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Original Eau de Cologne

Cologne or Eau de Cologne is a toiletry, a perfume in a style that originated from Cologne, Germanymarker. It is nowadays a generic term for scented formulations in typical concentration of 2-5% essential oils. (For further detail on distinctions see Perfumes) Colognes may be used by men or women.


In a base of dilute ethanol (70-90%), Eau de Cologne contains a mixture of citrus oils including oils of lemon, orange, tangerine, bergamot, lime, grapefruit and neroli. It can also contain oils of lavender, rosemary, thyme, petitgrain (orange leaf), and jasmine.


Eau de Cologne is a spirit-citrus perfume launched in Cologne in 1709 by Giovanni Maria Farina (1685-1766), an Italian perfumer from Santa Maria Maggiore Valle Vigezzo, Italymarker. In 1708, Farina wrote to his brother Jean Baptiste: "I have found a fragrance that reminds me of an Italian spring morning, of mountain daffodils and orange blossoms after the rain" (Eckstein p.8). He named his fragrance Eau de Cologne, in honour of his new hometown.

The Original Eau de Cologne composed by Farina was used only as a perfume and delivered to "nearly all royal houses in Europe" (Farina Fragrance Museummarker information leaflet). His ability to produce a constantly homogenous fragrance consisting of dozens of monoessences was seen as a sensation at the time. When free trade was established in Cologne by the French in 1797, the success of Eau de Cologne prompted countless other businessmen to sell their own fragrances under the name of Eau de Cologne and even Farina.

Giovanni Maria Farina's formula has been produced in Cologne since 1709 by Farina opposite the Jülichplatz and to this day remains a secret. His shop at Obenmarspforten opened in 1709 and is today the world's oldest fragrance factory. Other Colognes, such as the famous Cologne 4711marker, named after its location at "Glockengasse No. 4711", have the name in common but smell different. In 1806, Jean Marie Joseph Farina, a grand-grand-nephew of Giovanni Maria Farina (1685-1766), opened a perfumery business at Parismarker that developed into Roger & Gallet, that owns the rights to Eau de Cologne extra vieille in contrast to the Original Eau de Cologne from Cologne.

Eau de Cologne, or just "cologne", has now become a generic term.


  • Giovanni Fenaroli, L. Maggesi: [Acqua di Colonia]. In: Rivista italiana essenze, profumi, piante offizinali, olii vegetali, saponi, Jg. 42 (1960)
  • Francesco La Face: Le materie prime per l'acqua di colonia. In: Relazione al Congresso di Sta. Maria Maggiore 1960.
  • Sébastien Sabetay: Les Eaux de Cologne Parfumée. Sta. Maria Maggiore Symposium 1960.
  • Frederick V. Wells: Variations on the Eau de Cologne Theme. Sta. Maria Maggiore Symposium 1960.
  • Frederick V. Wells, Marcel Billot: Perfumery Technology. Art, science, industry. Horwood Books, Chichester 1981, ISBN 085312-301-2, S. 25, S. 278
  • Jürgen Wilhelm (Hrsg.): Das große Köln-Lexikon. Greven Verlag, Köln 2005, ISBN 3-7743-0355-X
  • Markus Eckstein, Eau de Cologne Farina`s 300th Anniversary , J.P. Bachem Verlag 2009, Cologne, ISBN 978-3-7616-2313-8
  • Information leaflet of the Farina Fragrance Museum at Cologne

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