By our standards, people of the Middle Ages had a limited set of ingredients to choose from when they concocted perfume. However, they were supremely inventive and some of their ideas were downright ingenious! All of their ingredients were natural and I am sure we would consider them organic as well. It might be instructive to consider what they did not have to use (or were in Very short supply), and to think of how much we would miss a world without these scents:
- Modern Musks
- Floral Aldehydes
- Clove and Cinnamon
- Resins (Frankincense & Myrrh)
The list above contains some of the best loved fixatives and basenotes. Of course there were others which grew in the forests of Western Europe, but things like patchouli came from the East and travel back and forth in trade was slow, expensive, and highly risky.
So what did these folk do for fixatives before 1400? I will reveal that later, so stay tuned.