EMPEROR NAPOLEON I'S AUTHENTIC SAINT HELENA EAU DE COLOGNE
When the Strength of Man falls asleep
Remain a Power
Intimate and Personal
The Strength of his Scent...
For his personal ablutions, the Emperor used copious amounts of “Water” said to be “from Cologne” discovered during his Italian campaigns (1796-1797 and 1800).
This “Eau de Cologne”, initially "Aqua Mirabilis", native to Italy and inspired by the recipe for “the Queen of Hungary Water”, was considered a medicine mainly because of its high alcohol content (Wine Spirit). This meant it was sold by apothecaries. Then on August 18, 1810, Napoleon I issued a decree forcing apothecaries to label medicines and to record their recipes’ ingredients, a requirement that still applies to pharmaceuticals today. To get round this, manufacturers of “Eau de Cologne” changed how they referred to their products, no longer calling them medicines but "Eau de Senteur" and permitting them to be sold only by “Glovers-Perfumers”. Thus “Eau de Cologne” became, definitively, a perfumery product.
During his exile on St. Helena, the Emperor began running out of his usual “Eau de Cologne” and, to remedy this, his second servant, the Mameluke Ali, managed to develop and locally produce a similar product based on documents and products found on the island. This allowed the Emperor to perform his daily ablutions (“faire sa toilette”) and this use of a scented alcohol product is, without doubt, the origin of the name "Eau de Toilette".
Ali’s handwritten recipe for this “Eau de Cologne” was passed to Jean KERLEO on June 4th, 1991 for the Osmothèque, a historical exhibition of the fragrance industry, by André DAMIEN, Member of the “Institut de France” and former Mayor of Versailles, who had acquired it at a sale of ALI memorabilia at the Versailles Auction House in 1970.
ALI, whose real name was Louis-Etienne SAINT-DENIS, was born in Versailles on September 22, 1788 and lived in that city on rue des Réservoirs, opposite Montansier Theatre.
The “Emperor Napoleon I’s Saint Helena Eau de Cologne” has been reconstructed using the original recipe by Jean KERLEO and kept carefully at the Versailles Osmothèque which guarantees its authenticity and a venue where it can be sampled along with “the Queen of Hungary Water”.
This Eau de Cologne, made solely of natural essences of fruit and aromatic plants, is fresh and subtle despite the artisanal methods imposed by circumstances, and is a testimony to the Emperor’s refined taste.
A fragrance... and immediately a feeling: smell is an instinctive reflex, innate, uncontrollable capacity.
The sense of smell conjures up memories, allows us to transcend the temporal, to bring together the past and the present in a unified fresh sensation. A fragrance engraved in our subconscious mind transcending time, a sublime image opening the door to unlimited emotions.
The « Historical Perfumes – GESTOR sas », based in FOURAS - ILE D’AIX, the last piece of French land to feel the Emperor’s footfall, faithfully manufactures and reconstructs, with the kind permission and valuable supervision of André DAMIEN, Jean KERLEO and the OSMOTHEQUE, the “Emperor’s Saint Helena Eau de Cologne” based on the original formula developed by Napoleon Bonaparte’s servant ALI.
Totally authentic, this Eau de Cologne constitutes a genuine collector's item and is the “only olfactory recollection we have of the Emperor”.