Eau De Cologne, Or Cologne Water, alcohol perfumed with essential oils, named from the city of Cologne, in which its manufacture is extensively prosecuted, and from which several million bottles are annually exported. It was first made at Cologne in the 17th century by an Italian named Feminis, and after him, there as well as in Italy, by an Italian family named Farina, the most famous of whom was Giovanni Maria Farina, who succeeded to the business in 1709. His name is now adopted by several of the manufacturers of Cologne, and in other countries it is attached to very different preparations, resembling the genuine only in the bottles and labels. Numerous recipes are given for this preparation, most of which are very complicated from the great number of ingredients. Purity of the volatile oils, and also of the alcohol, and freedom especially of the latter from fusel oil, are essential to the perfection of the perfume. It is also important that no one of the volatile oils should so predominate that its odor may be perceived above the rest. Distillation after mixing is recommended in some cases, and in others contemned, as the volatile oils do not distil over so readily as the spirit.
When not distilled, the mixtures should stand for some weeks or months, that the oils may be thoroughly dissolved in the alcohol. The following is given as the process of Farina in the Dictionnaire des arts et manufactures: balm and mint of Notre Dame, each 350 grams; petals of roses and violets, each 120; lavender flowers, 60; absinth (wormwood), 30; sage and thyme, each 30; orange flowers, nutmegs, mace, cloves, and cinnamon, each 15; camphor and angelica root, each 8. These ingredients are digested in 660 lbs. avoirdupois of rectified alcohol for 24 hours, adding two lemons and two oranges cut into slices. The mixture is then distilled by heat of the sand bath until 440 lbs. have passed over. To this product are then added essences of lemon, of cedrat, of balm, and of lavender, each 45 grams; essences of neroli and of rosemary, each 15; essence of jasmine, 30; essence of bergamot, 350. The whole are thoroughly mixed and then filtered. It is also prepared without distillation, but the odor is never so fine.
Several recipes are published for imitations which may be more cheaply prepared.