Getting people to spend a small fortune on a fancy bottle containing perfumed water? That makes scents...
The exact origins of making ourselves smell better are unknown, and possibly just as well - given the ingredients available to our more primitive ancestors, a bottle of Eau de Mammoth Dung probably wouldn't be much better than wearing none. We do know, however, that bottles of scent have been produced since at least the fourteenth century - just the thing to cover the stench of decaying plague victims, it was an instant hit and has been going strong ever since.
Originally a fashion accessory for the wealthy, today a plethora of perfumes greets the eager noses of the consumer. Floral fragrances stand alongside all manner of concoctions that claim to attract the opposite sex or, in some cases, make them hungry.
The principle ingredients of any successful perfume are water and alcohol. As water is well known for its lack of smelliness, a pot pourri of ingredients are added to the water to make up for this deficiency. Essences derived from flowers, fruit and other plant extracts, but synthetic ingredients are quite common too as a cheaper alternative.
The principle ingredients of an unsuccessful perfume are too numerous to list. Chanel No5 is so named because the first four attempts were an effort to identify and avoid them.
This one, which we're selling at $99 a bottle.
Just kidding. It's $129 a bottle.
But seriously - everyone is different, and your body chemistry is unique to you. Some scents will work for you, some will not, and the only way to find out is to try several and see what happens. More, ask someone of the opposite sex - or the same sex, if that's what you're after - what they think of it. What smells okay to you may be broadcasting "keep away!" messages to everyone around you.
And if your work colleagues pass out around you, definitely consider a different cologne.