Answer: a distilled mixture of well smelling ingredients (in the best of cases) and alcohol. It differentiates itself from ‘eau de Cologne’ (from Kölnisch Wasser, from the town Köln in Germany), because the latter is not distilled. To say: it is the same difference than there is between a wine and a cognac (brandy), or liquor in general.
Perfume was forbidden for a long time by the Court of England (XVIIth) because it was said to have the effects of witchery. Probably some wicked attack against French interests.