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is 4711 Cologne ingestible?

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Revere
784987.  Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:45 am Reply with quote

hello all; I have a large bottle of 4711 Cologne (the "original" cologne) and was reading up on its history on the makers' official website, where it says the product was initially advertised as a restorative miracle elixir that could be used externally or internally. but, according to the site linked above, in the early 1800s Napoleon ordered that all secret formulas for internal use were to be made public, so to keep 4711's formula secret they simply stopped marketing it as anything other than a perfume. (on a related note, I recall reading elsewhere that Napoleon himself was crazy about 4711 and literally dumped large amounts of it over his head on a daily basis, presumably in an effort to mask his own stench as he reportedly loathed bathing and only did so once a year at the most...not to mention the flatulence problems, but I digress)

my question is, what would happen if one were to drink it? lovely restorative benefits, nasty side effects (perhaps Napoleon was in the habit of drinking it and that was part of the reason for his infamous flatulence), or maybe it is totally innocuous.

I suppose that question may be impossible to answer given that some of its ingredients are still a secret. I got a large bottle for Christmas (it looks like a bottle of gin) and I'm curious to know if anyone ever drinks it to this day. the primary ingredients are alcohol, of course, and things like oil of bergamot, lemon, orange, rosemary, etc. I checked the Wikipedia entry for 4711 but it doesn't appear to address my question. incidentally (or is it?) there's mention that "in Finland the phone number 4711 is a direct line to Poison Information Centre" - doesn't bode well, does it?

perhaps one of the "I" series episodes could be about Ingestibles. I'm sure if Stephen handed Alan Davies a bottle of 4711 he'd be game to take a swig.

has anyone here ever tried it, or know someone who has?

 
Celebaelin
785005.  Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:06 am Reply with quote

Quote:
The 1982 Five Nations produced mixed fortunes with two matches from four won, though Maurice* was to enter rugby folklore for tricking his Swansea teammate Colin Smart into drinking aftershave following a victory over France!

http://www.sporting-heroes.net/rugby-heroes/displayhero.asp?HeroID=5840

* Colclough

 
RLDavies
785012.  Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:28 am Reply with quote

Drinking cologne (of any brand) is not to be recommended, since it's based on methanol. You may get a bit drunk on it, and then blind or dead.

Over 43% of deaths in Russian men caused by drinking cologne and cleaning agents

It's quite possible that the original 18th-century formula was a more innocuous herbal distillation with an ethanol (or even water) base.

4711 is one of my favourite scents.

 
djgordy
785014.  Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:33 am Reply with quote

I imagine that modern 4711 uses denatured alcohol (ethanol) and so it would not be wise to ingest it.

 
Revere
785081.  Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:24 am Reply with quote

oh, wow. 43% of Russian men die from drinking methanol-based products such as cologne? point taken: miracle elixir 4711 is not.

cheers for the prompt & helpful replies.

 
dr bartolo
785082.  Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:27 am Reply with quote

that explains why Russia invented vodka....

(apologies to any party offended)

 
legspin
785572.  Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:05 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
Quote:
The 1982 Five Nations produced mixed fortunes with two matches from four won, though Maurice* was to enter rugby folklore for tricking his Swansea teammate Colin Smart into drinking aftershave following a victory over France!

http://www.sporting-heroes.net/rugby-heroes/displayhero.asp?HeroID=5840

* Colclough

I was just thinking of this tale when I read the o.p.

 
Hans Mof
788868.  Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:52 am Reply with quote

4711 to date uses undenatured ethanol and vegetable essential oils. Its alcohol contents is 85% abv (170 proof).
So, yes you can drink it without going blind. As for restorative benefits: ask a trustworthy aroma therapist.

Good luck finding one, cough.

I've found a German website recommending a couple of drops of 4711 in soda water as a refreshement. The company itself sells a flavoured prosecco.

 
Revere
789688.  Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:12 am Reply with quote

thank you, Hans!

adding a few drops of 4711 to soda water sounds like a marvelous idea. I don't like sugary drinks and have taken to adding a few drops of orange extract (89% proof) to seltzer water as my preferred beverage, so 4711+seltzer will possibly become my new favorite drink! I never would have thought of it on my own. thank you for putting my blindness fears to rest.

 

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