1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Eau de Cologne

EAU DE COLOGNE (Ger. Kölnisches Wasser, “Cologne water”), a perfume, so named from the city of Cologne, where its manufacture was first established by an Italian, Johann (or Giovanni) Maria Farina (1685–1766), who settled at Cologne in 1709. The perfume gained a high reputation by 1766, and Farina associated himself with his nephew, to whose grandson the secret was ultimately imparted; the original perfume is still manufactured by members of this family under the name of the founder. The manufacture is, however, carried on at Cologne, and also in Italy, by other firms bearing the name Farina, and the scent has become part of the regular output of perfumers. The discovery has also been ascribed to a Paul de Feminis, who is supposed to have brought his recipe from Milan to Cologne, of which he became a citizen in 1690, and sold the perfume under the name Eau admirable, leaving the secret at his death to his nephew Johann Maria Farina. Certain of the Farinas claim to use his process. It was originally prepared by making an alcoholic infusion of certain flowers, pot-herbs, drugs and spices, distilling and then adding definite quantities of several vegetable essences. The purity and thorough blending of the ingredients are of the greatest importance. The original perfume is simulated and even excelled by artificial preparations. The oils of lemon, bergamot and orange are employed, together with the oils of neroli and rosemary in the better class. The common practice consists in dissolving the oils, in certain definite proportions based on experience, in pure alcohol and distilling, the distillate being diluted by rose-water.