In one of my old posts I have already expressed my opinion that a fragrance is alike the time machine, able to return our emotions, memories, the past life. And, for sure, as a great perfume amateur I could not help getting curious to learn what scent His Majesty prefered. The reply to this search was simple: Florentine Iris oil.
Strangely enough France of that time did not know perfume making yet, so oils were exported from Italy,India or Arabic countries. Besides Louis XIV got precious oils as gifts from China, a mysterious land he was fortifying the diplomatic relationship with. In fact, the vogue à-la Chinoise lasted at the Court for a long period of time. Everybody tried to get something Chinese: from morning sets of garments to porcelain or more sophisticated things.
Scents used in the 17th century were high concentrated essential oils. Their base was olive oil or another liquid one. All of them were mono-fragrances. Iris, having the Royal symbol, fitted to the king, however it did not mean that he was the only one allowed to use it. It is also known that Louis XIV used some Indian oil as antiseptic on any necessary occasion. I suppose that it might be sandal or jasmine, so popular in India & so precious in the 17th century. While courtiers prefered citrus notes as bergamot or lemon, rose, orange flower, verbena, rosemary, amber, frankincense . Lavender used for cleaning premises & keeping insects away, so people did not use it for personal care.
I believe that now, veiled with the noble iris, the real Louis XIV’s image might be almost completed. I say almost…as there are still so many wonders to discover regarding his great time & personality. His anniversary celebration I began last year is coming to the end, so I wished to make last posts more vivid, close to life. There is even something enigmatic in the idea: “Open the bottle of perfume & you will comprehend who Louis XIV is”. And no matter how many centuries have already passed, until there is iris in the Universe it is possible. 🙂
Vive le Roy! 🙂
PS: My post about parfums & memories, if it might be curious for you, my Esteemed Readers: https://eternamenta.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/scented-magic-of-a-moment/