Monday, 16 January 2017

4711: The perfect (and affordable) summer scent

On really hot days in high summer, there are few perfumes I really want to wear. While a scent may be fine when in the air-conditioned comforts of one's home or office, many inevitably become overbearing and headachy if worn outside on a 40°c day. A few exceptions I routinely reach for are Jo Malone's Blackberry and Bay and Byredo's Bal d'Afrique, both of which seem to come into their own in the searing heat. To this list I add my newest favourite, 4711.

I discovered this scent when I read about it in Sali Hughes's "Pretty Iconic", where she had deservedly included it for its iconic status. Few other beauty products have remained unchanged on the market for over 200 years. Yet it doesn't smell particularly powdery or old-fashioned - in fact, it's entirely lovely. It's a bright blend of citrus (lemon, bergamot and orange), lavender and rosemary, very clean-smelling and refreshing. Although it's quite sweet smelling, it's a pleasure to wear on hot days as it's so light and invigorating. Being a cologne, it is rather ephemeral and after an hour or so I tend to need to top it up with another spray. However, given 4711's uniquely low price-point (my 60mL bottle cost me around $25AUD), I don't begrudge having to reapply.

If you're in Australia, I suggest you look for 4711 in your local chemist (that is, not a Priceline) where it is still quite widely available. Although its reputation for being an old-fashioned scent remains prevalent - when I asked the lady in the shop whether they stocked 4711, she immediately replied, "is it a gift for your granny?". It doesn't bother me what some may think of 4711 - it smells modern enough for me. It's a lovely, inexpensive perfume and the fact that it has been enjoyed by many for several centuries (including our grandmothers) is a credit to its timelessness.

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