The twisted history of 4711 eau de cologne dates back to the 18th century when Johann Maria Farina (1685-1766) relocated from Italy to Cologne where he began to manufacture and sell an "eau de cologne" that acquired a wide reputation. The exact composition is still a closely guarded secret. The conscious emphasizing of the light vitalizing top note gives it a distinctive characteristic.
In 1803 Wilhelm Mülhens, desiring to capitalize on the fame of Farina's product, obtained the rights to the "Farina" name from Carlo Francesco Farina, a Farina with no connection to the Johann Maria Farina family.
Mülhens opened his own factory in Cologne and produced his own eau de cologne using the "Farina" name. He also "licensed" the name and the right to produce this product to at least twenty other people. In 1835 as a result of a legal action, all of the licenses were voided and all of the businesses closed.
At this point, Mülhens' son went to Italy, found another Farina, and again established a company under the "Farina" name. This again led to legal actions and in 1881, Wilhelm Mulhen's grandson, Fredinand Mülhens, adopted the "4711" name for both the company and their product after the company was barred from ever using the "Farina" name again. The "4711" name had been registered as a trademark in 1845 and was derived from the building number that had been assigned to the Mülhens' Glockengasse building in 1796 by Daurier, the French commander of the occupying forces. The original 4711 Glockengasse building fell victim to urban renewal and no longer exists. [Source]
The precious ingredients are carefully harmonized. Bergamot, lemon, and orange provide a uniquely revitalizing effect. Lavender and rosemary have a calming and relaxing effect, strengthening the nerves. Neroli, extracted from the blossom of the bitter orange, has a calming effect on the base note, creating a positive mood.