Cologne? What Does It Mean?


Post by Lindaloo


Hey Hey APJ,

Recently on APJ we had a very pertinent question about the different uses of the word cologne in fragrance. One of our regular readers and commenters came up with the best description I’ve ever seen of the differences.

Here’s what says:
1: Noun: a mildly perfumed toilet water; eau de Cologne
2: Noun: an industrial city and river port in W Germany, in North Rhine-Westphalia on the Rhine

Cologne? What Does It Mean?


Lindaloo says:
Good reasons that the word “cologne” can be so confusing. Sometimes it does mean a name for men’s scents versus women’s, as it hard to convince an average man that a scent labelled as anything other than cologne is only for women.
Other times it refers simply to the the strength of the scent — EdP/parfum has more fragrant oils compared to EdT/toilette compared to EdC/cologne. Often it is more complicated in that different strengths are different in what aspects of the scent they emphasize.
Then there is “cologne” as a style of scent, ie lots citrus and herbs at the start moving to a mossy drydown. So traditional cologne starts off very refreshing and moves to a cool dusty base. With the current restrictions on oakmoss, drydowns often involve different elements.
So Atelier colognes are EdP strength but a cologne structure.

Atelier CologneAtelier Cologne

Surrender To Chance has a great range of Atelier Cologne samples and minis.

Have you been to Cologne? What is your EdC?
Portia xx

20 thoughts on “Cologne? What Does It Mean?

  1. I haven’t been to Cologne, and the only reason I can think of to go there is that I’ve got some friends there. I get the impression it’s not the most exciting of German cities 🙂

    Thanks to Lindaloo’s explanation, I was able to give a clear response to my boyfriend yesterday on this matter. I asked him if he’d ever consider wearing a perfume, and imperiously replied, “I think you mean a cologne, as I am not a women.” So of course I let him have what for. (I still don’t think he’ll ever want to wear perfume.)


  2. I like Germany and I’ve been to Cologne several times. Except the Dome in Cologne and some other sights, they have good food in traditional restaurants, a Chocolate museum (been there twice, of course) AND there is the 4711 House of Fragrance with a Fragrance museum and a workshop where you can create your own Cologne 🙂 I got the invitation to the workshop from one of my friends as a gift so I guess I’ll be going back to Cologne soon.


  3. I have many colognes. Wearing Atelier’s Oud Saphir today. I love it but none of theirs last worth a damn; so, I see why they are “colognes.” For the price, I expect more. I layered it for the first time with SL Ambre Sultan. It was amazing for about 30 minutes. Now, all I smell is Ambre Sultan, which is amazing but sadly blows Atelier out of the water.


    • Hey Gina,
      That’s interesting. I’ve only tried a few of the Atelier frags. Rose antonym lasted forever though.
      What a shame they don’t last for you.
      Ambre Sultan is freaking gorgeous though. YUM
      Portia xx


  4. I have never felt the urge to buy, try or wear cologne. Mum did have a bottle 4711 along with a bottle of smelling salts in the car door though. Just in case. Never really found out in case of what mind. Sometimes us kids would open the smelling salts though. Whoa baby. Awesome. I have not been to Cologne but you can buy my cookies there. 🙂


    • Heya Val,
      I like cologne the frag type, also have quite a few EdCs mainly vintage.
      Maybe not your style but Eau de Magnolia is softly fresh and cologne-esque to me, though it doesn’t dry down so much like one.
      Portia xx


      • I have a 100ml bottle of EdM. And have used more than half. I really love it. I mentioned it on Poodle’s post yesterday funnily enough.
        It is thick and rich on me. Not cologney at all. Fab stuff.


      • I’m in between your and cookie queen’s assessment of Eau de Magnolia. I’ll have to give it another try. 50ml so far is quite a testimonial from cookie queen. Maybe I can wiggle a sample a sample of it out of an SA.


  5. Blushing over here. 🙂 I wasn’t expecting the “Post by Lindaloo.” I feel like I’ve reached stardom.

    Thinking again about Atelier — they say their scents are inspired by the original Eau de Cologne structure, which they regard as a blend of citrus oils. If I understand correctly about the original there were some herbs involved too.

    To me, the Jo Malone line are colognes in strength. I passed up a set of the bath oils only later to realize that they would have been good to dab, a la Youth Dew bath oil.

    My long-time favourite colognes are Eau de Rochas and O de Lancome. I very much enjoyed Andy Tauer’s Cologne de Maghreb, but being a natural it’s life is short. Just a reason to spray more, right?

    You’ll never get a short answer from me. 😀


    • YAY Lindaloo! I was unsure if you’d like to be so spotlit but thought it worth it because you wrote most of the post. Great job and explanation.
      Yes, the Jo Malone’s wear like cologne on me also but are priced as EdP. They hardly last an hour on me.
      O de Lancome is so lovely. Fresh and exhilarating. Nice in the bath too.
      Portia xx


  6. The H&R Book of Perfume (published in English 1984 by Verlagsgellschft R. Glöss & Co, Hamburg- ISBN 3-87261-049-X) on page 153 gives the following tabulation of perfume strengths:

    Perfume Name Concentration of Fragrance Essence
    Extrait (or perfume) 15-30%
    Eau de Parfum 8-15%
    Eau de Toilette 4- 8%
    Eau de Cologne 3- 5%
    Splash Cologne 1- 3%


  7. I’m not much of a cologne person though I do like a few of the Atelier colognes. As to the city, Cologne, I have never been there. My aunt and uncle lived there for many years and my uncle played the organ in the Cologne Cathedral. I have been to Munich, having been born there. 🙂


  8. I rarely wear colognes (they are associated in my head mostly with masculine fragrances from my childhood), but I do like Atelier Cologne line(s) and have at least a couple that I like wearing myself but even more of those, that I prefer to smell on my vSO.


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