Shopping for Scents

The wearing of scents was first introduced into England through barber shops, which also sold wigs and the scented powders used on them. Juan Famenias Floris, a Spaniard from Minorca, first opened a barber shop in London's fashionable quarter of St. James's in 1730. He soon began making the scents of his homeland for clients in a refreshing alcohol base. This portion of his business was so successful that he changed his business to a perfume shop where he created toilet waters of jasmine, orange blossom, and 'Lavender', the fragrance that made him famous and which still can be bought today. Toilet water is a scented liquid with a high alcohol content used in bathing or applied as a skin freshener. Floris has been a perfumer to royalty for eight generations. Today Floris holds royal warrants to supply Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. The elegant Floris shop is still at its original address in No. 89 Jermyn Street.

Women would put sponges moistened with fragrances under their clothes to cover up body odors because deodorant did not yet exist. By the 18th century, all of Europe had become obsessed with fragrances. Noble women created their own personal fragrances by experimenting with different aromas. With the discovery and exploration of the Americas, new scents came to Europe. Balsam of Peru and American cedar, sassafras, and vanilla toilet waters, colognes, and perfumes were introduced into the European scent market.




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