Hungary Waters: comparing a perfume across centuries

A photo I took last winter at the Chicago Art Institute.  These are Byzantine cosmetics bottles, 10th-12th centuries.

A photo I took last winter at the Chicago Art Institute. These are Byzantine cosmetics bottles, 10th-12th centuries.

This entire summer started with a simple, distilled perfume made from dried rosemary (see previous post) As I mentioned earlier in my blog, Queen of Hungary water started as a simple perfume in the 13th century and it eventually ended up as a complex Victorian scent with dozens of ingredients.  Last week I shared the recipe for a Queen of Hungary water from 1570 (see previous post).  I assembled the ingredients and did the waiting.  Tonight I opened up the jar and finished the perfume.  

The result was heavenly.  You can smell the spicy scent of the rosemary, with hints of cinnamon, mace, and sage.  I think this is my new favorite.  

Queen of Hungary Water, the 1570 version from The Goode Housewife’s Jewell

image  I had a great time at Pennsic teaching, sharing and buying new herbals.  This week’s entry is from a new herbal I acquired called The Goode Housewife’s Jewell by Thomas Dawson.  It was originally published in 1570.   It is for “Rosemary Water” which is really a fancier version of a previous perfume called Queen of Hungary Water.  It’s made much like my earlier perfumes.   To the dried rosemary, you add 1 tsp of cloves, 1/2 tsp of anise seed, 1 tsp of mace (you can substitute nutmeg) and a sprig of fresh sage.  I added a tiny bit of rosewater and topped off my 4 oz. jar with cheap vodka.  Now we seal, label and wait two weeks.  It will be interesting to compare the two scents and see how it evolved over two centuries.