It is believed that the first time mankind used numbers was around 30000 years B.C. From that time there were found bones and artifacts with bars carved in them and these can be considered as first attempts of counting. Using just bars for counting would be very impractical for high numbers. In ancient Mesopotamia, 3400 years B.C the first numerical system basing on number 60 was developed. The oldest 10-based positional system dates for around 3100 years B.C and comes from Egypt. More or less it was a prototype of the counting system we use nowadays.
Fragrance was an integral part of life ever since the creation of a human. In ancient Egypt, even when the empire was starting to fall down, the city of Alexandria was still one of the most important and well prospering place, partially due to the fact that many perfumers and alchemists lived there. Egyptians used perfumes mostly for spiritual and religious rituals but that wasn’t the only way to use them. The art of perfumery was passed from Egypt to Greece where it was further developed. Greeks became perfume experts; they imported materials from Africa and the East.
To Greeks, perfume was a sacred object, they even believed that fights between gods result in creating different fragrances. Perfume was also used in medicine and hygiene at that time. Rome was another empire that learned the value of scent. They used them in public baths to pamper their bodies. Not only they used perfumes, room aromas, oils & hair balms were also in fashion.
Perfume and numbers, the object of imagination and science, these two old elements had to meet one day and combine. As a result we obtained the perfume creation that bears a number as a part of its name. The oldest one I can think of right now is 4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser produced by Mäurer & Wirtz in 1799 at the latest (probably much earlier). Then there is of course the iconic Chanel No. 5 introduced in 1921, No. 22 from 1922 (or 1928 as some suggest) and No. 19 from 1971.
Perfume and numbers became one, they entwined making a nice combination. The trend continues until these days. You don’t really need to think much and you’d probably be able to name at least 5 brands, be it mainstream or niche, that use numbers in names of their perfumes. In this bandwagon we have Parfumerie Generale, Andy Tauer Perfumes, Le Labo, Prada exclusives, Les Heures de Cartier, L’Artisan Parfumeur Mon Numero series. Histoires de Parfums and Pozzo di Borgo both use numbers in form of dates as perfume names.
Moving on… The question for this weekend poll is – what is your favorite perfume with number? In case you find it difficult to name just one, you can give up to 3 perfume names. My answer would be Histoires de Parfums 1725 and Carner Barcelona D600. These are the two numbered scents that I have in my collection. But I also have a lot of respect towards 04 Reverie au Jardin from Andy Tauer or Les Exclusifs de Chanel 28 La Pausa – which would be mine if it was longer lasting.
I’m curious to learn about your favorite scents from this category. Do tell!