The Sniff Box – Perfume In Plain English


Cologne du Parfumeur

GuerlainIf there’s one scent that appeals to pretty much everyone then surely it’s eau-de-cologne, the zesty, refreshing blend of lemon and herbs whose (probably medicinal) origins are lost in the mists of time. Its oldest surviving surviving incarnation is the German No. 4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser from – where else – Cologne, which you can buy for not very much from pretty much anywhere, but there are hundreds of other versions, from the cheap and nasty all the way up to Chanel’s divine (and divinely expensive) Eau de Cologne.

The basic ingredients of eau-de-cologne are extracts of citrus fruits, which give it its instant freshness, blended with a variety of herbs, usually including lavender and rosemary, which add extra staying-power and warmth. It’s more of a style than a formula, and every different eau-de-cologne has a slightly different combination of ingredients, though they all share a broadly similar character. They all suffer from one drawback, too, which is that they quickly fade away on the skin.

As one of the most historic perfume companies, Guerlain has produced a number of different takes on eau-de-cologne over the years, starting with Eau de Cologne Impériale in 1853, followed by Eau de Cologne du Coq in 1894, the glorious Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat in 1920, and Eau de Guerlain in 1974.

Cologne du Parfumeur was launched in 2010, and is the first not to have been dreamed up by a member of the Guerlain family. Its creator, the Swiss perfumer Thierry Wasser, became the company’s in-house perfumer in 2008, after the retirement of Jean-Paul Guerlain. Wasser’s interpretation of the classic eau-de-cologne retains plenty of citrusy zing, but with more orange than lemon in the mix, which makes it smell slightly sweeter and less astringent than the general run of colognes. The blend of orange used here is particularly ‘green’, which makes a bit more sense if you think of orange flowers surrounded by their glossy dark-green leaves.

Wasser accentuates this ‘greenness’ with tiny amounts of fresh-smelling mint, as well as plenty of lavender and rosemary, those classic eau-de-cologne herbs. I think I also smell a little bit of bracing juniper, which gives Voyage d’Hermès its gin-and-tonic swing. Overall it’s a gentle, appealing scent, and Wasser has given it extra staying-power thanks, it seems, to the inclusion of long-lasting synthetic musks, which add their own soft, slightly sensual touch.

Cologne du Parfumeur comes in Guerlain’s classic ‘bee’ bottle, with fish-scale patterned shoulders, 69 stylised embossed bees on the sides and a rather cheap-feeling plastic top, though customised, hand-gilded versions are available for a suitable fee. What’s most interesting is its label, which includes ‘Thierry Wasser 2010’ – a new departure for Guerlain, and one of the earlier signs that perfumers had started becoming celebrities in their own right.


9 Responses to “Cologne du Parfumeur” Leave a Comment

  • Deborah Burnstone on 14 May, 2014 9:38 pm

    Would love a sniff! About time you invented a scent app Stoxy x

  • Deborah Burnstone on 14 May, 2014 9:41 pm

    Thank you. Your review really makes me want to try this cologne. I love colognes. As you say, their one downside is the way they fade too quickly. Thierry Wasser. Good name for a designer of a Kölnischwasser.

  • Christopher Stocks on 14 May, 2014 9:43 pm

    Remind me next week and I’ll bring it! xx C

  • thesniffbox on 18 May, 2014 12:14 pm

    Perfume of the day: Cologne du Perfumeur, by Thierry Wasser for @Guerlain – just the thing for a hot London day

  • Annie Harrison on 7 August, 2014 11:15 am

    My first introduction,and still a favourite, to scent and one that always reminds me of my bonkers Great Gran, I wear her wedding ring as mine x.

  • Annie Harrison on 7 August, 2014 11:38 am

    Annie Harrison liked this on Facebook.

  • Christopher Stocks on 7 August, 2014 3:26 pm

    Aww sweet – I’m taking it you’re talking about No.4711? xx

  • Annie Harrison on 7 August, 2014 6:18 pm

    I am x

  • thesniffbox on 23 November, 2016 10:19 am

    This morning’s perfume: Cologne du Parfumeur, by Thierry Wasser, for Guerlain – perfect pick-me-up on a chilly day

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