4711 Eau de Cologne, My Grandmother, and Me

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Guest Post by Suzanne R Banks

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4711 Eau de Cologne, My Grandmother, and Me

4711 FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Orange oil, peach, basil, bergamot,lemon
Heart: Cyclamen, lily, melon, jasmine, Bulgarian rose
Base: Patchouli, tahitian vetiver, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss, cedar

My grandmother (on my Dad’s side) was a cultured woman from the north of England with Scottish and English heritage. She relocated to Australia with her husband (who I never knew), in circumstances that seem rather dodgy, and that no one is allowed to talk about. She lived her entire life here only visiting England once. I remember afternoon teas every second Sunday with cakes and lollies and chocolate biscuits. Sometimes we were even allowed to have a sugar cube as a treat!
Anyway, as long as I can remember she always had 4711 Eau de Cologne. And as long as I can remember she always gave me gifts of 4711 Eau de Cologne. There were big bottles, small bottles and roll-ons! I always thought the roll-ons were amazing. Unfortunately as an annoying teenager I think I told her I didn’t like it and she was devastated. It wasn’t the fact that I didn’t like it but more the reason that I wanted something else (like glamourous perfumes my friends had). I insulted her and she never gave it to me again. I think I still feel guilty about that. Sorry Grandma.

I have been a practicing Aromatherapist for over 15 years, solidly using essential oils in everyday life for around 20 years. I have a particular yearning for Bergamot (the first oil I bought), Petigrain and Neroli essential oils, the bittersweet citrus oils. It was only a few years ago I realised that it may have been my grandmother who stimulated my interest in Aromatherapy – although it has taken me 30 years to acknowledge it! And it was my grandmother who introduced me to the clean, fresh bittersweet scent of Eau de Cologne. It’s the Kolnisch Wasser I am referring to, although the house has other fragrances. The original Eau de Cologne has a fascinating story, a beautiful scent and it’s own website!

The description of the scent, directly from 4711.com:
“Ingredients and Effects
The precious ingredients are carefully harmonised. Bergamot, lemon, and orange provide a uniquely revitalising effect. Lavender and rosemary have a calming and relaxing effect, strengthening the nerves. Neroli, extracted from the blossom of the bitter orange, has a calming effect in the base note, creating a positive mood.”

4711 eleven.sePhoto Stolen eleven.se

Yay! We can see that this fragrance, created over 200 years ago, was made to therapeutically address physical and emotional issues. The exact recipe is of course a closely guarded secret and it has a fantastic historical story! The water was originally referred to as “aqua mirabilis” – miracle water, and was presented to a wealthy merchant named Wilhelm Muelhens as a wedding gift. The legend has it that Carthusian monk made the miracle water in 1792. Wilhelm went on to found a production facility to make the water, and to market it as a remedy to sickness and general maladies of the day. The rest, you could say, is history. Although the perfume company has been bought and sold over the years it is now owned and produced by Mäurer & Wirtz, a subsidiary of the Dalli Group.
Regardless of the owners, this is one perfume that has retained it’s amazing scent, unique bottle design, particular label design for over 200 years. The branding is unmistakable, and when I even just look at the label, my mouth waters with anticipation of the bittersweet miracle water.

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See you next month,
Suzanne R Banks

Here is the Aussie ad I remember from my childhood (Portia)

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17 comments on “4711 Eau de Cologne, My Grandmother, and Me

  1. David Watson says:

    Awesome review Suzanne, loved the story of your gran and her perfume. Gave the review great context 🙂

  2. I love 4711. When it’s hot, there’s nothing that smells more zingy and refreshing.Lovely article.

  3. Julie says:

    I’ve been wearing 4711 for more than 40 years. There’s nothing better in hot weather (except maybe Eau de Rochas). When all the other girls were wearing Jean Nate, I was revelling in my 4711.

  4. Jordan River says:

    Great story. I just wandered through their website and now I am looking forward to your review on 4711’s Nouv Eau Cologne.

    • Thanks Jordan x Oo aaahh now I (at least), have to have a smell of that one. I don’t use much perfume now (actually none) so I’ll have to have a look for it so I can complete your request.

  5. anicasunny says:

    Loved this article, I too have fond memories in the 1970’s of my mother always having this perfume at home. The history part was interesting thanks.

    • Thanks so much. It’s wonderful that we have so many fond memories of this scent. Imagine how many people in the world love it to – and have loved it for hundreds of years!

  6. Nancysg says:

    My memory of 4711 is of my GrandFather wearing it as after shave. He was an old school German Methodist minister, but he had great taste in aftershave. He last wore it the 1960’s, but I still carry that scent memory of him.

  7. Nancy what a wonderful memory! It shows how important the link between scent and memory is, and how powerful and long-lasting a scent can be. he sounds like a dashing and interesting man. Best wishes x

  8. So great to read about this old chestnut Suzanne. Thanks for a great post.
    Portia xx

    • Thanks Portia its so interesting that many of the comments are about memory in relation to the scent. This is the most powerful way scent can work – and the most magical toox

  9. Gorgeous post….have always kept a bottle of No. 4711….perfect for when you just need a quiet space and a little lie down. Never knew the ingredients or why I liked it so much…now I know. Merci beaucoup.

  10. brie says:

    When I think of 4711 I think of my pops. Both parents are of European descent and we had bottles of varying sizes of 4711 all over the house and in purses and bags…love this review….truly a walk down memory lane for me!

  11. […] and my grandmother, and Eau de Cologne over at Australian Perfume Junkies about a year ago, so check it out if you feel so […]

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