Beauty School Drop Out


If you're a fan of the new ITV drama Mr Selfridge, then you should already be familiar with 4711, because it was one of the first ever fragrances to be sold at the store.

Harry Gordon Selfridge opened his store, named after himself, on Oxford Street on 15th March 1909. 


Daniel Silvester, Brand Director of 4711, 

“Since the programme launched we have seen a significant rise in the sales of 4711 overall.

4711 has an incredible emotional appeal, it's fragrance is timeless and the bottle is a work of art.”


According to legend 4711 was discovered after a Carthusian monk gave the secret formula to a young merchant named Wilhelm Muelhens, as a wedding present. 

Wilhelm Muelhens was so impressed with this secret formula that he opened a small manufactory in Cologne's Glockengasse Germany.

By 1875 it was registered as a brand by Ferdinand Muelhen.

Fast forward many century's later and 4711 is still being used by people all over the world.


The brand expanded beyond fragrances and into fashion when they sponsored Matthew Williamson's AW12/13 runway show, during London Fashion Week.

  • It was created in 1792 and was referred to as Aqua Mirabilis, which translated means Wonder Water.
  • The formula dates back to the 17th century and still remains a secret today. 
  • It was initially used for internal & external use. It was known as a health drink to be drunk undiluted or mixed with wine.
  • In 1810 Napoleon ordered all formula's for internal use be made public. So in order to keep the formula secret 4711 was labelled for external use only. It was then marketed as a fragrance.
  • The name 4711 came about because it was the number of the premises where it was first manufactured.
  • The bottle is decorated with historic medals from Sydney (1879) Elphia (1876) & Keln.
  • The six sided bottle was invented by the distiller Peter Heinrich Molanus, he also named the bottle after himself - the Molanus bottle. 
  • During the 1920s a poster advertising 4711 caused a scandal when it was deemed as being far too permissive. After the Archbishop became involved the poster was taken down.
  • Visitors are welcome to the home of 4711 known as The House of Fragrance in Cologne’s Glockengasse Germany. In their fragrance workshop you can learn about the home of the perfumer’s art and attend a historical tour.

4711 Original Eau de Cologne Vintage German Advert

4711 is available from Selfridges and Boots and other Independent Pharmacies. 


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