Floris Cefiro – Sometimes, less is more, as long as you have enough

I got a scrubber last night – Floris Cefiro. I look forward to the scrubbers, actually. They keep me on my toes. I get a little bored and complacent, pouring that decant on my arm and thinking, oh, well, this will probably be another floral with a woody drydown. Then something powerfully evil roars up from my skin, grabs me by the throat, and smacks me across the face until my eyes tear up and I´m begging for mercy.

Depending on where I am when I´ve been assaulted, I reach for the rubbing alcohol, the baby wipes, the laundry detergent, kerosene, the hacksaw… whatever it takes to separate myself from that smell, and as quickly as possible.

Once I´d recovered, I looked up Floris Cefiro. I read a comment that it was reminiscent of 4711. And I guess that´s true, in the sense that they´re both unisex fragrances that come in bottles. But I´m not being fair. Cefiro IS sort of like 4711. If you prayed every night for a bottle of 4711, only you wanted it with a lot more lasting power, and Satan answered your prayers, you´d get Floris Cefiro.

So this review, which is about 4711, is really a defense of the ephemeral. Yes, everyone wants more staying power. Annick Goutal…where did you go? La Chasse, mon petit cherie, you have flitted away from my body after only thirty minutes. But let´s think about it. Everything can´t be Serge Lutens, right? Or Fracas? Or Joy, the sillage following you for a week after you accidentally spritzed your fur collar?

Sometimes less is more. There are several things to love about 4711. First, you can wear it in the stinking hot summer, when the miasma from the melting asphalt makes the thought of lifting your hand to select a perfume almost too much to bear. Second, you can wear it in the winter, when you´re fed up with the cold and dark and ice and you wish the asphalt were melting. Third, look at that bottle, it´s gorgeous. Fourth, it smells great – not too sweet, not too dry, a little green.

I test-drove Guerlain Du Coq a few weeks ago, and my first thought was: hey, this smells like 4711. If I had a dollar for every time I´ve had that thought… and the second part of the thought is always: but 4711 smells better. There are at least eight scents on the MUA boards that are compared to 4711. But Muelhens did it first, they did it best, they did it more than 200 years ago, in Cologne, Germany.

It´s based on a secret formula (natch) made by a French émigré friar, and named after the house number assigned to the Muelhens family perfumery’s shop during the 1794 French occupation of Cologne. Napoleon bathed in it.

But you don´t need to know any of that. You just need to go online and get yourself a bottle – you can get the 800 ml bottle (27 oz) for 26 bucks at fragrancex.com! Or, hey, stop by the neighborhood barbershop down the street, run by the old Greek guy and the young Greek guy, they´ll let you splash it on from the bottle on the counter, next to the combs and the big basket of lollipops. Now that you´ve spent a c-note (or two) on a bottle of extrait the size of a dental floss dispenser, what is not to love about $26 worth of joy juice the size of a wine bottle? In fact, keep it in your fridge. It won´t fit on your perfume shelf anyway, and you´ll need it close at hand in the summer, so you can splash some on every time you reach for the iced tea. Buy an extra bottle, one of those little ones, to store in your travel kit.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Orange, Petitgrain, Neroli
Middle Notes: Rosemary, Rose
Base Notes: Musk, Woody Notes

  • Marina says:

    Does nuclear wste have smell? Hmmm
    Well if it does and if it bad, my answer is – sometimes. I have a complex, on-off, love-hate relationship with Loukhoum. Sometimes it works like a charm (same way as nuclear energy works for us). Sometimes it is beyong horribible, as Tigger would say.

  • marchlion says:

    P, regarding shower life: the 4711 will last about half as long as the Apres on your skin, but who cares, you’ll have a big bottle, it’s so cheap you can bathe in it… just like the Little Guy.

    Marina — but does the Loukhoum smell better or worse than nuclear waste?:bouncy:

    Seriously, ladies, get some for next summer. I didn’t look, but it probably costs 2.99 on eBay.

  • Patty says:

    I have to try this 4711, it sounds lovely, but what kind of shower life does it have? Should be gone in three showers, four?

  • Marina says:

    I haven’t tried 4711 but always wanted and will get next summer.

    As for the perfumes that last. And last. And last….I am adding Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum to your list. Comapered to Loukhoum, nuclear waste has a shorter lifespan.