Tag Archives: Eau de Cologne

The Emperor’s New Scent

It was Mrs. Bonaparte, aka Josephine, who turned the general on to scent.  Left to his own devices, Napoleon might have preferred the smell of gunpowder in the morning, but he was besotted by Josephine and perfume was – civilizing.

It is something of a stretch to say that he brought perfume back into fashion.  Those who survived the Terror needed some cheering up, and if that meant champagne and perfume,  so be it.  He certainly did nothing to stop it, as a more dour sort of dictator might have done.  The coast was officially clear, the old royal perfume house of Houbigant returned to Paris, and the good times began to roll once more.

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Real Men Don’t Wear Scent, Part II

So much for the the ancients and ocean travellers.  It happened that post-renaissance landlubbers, no less confident in their machismo, could also be comfortable with perfume.

We’re talking Louis XIV and Louis XV, who, despite the wigs, were no shrinking violets*; they beggared the country with war and jumped women like champions. Perhaps the two were connected.  Women seem to respond to a man in uniform. Continue reading