#5 Lavender, historical "perfume and language”

Nature has forged in humans the only sense that never sleeps: the sense of smell.

It is naturally that perfume has become an ancestral language capable of establishing links with others or even building trust. As an emotional antenna, our nose (our body in fact) receives and selects scents and by identifying them will feel olfactory pleasure.

The history of lavender begins a long time ago, well before the Romans...

It is in Egypt that the natural perfume draws its origins, more than 4.200 years ago.

Lavender was precious and used for medicine, and the quality of its perfume. Already its "fresh and pure" scent was different from other more heady perfumes. The Assyrians, brought it back to the gardens of Semiramis of Babylon, to use it in olfactory ornaments but also in powder and oil.

In turn, the Greeks venerated lavender and used it for its many virtues, mythical or real. Finally, the Romans perpetuated their knowledge of lavender, including the medicinal one of "cleaning" wounds or scratches on their exposed legs, but also for its relaxing benefits in restorative massages. Its "fresh" perfume is gradually imposed.

Pliny the Elder listed 27 varieties, but there are still many to be discovered.

In the Middle Ages, the art of perfume progressed and throughout Europe a real craze spread. In France, from the 11th century onwards, it is first of all the medical power that is sought after, it is necessary to smell good to appear "healthy". It is in Montpellier then in Provence, that the best varieties of lavender are studied. We learn from other civilizations through the centuries, both on the veils or perfumes, and all these worlds will become under Louis XIV the "French luxury". Lavender still has an exceptional place, it is the only one to be "perfume plant, medicinal plant, and aromatic plant" at the same time. Fashionable perfumes became "Mediterranean", and even the first perfume in Europe, "Eau de la Reine de Hongrie" was sublimated with lavender at the Court of Versailles. The fabulous and virtuous lavender will become more and more popular...

Later, Grasse will become the world capital of perfumes. The lavenders of Provence will then reveal to the whole world their soil and perfumes of exceptions.

The natural and very generous hybrid lavandin is discovered in Provence, more recently in 1925.

It is due to the bees, which carry the pollen from one species to another and which only meet at a common and intermediate altitude. Indeed, it is between the sea and the mountains that the subtle crossing between lavender latifolia & lavender angustifolia takes place.

Today, (already almost 20 years), we honor these lavenders and lavandins in their exceptional setting "the Heart of Lavender" whose name often varies with the shape, or the region.

Since the dawn of time, humans have offered pure scents as a sign of homage or welcome, it is a noble gesture.

Also, I have the feeling that everything remains to be done!

Philippe

Read more soon...

note: The writing of my first book will soon be completed and finally available

Source : APAL - Lavender PDO


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