a brief overview of perfume, Dove moves on to the birth of modern perfumery, which occurred in 1832.  That was when J. Mero et Boyveau began using solvent extraction techniques to produce essential oils.  This, along with the discovery of synthetic materials, “was the perfumery equivalent of the big bang.”

‘Methods of Extraction’ is the title of Dove’s third chapter.  Essentially, this is the scientific portion of perfumery.  In it, he explains steam distillation, solvent extraction, expression, enfleurage, and tinctures.  And he does so in very simple and very clear language.  It’s so beautifully done that it boggles the mind.  Only a writer of vast expertise could accomplish such a task. 

Read More