4711’s “Kölnisch Wasser,” or Eau de Cologne, has been one of the world’s classic fragrance products for over two centuries. Its story reportedly began in 1792, when the German merchant named Wilhelm Mühlens received a recipe for a multi-purpose blend of herbs and citrus oils distilled in alcohol. Seeing its promise as a consumer product, Mühlens opened a small factory in the city of Cologne to produce this “miracle water” on a large scale. A few years later, when the city authorities re-numbered Cologne’s street addresses, Mühlens’s property was assigned the address 4711 Glockengasse.
4711’s signature product received its distinctive logo (which remains the same to this day) around 1900. The company began to produce other products, like the perfumes Tosca, Troika, and Sir, in the 1920s-30s. More recently, 4711 released a line of colognes inspired by botanical blends like Lavender & Thyme and Blood Orange & Basil in 2009, and the brand’s Nouveau Cologne was released on a symbolic date in 2011: 4.7.11. 4711’s current flagship on Glockengasse (the original store was detroyed by bombings during the Second World War) is a tourist destination as well as a retail operation. The 4711 brand is now owned by the family company Mäurer & Wirtz.