America's first cologne
Since taking the Colognes Workshop with Charna at Providence Perfume, colognes are my new summer love.
Cologne: A term which has experienced some word 'drift' in the fragrance market. We tend to think of a cologne as fragrance for men - or as a diluted perfume that has very little real essence.
It turns out that colognes (named for the site of their first commercial success), are the lighter, brighter cousin of perfume. Instead of having lots base notes and accords, colognes are heavier in top and heart notes... more fleeting, fresh, light. Often featuring citrus, you can have floral-forward, green or spicy colognes.
For classic commercial colognes, think 'Vetiver' by Guerlain, or 'Colonia' by Aqua di Parma - light, bright with hints of conifers.
The first cologne is the uber famous 4711, created in 1409 in Cologne, Germany... not to be out-done, entrepreneurs in the states set out to make a distinctly American version: Florida Waters. There is some confusion about why 'Florida'?
It might be related to the fact that colognes were consumed, not spritzed - and the fabled Queen of Hungary was said to be nearly ageless because of her cologne - a veritable aqua di vita (water of life). Think: Fountain of Youth which was to be in the new world - Florida-ish.
Maybe like me you thought of the STATE of Florida, but even the state was named for the lush flora. Florida literally means 'flowering' in latin, so 'Flowering Water'.
Florida Water was so popular at one point that every town pharmacist had their signature blend.
Alchemy is refining our own version which will be available when the Vardo pops up this summer. Our version contains a tincture of organic lavender, bitter orange, blood orange, and a hint of spice and powder.
Five ways to use Alchemy Florida Water: