The essence of / I T T R à GOGO / / harshcharita / The earliest distillation of ittar was mentioned in the Harshcharita, a biography of the Indian Maharaja Harsha, written in 7th century in northern India.
/ ittar / (Hindi/Urdu) also known as attar, is a natural, undiluted perfume oil derived from botanical sources. The oils are generally distilled into a wood base such as sandalwood and then aged. The aging period can last from one to ten years depending on the botanicals used and the results desired. Ittar is often confused with essential oil. These two types of fragrant oils are made through different distillation processes. Essential oils are obtained through steam distillation while ittars are procured through water distillation. Because of its concentrated form, ittar is sold in tiny bottles. It has a permanent shelf life and some ittars will become treacly and smell more intense when matured.
The word ‘ittar’, ‘attar’ or ‘othr’ is an Arabic word meaning ‘scent’; and believed to have been derived from the Persian word ‘atr’ meaning ‘fragrance’.
/ unisex / refers to things that are not gender-specific, being suitable for any gender. In the Indian world of ittars there are no masculine or feminine fragrances.
/ maharani / (or Maharanee, Mahārājñī) the wife of a Maharaja, Indian princess
Maharani Nur Jahan (1577-1645) was the twentieth wife of the Mogul Emperor Jahangir. Whilst taking a inspiriting bath of oil and herbs, she fell asleep. The sun broke down the natural elements in the water and when she awoke, she saw a layer of film on the surface. Immediately she rubbed the balsam all over her body and realized that it was far more effective than mere rosewater. Ever since Nur Jahan is associated with the discovery of attar. A princess’s bath and dressing table is incomplete without I T T R.
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