4711 is one of the oldest and most celebrated fragrances in the world. Many of today’s designer fragrances owe much of their success to this tiny little bottle’s innovative contents. Having been in production since the 17th Century, we’re lucky to still be able to wear it now.
In the following article, you will read Bespoke Unit’s review of Mäurer & Wirtz 4711. Using the Bespoke Unit Fragrance Formula, we will evaluate its bouquet of notes, its value for money as well as its practical uses.
Italian-born Giovanni Maria Farina (sometimes known as Johann Maria Farina) created a concoction to remind himself of home. He envisioned a harmony of notes that evoked an Italian spring morning, mountain daffodils and orange blossom after the rain. However, he instead named it after his new home town, Kölnisch Wasser or “Cologne Water”.
These events took place in 1709 and you can learn about the invention of eau de cologne as well as other concentrations with our fragrance strength guide. Some decades later, German merchant Wilhelm Mülhens devised his own version. Legend has it that this was from a wedding gift from a Carthusian monk.
Some years later, that fragrance became known as 4711 after the building in which the Mülhens family worked. It was until 1994 that Mäurer & Wirtz bought 4711 off the Mülhens family.
Although first and foremost known as an eau de cologne, 4711 belongs to the citrus fragrance family. Specifically, given its aromatic blend, it’s an aromatic citrus fragrance. However, it carries all the hallmarks of a traditional eau de cologne.
4711 opens on an instantly recognisable burst of fresh citrus. Bergamot and lemon fill the nostrils followed by a faint aroma of fresh basil. Being relatively volatile, it cooks off quickly but the citrus essence lingers for a while.
Neroli transitions the fragrance to the heart where we discover a floral bouquet consisting of jasmine, lily and rose. The heart is particularly delicate yet lingering citrus ensures a continuing freshness.
Earthy, smoky notes of vetiver are drawn out followed by sweet and moist patchouli. A drawn-out essence of cedarwood keeps the fragrance going before it begins to fade. However, the citrus notes still linger without dying out completely.
As an eau de cologne, it’s expected that 4711 runs through its volatile notes particularly fast. Although it’s a pleasure to enjoy them one after the other, it’s somewhat fleeting and always sad to see them go so early. Nevertheless, it’s in 4711’s nature to only offer temporary fragrance, which disperses relatively quickly.
Nevertheless, traces of citrus, vetiver and cedarwood can be detected for some time. You can experience these in greater intensity by using 4711 as a layering scent with other fragrances. Alternatively, dry-downs are often slowly on textiles. Although we often advise against applying on clothing, 4711 is great for freshening up handkerchiefs.
Wake & Strength Of 4711
Much like the life-cycle, 4711 performs spectacularly badly. However, this is the eau de cologne’s function and shouldn’t be treated negatively. Even if these factors were penalised in the fragrance formula, the fragrance’s characteristics should be used to their advantage.
Overall, the eau de cologne features a decent sillage, which leaves a pleasant trail behind the wearer. It’s projection is very limited, however, so don’t expect it to give off powerful waves of scent. Finally, the longevity is very short and only gives a few hours of fragrance at best.
Generally, people have a real sweet spot for 4711. Those who smell it find the delicate aroma particularly appealing and enjoy the comfort of its bouquet. Many people of various ages often use it just to freshen up apart from their usual fragrance.
However, the olfactive memory associated to 4711 is very strong. Therefore, it can be associated with older people as it was particularly common in their youth to use fragrances for cleaning. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but sometimes it is off-putting for a few people.
For instance, my mother associates it with her grandmother who used to apply it to a handkerchief for cleaning her neck and behind her ears. My grandfather even still swears by it today!
Myself, I often apply it just after a shower. Consequently, my wife loves it so much that she says that it’s the fragrance that she associates with me. Its influence on the perfume industry is why it is featured among the best classic colognes and fragrances for men.
When Should You Wear 4711?
With regards to its seasonality, it’s a distinctively spring fragrance with strong blossoming notes that function well during these months. However, it’s also great for using during summer when things get hot. Just a splash around the neck and the wearer will feel instantly refreshed.
Although it is passable during autumn, this is far from a winter fragrance so its usage diminishes during these months. Similarly, this is an overall daytime fragrance and would feel out of place during the night.
As mentioned above, this is a particularly mature fragrance. However, that doesn’t stop anyone in their younger years from using it. As it is an ideal fragrance for layering, it can be combined with other scents to create an altogether unique experience.
With regards to its usage, this is a very casual fragrance on its own. However, because it’s very middle-of-the-road, it can be applied for wearing at the office. Given that it’s quite comforting, it should be quite appealing during the stressful working hours.
Finally, 4711 is the very definition of a unisex fragrance. Having been created long before there was a distinction between men and women’s fragrances, it was designed with everyone in mind. However, if you’re looking for a masculine scent, this is far from it.
Presentation and Value For Money
The classic 4711 bottle is a memorably shape that many enthusiasts will recognise instantly. Although not made from the most premium materials, it’s very eye-catching with a great, classical shape. The bottle’s don’t feature an atomiser but the splash performs very well, giving you only what you need and no more.
However, the packaging isn’t particularly appetising. Designed much like the bottle, it uses what seems to be a slightly darker shade of blue. However, this colour isn’t as attractive as it could be.
With such a vibrant heritage and long history, 4711 is one of the cornerstones of modern perfumery. Offering rich citrus essence with delicate floral and aromatic notes, it’s the perfect companion for a hot summer’s day.
Although it may not be to everyone’s palate, it’s an excellent fragrance. Every family should have a bottle in their bathroom, which can be shared by every family member. It’s not just a fragrance but can be used for refreshment, cleaning up or even layering with other scents.
Enjoyed the review and want to see more? Watch our video review below:
Charles-Philippe's work has covered a broad range of subjects from cigars and fragrances to wine and spirits. Fascinated by how history and culture together form the unique contemporary identities of alcoholic beverages, his articles follow an in-depth exploration of their development through a combination of tradition and innovation.