Tucked away on a quiet street just a few blocks from the famous Cologne Cathedral is the Duftmuseum im Farina Haus (the Fragrance Museum in the Farina House). The elaborately decorated picture window lures you into a world of amazing scents. This is THE home of eau de Cologne. The spot where Cologne was invented 300 years ago by perfumer Johann Marina Farina. A visit to Farina Haus is a step back in time and a delight for all your senses.
Your entry fee includes a sample of Farina’s delicious signature scent. At a time when most perfumes were heavy and cloying (to cover the scent of not bathing), the perfumer set out to recreate the smell of an Italian spring morning after the rain, and when you close your eyes, you are transported to a Tuscan hillside. Light and citrusy from bergamot, you can understand why royalty like Ludwig II and Napoleon bought large flagons full of this delicious scent.
Start your tour upstairs. Eight generations of the Farina family have been involved in perfume making, and the history of the house and company is laid out in detail. You can see by the elaborate Asian sample case (which unbelievably packs into a small trunk!) that Farina reinvented the concept of the traveling salesman. This was no county fair potion, this was the perfume of royalty!
The Essence Room downstairs is the heart of the perfumery. What looks like the laboratory of a mad scientist is Farina’s collection of scents. Like a chef who can make delicious meals out of a variety of herbs and flavors, he was able to concoct magnificent cologne from hundreds of vials based on memory and the understanding of how they would come together.
The small museum is a must-visit for anyone who loves beautiful things. Cabinets display the bottles used through the years, many designed by famous artists, and each is labeled with the famous Farina tulip. The design may have changed over the years, but the red tulip remains a symbol of wealth and beauty.
Through war and copyright battles, eight generations of the Farina family have produced the original eau de Cologne that is still loved by movie stars and presidents. The company is dedicated to producing the finest scents made from natural products. This is the original eau de Cologne, not a mass-produced cheap imitation. A visit to Farina Haus is a must for anyone who loves the finer things.
Written by Karen Lodder