Explore the dirty secret of the streets of ancient Rome and discover Capua - the perfume capital.

The streets of Ancient Rome were an intensely sensory riot of colour and sound, a hive of commerce and bustle, vibrant, noisy – and very smelly. Without a public refuse collection Rome’s streets would have stunk of rotting refuse from busy fish, meat and vegetable markets; the human stench of sweaty gymnasiums and public toilets and sewers; and possibly the foul malodour of death creeping from the Colosseum.Roman pillars

Which goes a long way to explaining the Roman’s obsession with scent. The Romans were enthusiastic connoisseurs with an obsession for luxury goods, but smelling good was not just a folly for the Romans, scent was a symbol of social position, health, wealth and godliness. 

“The pleasure of perfume is among the most elegant and also most honourable enjoyments in life” Pliny

Incense, unguents, toilet waters and powders were heavily used by wealthy men and women, using precious ingredients collected across the empire. They burned incense in their temples and houses, smeared oils and unguents on their bodies, bathed in scented pools and waters, rubbed and poured scented oils and balms for health and wellbeing, to relieve fever, indigestion, heart problems and hangovers. 

Capua was the spiritual and commercial epicentre of ancient Rome’s perfume industry. Ingredients collected across the empire from flowers, herbs and spices, vegetable and nut oils, animal-derived ingredients such as musk and ambergris were blended by perfumers in the city and bought and sold in Seplasia, Capua’s most prominent perfume market.

Perfumare – Latin meaning “to smoke through”

Rome’s perfume capital provided rich inspiration for one of the fragrances in our NERO Collection. Seductive and spicy, this smoky cedar scent uses rare and exotic ingredients gathered across the Silk Road from west to east. 

Capua by Electimuss is an intense and smoky cedar at heart, with light medicinal top notes of elemi resin supported by the lingering depth and warmth of amber and cashmeran. It is seductive, nuanced and intense, with a confident projection, sillage and longevity. Discover more and SHOP the scent.

Electimuss roundel

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