What I’m working on or Roman Unguents

Roman Unguentarium from The Mini Museum - http://www.theminimuseum.com/
Roman Unguentarium from The Mini Museum – http://www.theminimuseum.com/
DATE: ca. 1st century A.D.

A few weeks ago, I happened across a tweet with this picture included.  The account owner, was Allen from The Mini Museum.

I happened to comment that I thought holding a Roman unguentarium (perfume vial) sounded amazing!  Well one thing lead to another, as it often does with me 😉  He messaged me that he was putting together a historical tour with this piece and maybe I’d be interested in being a recipient of this box of perfume history.  My answer was an emphatic YES OMG!!!

While we were discussing things, I mentioned I’d done research into Roman perfumes, and thought it was fascinating.  I’d even re-created a chypre from a recipe in one of my old perfume texts.  Allen suggested that maybe I should create an unguent to go along with the tour.  Well I love a good research session, and a creative challenge, so of course I said yes 😀

I’ve been researching historical accounts – I’m looking at you Pliny.  Doing a lot of googling.  Before Linnaeus, there was no standard botanical nomenclature.  So it’s been a matter of finding accounts that talk about the ingredients used in these formulas, and finding out sometimes “yes, this is this,” sometimes it’s “we think it’s this, but it could be this,”  or “we know it’s that, but it’s extinct.”  Ingredients were also used, specifically for thickening (I’m not sure why) and coloring.

I’ve gotten a formula down.  I decided to leave OUT the hemlock.  Safety first!  I think it will be something that will be mostly recognizable to a 21st century nose.  But it will be oil based.  Then I will also create a second version that is more 21st century – ala alcohol based.

We’re working hard behind the scenes on this project and look forward to announcing the details very soon….stay tuned. 😀


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