By Michelyn Camen


According to mythology dating back to 2600 BCE, Nefertem, was the Egyptian god of Perfumers, who created unguents and incense for the gods, pharaohs, and priests. “Neffy” was known as the defender of the two lands, (Egypt: the fertile Nile valley and the vast desert) and was depicted wearing a lotus blossom wreath upon on his lion like head

Since ancient Egyptian cities were stinky, smelly places by our standards…no toilets, rotting animal carcasses, and body odor emanating from sweaty unwashed laborers schlepping huge blocks of stones to build the pyramids; its no wonder that the Egyptian people clamored for sweet smelling flowery and savory aromatic scents. Lotus, Nectar, Cinnamon, Jasmine, Willow and Musk oils were favorites.


Beauty News has put together our favorite Modern Day fragrances that remind us of the unguents from Ancient Egypt… and make us feel like a modern day Nefertiti or Cleopatra.


New from Tocca, Cleopatra Eau de Parfum, is inspired by the infamous Queen of the Nile, who used her feminine charms and “stinging” smarts to rule a nation and to captivate the most powerful men of her day. A Queen, a lover, a mother, a politician and particularly high maintenance, (she’s my BNNYC role model), like the woman herself, Cleopatra by Tocca seduces the senses with slightly sweet yet tart notes of white jasmine and peach nectar. Available at selected Saks Fifth Avenue stores and


Cleopatra would have anointed herself (and her odiferous subjects) with Jo Woods Organics Amka Body Oil – a jasmine and spice based body oil. Available at and


The Great Pyramids of Giza are one of the “New” Seven Wonders of the World, and guests will be charmed by the intoxicating fragrance that fills the room with the scent of Egyptian willow, lily and pomegranate from Archipelago Botanicals Giza Home Fragrance Diffuser. Available at


Jasmin de Nuit by The Different Company is redolent with Egyptian Jasmine and musk combined with spices such as cardamom and cinnamon, and is absolutely mysterious and sensual on the skin. Available at


Trust the House of Hermés to bring us a fragrance fit for Nefertem and his priestesses. Un Jardin Sur La Nil is a masterful unisex blend of lotus, mango and resinous florals. Available at and at selected Neiman Marcus stores.

Originally published July 2007



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