Guest Post by Suzanne R Banks
4711 Eau de Cologne, My Grandmother, and Me
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.”
Photo 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.
See you next month,
Suzanne R Banks
Here is the Aussie ad I remember from my childhood (Portia)