In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett’s mother smells of lemon verbena, and in heaven knows how many other households of the 19th and twentieth centuries other mothers and grandmothers did too. Lemon Verbena in cologne or sachet form was the antidote to sticky, peal your organza blouse off your back summer days below the Mason-Dixon line. Lemon Verbena and iced tea in large Ball jam jar travelers to trek to the post box and back battled thick air and heavy legs.
I grew up as a little girl in Northern Virginia and Maryland where the summers were hot and sticky enough to please any reptile and where the perfume of choice was either White Shoulders or else these antique sachets. Some old timers would even brew their colognes – why not? They also made their own White Lightning, a sore point with the local sheriff who was always trying to track down and close the stills. I get the impression that the stills at least are a continuing phenomenon of rural Southern life in the States.