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Fashion: Perfume

A quick look at the popular fragrances of the Georgian era

No lady or gentleman in the Georgian era is fully dressed without a splash or three of perfume.

Popular fragrances were floral, citrus, sweet, spicy, and musky.

The scents were usually water based or waxed based, although oil and alcohol were increasing in popularity as a base.

Typically, scents were added to bathing water, dabbed onto clothing, or applied directly to the skin. A maid worth her bread would apply a pleasing scent to furnishings as part of the cleansing process, including a dab to the corners of rugs and on the bedlinen and pillows of the family. It was not uncommon to launder with scents, as well, especially rosewater. When the bowl of water made its round about the dining table for the hand washing ritual, it was often scented with citrus or roses.

There was no gendering of scents, so a gentleman may favour rosewater while a lady may favour a musk (perhaps essence of leather!).

For more information, first check out my more extensive research on Scents for the Senses.

Then consider perusing these possible sources, as well:

All Things Georgian: Georgian Perfume

Jane Austen UK: Scent-Sational: Regency Perfume and the Man Who Made It

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