Cologne. How did Giovanni Farina create the perfume that conquered the world?
Cologne has long and firmly entered our lives, no wonder it is considered one of the best gifts for men. But by historical standards, Cologne is relatively young, it is only 300 years old.
Read By Ilon Groshev
The world of aromas has always surrounded people, and it is natural that a person wanted to give his body a pleasant smell. For a long time, aromatic oils, resins and powders were used for this purpose. When the Arabs invented the distiller, there were first attempts to create prototypes of the famous Cologne-solutions of essential oils and aromatic resins in grape alcohol. But they were not widely distributed. More often, alcohol was used to make tinctures for use not for cosmetic purposes, but for medicinal purposes.
It is believed that the manufacture for sale of solutions of aromatic oils in grape alcohol began perfumers in Florence at the beginning of the XVII century. The date of birth of the famous Cologne is called 1709. It happened in Cologne, where a native of Italy, Giovanni Maria Farina, kept a perfume shop. Giovanni from his uncle, Paolo Feminis, got a recipe for aromatic water consisting of a solution of alcohol mixed with rosemary, lavender and bergamot, which he decided to improve.
Giovanni Maria Farinaza the basis of the new composition of Giovanni took citrus oils (lemon, orange, Mandarin, grapefruit), to which he added oils of cedar, bergamot and some herbs. While working on the recipe, he described it in a letter to his brother: “My fragrance resembles a spring morning in Italy after a rain, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, bergamot, zest, flowers and herbs of my homeland.” The name of the invented aromatic solution was given by the author in honor of the city where it happened — Eau de Cologne (Cologne water).
You can’t say that Cologne immediately began a victorious March on the planet. The perfume novelty was in demand, production increased, but it did not go beyond Cologne, although travelers and merchants gradually began to deliver it to Europe. Oddly enough, the war contributed to the spread of Cologne.
During the seven Years ‘ war (1756-1763), in which many European countries were involved, Cologne was captured by French troops under the command of the count of Clermont. Brave French soldiers liked the Cologne, which had a pleasant aroma, well disinfected the skin and helped hide the smell of sweat. Thanks to the military, soon Cologne was in Paris, where it quickly gained wide popularity. That’s when it began to spread rapidly across Europe.
The exposition of the Museum “Cologne water” the French nobility, despite their refined manners and rich vestments, did not bother with hygiene. It was so historically, even the Russian Princess Anna, who became Queen of France, complained to her father in Kiev that in Paris they do not wash and the smell is terrible. Therefore, the Cologne that helped mask the smell of sweaty and unwashed bodies proved to be very useful. It began to be purchased in huge quantities, and for the company created by Giovanni Farina, a period of prosperity came.
Then the use of Cologne was not yet the prerogative of men. They literally watered themselves and women. At the French court, Madame du Barry, a favorite of Louis XV, became a special fan of the fragrant novelty.
The exposition of the Museum “Cologne water” at the Same time” Cologne water “got to Russia, it was given to Catherine II by the former enemy in the seven Years’ war, king Frederick II of Prussia. The Empress liked the novelty. Naturally, Cologne immediately became extremely popular in the court environment, and then among the nobles. The ardor of the nobles in the use of Cologne was somewhat dampened by Paul I, but his reign was short. The new Emperor, Alexander I, again began to bring Cologne from Cologne.
By the way, the main military opponent of Alexander, Napoleon Bonaparte, was also extremely fond of Cologne, which, in his opinion, contributed to the enlightenment of the brain. The French Emperor did not limit the use of Cologne for its intended purpose. He rinsed his throat with it, dripped it on the sugar with which he drank tea (apparently, in the consumption of Cologne inside, he was much ahead of our drinkers), added it to the water when taking a bath. According to contemporaries, every day Napoleon needed up to 12 bottles of Cologne.
By the end of the XIX century, many different perfumes based on alcohol solutions were already produced in the world, but the famous “Eau de Cologne” continued to hold the primacy, and the company created by Giovanni Farina supplied it to many of the monarchs of Europe.
There were their own colognes in Russia. In particular, their production was carried out by the Moscow branch of the company of the famous perfumer Francois Coty. It was he who invented the “Shipr” Cologne, so beloved by men in the Soviet Union.
Memorial plaque to the Creator of the famous “Cologne water”in our time, Cologne continues to enjoy high popularity, although it is slightly shaken by various toilet waters, deodorants, lotions and aftershave balms. We also have our own specifics, which are firmly embedded in anecdotes. People even have a belief that the “Triple” Cologne is intended not so much for external as for internal consumption. Apparently, the example of Napoleon was infectious.
In the homeland of “Cologne water”, the memory of the famous” Eau de Cologne ” and its Creator, who made their city widely known, is kept sacred. There is a large Museum where you can trace the entire history of the “Cologne water”, see the original devices and accessories used by Giovanni Farina, “taste” the flavors. Even the unique bottles in which the famous “Eau de Cologne” was delivered to European monarchs have been preserved.
Tourists like to visit the Museum, many of whom after learning the history of the famous “Cologne water” buy an elegant bottle of authentic “Eau de Cologne”as a souvenir. The souvenir is not cheap, but the amazing fragrance, which is already 300 years old, is worth it.