SmackDown: Guerlain's Aqua Allegoria vs 4711 Acqua Colonia


Post by Willa Zheng


Hello Perfumistas,

In the quest for the perfect orange cologne to splash about in summer, I am smacking Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic (2007, Marie Salamagne) against its cheaper drug store dupe, 4711 Acqua Colonia Blood Orange & Basil (2010) this month. To me, the perfect orange cologne is like mint julep on a hot day – refreshing, uplifting, but not cloying sweet.


Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic

Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Clementine, orange blossom, ivy, green tea, bitter orange
Heart: Peony, chamomile, mandarin orange, basil
Base: Sandalwood, amber

vs 4711 Acqua Colonia Blood Orange & Basil

4711 Acqua Colonia Blood Orange & Basil Maurer & Wirtz FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica Gives these featured accords in one line:
Blood orange, basil

SmackDown: The hit

Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic opens as a blast of the sweetest, juiciest mandarin juice. Five seconds later, the bitterness from the rind emerges. And it continues to push through and dominate, until you’re like: ‘hold on, I’m smelling a bundle of kitchen herbs sitting next to a plate of oranges and mandarins on the kitchen table’. Mandarin notes are typically sweeter than orange notes, so it was an inspired idea to pair this with basil to temper the sweetness. The overall effect is cheerful, fresh but not cloying sweet.

Blood Orange and Basil opens as a blast of synthetic room-fragrance-like blood orange and alcohol.
It is sweeter and more bitter than Guerlain. Whereas a soothing blend of herbs like chamomile, green tea and ivy become noticeable in Mandarine Basilic after a few minutes, you can’t really detect the basil in 4711 unless you really look for that green note. To a blind sniffer, it is an uplifting, orange with jasmine scent.

DCF 1.0Photo Stolen WikiCommons

SmackDown: The wake

An hour later, my impression of Mandarine Basilic can be best described as sweet and musky. Fragrantica’s description of its middle notes is pretty apt. Yes, there is still the sweet juicy mandarin and herbaceous basil, but they’re now the supporting players to the chamomile and soft floral peony notes anchored by sandalwood and amber. Those notes set the soothing and comforting experience for the rest of the wear of this juice. Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic is surprisingly tenacious for a citrus EDT. 6Hrs+

Unsurprisingly, you can’t really smell 4711 Blood Orange and Basil half an hour later. Junkies are advised to reapply to continue to enjoy the bursts of happiness.

Smackdown Happy woman Sunset Jill111 PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

SmackDown: Verdict

Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic is the clear winner for me, not just in terms of its longevity and complexity, but because it hums so soothingly, melding with the chemistry of the wearer. It’s an exemplary idea of what the Guerlain Aqua Allegoria line can achieve – creating beautiful, affordable, naturalistic fragrances from quality ingredients.

Surrender To Chance has Mandarine Basilic samples from $3/ml

In any case, if you’re after a flutter, 4711 is a cheap thrill that will bring a smile to most wearers’ face. Just keep splashing, baby.

What is your perfect orange?
Willa Zheng xox

4711 Eau de Cologne, My Grandmother, and Me


Guest Post by Suzanne R Banks


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
“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

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.

CheapSmells starts at about $8
FragranceShop from $12

See you next month,
Suzanne R Banks

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