Scent of the Orange

We usually only see the labels for fragrances once they have been attached to the bottles, which makes this recent acquisition so wonderful. It is an engraved sheet with two apothecary labels for eau de cologne, one for a larger bottle, the other for a smaller bottle. They were printed from a single plate and then cut and pasted on the bottles. These elaborate labels, which probably date from the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century, show two alembics, which were used to distill the alcohol and extract the scent from the flowers.

The fragrance, consisting of distilled alcohol and scent, here make from orange blossoms, is described as “double,” suggesting a less powerful eau de toilette and a more powerful perfume of the same fragrance were also available. According to the label, the orange blossoms used in this fragrance came from an orange grove in the Provencal seaside town of Hyeres. Perhaps this was a local specialty that travelers to the region brought home with them as gifts for family and friends.

One response to “Scent of the Orange”

  1. The design and format of these labels is very similar to that of French “assignats” which were issued in innumerable quantities and designs between 1789 and 1796 by the revolutionary government. ( See article in Wikipedia for a quick description.)

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