Fragrance Review - 4711 Original Eau de Cologne
I never expected to be reviewing one of the oldest fragrances available, and on top of that, I never expected it to be available so cheaply! 4711 is advertised as the ‘original eau de cologne’ and whilst there is supposedly an Italian fragrance that’s older, this one actually comes from Cologne, Germany, so it definitely wins in that department!
The story goes, that the original perfumer, Wilhelm Mülhens, received a wedding gift from a carthusian monk in 1792 of a recipe for an elixir. This so called ‘miracle water’ was intended for internal and external use. As an entrepreneur, Mülhens began manufacturing it 2 years later in 1794 as a drink to aid vitality. It’s at this time that Cologne becomes occupied by French troops, and the building used for manufacturing is renamed as ‘No 4711’, where this fragrance takes its name.
By 1810, 4711 is proving popular, but the ingredients are a closely guarded secret. Napoleon decrees that any beverage for public consumption, must publish it’s recipe. Wilhelm Mülhens decides that it would be detrimental to his business, and as such, begins marketing 4711 as a fragrance.
In 1820, they begin to use the bottle design that is still in use today, and by 1875, the branding and logo are also finalised. During World War II, the original 4711 building is destroyed, but a new flagship store and headquarters now showcase 4711 in a modern 21st century way.
As I mentioned way back up at the top, I was looking for a fragrance to wear at the gym. I like to smell good wherever I am, but the gym has a few requirements that need to be met. It has to be light, and clean. You wouldn’t want to smell all dark, sexy and mysterious when gurning in the mirror with the free weights! I prefer it to be on the cheaper side of things, because I’m not trying to impress people, and it’s going to be for regular use, so potentially would run out pretty quick. Finally, it needs to have kind of sucky performance. I realise this sounds backwards, but you don’t want it to be projecting in everyone else faces right across the gym, and it only needs to last a couple of hours. Some fragrances are so beastly, that the persist through a shower. We want the opposite of that from a gym scent.
The presentation, as you’d expect, is very classic. I opted for the 90ml spray bottle, which is slightly different, as the rest of the sizes are traditional splash bottles, which I’m not a huge fan of. There’s not much else to say about the way this looks. It’s as you’d expect, with nothing that blows your mind. I will say the cap on my spray bottle, feels cheap and doesn't sit perfectly, which bugs me a little.
4711 opens up with a hit of citrus freshness. It reminds me quite a lot of Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, or Ferrari Bright Neroli. It’s got a slight barbershoppy kind of vibe in there, which gives that hint of traditionalism that you’d expect from something so old. Considering the age of 4711, however, it doesn’t feel overly dated or old fashioned.
Here’s the thing. This is great for the gym, because longevity sucks balls! I reckon I get 1 decent hour max, and then a skin scent for an hour after that. My gym is currently closed for refurbishment for the next few weeks, so I’m yet to see how it performs when I’ve got my sweat on, but for now, I am thinking this is a solid gym fragrance at a bargain price.