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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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–

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.

Vetyver & Bergamot

Large 4711 Acqua Colonia cut crystal bottle with brown and gold label.

Lime and oak leaves.

The bottle says “Relaxing” in many languages. The eau is certainly not exciting, but it’s pleasant enough, I suppose. Lasts the usual 4711 quarter hour.

Perhaps one for unassuming gentlemen with good taste in hats?

Edit – 6/18/21

I had a good cup of Earl Grey tea this morning, and pulled this one out to compare the bergamot.
The soft green citrus was easy to recognize in both, but I was struck by how much of the vetiver comes out when sniffing them side by side–almost nutty, like filberts or walnuts.

Also, nicer in the summer than the winter–less lime notes and more herbal vibes, and not so oaky dry.

Starry teacup and saucer, and cologne bottle and box, on my back patio. Good morning!

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Love this relaxing Louis Armstrong cover of Irving Berlin and Fred Astaire’s classic.

Melissa & Verbena

4711 cut crystal flask with simple Kelly green and gold label.

Or, lemon balm and vervain.
Bright citrus without the bite, that settles down to woody tonic water.

Greener and sharper and more linear than the original–I miss the sweetness and the quickly shifting nuances–but longer lasting.
Good for cocktails on the patio, perhaps.

Edit — 8/14/21

I usually pass fragrances that I wouldn’t wear on to someone who would appreciate them, but I’ve had Melissa & Verbena for years and still not found a home for it.
There’s an herbal musk at the bottom that sits strangely on the skin, so not one to use as a mask spritz, either.

4711 released it in 2009, but I don’t think it was in production long.
Lemon & Ginger was the hit of that run, and still being made today.

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This came out the same year. Saw it in concert–it was awesome.

Royal Riesling

4711 cut crystal flask with plain gold and white label, and a bunch of green grapes.

Nice green grapes at first bite, effervescent and tart, but then it suddenly turns into raisins…? Sickly sweet with awkward dusty spice.
Weird and disappointing.

Edit – 9/5/21

Sometimes I find old notebooks, snippets of things on scraps of paper, my first impressions of something distasteful or not interesting enough to write about–
Reading them later, I have to laugh at my ignorance, my arrogance, or my honesty–or the fact that I take a disappointing fragrance so personally…

But really, who wants to smell like raisins?!

4711 gold bottle cap and a stem bereft of its grapes, on notepaper scrawled with the word “why??”

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Royalty.