The making of perfume is almost as old as human agriculture. A perfume-making operation dating to around 4000 BCE was unearthed on the island of Cyprus in 2005, which is when humans were still in the Bronze Age. The Indus Valley civilization produced perfumes a few hundred years later, and Babylon in 1200 BCE. It was the Islamic world, however, that perfected the techniques for extracting and preserving scents, as well as cultivating the plants used in scent production. These techniques passed into Europe with their trade.
Large-scale commercial perfume manufacturing began in the early 20th century as knowledge of chemistry increased. The most familiar scents dating from this time are Chanel’s timeless Chanel No. 5. and Coty’s Emeraude. Emeraude was perhaps a turning point. Before it, scents had not-too-appealing names like Jicky, Jocky Club, and English Fern; after it, more romantic and fantastical monikers took the stage, like My Sin, Shalimar, Joy, and Tabu. In the modern age anything goes, from the femme fatale implications of Opium and Poison to the more innocent Love’s Baby Soft, marketed to high school girls.
In case you need a made-up perfume, here’s some random generated ones.
My Secret Acrobat