How It’s Made

The least concentrated of all spray fragrances, cologne is made of a combination of different essential oil extracts with alcohol and water. Cologne’s concentration is approximately 5 percent, whereas the most concentrated fragrance, parfum, has a concentration as high as 25 percent. The last in the list of concentrations, cologne is behind eau do toilette, espirit de parfum and eau de parfum in amount of concentrations. Originally, the fragrance was composed of a specific combination of the essential oils: bergamot, neroli and lavender.

The History: Part One

While the heart of European perfume making originates in southern France, cologne originates in Cologne, Germany. The first cologne is documented to have been made in 1709 by Gian Paolo Feminis, who termed his invention as Aqua Admirabilis.

Before Feminis’ invention, perfumes came to Europe through the Crusades, where knowledge of the perfume arts came from the Middle East. Trading spices with the Middle East also brought this perfumery knowledge to Europe. Spices used for food and medicinal purposes began to be used in perfumes. In 1656, a guild of perfume makers first established themselves in France.

By the 17th century, perfumery swept up all of Europe. Wearing perfumes became very popular for many throughout the continent. It became commonplace during this time for women of nobility to create and make their own perfumes. They would experiment with many fragrances, making the perfect perfumes for themselves. The popularity of perfumes spread so greatly that during the 1600s, Louis the Fourteenth grew jealous of perfume. He disliked the fact that his subjects loved perfume more than him. During this time, the king considered restricting the use of perfumes in his kingdom.

The History: Part Two

As the popularity of perfumes spread across the world, the art of perfumery made its way to the Americas. With the discovery of the Americas came the discovery of more scents, including balsam from Peru, cedar from the United States, sassafras and vanilla.

Today, wearing cologne is regarded by many as a natural action, although it is more common for men to wear cologne than it is for women. Cologne continues to be made primarily in Cologne, Germany, as well as in France, which continues to be the epicenter of perfumery.

References and Resources

Some History of Cologne