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sábado, 26 de dezembro de 2015

Bargain Fragrances: Murray & Lanman's Florida Water (1808)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

This is another in a series of bargain fragrance reviews, scents that may be found online or at discount stores for US $25 or less.  Leave a comment below for your chance to win a 5ml decant of Florida Water, shipped anywhere in the world, FREE!
Summary: Created over 200 years ago, and a staple toiletry of North American's throughout the 19th century, Murray & Lanman's Florida Water is still widely available; generally under $5 USD for at least two ounces; and with its classic blend of citrus and floral notes, is a perfect, unisex choice for a cooling, body splash.
Perfumer: Unknown
Try this if you like: Classic eau de colognes; 4711; orange blossom or neroli focused fragrances; clove; vintage/antique aromas; light body splashes; traditional hotel bath soaps.
Reminds me of: 4711Eau de Guerlain, Roger & Gallet Farina Extra Vieille.
Pros & Cons: First of all, let's get right to the point that this is not really a perfume but a scented water or a body splash and as such there is really no longevity or sillage here, at least not in the way that we typically think of fragrances nowadays in 2015.
What makes Florida Water so special is its place in American cosmetics history. It even has a Chinese relative, Two Girls Florida Water from 1898 that is quite similar to Murray & Lanman's classic. To think that people have been regularly using Florida Water since 1808 is rather intriguing. Moreover, it offers up a bracing, cooling aroma that many will find immediately familiar and comforting.
Though classic advertisments suggest the product as a multi-purpose floral extract, it is indeed an inexpensively made, alcohol-based aroma that is by no means floral in the way we currently think of floral perfumes. The focus here is all orange/neroli/orange blossom.
The scent has also garnered legendary status over the years thanks to its use by a number of famous people. In fact, American comedienne Lucille Ball's (I Love Lucy) last words were "My Florida Water."
Notes: Though the exact notes are not publicly known, similar forumlas suggest the followingSweet orange, bergamot, lavender, cloves, cinnamon, and possibly lemon, neroli petitgrain, ylang, rose, jasmine and/or musk.
Designer’s Description:
"For more than a century MURRAY & LANMAN'S FLORIDA WATER has been famous throughout the world - not for one purpose alone, but for a score of everyday needs. Moderately priced itself, MURRAY & LANMAN'S FLORIDA WATER saves you the cost of many more expensive preparations. Read the suggestions below...and note how useful and economical MURRAY & LANMAN'S FLORIDA WATER can be.
Added to the Bath or wash-basin, Murray & Lanman's Florida Water is delightfully refreshing and leaves the skin delicately fragrant.
After the Shower it provides an exhilarating rubdown, giving a delightful glow to the skin, toning muscles and nerves.
Before Shaving, Murray & Lanman's Florida Water softens the toughest beard and prepares the skin for a smooth, luxurious shave.
After Shaving, it contracts the pores, Its mildly astringent action soothes and heals skin abrasions caused by shaving.
In Hot Weather, a feeling of agreeable coolness is quickly induced by applying Murray & Lanman's Florida Water to the brow. Use as directed in bath and after shave.
As a Perfume, there is no more delightful scent than Murray & Lanman's Florida Water. Unobtrusive and remindful of a flower-garden, it can be used in an atomizer, on the handkerchief, or on the person.
After Exercise, a rubdown with Murray & Lanman's Florida Water produces a warm tingling glow - delightful and invigorating - zestful to the muscles, restful to the nerves.
To the Hair a sprinkling of Murray & Lanman's Florida Water gives an enchanting fragrance appropriate to the party or dance. It soothes itching scalp.
For Boudoir Daintiness, a few drops sprinkled in your lingerie drawer, handkerchief-box and clothes closets is lovely and lasting.
To Freshen Rooms that have been newly dusted, to overcome smoke-stuffiness, kitchen odors and the smell of new paint, sweeten the air with a sprinkling of Murray & Lanman's Florida Water."
Number of times tested: 100+ times over the last 10 years.
Number of sprays applied for this review: 3 generous splashes to the back of my hand and arm from a 60ml splash bottle I purchased in 2015.
Fragrance strength: Cologne
Development: (Linear / Average / Complex): Florida water opens as a typical eau de cologne but with an almost medicinal edge likely due to cinnamon and/or clove notes. There's a menthol/minty vibe that doesn't last more than 30 minutes but the overall effect is indeed cooling. As the scent relaxes, a slightly floral tinge emanates from the skin most notably that of lavender and some form of orange blossom or neroli.
Longevity: (Short / Average / Long-lasting) Though the scent basically fades within an hour, I was rather surprised to find after coming indoors from warm, rainy weather that the aroma in fact lingered for another few hours as a skinscent, similar to the effect of a strongly scented bar soap or shower gel.
Sillage: (A Little / Average / A Lot) This is a personal scent that no one else will likely notice.
Note about the packaging: Florida Water is available in a range of sizes from as little as 2 ozs all the way up to over 16 oz bottles. The current bottle is plastic and transparent and a replica of the original from 1808 with the same label that graced the product in the 19th century. The product is a splash.
Where can I buy it? A 2 oz Cologne splash can be found for as little as $3 USD.
Wikipedia offers:
"Florida Water is an American version of Eau de Cologne, or Cologne Water. It has the same citrus basis as Cologne Water, but shifts the emphasis to sweet orange (rather than the lemon and neroli of the original Cologne Water), and adds spicy notes including lavender and clove. The name refers to the fabled Fountain of Youth, which was said to be located in Florida, as well as the "flowery" nature of the scent.
According to the current trademark holders, Lanman & Kemp Barclay, Florida Water was introduced by the New York City perfumer (and founder of the original company) Robert I. Murray, in 1808. In 1835 Murray was joined by David Trumbull Lanman and the firm became Murray & Lanman, then David T. Lanman and Co., and in 1861 became Lanman & Kemp. The company states that their product, now sold under the Murray & Lanman brand, still uses the original 1808 formula, and that the current label is also a slightly modified version of the 1808 original.
Florida Water was regarded a unisex cologne, suitable for men and women alike. Victorian etiquette manuals warned young ladies against the "offensive" impression made by a strong perfume, but Florida Water and Eau de Cologne were recommended as appropriate for all, along with sachets for scenting the linen and fresh flowers in the corsage. Large quantities were also used by barbershops as cologne and aftershave. In the 1880s and 1890s Murray & Lanman Florida Water was advertised as "The Richest of all Perfumes" and "The most Popular Perfume in the World".
Like other colognes of the era, Florida Water was valued for its refreshing and tonic nature as well as its scent, and could be used as a skin toner or as what we would now call a "body splash". It was also used as a toilet water (eau de toilette), by adding it to the bath or wash-water.
Many baseball teams (particularly it seems in the South) use Florida Water as a refresher during the hot summer baseball months by filling a small lunch sized ice chest with water and ice and a few caps of Florida Water. They then soak rags in the tonic and wipe their pulse points and necks with the soaked rags, providing a very cooling effect to the skin and body." adds, "Both Florida Water and Kananga Water are widely used in rituals of home protection and spiritual cleaning, to scent bowls of water set out for the spirits of the dead, as a basis for making an ink-dyed scrying water, and for other ritual and cosmetic purposes among people of African-diaspora descent in the United States and the Caribbean."
The Bottom Line: When I was a child and my grandmother lived with my family, there was always a huge bottle of lemon-scented Jean Naté body splash in my bathroom shower. I'll be honest, I loved the stuff and I think it might have been my very first experience with fragrance. My problem with Jean Naté is that it disappeared so quickly and I soon relaized that this wasn't so much a perfume, but a scented water; over time I began to notice many others available from companies like Crusellas, Daffi, Violetas Francesas, Lancry, Augustin Reyes, Pinaud, etc that were used from barbershops to babys' baths.
And though I was born and raised in Florida, it's funny that I never experienced Florida Water until I was in, of all places, Hong Kong where I purchased a large bottle of Two Girls Florida Water simply because its name intrigued me. Curious about it, I soon discovered its origin as inspired by Murray and Lanman's product and a few years later while in a supermarket in south Florida, I came across shelves of scented waters and bought a few to experiment with. M&L's Florida Water and Crusellas' Sandalo were the standouts.
It makes perfect sense that in a state known for its orange groves, a water inspired by the land should be scented with orange blossom. And essentially, that's what traditional eau de colognes are: Citrus and orange blossom focused compositions. I can remember riding horses at ranches buffered by miles and miles of Florida orange groves; while meandering down sandy paths, the sweet blossoms would fill the sultry, humid air with their scent. Florida Water is pure nostalgia, transporting me immediately back to my Florida youth.
Nowadays, I actually use Florida Water not as a personal fragrance but as an aftershave or cooling astringent during warmer weather. More than a few times I have kept a bottle in my refrigerator, causing a visiting friend to wonder if it was something to add to a cocktail.  Fortunately, no one ever went so far as to drink it, LOL.
Have you ever been curious about Florida Water? Do you use anything similar? Tell us below for your chance to win a 5ml decant of Murray and Lanman's Florida Water, shipped anywhere in the world, free!

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