No. 4711

As you may have noticed, my husband and I enjoy visiting antique stores.  Well, a few years ago, I visited Third Floor Antiques in Red Wing, Minnesota.  We found the bottle of Muguet des Bois that I recently sold and two bottles of No. 4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser.

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At first, I was disappointed when I tried No. 4711.  I found it strong, bitter and much too manly.  It was a scent very foreign to my modern nose. However, after a while I started to develop an appreciation for it, and now it’s a delight to wear.

It’s a scent with a history too…  No. 4711 was debuted in 1792 by Eau de Cologne & Parfümerie Fabrik Glockengasse No. 4711 gegenüber der Pferdepost von Ferd. Mülhens in Köln am Rhein. It’s a product of Cologne, Germany and is indeed the real “cologne” from Cologne. Presently, after going through many changes over the last 25 years it is now manufactured by Maurer and Wirtz.

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A friend of mine who grew up in France once told me that she used this cologne as a teenager in France and I’ve seen it sold in pharmacies when I’ve traveled to Europe.  To my nose, it is a very European scent, however, it certainly has been a part of American history too.  No. 4711 was supposedly a favorite of John F. Kennedy, and the fictional character Holly Golightly (as portrayed in the movie version by Audrey Hepburn) in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

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No. 4711 is a wildly refreshing, clean, citrus scent that is oh so vintage. It’s uncompromisingly from the past, but in the very best, long-lost sense.  The romantic in me is automatically enthralled…

The top notes of  No. 4711 are listed as orange oil, lemon, bergamot, basil, and peach. Middle notes: jasmine, Bulgarian Rose, lily, melon, and Cyclamen. Base notes are listed as, patchouli, Tahitian vetiver, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss and cedar.

If you ever try it, I would suggest giving yourself time to cultivate an opinion.  Wear it on warm days.  Use it on cold days, and certainly give it time to proceed into the drydown.  It’s also worthwhile to try to find one of the older bottles.  I believe that in this case, the older version is preferable (and it’s not that expensive on sites like e-Bay actually).

Before I splashed on No. 4711, I decided to take a moment to relax and bathe in a tub of lavender bubbles created by Agraria Lavender & Rosemary Bath Salts sourced from the Dead Sea.  With a sharp, elegant lavender that slightly lingers on the skin it was the perfect match for No. 4711.

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Agraria Bath Salts, of Agraria San Francisco, are currently in lovely decorative boxes that come with a seashell to pour the salts into your water.   The scent is sold in soaps, lotions, candles and room diffusers, and if you’re interested, until tomorrow (Dec. 1) the online store is having a 25% everything sale.

Lenthéric Tweed, 1933

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Tweed, introduced by Lenthéric in 1933, is woody scent with a lot of vibrant citrus.  In fact, it reminds me of Echt Kölnisch Wasser no. 4711 (Muelhens, 1792) in that it’s a very clean, vintage fragrance.  However, while no. 4711 is overwhelmingly fresh, Tweed tends to be more powdery and feminine, especially in the dry down – a bit like Shalimar.

Based on my quick research, the bottle I purchased online could be anywhere between 60 to 80 years old.  Given it’s age, I’m amazed at how well preserved the scent is.  On my skin I could detect clear notes – nothing smelled off or bruised, and it had excellent longevity.

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While, as an Anglophile it might seem that I should really enjoy Tweed, I can’t say it’s a personal favorite of the perfumes that I’ve recently tried.  However, I can see its obvious merits and it has quite the following.  🙂  There’s something very definite and unique about the scent.  I can even detect the smell of wool, which is lovely…

Duck Soup, also from 1933, is a classic Marx Brothers movie.  The first time I watched it I was taken by how funny it was.  The jokes don’t feel dated or contrived, which is incredible considering it was made over 80 years ago.  Of course, I’m certainly not the only one who feels that way.  Here’s a review by Roger Ebert from 2000: Duck Soup, 1933.

Here are a couple of great scenes (there are many):

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We’re all looking forward to this weekend.  Our son had a round of vaccinations this week and we’ve all been a bit short on sleep…  It will also be nice to hopefully get out and see some Fall color.  I’m looking forward to wearing cozy sweaters and putting on my running shoes…  With Tweed, however, I wore a plaid vintage jacket, jeans and a vintage silk scarf.  🙂

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1960’s vintage tweed jacket, Mid-Century vintage floral scarf, J.Crew white cotton blouse, Express skinny jeans, 60’s vintage leather shoes, and Gap leather belt

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Until Sunday.  🙂

Hit songs of 1933:

Ethel Waters, Stormy Weather

Ted Leiws & His Band, Lazybones

Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes