Business & Industry

Mar 1, 2017

EAU DE COLOGNE - ALL THE SMELLS IN THE WORLD

The world is not just thought, spoken, read or seen. It's felt, smelled and heard. Our relation with cities is such an example. They have identities that are built both in the imagination of those who have never lived in them and in the senses of those who inhabit them.

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The city of Cologne is one such case. Known throughout the world by the famous Eau de Cologne, and its Gothic Cathedral, that is now world heritage, and whose construction began in 1248 and only ended in 1880. Also it's the place where you can find the reliquary of the three kings.

This is a city full of life and excitement and, therefore, one of the biggest tourist destinations in Germany. Voted several times as Germany's most popular tourist attraction. Contribute for this the various street markets (flea markets - old and second hand). Virtually every district has one that is held once a month, and that means there is one every week.

Among the most famous are the Trödel an der Galopprennbahn, the Kölner Stadtflohmarkt and, of course, the one on the banks of the Rhine, which is the most beautiful. In these markets people not only look for antiques, they walk, meet friends and spend time.

However, it is not only the street markets that make the city vibrate. Cologne is also the site of the seventh largest international fair in the world, in number of events, importance and occupied area. Koelnmesse, with about 80 annual fairs and more than 2000 conferences, brings together representations of companies and manufacturers from all over the world. Founded in 1922, it is home to, among others, Anuga - the most important food and beverage fair in the world; Dmexco - the digital industry exhibition and conference; Gamescon - Europe's premier gaming and entertainment fair; or even Intermot – international fair of motorcycles, scooters and bicycles.

Located in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne (Köln in German) is the fourth largest German city. It has developed, like many other European cities, with respect to the river that crosses it, the Rhine.

Its name is due to Julia Augusta Agripina, Roman empress married with emperor Claudius and, because she was born in the locality where today the city is, asked that it be promoted to colony, that means, city under Roman law, and so it was renamed Cologne Agrippina. It was 50 AD. Since then many stories have passed. Among them is the story of Johann Maria Farina, whose original name was Giovanni for being of Italian origin, and of whom Grandmother Caterina, who belonged to a family of Venetian perfumers, said: "He divides people between those that smell good and the ones that smell bad, life will not be easy for him, but his nose is as fast as his mind".

He travelled throughout Europe "collecting" the scents of the sites and was said to have known the profession of people and their place of origin by their smell. In 1708 Giovanni writes to his brother saying: "I have discovered a scent that reminds me of a spring morning in Italy, of mountain narcissus, orange blossom just after the rain. It gives me great refreshment, strengthens my senses and imagination".

In 1709 Giovanni settled down in Cologne where he created the oldest perfume factory still working, which completed 300 years of living, in 2009, and where we can still find the original Eau de Cologne, much used among the European nobility. Voltaire said about it: "a fragrance that inspires the spirit" and it is said that Napoleon used a bottle a day. With a calculated cost, at the current price, of more than 1000 euros, its access was only for the richest people.


The story of Giovanni is the story of the creation which gave the city his world fame: Eau de Cologne. And Cologne is nowadays synonymous with a kind of fragrance that is softer than eau de toilette and the perfume. Based on alcohol and water, where it's mixed essential oils of citrus fruits (lemon, orange, tangerine, clementine, bergamo, lime, and grapefruit) in a concentration of 2 to 5 percent (inferior to perfumes). In addition to these, it also contains neroli, lavender, rosemary, oregano, thyme, jasmine and tobacco. Thus granting it a smooth, spring and fresh scent.

Ironically, the most famous and successful cologne is not Farina's original, but rather the 4711, made by Wilhelm Mülhens, who in 1803 went to Italy to look for another person named Farina, who would allow him to use the designation and production license of Cologne. In 1881 after several legal actions, Ferdinand Mülhens, Wilhelm's grandson, eventually adopted the name of 4711, the number of the building where it was produced and sold. After being sold to Procter & Gamble, it was recently acquired by Mäurer & Wirtz and we can find it in any perfume shop. 

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