The Wonder Water!

what do Napoleon, Goethe and Richard Wagner have in common?

Your blog friend is here to tell you why:
all three were avid fans of the 4711 cologne!

Now, hopefully I've got your attention for this old fashioned fragrance-
because that's what this lengthy post is all about!

History of the perfume: during 1792 in the German town of Cologne, a Carthusian monk gave Wilhelm Muelhens the secret recipe for an aqua mirabilis, a wonder water to be used both internally and externally. The name "4711" came from the building's address number where the perfume was produced during the French occupation.

What initially got me interested in the 4711 cologne is this:

It is said that Napoleon, requiring 5 gallons of this cologne monthly, wanted to own the recipe- so during the French occupation, he ordered all internal medicine formulas in Cologne to be made public. Muelhens, cleverly enough, decided to stop market the product as a health supplement and proclaimed it to only be used externally as a perfume.

Then rumors got around that 4711 cologne was Napoleon's favourite, and the fragrance quickly became a hit during the 19th century. The exact recipe of Muelhens' Wonder Water is still in production today!

The fragrance: head notes are bergamot, lemon and orange, while heart notes consist of lavender and rosemary- all in a neroli base, which is produced from the blossoms of bitter orange tree. Altogether, they make for a clean, bittersweet citrus scent that is instantly recognisable!

The bottle: in 1820, the Molanus bottle was invented; its six-sized design enabled for easier storage and transport. The cult blue and gold ornamental label is not only an artwork masterpiece, but it also protects the cologne from being exposed to sunlight.

What I think of it: the 4711 cologne has got to be among my favourite purchases of 2011. I like the fact that such a historic piece is so widely available, in the most affordable price- I paid something round 13 euros... Yeah, clearly it has lost some of its old prestige!

My mother tells me stories of her being a kid, my grandmother bringing her gifts of this cologne back from Germany, when she and my grandfather used to work there to feed the family back in Greece. Can you imagine how much of a novelty this beautiful glass bottle was considered back in those days? Besides that, my adolescent years were marked not only by this fragrance but all kinds of citrus colognes, so common to Mediterranean countries. In fact, I can't think of another fragrance composition that encapsulates the essence of Mediterranean summers!

This old-fashioned perfume is not for everyone, and I can see why people refer to it as an old lady's cologne. But still, it's a nice addition to any perfume collection, just for the history behind it.

And big hugs if you made it thus far! lol

What do you think about the 4711 cologne? Have you tested it?
Do you fancy the type of aqua mirabilis perfumes?



  1. Enjoy hon!!!! I lobe it too!

  2. I'm glad you like it Tali! It's such a cult fragrance, I'm so sad that it's not more widely appreciated!

  3. I love this post, the story of this , the story of this with your family ! Im not going to lie its not a fragrance i would buy , if someone bought it for me i would use it for display instead , as it has such a vintage edge to it !

    I may not have liked the fragrance but im glad you have this unique style to your life , i fidn really interesting the new things you show us !

    Keep it up !! filakia xo

  4. Well, this has seriously tirggered my attention.. May I ask, where did you buy it from? :)
    xx R.

  5. @glittermeup, aww thank you for your kind words sweetie! Yeah it's a nice gift, if only for the pretty bottle! xx

    @Rafaella, good ol' Hondos, love! xx

  6. no way? they stil make and sell that?

  7. ow, so interesting! And yeah, even if you wouldn't wear this out, it is still worth having it in your perfume collection. I'm at least gonna go and try it!

  8. I gave you an award! Check this:

  9. Wow what an amazing post!!
    Πραγματικα δεν ειχα ιδεα...Καπου το ειχα ξαναδει αυτο το αρωμα αλλα δεν ηξερα την ιστορια του..
    Απλα κ μονο επειδη λατρευω ο,τιδηποτε vintage θα το αγορασω καποια στιγμη..Κ το αρωμα να μην μ'αρεσει,εχει υπεροχη συσκευασια-μπουκαλι..

    Μπραβο για το υπεροχο ποστ!


  10. Wow I just found your blog, and absolutely love it, its so inspiring. I follow you now for sure, am a big fan!
    if you get a chance pop up by my page xoxo Tamara


  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Never heard of it, what an interesting story!

  13. @stella, oh yes, it's almost touching! xx

    @dimitra, exactly! I don't wear this cologne out, when I'm at home I apply some on my wrists and smell this citrus goodness! xx

    @Miss Starshiny, aww thank you doll! Kisses

    @Artemi, ναι το μπουκάλι είναι πολύ κομψό, στόλισε το γραφείο μου!

    @Tamara, aww thank you for following me, gurl! xx

    @Aleksandra, thank you hun!

    @NatalieDouka, I know! Isn't it amazing?

  14. i live in cologne :) i was in the house number 4711 ( its now a perfume shop) and i dont want to smell on 4711 because i thought it smells like old men...but when you like it i think i was wrong :D

  15. Ooooh lucky you! Cologne looks like a fine place to live, I wish Athens had a little flair of such German cities' allure! xx


I respond to all your lovely comments-
please check back if you've asked me a question!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...