As we are celebrating International Fragrance day on 21 March at Mopani Pharmacy, it makes scents to learn about the history of olfactory bliss, and why you should not miss out on this promotion!

The oldest fragrance

Dr Paolo Rovesti, professor and renowned archaeologist of Milan, found a terracotta distillation item in the 1970’s in a Pakistani research dig. Some oil containers along with it, were confirmed by carbon dating to be around 5000 years old!

The older perfume ‘factory’ however, was discovered in Cyprus, estimated to be around 4000 years old. An Italian research team discovered a large surface, presumably where fragrances and perfumes were made on an industrial standard.

Fragrance throughout history

You would think, that perfume ingredients are much different from what it used to be in ye’ old times. Truthfully, it is not. Yes, we have evolved beyond the most toxic ingredients, however, you would be shocked to know how much of it has remained the same.


Myrrh, cinnamon, cane, and cassia have been mentioned to be in use in the Christian bible, although only priests were allowed to wear the fragrances. 

Muslims were on the forefront of creating perfumes, as they experimented with many ingredients. They would use spices, resins, herbs, woods, musk, flowers and fruits.


To this day, most of these ingredients form the basis of our perfumes today. Can you imagine the jasmine and rose scent on your mother? Perhaps the woodsy smell of your father’s cologne?

Then, came the more modern approach – developed by the Hungarians. Queen Elizabeth of Hungary ordered the first batch of perfume to be dubbed by Europe, Hungary Water, in the early 14th century. This is when aromatic oils were blended with alcohol, to create the first modern perfume.

As people were not particularly keen on regular bathing up until the age of modern plumbing, perfumes were used to cover up their stench. Not to mention, one did not simply go to the store and get some bleach and pine gel. Soaps were mainly made of animal fat and ash, and some essential oils if they were available. Mainly, plain water was used to scrub down homes. No wonder, Queen Elizabeth I demanded perfumes and scented items in every room!


Fragrances of today

Russia became a powerhouse for perfumes, and it even became part of their Planned Economy during the reign of the Soviet Union in the 1930’s. However, today, France is currently the reigning country of some of the most fabulous fragrances we know today.

We have come such a long way – with daily bathing and odourless deodorants, it is not like we actually need to cover up anything with a fragrance… So why do we still wear it? The answer is simple; it still remains one of the very best treats.

Think of how many times you have smelled something – a bakery, gasoline, strawberries, roses, chocolate, mint, a fresh newspaper, the ocean, the smell of a baby’s head, your wet dog or even just… The inside of a new car.

Now think of every memory attached to all of these things. It is powerful stuff, right? It makes you FEEL so many things.

Now imagine your favourite fragrance, how it makes you feel, spritzing it onto your skin, and knowing, you smell as good as you feel?

No, we don’t need fragrance, but we deserve it.

Shop your scent at Mopani in-store or online on the 21st of March and take part of our mystery promotion that can get you up to 50% off!

Read more: Top 10 Trending Fragrances