What comes to mind when you say Ottoman? A glorious state that ruled the world? Majestic palaces and concubines? We can increase these questions, what comes to my mind is a state that uses smells like an alphabet!
Imagine a state that uses the power of scent in every field; to be able to express approval and disapproval with scents. Isn’t that a very naive act?
What I love most and wish it was so important today; It is the scent of ‘Asr-ı Saadet’, the notes of which I am most curious about. This fragrance belongs to the 17th century.
The ones in this fragrance; It is said to have uhud, amber, musk, cedar, sandalwood, rose oil and rose water.
So what is this Asr-ı Bliss scent used for and why is it made? I will explain to you right away; 15. th anniversary of Ramadan with the materials collected to make this fragrance. Fragrance making begins. This process lasts for 8 days, and on the night of power, he is brought to the presence of the sultan in the mosque where he prayed. The sultan’s approval is obtained.
The scent that passes the approval is taken to Topkapı Palace. The proceedings begin at the door of the Department of Sacred Relics there. First, 20 g of rose oil is applied to the door of this section and the door is wiped. Passing to the private room; The room where the Beard-ı Şerif, Cardigan-ı Şerif, Footprint is located, the walls and cabinets are cleaned and wiped by 12 fasting and wudu’ people with the scent of the Age of Bliss. If this smell remains, the harem walls of the palace are erased, and if it increases from here, it is bottled and presented to the realms of the period.
Why is there such a tradition in the Ottoman Empire? Because Hz. The offering of fragrance is the sunnah of Muhammad, and the use and prevalence of the rose comes from the belief that our prophet smells of roses. At the same time, the maintenance of the private room belongs to the sultan.
Of course, scent rituals in the Ottoman Empire were not limited to these. You would be greeted with scents in every area of life and in the palace, and you would be sent off with scents.
Fragrances are distributed during holidays, special scents are made for state officials, and different scents are applied at council meetings. Even the acceptance of ambassadors into the presence takes place through scents. Let’s not forget the smell; If an ambassador was admitted to the presence, rose water was poured into their palms; The ambassador would understand that he could enter and be accepted from here.
If you are served frankincense in crystal bottles at the Cardigan-ı Şerif Regiment, you will know that you have been invited. It means that you have earned the right to see the Cardigan-ı Şerif. When he was going to the court, he only used the vizier’s azam and the grand vizier’s smell of amber.
If you are going to a house to ask for a girl, you should bring the lily flower if it is the season, and the lily scent in crystal bottles if it is not the season. If the girl’s house gives you rose sherbet with cloves, we have consent, if it only gives rose sherbet, we do not have consent. When you go to the bridal bath, if you come across young girls with a scent of purple, you will know that you are at the age of marriage, if you come across a scented rose, you will know that you are a bride. While sending the dowry of brides, rose jasmine scents were applied and sent.
As you can see, the place and importance of smell was very big in the Ottoman Empire. So much so that there was nothing odorless on their tables, letters, robes, edicts, handkerchiefs and fans. We are faced with an empire that uses the power of scent to its fullest.
Since it is believed that the smell brings health and peace, treatments with the smell were applied on mental patients in the hospitals. In their meals, musky, flowery dishes and sherbets are made; scented inks were used.
There were medicines made from scents in the records kept in halvahanes. Fragrances, frankincense juices and soap recipes used in palaces, hospitals and mosques were found in the notebooks kept by halva houses. These recipes, which were kept during the reign of 14 sultans and new ones were added, continued to be kept until the reign of Abdulhamid I.
The importance of smell in the Ottoman Empire is due to our prophet. They used ink blended with musk and amber when copying the Qur’an, as they thought he cared about scents.
Until the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire, which was only scented with essential oil, became acquainted with alcohol by examining the products imported from Europe. Since it was also used in Ottoman hair and beards, its scents, lotions and colognes attracted his attention. He separated the colognes he imported from Europe and added their favorite essences and laid the foundation of our current colognes.
Maybe Fiolas learned from the Ottomans that the resin essence gives moisturizing properties when combined with cologne. Who knows?