What do you get when you cross a monk, a businessman and a miraculous liquid? In Cologne, Germany, you get the Ultimate Takeaway.

In 1792, a Carthusian monk gave the secret recipe of a “miracle water” as a wedding present to a young entrepreneur.  Believing this formula had both fragrant and healing properties, the young Wilhelm Muelhens began producing this Kölnisch Wasser (Cologne Water) from his home on Glockengasse Street.

Two years later, the French occupied Cologne and numbered each building, designating the Muelhens home as No. 4711 and thus creating the trademark for the city’s famous Eau de Cologne.

This miracle water soon became a phenomenon at the French royal court, and the blend of citrus and floral scents permeated high society for the next century.  Though no longer claiming medicinal powers, Eau de Cologne continues to capture the essence of Germany’s fourth largest city, more than 200 years later.

Today, 4711 Eau de Cologne remains an important symbol and tourist attraction of the city that bears its name.  Though the original home on Glockengasse was destroyed during an air raid in World War II, the rebuilt Neo-Gothic structure now serves as a store, gallery and museum to the Kölnisch Wasser.

Take home a bottle of 4711 and share the fragrant history of Cologne, Germany.

(This article was originally published in Travel Squire)

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