Wakening Woods of Scandinavia

White cat with a very pink nose, and a large pale green cut crystal flask and leafy printed box.

(Meet Lucy, our newest household addition.* She likes to eat rose petals, chase hair ties, and watch sandwich-making.)

I’m rather devoted to the House of 4711, but I’ve been putting off opening my bottle Wakening Woods of Scandinavia–even though it received kudus from People Who Know What They’re Talking About, and was designed by the Escentric Molecules guy–because I didn’t want to be disappointed.
I have such fond memories of the various forests in Sweden I’ve seen and smelled (Trollskogen on Öland is amazing).

Wakening Woods is lovely…!
Crisp green bergamot and some herbal spice at the start, ridiculously fresh and breezy, then after a few seconds, cool fir and alpine roses–the tiny ones that smell almost apple-y, but not sweet–over forest floor bracken.

Fills the room at first spray, but settles quickly to a few inches above the skin with nice ferny trails for two hours.
Evergreen, but all-year-round.

* Adopt, don’t shop, yeah? Second-hand cats and wild-grown kittens have the best personalities!

*

Tori going Nordic.

4711 Magnolia

Iconic 4711 bottle in pale orchid and gold tones, and magnolia leaves.

At least Magnolia doesn’t make me sad. I took Rose and Jasmine rather personally.

Starts a bit tangerine-ish, then white flowers–a bit pulpy, but not horrible–with leathery leaves bloom for a few minutes.
Dries down to soft woods on the skin for an hour.

Lasts a remarkably long time on cotton–might be a good one for refreshing upholstery.

*

A pretty song from the famous scene in the original Wickerman movie.

Myrrh & Kumquat

Large cut crystal splash bottle with gray and gold label, and box with drawing of a kumquat branch.

Myrrh & Kumquat is marketed as being “harmonizing,” but it’s the first 4711 Acqua Colonia I’ve sniffed that gets flirtatious.

Opens with a sour candy citrus zing, then melts down into very personal space with sugary balsamic come-hither glances, for thirty minutes.
Lingers with caramel sweet spice on the skin for another hour.

Unisex, unexpected, and marvelous. A good one for a spontaneous lunch date.

*

Another Myrrh.
The Church has been around for forty years–this is an early one.

4711 Jasmine

Large 4711 bottle–with white detailing–and classic teal and gold mini flask in the background.

The Jasmine variant is actually less enjoyable than the Rose of 4711’s Floral Collection.

Here, jasmine and tea take the place of the fruit in the original, drying it up, with a bit of tonka at the bottom to give back some sweetness.
But instead of making the iconic herbal neroli creamy, the jasmine turns it waxy, and everything becomes a big box of Crayola crayons, melting in the sun.

Lasts a half hour with big inescapable greasy trails, then fades to a smudge of paraffin on the skin.
Normally I’d find a household use for a cologne I wouldn’t wear, but this one doesn’t even smell clean.

*

Stardeath and the White Dwarfs is a cool experimental band out of Oklahoma.


Lychee & White Mint

4711 flask with carmine label and box with illustration of a lychee plant.

I’m not usually one for mint in fragrances, and most of the Acqua Colonias I’ve tried have been exactly what they advertise, so I’ve avoided this one for a while.
But I like lychees, and I was curious what 4711 might actually do with “white mint,” and since it would fade in 15 minutes anyway, and it didn’t cost much–so why not?

Ugh.
Opens with a big swish of eye-watering mouthwash that sits fuming on top of the body like camphor rub.
And stays there–making the nose-hairs curl in despair as the pale floral lychee breezes on with a fleeting wave–for half an agonizing hour. Eventually dissolves to spearmint gum–that’s had all the sweetness chewed out–on the skin.

Too much mentholated hospital disinfectant vibes to even use as a room spray.

Try it, if you might enjoy wearing Listerine antiseptic wash.
I don’t.

*

A very cool song (and hysterical video) by Mint Royal–

Sunny Seaside of Zanzibar

Large 4711 flask–the glass is the palest amber–in a puddle of sunlight and water, with a seashell.

This is quite nice.

Opens with subtle wet fruit (the ad copy says watermelon and star anise, and I get it, after knowing what to look for) and sweet frangipani.
Coconut ebbs in with vanilla in a sheer musky suntan lotion that lasts an extraordinary long time for 4711–the “Acqua Colonia Intense” wears like good eau de toilette–three hours with arm’s length sillage.
I don’t get much of the woods on the dry-down, maybe a hint on my cotton cuffs, but there’s an unexpected smudge of caramel on the skin that I like.

Definitely unisex, but on masculine types this would come across as very luxe, a Tom Ford-ish Soleil for a tenth of the price.

*

Slow easy sunny blues–I can’t wait for summer.

Mandarine & Cardamom

Cut crystal 4711 Acqua Colonia flasks, the bottle in front with an orange and gold label.

The first spray is a bright sweet puff of Tang powder, crystal clear sugary orange, that settles down to the skin in 60 seconds.
A bit of herbal citrus peel lingers with some green spice for a quarter hour, a little longer on clothes.

Lovely and refreshing.
Wear to breakfast.

*

This song makes me both happy and a little melancholy.

Green Tea & Bergamot

4711 cut crystal spray bottle and box with drawing of bergamot branch and green tea leaves.

A quick tea with lemon cookies and Earl Gray.

Two bites of citrus frosted baked goods, three sips of bergamot flavored Dragonwell, then it’s gone, no crumbs left behind.
A refreshing spritz good anytime, for anyone.

Also nice on dinner linens.

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This cover of Joni’s gem is another quick mood boost–

Matcha & Frangipani

Cut glass cologne bottle with pale green and gold label, and box with green tea illustration.

I’m really enjoying this one from 4711’s Limited Tea edition.

Soft and sweet green tea over milky tropical florals in a soothing cologne with surprising projection and staying power.
Usually 4711 Acqua Colonias are gone in ten minutes with almost no sillage at all–and that’s part of their charm, a secret personal pick-me-up–but this floats around the body for a good half hour with matcha mochi coolness, and the frangipani lingers on silk all day.

Leans to the feminine in a fluttery skirts way.
Also brilliant on bath towels.

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This song always soothes my soul. A lot of folks have covered it, but Eva Cassidy’s version is my favorite.

4711 Rose

Large 4711 bottle with pink details, a small classic teal flask, and a bright pink rose.

When did Tide start making rose-flavored pods?

Detergent floral that strips the nuance of the original. I put it in the medicine chest, but it might do better in the laundry room to lift stains.

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This song (and the video) is jarring, but also has incredible tension and nuance.