Yesterday, I stumbled upon this little .pdf gem on how to make perfumes like they would have worn in the ancient world. The hand-out was part of a 2012 workshop offered by the J. Paul Getty Museum. On its blog, the museum offered the reasons for organizing the workshop:

"The goddess of love, beauty, and desire, Aphrodite was also mistress of the seductive arts, perfume primary among them. Accustomed as we are to the aromas of car exhaust and air-conditioned buildings, to us the ancient world would perhaps be most overpowering in terms of smell. Sweating men and animals and their waste filled a city’s streets, making it vital to set off sacred spaces as well as those of luxury by making them smell sweet. Fragrance was everywhere in the ancient world, from scented oils used to adorn the body to incense burnt in homes and temples. 
Perfumes had many uses and meanings: they could be holy, used in the worship of the gods or the burial of the dead; they could be a symbol of status and superiority, used by athletes, aristocrats, politicians, and royalty; they could be medicinal, used to relieve ailments of the lungs or skin. In ancient Egypt, Greece, and across the Roman Empire, perfume was part of ritual, beauty, and commerce—much as it is today."

Erin Branham, creator of the workshop, took the time to delve into the classics for pointers--Theophrastus' 'On Odors', and Pliny the Elder 's 'Natural History'--but came up with only a few tips and tricks, seeing as the writing was vague at best. their writing did include lists of ingredients for perfumes, as well as some discussion of techniques and tools. Tablets from Knossos, Krete, document oil deliveries to be processed by perfumers, and tablets from Mycenae, Thebes, and Pylos mention the work of perfumers. Branham also found visual representations of perfume shops, including the fresco to the left, which depicts a band of cupids in a perfume shop, mixing scents.

In the ancient world oils were used as the carrier medium for perfumes, where the medium today is alcohol. This must have meant that ancient perfumes were far less noticeable than modern ones, and would have lain more thickly on the skin. Plant-based ingredients were used--including flowers, leaves, seeds, woods, resins and gums-- as well as animal-derived ingredients.

According to Wikipedia, perfume is described in a musical metaphor as having three sets of notes, making the harmonious scent accord. The notes unfold over time, with the immediate impression of the top note leading to the deeper middle notes, and the base notes gradually appearing as the final stage. The ingredients settled upon by Brenham include: frankincense, myrrh, and labdanum as base notes; rose, cinnamon, sweet rush, and styrax as middle notes; and marjoram, anise, and coriander as top notes for the perfume.

The article goes on to list tips on how to mix the various ingredients Brenham has found to have been used in ancient Hellas--amongst other civilizations--and the key tips and tricks to perfume making in general. It's a good read and if you can get enough friends together to take care of the cost of base ingredients between you, it sounds like a great activity to take part in.