As the weather changes, so does our perfume wardrobe. The spicy patchoulis and leathers take a back seat, (although with changeable UK weather they never go away), and the pretty cologne bottles come out to play. Cologne traditionally doesn’t have staying power. The high alcohol content cools skin on application and not much more is expected of it. However many of the fragrances labelled cologne today have the lasting power of an eau de toilette, that is between 4-6 hours, making colognes a good bet for the summer and justifying a cooling lunch time top up.
I’ve trawled through some of my favourites and have listed them below. Although they vary in price, I consider all of them to be good quality and value for money, otherwise I wouldn’t rave about them to you. Do feel free to tell me of any of yours too-I always love to hear from you.
4711 Original cologne: The classic. It reminds me of a school exchange trip to Germany in 1986 where I first discovered this timeless scent. The scent itself doesn’t last long, but reapplying it is a pleasure in itself. This has been around since 1793 and the closely guarded formula contains herbs, citrus and a mossy backdrop. This is the textbook classic which many say provided the blueprint for all colognes that followed, and still smells great today. You can buy it just about everywhere. Try Amazon UK, Escentual.com or allbeauty.com.
Cologne and Cotton Immortelle: A citrussy spicy opening leads into traditional style orange and lemon cologne with a handful of green notes that lasted an easy four or five hours on me. It beds down into a deeper, slightly bitter citrus that reminded me of Guerlain Pamplelune. Available from Cologne and Cotton online or in store. A big thumbs up to the glorious heritage style packaging and generous 150ml bottles too!
Library of Fragrance Rain: The lovely Vanessa Musson of Bonkers About Perfume described this as “minty tangerines”, and I totally agree. It has an ozonic, refreshing tang that smells as fresh and clean as a rainy day. Lasting powder was around four hours. You can buy it from Boots or from Library of Fragrance online
Cologne and Cotton Niobe I reviewed this recently and liked it so much that I decanted it into a Travelo and carry it round in my handbag. It opens with citrus and ends with spice, but is never cloying- always uplifting. Made for men, but used by me. You can buy a generous 150ml bottle from Cologne and Cotton online or instore.
Crabtree and Evelyn West Indian Lime Cologne I tried this on in winter and it lasted around six hours on me and I stood there in my damp coat and wet boots dreaming of summer. Here’s my review. This is a glorious lime that packs a punch and lingers around like a good mood. You can buy it from Marks and Spencer, and Amazon.co.uk
Eau de Cartier One of my early loves, which I reviewed within months of starting this blog. It’s my hangover scent: Lavender, mint and bergamot in perfect harmony- even Luca Turin thinks so. Strictly, it’s an eau de toilette, but it behaves like cologne and smells like cologne, so I will shoe horn it in anyway. You can buy it from allbeauty.com.
Annick Goutal Eau D’Hadrien Lemons, lemons, lemons, citrus and lemons. With a hint of aldehydes. Don’t buy it if you don’t like lemons, but what could be better in summer? This is a classic that will never go out of style. Here’s my review. You can buy it from allbeauty.com, Escentual.com and Amazon.co.uk to name but a few.
Roger & Gallet Jean Marie Farina eau de cologne There is a complicated back story here as to whether Roger & Gallet introduced the very first cologne to the world, or whether it was the 4711 gang. There is a great article here which explains it more fully, but I think its’s safe to say that the Roger and Gallet brand has been around since 1693, pre-dating the 4711 history.
Jean Marie Farina is my favourite Roger & Gallet and is named after the heir of the original recipe, who converted aqua mirabilis into eau de cologne back in 1806. It combines spices and lightness with herbs and citrus and in my eyes at least, it is a classic. It is widely available, but I like buying it from my local Marks and Spencer, one of the few High Street stockists outside big cities.
Clarins Eau Dynamisante Bright, astringent and refreshing, Eau Dynamisante has it all. In my previous review of ED here on this very blog, I described it as the freshness of an open window on a stuffy day. This Clarins range defies categorization as it is neither a cologne nor an eau de toilette but a firming skin treatment. However, by being full of citrus and herbs and having a short but refreshing staying power, I would say that as cologne, it fits the bill. I also adore Clarins Eau Des Jardins (see my review) which smells so good I almost want to drink it (but don’t!). You can buy it from any good beauty counter, or you can try allbeauty.com, or Amazon.co.uk.