Very few people can leave home without putting on cologne. It’s like part of our wardrobe now and it’s hard to leave home without it. It goes without saying that the fragrance given by it is well-appreciated, even by men who by nature shouldn’t really care about how they smell.
In order to appreciate it even more, you should know its origin. While you’re at it, it’s also a good idea to know its evolution.
The Origin of the Cologne
It is a type of perfume or fragrance that originated from Cologne, Germany. It’s quite obvious where it got its name. The original mix was mixed first by Johann Maria Farina, a perfume maker of Italian descent, and was launched in 1709. However, the perfume maker has already put it together as early as 1708 and proof of this is his letter to his brother, Jean Baptiste. In his letter, he said that he has put together a fragrance that reminded him of spring mornings back in Italy, and of mountain daffodils and orange blossoms right after rain has fallen. He named it Eau de Cologne in honor of his new hometown.
Back then, only the rich and powerful were able to try it, since a small vial will cost a commoner half a year salary. It was obviously a huge sensation back then, as he delivered it to almost all of Europe’s royal houses, and royal men and women embraced it.
We have the free trade to thank for the fact that the term is now generic and it’s now widely-available. Due to the free trade in 1797, other perfume makers started making their own versions of the Eau de Cologne.
However, the Farina gegenüber, the company put up by Johann Maria Farina, remained strong and in fact, it’s still in existence today. It’s the oldest perfume company in the world, and is one of the world’s oldest companies.
Things haven’t really changed much since the royal men and women treated cologne as an indispensable accessory. However, the term is used quite loosely. For example, the term is used in American-English to refer to an aftershave or a heavily-scented lotion when in reality; it’s a fragrance that’s light with a citrus base. Also, it’s not just for men as it’s a unisex fragrance.
Nowadays, it’s a generic term for any scented formulation with a 2% to 5% concentration of essential oils or a mixture of alcohol, water and extracts. The term can also be used by both men and women to refer to a light fragrance.
The base is diluted ethanol which is about 70% to 90%. Cologne also has a mixture of varying citrus oils like orange, lime, lemon, tangerine or grapefruit. Some variations can also contain oils derived from rosemary, thyme or lavender.
Did you know that some Troynoy Eau de Cologne varieties are consumed as alcohol by poor alcoholics since it’s cheaper than vodka? This is practiced in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.