A serious industrial middle on the River Rhine, Cologne might not appear to be a spot with a aromatic historical past, but it surely was right here in July of 1709 that Giovanni Battista Farina based the corporate “G. B. Farina” and started to promote trendy Italian items from his native Piemont. When Johann Maria, Giovanni’s youthful brother, joined the corporate in 1714, he developed a fragrance that he referred to as “Aqua mirabilis” or “miracle water” and that he named Eau de Cologne or Kölnisch Wasser in honor of his adopted metropolis.
The perfume was based mostly on Italian essences of bergamot and lemon. Contemporary, shiny and effervescent, it was a break from the heavy perfumes of the interval that featured darkish musk and civet. “My perfume is like an Italian spring morning after the rain,” was Johann Maria’s description of his Eau de Cologne, and this fantasy was so compelling that quickly the fragrance was a lot wanted. Mozart wore it and so did Napoleon. Oscar Wilde ordered it and Queen Victoria was a fan with a purchase order order of over 600 bottles.
Upon arriving in Cologne, I went straight to Duftmuseum im Farina Haus, the perfume museum devoted to Eau de Cologne. Positioned within the former fragrance manufacturing facility, Duftmuseum traces the historical past of Farina’s cologne and describes the method of distillation of assorted essences. The archival supplies clarify how Eau de Cologne was made and what set it aside from the competitors. For many perfume aficionados, a number of the data will probably be relatively fundamental, however seeing the distillery gear and smelling the supplies made the go to worthwhile for me.
Essentially the most fascinating a part of Farina’s Eau de Cologne story is how extensively copied it turned. Wilhelm Mülhens began promoting Eau de Cologne in Cologne’s Glockengasse in 1799, and he even employed individuals named Farina as companions to justify the identify of “Franz Maria Farina, Glockengasse 4711, Cologne.” Farina’s household battled towards such plagiarism unsuccessfully till 1873 when Mühlens was compelled to rename his firm “Eau de Cologne- und Parfümerie-Fabrik Glockengasse No. 4711 gegenüber der Pferdepost.” In the present day it belongs to the corporate Mäurer & Wirtz and it makes one other well-known Cologne product, 4711.
Farina’s Eau de Cologne continues to be produced at present, though the method is completely different from the unique mix. It’s nonetheless recent and shiny, however there’s a robust marine aspect that offers it a salty aftershave high quality. White musks liberally lace the bottom, whereas the effervescence of citrus is toned down. It’s a nice cologne, however I admit that I choose 4711 or Roger & Gallet Eau de Cologne relating to a classical bitter-dry citrus. Nonetheless, it’s a perfume with an extended historical past, and coming to Cologne to be taught extra about it was worthwhile.
For the remainder of the journey, I strolled across the metropolis, explored the Jewish quarter, and walked alongside the Rhine. The fourth largest metropolis in Germany, Cologne however retains an intimate really feel and plenty of historical past. It manifests itself within the remnants of Roman towers and medieval partitions, historical synagogues and church buildings, and naturally, the fragrance rivals. Farina’s creation nonetheless receives stiff competitors from 4711 that’s offered across the metropolis. The 18th century battles are nonetheless echoing.
Duftmuseum im Farina Haus
Deal with: Obenmarspforten 21, 50667 Köln, Germany
Telephone: +49 221 3998994
Pictures by Bois de Jasmin, 2nd and third pictures contained in the Dom Cathedral of Cologne.